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B.7.1 The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite – York Rite

By the end of the eighteenth century the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite was in full evolution but, finally, it reinforced the Craft. Stephen Morin introduced this rite in America in 1761. By 1763 Morin had created the “Rite of perfection” in British West Indies with 25 degrees. His associate Henry Francken introduced it in North America in 1767. Many lodges were opened and Francken’s successor, the Comte de Grasse-Tilly, added eight degrees to reach the present structure of 33 degrees. He established the first Scottish Rite Supreme Council at Charleston, South Carolina. He was also involved in the writing of the Grand Constitution of 1786 that became the base of the “Mother Supreme Council 33°, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite” that was formed on 31 May 1801. For seventy years the life of the Scottish Rite in America was chaotic until Albert Pike introduced some order, at least in the south of the USA. He rewrote the degrees and the Rite’s structure, constructed liturgies and the teaching, and revised the Ritual from the fourth to the thirty-second degree. The Scottish Rite offers a more spiritual and philosophical approach to Freemasonry that the moral concepts of the Craft degrees, even if many people enter the Craft only for social reasons.

In America there are three basic degrees (Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason) like everywhere else but, if the Mason wants to enter the Masonic hierarchy, he must choose between the Scottish and the York Rites. The Scottish Rite is said to have been created by Scots who immigrated to France, whereas the York Rite is named after York, England, where, according to a legend, the first Masonic organisation was created. There are thirty steps in the Scottish Rite and only ten in the York Rite. The table below shows the correspondence between the two scales of degrees.


Scottish Rite  

York Rite  

1° degree Entered Apprentice Entered Apprentice
2° degree Fellowcraft Fellowcraft
3° degree Master Mason Master Mason
4° degree Secret Master
5° degree Perfect Master Mark Master
6° degree Intimate Secretary
7° degree Provost and Judge
8° degree Intendant of the Building
9° degree Master Elect of Nine 

(Elu of the Nine)

Past Master 


10° degree Elect of Fifteen 

(Elu of the Fifteen)

11° degree Sublime Master Elected 

(Elu of the Twelve)

12° degree Grand Master Architect 

(Master Architect)

13° degree Master of the Ninth Arch 

(Royal Arch of Solomon)

Most Excellent Master
14° degree Grand Elect Mason 

(Perfect Elu)

15° degree Knight of the East or Sword 

(Knight of the East)

16° degree Prince of Jerusalem
17° degree Knight of the East and West Royal Arch Mason
18° degree Knight of the Rose Croix of H.R.D.M. (Knight Rose Croix)
19° degree Grand Pontiff 


20° degree Master ad Vitam – (Master of the Symbolic Lodge)
21° degree Patriarch Noachite-(Noachite or Prussian Knight)
22° degree Prince of Libanus 

(Knight of the Royal Axe)

Royal Master
23° degree Chief of the Tabernacle
24° degree Prince of the Tabernacle Select Master
25° degree Knight of the Brazen Serpent Super Excellent Master
26° degree Prince of Mercy Order of the Red Cross
27° degree Commander of the Temple 

(Knight Commander of the Temple)

28° degree Knight of the Sun – (Knight of the Sun or Prince Adept)
29° degree Knight of St Andrew 

(Scottish Knight of St Andrew)

Order of Knights of Malta
30° degree Grand Elect Knight K.H 

(Knight Kadosh)

31° degree Grand Inspector Inquisitor 

(Commander Inspector Inquisitor)

32° degree Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret–(Master of the Royal Secret)
33° degree Sovereign Grand Inspector General Order Knights Templar


NB: If there are two names the top one is used in the northern states and the bottom one in the South. The 32° degree is the highest grade that a Mason can earn. The Supreme Council, the ruling body of the Rite, awards the 33°.

Some organisations are allied to the Craft.

  • Tall Cedars of Lebanon to which Master Masons are eligible.
  • Order of the Eastern Star open to women.
  • Grotto to which Master Masons are eligible.
  • Job’s Daughters to which girls with a Mason in the family can join.
  • Rainbow Girls to which girls with a Mason in the family can join.
  • Order of De Molay open to boys.
  • Shrine open to 32° Masons or Knights Templar.

Daughters of the Nile open to Shriner’s wife.