Prior to 1760 the Premier Conclave of England was in existence. In January 1760, the Grand Masters of the English and Scottish Knights of the Red Cross of Rome and Constantine assembled in London and adopted as a requirement for Knighthood in the Order that the applicant be a Royal Arch Mason and a believer in the Christian religion. In 1804, Judge Waller Rodwell Wright was installed Provisional Grand Sovereign of the Order in England and is said to be the author of the modern ritual now in use. On May 4, 1808, a Grand Imperial Council of England was organized. On March 13, 1809, the Grand Imperial Council of England asserts the Sovereignty of the Order throughout Europe and America.
On December 27, 1813, a union of the two Grand Lodges in England was concluded. In Article II of the Articles of Agreement united the two Grand Lodges, it is stated as follows:
It should be remembered that the Knights Templar, Knights of the Red Cross, Knights of the Holy Sepulchre were the organized Chivalric Orders existing in England at the time of the union in 1813, and consequently, the above permission clause applies solely to their members. It has been said that the inclusion of this part of Article II, was due to Judge Waller Rodwell Wright, the previous Grand Sovereign of the Order whose name appears second on the Articles of Agreement, next to the Duke of Sussex who was Grand Sovereign of the Grand Imperial Council of the Red Cross and at this union became the first Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England. The Duke of Sussex, Augustus Frederick, became a member of the Order of the Red Cross on May 18, 1813, and was Grand Sovereign until 1843.
There are indications that the Order was conferred at various times in the United States of America in colonial times and in the early days of the Republic, but it was not until 1869 the Order was officially introduced in the Western Hemisphere.
In the year 1869, Colonel McLeod Moore, was commissioned an Intendent General with authority to introduce the Orders into the Western Hemisphere and in pursuance of this authority and through various intermediaries, Conclaves were instituted in the Dominion of Canada in 1869 and between the years 1870 and 1872, in various states of the United States of America. United States Premier Conclave was constituted in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on December 14, 1870 and along with thirteen other Conclaves in Pennsylvania received permission from England to establish a Grand Imperial Conclave of Pennsylvania on June 14, 1872 which became the Grand Imperial Council Empire of the East.
On February 3, 1872, St. John Premier Conclave was established in Chicago, Illinois, and this Conclave along with others on August 30, 1872 established the Grand Imperial Council of Illinois which became the Grand Imperial Council Empire of the West.
On February 18, 1958, the Empire of the West and the Empire of the East merged into the United Grand Imperial Council of the Order.