The Ancient and Accepted Rite derives from the Rite of Perfection, which developed in France mainly in the quarter-century before 1762. It was followed by The Grand Constitutions of 1786, which describe the Ancient and Accepted Rite, consisting of thirty-three degrees, largely as it exists today. This document was presented as the product of a Council meeting under the titular direction of Frederick the Great, Holy Roman Emperor. The original has not been found, and the copies seem to date from nearer to 1800.

ln May 1801, in Charleston, the first Supreme Council following the Grand Constitutions was opened (now known as The Southern Jurisdiction of the USA). It was followed by

  • France (1804)
  • Spain (1811)
  • The Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the USA (1813)
  • Ireland (1825)
  • England and Wales (1845) [receiving its Patent from the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction]
  • Scotland (1846)

There are now independent Supreme Councils in over 60 countries. The Supreme Council continues to preside over the Order in England and Wales, made up of some 50 Districts here and 20 overseas.