Royal Arch Masonry

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’.

In December 2003 the United Grand Lodge of England acknowledged and pronounced the status of the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch to be “an extension to, but neither a superior nor a subordinate part of, the degrees which precede it”.

Whilst the Royal Arch is, therefore, an integral part of Freemasonry and interwoven with the Craft, it is organised as a separate Order, distinct from the Craft degrees, the teachings of which it completes.

Abbey Chapter was formed some time after the lodge that bears the same name and number. It meets on the third Thursday of February, April and September and on the first Thursday in November.

The meeting in December 2014 celebrated the Chapter’s Centenary. Have a look at the images that were captured on this happy occasion.

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The images above are from the 2019 Chapter Installation meeting when E.Comp Simon Capstick was installed as First Principal. True to form, Simon brought along his signature raffle prizes – new-laid eggs which helped the Chapter raise £100 on the night for charitable purposes. We hope the new Principals have a great year and see the Chapter go from strength to strength.

 New Past First Principals Boards

At the 2019 Abbey Chapter Installation Companion Alan Dunicliff presented to the Companions a new Past First Principals carved board to be displayed in the Chapter. He has worked hard to initially source a wooden panel suitable for carving and then finding a craftsman to complete the work. The photographs below show the original board completed to 1999 on the left with the new board in its entirety in the centre and a close up of the names to the right. The lighting in the room wasn’t conducive to good photographs so if you want to see a complete list of Past First Principals click here.