In what are called the High Degrees of the Continental Rites, there is nothing more puzzling than the etymology of this word. We have the Royal Order of Heredom, given as the ne plus ultra, meaning nothing farther or nothing beyond, of Freemasonry in Scotland, and in almost all the Rites the Rose Croix of Heredom, but the true meaning of the word is apparently unknown. Ragon, in his Orthodoxie Maonnique (page 91), asserts that it has a political signification, and that it was invented between the years 1740 and 1745, by the adherents of Charles Edward the Pretender, at the Court of Saint Germain, which was the residence, during that period, of the unfortunate prince, and that in their letters to England, dated from Heredom, they mean to denote Saint Germain. He supposes it to be derived from the medieval Latin word hoeredum, signifying a heritage, and that it alludes to the Castle of Saint Germain, the only heritage left to the dethroned sovereign But as Ragon's favorite notion was that the Hautes Grades or High Degrees, were originally instituted for the purpose of aiding the house of Stuart in its restoration to the throne, a theory not now generally accepted, at least without modification, this etymology must be taken with some grains of allowance The suggestion is, however, an ingenious one.
In some of the old manuscripts the word Heroden is found as the name of a mountain in Scotland; and we sometimes find in the French Cahiers the title of Rose Croiz de Heroden. There is not a very great difference in the French pronunciation of Heredom and Heroden, and one might be a corruption of the other. Brother Mackey says he was once inclined to this theory; but even if it were the correct one we should gain nothing, for the same difficulty would recur in tracing the root and meaning of Heroden. The most plausible derivation is one given in 1858, by a writer in the London Freemasons Magazine. He thinks it should be spelled Heredom, and traces it to the two Greek words, repass hieros, meaning holy, and biros, domos, meaning house. It would thus refer to Freemasonry as symbolically the Holy House or Temple. In this way the title of Rose Croiz of Heredom would signify the Rosy Cross of the Holy House of Freemasonry. This derivation is now very generally recognized as the true one.
So far Brother Mackey's explanation of the word, but at this point Brother Hawkins observes that according to the view taken in the last paragraph the word should be Hierodom (see also Royal Order of Scotland ).
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