History of the Rosicrucian Society of England 1867

Rosicrucian-crossTwo of our members8 were admitted into the non-masonic Rosicrucian Society of Scotia, by their Magus Maximus, Anthony Oneal Haye IX° 9 in 186610. Having both progressed through the Scottish nine grades11, it was proposed at the London Rosicrucians second meeting12; “that the Scottish ritual be adopted, subject to certain verbal alterations and omissions at the discretion of the Celebrant.”

These changes not being forthcoming the London Rosicrucians reverted back to the four rituals found by Robert Wentworth Little in Freemasons Hall13, probably in 1855 when he worked as cashier for the Grand Secretary William Henry White14. Our Zelator and Theoricus rituals are quite different from the Scottish rituals and make up half the first order rituals today. The Adeptus Minor and Adeptus Major rituals of our second order were copied in R.W. Little’s own hand writing and also remain little changed to this day15. It is interesting to note that both the Rosicrucian ‘Ne Plus Ultra’, based on the Rose Croix and the Red Cross of Rome and Constantine rituals found by R.W. Little both existed before 1825, when Richard Carlile16 used them in his expose published in the Republican Magazine.

The result was that it took eighteen months to advance the members through all the London nine grades, by R.W. Little as their Master General or Celebrant as he is known today. Finally on 14th January 1869 the Master General having previously declared the 9° being complete, installed his successor William James Hughan17 as Master General and he assumed the role of Supreme Magus for the first time.

The society founded four new colleges and then in 187418 split the managing of the society in general, from the running of the mother college, by forming the Metropolitan College and then the High Council of the ‘Rosicrucian Society of England or Brethren of the Rosy cross.’ The name was not Latinised to ‘Societas Rosicrucian in Anglia’ until 1885 when William Wynn Westcott used it for the first time as secretary of Metropolitan College, the whole society did not using the term until 1889 when W.W. Westcott was Secretary General and Celebrant of Metropolitan College.


8 – Robert Wentworth Little (1839-1878) and William James Hughan (1841-1911)

9 – Anthony Oneal Haye (1839-1978) admitted R.S.S. – 1855

10 – 31st December 1866 conferred grades Zelator and Theoricus.

11 – 04/02/67 “both received the 3° and Little the 4° and 5° in Edinburgh;” Why did Hughan not receive 4° & 5°? 06/03/67 Fra. W.J. Hughan only received 4°, 5° and 6°. 18/05/67 Fra. R.W. Little only was given the 6°, 7° and 8°. 01/07/67 Fra. W.J. Hughan only given 7° and Fra. R.W. Little in absentia 9°

12 – Second meeting 31/10/67, only nine attend.

13 – W.J. Hughan wrote short note to Westcott 01/10/1900, “Re Ros. Soc. of Scot[land] under A. O. Haye (late the Editor of Scot[tish] Mag[azine] F[ree]mas[onry] – defunct) was existing before R.W.L. Started the on[e] in Eng[land]. It next united with this Country and collapsed, as sub rosa A.O.Haye went to bad. This left the ground clear for this Ros. Soc. of Scot[land] manifested by England. W.J. Hughan March 1908 wrote a longer note to Westcott and mentions R.W. Little finding four rituals in Freemasons Hall, Zelator Theoricus, Adeptus Minor and Adeptus Major.

14 – William Henry White (1777-1866) Grand Secretary (1813-56)

15 – Adeptus Minor and Adeptus Major found in 2013 with Freemason Hall inside front cover in R.W. Little handwriting. It speaks of an Order not a society and the sign of an adept is our Grade 8° sign.

16 – Richard Carlile (1790 – 1843) MANUAL FREEMASONRY (1825, 1831, 1831 Red Cross of Rome and Constantine Ritual, & Rosicrucian Ne Plus Ultra similar to part of the 18 Ancient and Accepted Rite ritual, not the SRIA.

17 – William James Hughan only attended three London meetings and only two while in the chair as Master General. 14/01/69; 08/07/69; the last the next year on 14/07/70. W.J. Hughan resigns as S.S.M. 14/10/1876.

18 – Metropolitan College on 16/04/74, High Council on 24/04/74.


Robert Wentworth Little IX° Master General 01/06/1867 – 13/04/1878

London 1867 and Bristol 1869 colleges

Robert Wentworth Little IX° S.M. (1869-1878)

Manchester 1871, Cambridge 1871, Greece (SRIS) 1872 Edinburgh 1873, Metropolitan 1874,

Yorkshire (Sheffield) 1877, Burdett 1877, Met Coll. Edinburgh 1877, Canada (SRIS) 1877

William R. Woodman IX° S.M. (Never Celebrant) (1878-1891)

York 1879, SRRCA (Phil. USA – SRIS) 1879, Demiurgus 1886, Zaphnath Paaneath 1888,

Newcastle 1890.

William W. Westcott (Cel. M.C. 1889) IX° S.M. (1891-1925)

Berlin 1902, Umballa 1902, Christchurch 1906, Ladysmith 1906, Wynn Westcott 1907, W.R. Woodman 1908, Pymander 1909,

Robert Fludd 1909, Andhra 1910, Hallamshire 1910, Lancashire 1910, Trinity 1915, Birmingham 1915, William Wynn Westcott 1911, Mersey 1921, London College of Adepts 1922.

W.J. Songhurst (Cel. M.C. 1911) IX° S.M. (1925-39)

York College of Adepts 1934

Frank M. Rickard (Cel. 1921) IX° S.M. (1939-56)

Melbourne College of Adepts 1946

W.R. Semken (Cel. M.C. 1937) IX° S.M. (1956-69)

William Semken 1966 – Elias Ashmole 1967

Edward Varley Kayley (Cel MC 1959) IX° S.M. (1969-74)

Toronto No. 20

Donald Penrose (Cel MC 1946) IX° S.M. (1974-79)

The Holy Grail No. 21 – Michael Penrose No. 22

Norman C. Stamford (Cel LCA 1974) IX° S.M. (1979-82)

John Dee No. 23 – Thomas B. Whytehead No.25

Alan G. Davies (Cel LCA 1978) S.M. (1982-94)

Pythagoras No.26 – Guy Cliffe No. 56

Ronald E. Rowland IX° S.M.(1994-2002)

Sirius No. 57 – Blaise Pascal No. 70

Andrew B. Stevenson IX° S.M. (2002-06)

Saxby No.71 – St.Albans the Martyr No. 74

John Paternoster IX° S.M. (2006-TD)

Brangwyn No. 75 – John Stewart Peddie No. 88 (x15 inc Gallia & Canada)