The District Grand Council of Northumberland
Royal and Select Masters
Copyright 2021 © District Grand Council R&SM Northumberland
The Degree of the Silver Trowel, otherwise known as the Order of Anointed Kings, originates among a number of State jurisdictions in the United States of America of the Royal and Select Masters. Moves were made to bring the Degree to England and Wales. In the summer of 2008 a party headed by the Grand Master, Most Illustrious Companion J. Alan Wright, visited the Grand Council of the State of New York at Albany where the degree was conferred on them.
Having witnessed a most impressive ceremony the Grand Master decided the Degree should be brought across the Atlantic under the aegis the Grand Council of the Royal and Select Masters for England and Wales and should be conferred only as a special award. I this area, the Districts of Cumberland & Westmorland, Durham, and Northumberland the meet immediately prior to the meeting of the Hexhamshire Council No. 193 on the first Wednesday of May each year in order to confer the degree on candidates for all three Districts. The Districts perform the degree on a rotational basis: 2016 will be Northumberland, 2017 Cumberland & Westmorland, 2018 Durham, and so on.
The Silver Trowel is practiced as an adjunct to the Order of Royal and Select Masters, not as a separate Order but as special reward for merit and conferred in very limited numbers. The basic requirement is a candidate must be a Past Master of a Royal and Select Masters' Council; thereafter approval for it to be conferred on any individual Illustrious Companion rests solely with the Grand Master himself, on recommendation from a District Grand Master. The Grand Master also settles the total number of recommendations a District Grand Master may make in any year.
Once approval has been given there is a "one-off' fee, currently £75, with no further annual charges and no further commitments.
The English version of the Degree has been adapted taking into account rituals from a number of States. I would stress it does not form part of the series of events commemorated in the four Degrees of the Royal and Select Masters, but relates to the reigns of King David and his son King Solomon. To participate requires considerable ritual- even acting skills, as the ceremony is very dramatic, culminating in a twist not seen in any other Masonic ceremony.