The Royal Arch – information

Royal Arch LogoWHAT IS THE ROYAL ARCH?

This is an Order in Freemasonry closely associated with Craft Freemasonry.

The first documented evidence of a ‘Royal Arch’ comes from Ireland in 1743; it seems likely that this was an ‘added extra’ worked within Craft Lodges in England, Ireland and Scotland for many years. Thus it came to be regarded, by the Antients in England, as a fourth Degree in Freemasonry.

The Moderns, on the other hand, do not appear to have officially recognised the Degree at all (with a few exceptions), leading in due course, to completely separate Royal Arch Chapters.

These differences were partially resolved at the Union of the Grand Lodges in 1813, by a compromise: the new United Grand Lodge of England declared the Royal Arch to be an official and accepted part of ‘Pure and Antient Freemasonry’.

The Royal Arch is an integral part of Freemasonry and interwoven with the Craft, the teachings of which it completes.

GOVERNMENT OF THE ROYAL ARCH

HRH The Duke of Kent heads both the Craft and the Royal Arch; being the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England and the First Grand Principal of the Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of England. Similarly, in Cheshire, the RW Provincial Grand Master is also the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent in and over our Province. Many Brethren hold similar senior ranks in both the Craft and the Royal Arch and it is often the case that Officers of the Province ‘transfer’ from one to the other, during their career.

The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent for the Province of Cheshire actively encourages Craft and Royal Arch members to support each other’s activities in order to demonstrate the indissoluble link that exists between the Craft and the Royal Arch.

QUALIFICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP

Membership is open to Freemasons of all faiths who have been master Masons for at least four weeks.

Members of the Chapter to which they seek admission must propose, second and ballot for them.

WHICH CHAPTER SHOULD I JOIN?

You are not restricted to joining the Chapter that may be associated with your Lodge; you will be made welcome in any Chapter of your choice. You will need to take care that the meeting dates of the Chapter you select do not clash with those of your Lodge or its rehearsals. Your Lodge Royal Arch Contact Officer will be able to provide you with all of the options available.

MEETINGS

Most Royal Arch Chapters meet four times per year and these meetings are called “Convocations”. One of these is the Installation when the Principals and Officers of a Chapter usually change, as in the Craft. Once you are in Office, there will usually be one rehearsal for each Convocation.

CEREMONIES

There are two:-

Exaltation, when a new member is admitted to the Chapter, and The Installation for each of the three Principals. Convocations are usually followed by a meal at the Social Board.

REGALIA

There are three items; an apron, sash and breast jewel, all of distinctive design. The breast jewel is worn by Freemasons who are members of the Royal Arch at their Craft meetings in order to show to other brethren their membership of the Royal Arch. There are some minor changes to all three items needed on becoming a Principal of your Chapter.

WANT TO FIND OUT MORE?

Your Lodge Royal Arch Contact Officer will be able to give all the information you need but if you need more, email the Provincial Office on  enquiries@cheshiremasons.co.uk also check out the Cheshire Royal Arch Companions’ Forum and the Video Q&A with the Deputy Grand Superintendent