This is an Order in Freemasonry closely aligned with Craft Freemasonry and is the final part of the 4 stage journey from Initiation to Exaltation that is known as “Pure Antient Masonry”.It has been described as both the foundation and keystone of the whole Masonic structure.
- The first documented evidence of the Order comes from Ireland in 1743 where it was considered by the “Antient Freemasons” as a fourth Degree in Freemasonry.
- The Moderns Freemasons in most cases did not recognise the Order leading, in due course, to the Royal Arch being organised as a separate entity.
- At the Union of the Grand Lodges in 1813, the new United Grand Lodge of England declared the Royal Arch to be an official and accepted part of ‘Pure and Antient Freemasonry’.
GOVERNMENT OF THE ROYAL ARCH
- HRH The Duke of Kent heads both the Craft Masonry 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.
- In the Province of Derbyshire, the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent 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.
- Most Royal Arch Chapters formally meet four times every year and these meetings are called “Convocations”.
- One of these is the Installation when the Principals and Officers of a Chapter usually change.
- There are rehearsals held on a separate date for each of these meetings
- Provincial Grand Chapter also meets in March each year, when the Provincial Officers of the year are invested as well as the business of the Province being conducted
- All such Convocations are followed by a meal.
- The Exaltation – when a new member is admitted (exalted) in to the Chapter.
- The Installation – when each of the three Principals are installed and the investiture of the respective Chapter Officers for the year is carried out
REGALIA There are three 3 distinct items worn by members of the Order
- an apron
- a sash
- a breast jewel.
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 and the indissoluble connection between the Royal Arch and Craft FreemasonryThere are some minor changes to all three items on becoming a Principal of a Chapter and likewise becoming an Officer of the Provincial Grand Chapter.