The Masonic Order
of Athelstan in England, Wales and its Provinces Overseas
The Province of the United States of America
Constituted 8th February 2011
The Masonic Order
of Athelstan formed in 2005, growing out of the shared interests that a number of like-minded individuals had in the origins
of Masonry. Their research culminated in a few members of that group focusing specifically on the Saxon Chronicles. In essence,
their informal meetings became more and more regular and the rich and invigorating debates offered each member considerable
encouragement and support to continue with their personal endeavours.
They had become
a dedicated Masonic and historical discussion group.
As the group
progressed its subsequent interface with other like-minded Masons encouraged them to progress the idea of a new Order even
to the writing of a ritual to support it. This ritual was based on the research of many old historic documents and the discovery
of old Craft and other Masonic ritual.
Eventually a draft
of the ritual was produced based upon the life and symbolism of King Athelstan, the grandson of King Alfred, and the first
King of England to be referred to as “The King of All the English”.
The Grand Court
of the Masonic Order of Athelstan was conceived if not yet born.
As the group explored
the idea of setting up the Order it caught the imagination of more and more Freemasons both senior and junior. Eventually
there was a following which quickly grew as “word of mouth” spread and has now become a vehicle for many well-read
and like-minded Masons to come together and discuss their individual learning.
So what is the Order
of Athelstan? The Order has become many different things to many different people. For many it is historic and educational,
for others it is rich in symbolism and a vehicle to keep a great deal of old ritual alive, for others it is where good friends
meet to share knowledge, thinking, friendship and good company.
On the practical
side it is what we like to call a ‘functional’ degree, in other words it is aimed at accommodating people's modern
lifestyles with low costs. Midweek meetings generally commence at around 6.30 pm and conclude after a 3 course (maximum) meal
at around 9.30pm, in order to give brethren time to be together at the bar and to encourage discussion, or to proceed home
There are no “wine
takings” and the few formal toasts do not have any fire attached to them. Some Courts meet on a Saturday morning and
meetings, followed by a lunch, are concluded by 2.30-3pm.
It is Masonic, and
therefore candidates must be subscribing Craft Freemasons as well as subscribing Companions of a Royal Arch Chapter in full
amity with the United Grand Lodge of England (these are the requisite qualifications). If a potential candidate holds these
requisite qualifications they can be invited to our Festive Board and will be warmly welcomed by all. The intention is to
enable brethren to attend the dinner, after the meeting, as a way of introducing them to the Order without disclosing the
ritual and workings of the Order.
Normally a maximum
of three meetings a year are encouraged, two working and a third the Installation. At this meeting the ceremonial is about
40 minutes in total and allows for a 20 minute talk or lecture. This is encouraged by way of an annual Provincial Certificate
and a Grand Court Presentation to the best of the best. A number of other incentives have and will be introduced, by way of
keeping brethren interested.
Like other Masonic
ceremonies that use legend and allegory to tell a story and portray good ethical conduct and behaviour. In the Order we use
the legend of Athelstan's York Assembly of 926 as the framework and conduit for ours. We aim to bring to life the 926 Court
that was held in York to educate and raise the quality of masonry in 10th Century England and in so doing to explore the development
of the Craft over the centuries in order to prompt further study and research. As such our meetings are held in a Court and
our candidates are ‘Instructed’ into the Order.
The Masonic Order
of Athelstan portrays the story of a Master Mason called to York in 926 to receive the Ancient Charges. It goes on through
a series of delightful rituals to explain a lot of the Symbolism we still see in some Lodges today and culminates with an
Historical oration taking us through the development of the various Grand Lodges and ends at 1813 with the formation of the
Workings of an Eminent Prior’, deals with the earliest passing of the veils ceremony and the Kabbalistic explanation
of the four banners of the Royal Arch,
Workings of a Worshipful Master or Grand Master of Speculative Masons’ based on the betrayal of Athelstan by Edwin and
the 20° A & AR and finally ‘The Knights Paladin of the Scarlet Mantle’.
This last Order
bears some further explanation, it is made up of 9, 10 and 12 Knights added to which are the Deputy Grand Master and Grand
Master making a total of 33. This is further explained as the 9 being representative of the 9 Knights Templar who first went
to the Holy Land, the 10 is that of the 10 mystic Knights who Guarded Charlemagne and the 12 are the 12 disciples of Christ
and the 12 Knights of the Round Table of whom Athelstan was thought to have been a model for the mythical King
The appendant Order
of the Scarlet Mantle is strictly a reward-based degree. It is a Knighting ceremony and is commemorative of the Knighting
of Athelstan by Alfred the Great in and around the year 898 (the first recorded making of a Knight in England). It is stated
that Athelstan, upon being knighted was given a ‘Sword with a golden hilt and a scarlet mantle bedecked with jewels’.
Members bear the
initials of Knight of the Scarlet Mantle (KSM), Knight Commander of the Scarlet Mantle (KCSM) or Grand Cross of the Scarlet
Mantle (GCSM) after their name and naturally can only use this in the context of the Masonic Order of Athelstan.
<< Reference: www.athelstan.org.uk ?
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