Sunday, April 9, 2017

Pilgrim Preceptors

From Royal Arch Masonry stems a number of various groups like the Allied Masonic Degrees, Knight Masons, the Operatives, and one of the least known is the Masonic Order of Pilgrim Preceptors. I say it is least known as it is primarily found in England, and even there it seems like a relatively small organization. The legend of the Order concerns a Fourth Grand Lodge held in Rome, and the coming of Christianity to Britain.

The prerequisites for this Order are that one must be a Past First Principle (comparable to Past High Priest in the US) of a Royal Arch Chapter and a Past Master of a Blue Lodge.

The basic organizational unit of this order is known as a Conclave. The officers of a Conclave are:
Illustrious Preceptor
Excellent Preceptor
Worthy Preceptor
Chaplain Preceptor
Scribe Preceptor
Marshal Preceptor
Treasurer Preceptor
Deputy Marshal Preceptor
Organist Preceptor
Keeper of the Portal
Steward Preceptor (3)
There are two degrees conferred by a Conclave: Pilgram and Preceptor. According to "Beyond the Craft" the degrees are described as follows:
Pilgrim: Having beheld the ruins of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, the aspirant journeys to Rome where he gains sanctuary in the catacombs. He is then ordained a Pilgrim and successfully appeals to the Emperor for the restitution of the sacred landmarks of their religion, and in consequence is summarily rewarded with a token of his new calling.
Preceptor: The postulant is instructed that the truths revealed during seven major events across the aeons of time have materially contributed to the wisdom of man. It relates that with the assistance of the emblamatical lights of Masonry, those tenets and principles were duly restored in a fourth fraternal Lodge, as mirrored by the four triangles.
The regalia for this group is that of a Royal Arch Mason plus a collared jewel (see image on the right). Recipients of the degree of Pilgrim wear a 1/2-inch wide brown ribbon with the triangular jewel. Recipients of the degree of Preceptor wear a 1/2-inch wide white ribbon. The Illustrious Preceptor and Past Illustrious Preceptors wear a 1/2-inch wide purple ribbon. Provincial Grand officers wear the same ribbon as the Illustrious Preceptors except the purple ribbon is 1-inch wide. Grand officers wear the same jewel as Provincial Grand officers but the ribbon contains gold emblems on each side denoting rank.

This group traces its origins back to the 19th century where three Royal Arch Masons, who are described as "erudite thespians," in Northwest England. During the first century, it was merely a degree conferred on very few who kept the degree going. It wasn't until September of 1984 that the first Conclave was formed. As of 2012, there are twelve Conclaves: eleven in England & Wales and one in the United States of America.


1. Clarke, B. (n.d.). Additional Degrees Worked in England and Wales York Rite: An Explanation. Retrieved from The Masonic Trowel: 

2. Henderson, K. (n.d.). Lesser Known Orders of Freemasonry. Retrieved from Kent Henderson: 

3. Jackson, K. B. (2012). Beyond the Craft. Lewis Masonic.


  1. I know of the Pilgrim Preceptors as I have been researching St Augustine and the relationship which he may have had with pre York masons lodges - "St Augustine introduced masonry to England"??? ...any clues please?