Provincial Priory of Essex

The United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple  

and of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta of England and Wales and its Provinces Overseas

 © Essex KT 2013-17 - All Rights Reserved

Jerusalem Scene

Spring 2018

Freemasonry is very much an English affair although exactly when it originated is shrouded in the mists of time. What is known is that originally there was only the one degree with the second being introduced in the Age of Enlightenment, i.e. around 1725, whilst the third came into being later still.


Freemasonry of the early eighteenth century was associated with the freethinkers of the period for it must be said that England at the time was a fairly liberal place where free debate was allowed even if it did sometimes go against the establishment. The situation was quite different on the Continent where intellectuals chafed against the absolutist monarchy and the oppressive religious rule of the Catholic Church. They looked upon the liberal attitudes of England with envy so that when freemasonry was introduced to France in 1730 they took it up with enthusiasm.


Indeed it has been estimated that more than 1100 degrees were invented in the salons of Paris between 1730 and about 1790. The degree of Knights Templar is probably one of those introduced in 1740 although it has been suggested that it might have had its roots in the Rite of Strict Observance, a form of freemasonry attributed to the minor German baron, von Hund.


One significant point about the Masonic degree is that unlike the Craft degrees, it is overtly Christian, demanding a firm belief in the Trinitarian Christian faith from each one of its members. The degree became a firm favourite of the freemasons in the British Army, so that with them it travelled the world and became universally accepted. Many army lodges were Antient lodges who worked the Craft degrees, the Holy Royal Arch and the Christian Knights Templar degree under the one Craft warrant; the Master and his Wardens simply assumed the offices of the three Principles to confer the Holy Royal Arch degree and then took office as Commander and Constables to install a brother a Knight Templar