The Order of the Allied Masonic Degrees consists of five independent degrees unrelated to each other with the exception that they all contain a moral code of teaching which I will refer to a little later. In the Allied Order, England and Wales, like other Orders in Freemasonry, is divided into regions known as Districts with the Head of that Order called the District Grand Prefect.
The Order was constituted on the 9th August 1879 and followed a very short period of consultation with the leading founders of the Order.
In the late 18th and early 19th century prior to the constitution there were a number of degrees totalling around 1100 many the same but with slight difference in ritual and were mainly practiced in the Lancashire and Yorkshire area. Many of these degrees were brought in from the Continent and the USA probably by the military personnel from being stationed abroad. However many of these degrees fell by the wayside and became non existent with only a few of those left being recognised by Grand Lodge at that time, not as separate orders but established workings. These degrees were conferred on candidates following a craft lodge meeting, and in most cases in a side room, hence I believe, is where we get the commonly used reference side degrees when referring to the Additional Orders of Masonry. One of these degrees had its own Grand Lodge established in Rochdale and known as the Grand Lodge of St. Lawrence Masons. It was from this established body that a number of eminent Masons were charged in 1873 with forming a Lodge in London latter to be became known as the Metropolitan Council “A” Time Immemorial. This Council is still in existence and works to this very day without a warrant. It was from this Council that the formation of a Grand Council of side degrees was formed into what we now call The Order of The Allied Masonic Degrees and was constituted on the 9th August 1879 the day before the traditional date of the martyrdom of St. Lawrence who was executed in Rome on the 10th August 258 AD
Initially there were four Orders or Degrees worked.
St Lawrence the Martyr.
Holy Order of Grand High Priest.
Red Cross of Babylon.
Knights of Constantinople.
In 1893 the Order of the Grand Tilers of Solomon was added making five. In 1895 the Order of the Secret Monitor was introduced despite that a Grand Council for this Order was already in existence. In 1897 the Knight Templar Priests or Order of Holy Wisdom was encouraged to join the Allied Degrees. This now entailed seven separate Degrees which were worked in Councils up and down the Country as the Order expanded. However in 1927 The Knight Templar Priest broke away, to form its own Sovereign body, as did the Order of Secret Monitor in 1931. Today we now work five Degrees or Orders.
I have covered a short history of the formation of the Order but believe me there is much more that can be said of conspiracies in the early times with such words as blackmail and excommunication being used to form what is today a lovely and friendly Order.
A Council of the Order of The Allied Masonic Degrees is opened and closed in a Lodge of St Lawrence the Martyr where all business of the Council is conducted. The form of a Council is identical to that of a craft Lodge with the Worshipful Master, Wardens, Deacons, Inner Guard and Tyler.
The regalia worn by members consist of a breast jewel. The original jewel was a bar with the medals or jewels of the degree being suspended on a ribbon from it.
The newer more compact jewel is a five pointed jewel showing the insignia of the degrees. The Officers of a Council wear a collar and the District Grand Officers a collar of plain green with a jewel suspended and a collarette. A Grand Officer wears a dress collar of green with gold oak leaves or undress of plain green both with jewels suspended and a collarette. There is no apron worn in todays Councils but you will see them in Scotland and the Continent.