London College of Adepts

The London College of Adepts came into existence after a proposal was put forward by the Metropolitan College to form a Daughter College, to ensure more first order grades could be communicated by ceremony and to give more than 100 members another route through the chair. It was consecrated on the 30th Nov 1922 at Mark Masons’ Hall in London, which at that time was located on Great Queen Street.

Interestingly, the warrant for the Consecration of the College, dated 23rd Nov 1922, is signed by Frater Dr Wynn Westcott who was not actually present at the consecration itself; having retired from public life in 1918 and moved to South Africa in 1920 after the war.

The Consecrating officers were as follows:

  • William John Songhurst, IX S.S.M.
  • David Flather, IX J.S.M as Grand Celebrant
  • Hugh C. Knowles, VIII, 9° R.G as Grand Exponent
  • Stanley W. Rodgers, VIII, 9° S.G as Grand Secretary
  • The Rev. G Freeman Irwin, VIII C.G as Grand Chaplain
  • Walter Lawrence, VIII, 9°, as Grand Director of Ceremonies
  • Dr. Charles Curd, VIII, 9°, Robert Fludd College as 1st Grand Ancient
  • J.S Pritchett, VIII, Birmingham and Midland College as 2nd Grand Ancient.
  • George E. Osborne, VIII Lancashire College as 3rd Grand Ancient
  • Major R. Lawrence Thornton, VIII William Wynn Westcott College as 4th Grand Ancient
  • Colonel R. J. Blackham, VIII Chief Adept North-West India as Grand Guardian
  • E. J. Nesbitt, IV as Acolyte

To qualify for membership you would have to be an existing member of the Metropolitan College, as well as being of the Adept or Higher Grade. Therefore any Frater under Grade V would not qualify.

The main reasons for daughter colleges was that large colleges of more 100 members did not have time to conduct grades II, III and IV in the same evening and they did not want to meet another time. Many members also had to wait ten years for an office in Metropolitan College and therefore could not progress in rank in the society as a whole. To avoid misuse of the new system, provisions were put in place in the warrant that state that no member may take up a position in office if they have held, or are currently holding, a position in any other colleges. This does not however affect their membership of the college. 

The first officers of the College in 1922 (nominated by the Supreme Magus) were:

  • The Rev. G. F. Irwin, VIII, Celebrant
  • Colonel F. M. Rickard, 8°, Immediate Past Celebrant (I.P.C.)
  • Lieut-Colonel Cecil Powney, 8°, Exponent
  • Gordon P. G. Hills, VII, Treasurer
  • J. Walter Hobbs, VIII, 9°, Secretary
  • Lieut-Colonel H. Hamilton-Wedderburn, VII, 1st Ancient
  • G. A. King, VII, 2nd Ancient
  • Dr C. H. Perram, VII, 3rd Ancient
  • B. Marr Johnson, VII, 4th Ancient
  • J. Russell McLaren, VI, Conductor of Novices
  • Lieut-Colonel A. P. Ford Moore, VI, Torch Bearer
  • F. J. Asbury, V, as Director of Ceremonies
  • Dr. F. J. Allan, V, Herald
  • W. N. Bacon, VI, Guardian

As a daughter college of the Metropolitan College it cannot conduct Zelator ceremonies according to its warrant and it and it was decided that all aspects would be worked in conjunction with each other. All meetings would take place on the same day, at the same place, but earlier on in the day, conducting the installation ceremony and the Grades of the First Order (except for the Zelator Grade). At this time members were expected to pay a joining fee of 10 Shillings, 6 Pence and an annual subscription of 2 Shillings, 6 Pence.

Most Fratres first experience with the LCA will be when they are invited to progress to Grade II, as it is the officers of the LCA who conduct ceremonies for Grades II, III and IV. Fratres within the Province of London can expect an automatic invitation to join the LCA once they have advanced to Adeptus Minor (Grade V).

Following the Consecration ceremony that founded the London College of Adepts, the R.W. Secretary General read the following message from the Most Worth Supreme Magus, W.W. Westcott, as he was residing in South Africa at the time:

Right Worthy Magi and Magistri, Very Worthy Adepti and Fratres, All:-

It is a matter of great regret to me that age and circumstances render me unable to be present at this most interesting and notable Convocation of Masonic Rosicrucians; I am however, happy to know that I have been able to leave the conduct of affairs in very capable hands, and I am sure that the ceremonial and ritual are being carried on, and will be completed with accuracy and dignity. The Substitute Magi who are with you are very well experienced officers of the Society and have acted with me on many occasions. I well remember the scene at the earliest consecration of a Temple and Foundation of a Province and College, which I performed, it was at Newcastle in 1890. The principal officers on that occasion have all passed away; there were R.W. Frater Charles Fendelow, the Chief Adept of Northumbria, R.W. Frater T. B. Whytehead, Chief Adept of York, Robert Roy who became J.S.M. at a later date, and S. L. MacGregor Mathers. One only so far as I know survives, F. F. Schnitzer, a notable student of Rosicrucian medieval lore. Our dear friend, R.W. Frater Seymour Bell, late Chief Adept of Northumbria, came later. My last effort at Consecration was last summer, I mean 1921, at Liverpool, of the Mersey College, which is now in quite a flourishing state.

I have been your Supreme Magus since January, 1892, more than 29 years ago. My predecessor served only 13 years, Dr. Wm. Robert Woodman, he was a well known Freemason and a learned student of the Hebrew Kabala. Before him came Robert Wentworth Little, the founder of the Metropolitan College, who held the Office twelve years.

By the earnest efforts of a long series of Celebrants and Secretaries, the Society has grown wonderfully in numbers, and by the guidance of a series of High Councillors has developed a character of steady perseverance in literary capacity, and has secured a permanent home, and a really valuable Library of work pertaining to our special studies. A great impulse to deeper study of the Mysteries of Antiquity, and the discoveries of modern times has been the result of the formation of the Metropolitan Study Group. This new scheme in the ways of Spiritual and Scientific development is largely the work of my S.S.M. and his energetic friend, Frater Gilchrist. We are about to print and publish a new edition of the English version of the "Fama et Confessio," that old tract which first told the world of the Rosicrucian ideal, and in this regard we have to acknowledge the work of our Frater Norman Pryce.

I am getting to be an aged man, and it cannot be long before our Society will need a new head, but the Magi and Magistri with whom lies the choice and election of the next Supreme Magus, will have, I think, no difficulty in finding a successor to me, who will add fresh honour to the Name of "Rosicrucian" in England.

I congratulate the Founders of this first Daughter College upon the result of their exertions and, I hope, that a long period of happy progress may be in store for it and for them.

With a sincere apology for my absence from this notable event, I charge you all to follow in the Way and by the Means, which have hitherto led the Name of Rosicrucian to be honoured and respected.

Valete Fratres,

WM. Wynn Westcott, S.M., IX

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