The Old Chelmsfordian Lodge 5499

Beyond the Third Degree

The Candidate for Freemasonry goes through three ceremonies, with a least a month between each. In a busy Lodge, it may take considerably longer. He is initiated into the First Degree, passed to the Degree of a Fellowcraft Freemason, and then raised to the Degree of a Master Mason. These are the three Degrees of Freemasonry and no matter what you may be told, there is no higher Degree in England and Wales than the Third Degree.

There is an Order, the Royal Arch, which about 40% of Masons join, and which takes Freemasonry a  bit further, although its members are not of a higher rank than their Brethren. Royal Arch, or Chapter Masons, can be recognised in the Craft Lodge by the breast jewel they wear.

There are a number of additional, or appendant Orders and Degrees that a Mason can join. They are not higher Degrees, and in England and Wales their members do not outrank the Master and Brethren of a Craft Lodge. However, this is not the case in all Masonic jurisdictions. For example, in the United States there are two separate paths that a Master Mason can follow, the York Rite and the Scottish Rite, both of which can take a Mason, via a number of appendant Degrees, to the 32 Degree.

Some of the appendant Orders, such as the Knights Templar and the Rose Croix, are restricted to Brethren of the Christian faith, while others, such as the Mark Degree are open to Master Masons of all faiths.

Once you become a Mason, should you so choose, there is much more for you to discover.