The following curious notice was publishes in 1886 in the first volume of the Ars Quatuor Coronatorum (p.54)
THE “Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia” -was constituted in its present form about the year 1865, and has become the parent of similar societies in Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and in the United States of America. It is not a masonic degree in any sense, although its members (fratres), are necessarily Master Masons, and a ritual of admission is made use of. The entrance fees are small, as is the yearly subscription; the receipts being only intended to cover the expenses of the meetings, and the printing of notices and reports. The society has several colleges in England, the Metropolitan is the largest, then follow those of Yorkshire and Lancashire; the total number of members is about 200. Its purpose is the scientific and literary, historical and archaeological investigation of the occult wisdom of the ancients, the origin of the mysteries, of secret societies, and of the lost sciences and arts of alchemy, astrology, the Kabbalah, the hieroglyphic literature of Egypt, etc. Essays are read at the meetings, discussion is invited, and old and curious books, pictures, &c., are exhibited. The Yorkshire College has made a specialty of the study of the architecture and masonic points of old churches and other buildings. R. W. Little, W. J. Hughan, W. R.Woodman, F. Gr. Irwin, H. C. Levander, Wm. Carpenter, Kenneth Mackenzie, and Cuthbert Peck, were among its famous early members. Dr. W. R. Woodman is the present Supreme Magus, and T. B. Whytehead is head of the York College.
Following the example of the famous Fraternity of R.C., concerning which several books were published from 1614 to 1660, notably the ” Fama et Confessio,” the proceedings and membership of the society are kept in a great degree secret, and indeed there are certain points of knowledge and ranks in the society known to but very few; the preceding information applies only to the ordinary working first degree or Zelator; further than this no member who joins the order for the title, or without any occult aspirations, is allowed to pass in fact, even if higher titles be conferred; some of the fratres are ornaments only of the society, and do not even profess to be workers. From 1868 to 1879 the society published a magazine which was skilfully edited by Dr. Woodman; at the present time the Metropolitan College publishes Annual Transactions, and the York College prints occasional Essays. Those most deeply interested in the penetralia, have certain curious secret esoteric doctrines and occult lore, which are retained as the prize to be won by aspirants, after a considerable period of probation. The test of Master Masonship is insisted on, in fairness to the Craft, for it would be found very difficult to rake among the ashes of lost myth and ceremonies, without betraying the secrets proper to Freemasonry. Jewels of honour and rank are worn, but no special clothing, so that so far no moths are attracted to the Ever-burning Lamp of Christian Rosy Cross by outward adornments; and it may also be mentioned that there is no benefit fund attached to membership, every Frater being, as aforesaid, a Craft Mason.1[i]
WM. WTNN WESTCOTT, M.B., P.M. 814,
Sec. General, IX° Honoris Causa.
[i] Brethren desirous of admission to the Society may apply by letter only, to the See. Gen., at 896, Camden Road, London, N.