The Royal Order occupies a branch of the Masonic ‘family tree’ alongside the Order of the Holy Royal Arch, the Order of the Secret Monitor, and several others. Unlike most of the others there is no direct connection to a higher branch such as the Order of Knights Templar or the Red Cross of Constantine, so the Royal Order stands alone.
Records of the Grand Lodge of England show that the Order was active in London in 1741, and in 1750 a Charter was issued to a William Mitchell to work the degree at The Hague. Mitchell moved to Edinburgh in 1752 or 1753 and used the Charter to establish a Provincial Grand Lodge of the Order there. In 1767 that body became the Grand Lodge of the Royal Order of Scotland. Thus the Order can claim seniority over every other Masonic Order except the Craft. It has existed in New Zealand since 1919.
The Traditional History of the Order, which must not be mistaken for actual history, represents the First Degree as dating from the time of King David I of Scotland, and the Second Degree as instituted by King Robert the Bruce on the battlefield of Bannockburn, on the 24th of June 1314, to commemorate the valour of a band of Templar Knights who had rendered him signal aid in that great victory. These Templars were refugee survivors who had sought safety in Scotland after the downfall of the Order of the Temple and the murder in Paris of the Grand Master Jacques de Molay in March of that year.
The Grand Master of the Royal Order is the hereditary King of Scots. While there is no King of Scots the head is the Deputy Grand Master and Governor of the Order, currently Sir Archibald Donald Orr-Ewing, 6th Baronet of Ballikinrain and Lennoxbank.
The Order consists of the Grand Lodge in Edinburgh and 88 Provincial Grand Lodges throughout the world. The Provincial Grand Lodges are the basic units of the Order, there are no Lodges.
There are four Provincial Grand Lodges in New Zealand: NZ North in Auckland, NZ Central in Wellington, Canterbury in Christchurch, and NZ South in Dunedin. The Provincial Grand Lodges are governed directly by the Grand Lodge in Scotland. The Order in New Zealand comprises about 150 members.
There are two degrees: Brother of Heredom of Kilwinning and Knight of the Rosy Cross. The former is conferred in Provincial Grand Chapter, and Brothers of Heredom are “promoted” to the Knighthood of the Rosy Cross in Provincial Grand Lodge.
The essential and universal qualifications for applicants are:
- Membership of the three degrees of Craft Freemasonry
- Five years or more as a Master Mason in a St John’s Lodge
- Profession of the Trinitarian Christian faith.
The first two requirements cannot be altered by any Province, but some Provinces do not require profession of the Trinitarian faith.
In addition to these fundamental requirements, Provinces are free to impose additional conditions, and many do so, the most common being the requirement of membership of the Holy Royal Arch. Some Provinces require candidates for membership to be members of the Order of Knights Templar or the Red Cross of Constantine. The Province of NZ Central does not require those additional qualifications.
Most importantly, membership is by invitation only.
Dress and regalia
Dress for meetings is dark lounge suit or Highland Dress. A number of members regularly wear traditional Scottish dress, trews or a kilt, or a tartan tie.
- Brother of Heredom: An apron with a scarlet border, a scarlet cordon or baldric worn over the left shoulder, and the badge of the Order on the left breast of the jacket.
- Knight of the Rosy Cross. An apron with a green and scarlet border and, in addition to the scarlet baldric and breast badge, a green baldric worn over the right shoulder. Knights also wear a green and gold strap around the upper left arm with the words ‘Virtute et Silentio’ meaning power and silence.
Officers’ titles in both degrees are the same or very similar, eg, Provincial Grand Guardian in the Chapter is Provincial Grand Warden in the Lodge. Officers’ collars are double sided, red for the Chapter and Green for the Lodge, and jewels are the same for both degrees.
If you meet the membership requirements and wish to be considered for membership of our Provincial Grand Lodge we would be delighted to receive a petition for membership from you. Just contact the Provincial Grand Secretary whose contact details are below:
Provincial Grand Secretary\
RW Bro Jock McColl
24 Rosebank Avenue
Lower Hutt 5011
Alternatively talk to any member of our Order.