A Brief Note on the Jamaican Roots of the Ancient and Accepted Rite

by V:. Ill:. Bro. Afeef Lazarus 33°

In historical terms, Jamaica plays a significant roll in the development of the Ancient and Accepted Rite of Thirty-Three Degrees as we know it today.

In the 18C, The Supreme Council of the Rite of Perfection was the governing body for a number of Lodges, Chapters, Councils and Consistories in Western Europe. This body was the precursor of the Ancient and Accepted Rite of Thirty-Three Degrees.

In August of 1761, the Rite commissioned one Etienne (Stephen) Morin as Inspector General in all parts of the New World. Morin travelled west in the following year and soon found himself in Jamaica where he set up "A Grand Chapter of Princes of the Royal Secret or Ne Plus Ultra".

Whilst in Jamaica, Morin met a Dutchman named Henry Andrew Francken and appointed him as his "Deputy Inspector General of all the Superior Degrees of Free and Accepted Masons in the West Indies". Francken, who held a minor post in the Island's Admiralty Court, took leave from his civil duties in 1767 in order to travel to America where he warranted, on Morin's behalf, the establishment of a Lodge of Perfection in Albany. Interestingly enough, the warrant claimed Morin's authority over the 4th to the 29th degrees at a time when nothing higher than 25 degrees existed!

Morin died in Jamaica, and on 17 November 1771, was buried in the churchyard of what is now known as the Kingston Parish Church in downtown Kingston. During his lifetime he had been involved in the revision of the several rituals and, on his death, Francken not only assumed his leading role, but also continued his revision of the rituals which involved the translation and improvement of those already in existence in France.

The seed which been planted in America by Francken eventually bore fruit and the first Supreme Council in the world was formed in Charleston in about the year1800. On 31 May, 1801, the new Council was opened as the American Council of the Scottish Rite, later becoming The Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction USA. Though the sequence of events are difficult to follow because of the passage of time, it would be fair to say that by the time the Supreme Council had been established, it proceeded to issue patents conferring the 33rd degree.

Francken died in Jamaica in 1795 and was also buried in the churchyard in Kingston. Regrettably, in the middle of the 1900's the remains of both Morin and Francken were among those removed to a mass grave to make way for the erection of a shopping complex, the income from which helps to support the Church. A plaque commemorating the contributions of Morin and Francken has been erected in the Church by the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction USA.

In 1813 The Supreme Council of the Northern Jurisdiction of the United States was formed and this is the body from which our Supreme Council obtained a patent in 1845.


A History of the Ancient and Accepted Rite in England and Wales by A.C. F Jackson - 2nd Ed. 1987 - Lewis Masonic.

Ancient and Accepted by John Mandleberg - 1995 - Q.C. Correspondence Circle Ltd.