Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch
Welcome to the Provincial Grand Chapter
of East Kent
11 Estuary View Business Park
9am – 5pm
Holy Royal Arch
Put simply, it is a continuation of Craft Freemasonry. Its members, called Companions, meet in a Chapter under a Grand Chapter. Chapters are ruled over by three Principals, who rule conjointly, and the Grand Chapter is ruled over by three Grand Principals, with a Pro First Grand Principal when the First Grand Principal is a Royal Prince, as at present.
Chapters in England and Wales are grouped as a Metropolitan area or in Provinces (based on the old Counties) and Chapters overseas are grouped in Districts. Metropolitan, Provincial and District Grand Chapters are ruled over by a Grand Superintendent who is appointed by the First Grand Principal as his personal representative for that particular area.
Origins of The Holy Royal Arch
As with Craft Freemasonry, there is debate as to the origins of the Royal Arch, which is not helped by the paucity of surviving evidence. From that evidence we learn that the Royal Arch was known in London, York and Dublin by the late 1730s. From Lodge Minute Books of the 1750s we know that the Royal Arch was being worked within Craft Lodges under both the premier and the Ancients Grand Lodges in England, and also in Lodges in Ireland and Scotland.
In the Grand Chapter archives there is a Minute Book of an independent Chapter meeting in Soho, London on 11th June in 1766 at which the Grand Master of the premier Grand Lodge was exalted. The Grand Lodge now regarded the Royal Arch as an innovation, additional to the Craft, and began to object to its being worked in Craft Lodges. The next month, the same Chapter, by way of a Charter of Compact, converted itself into The Excellent Grand and Royal Chapter of the Royal Arch of Jerusalem, the first Grand Chapter in the world.
Across the UK
Why Join Royal Arch?
The first reason would be that indissoluble link, which is peculiar to English Freemasonry.
For historical reasons, when the two Grand Lodges came together in 1813 to form the United Grand Lodge of England they adopted a definition of “pure ancient Masonry” which stated that it consisted “of three degrees and no more, viz., those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft and the Master Mason, including the Supreme order of the Holy Royal Arch.”
As a result the two became indissolubly linked administratively and thematically.
Completion in a different form would be my second reason for joining.
Our progress through Freemasonry is a journey of selfdiscovery and self-knowledge. In the Craft we are presented with eminently practical principles and rules which, if we follow them in our lives, we would hope to live a life of service to our fellow man and pleasing to God, however we worship Him.
But we are not simply practical beings.
We have a vital spiritual aspect to our natures which is addressed in the Royal Arch. In essence the Royal Arch, without transgressing the bounds of religion, invites the candidate to consider the nature of God and his relationship with Him.
In that way the Royal Arch completes the man by leading him from the practical to the spiritual, and the Craft and Royal Arch form “pure ancient masonry”.
My third reason would be the ceremony and the ritual itself.
Done well, the exaltation ceremony is one of the most beautiful and thought-provoking in Freemasonry.
More dramatic than the Craft, the climax of the ceremony forms a vivid memory for all who go through it. Done “by the book” the ritual lays a heavy burden on the principal officers. Sadly, that has been used in the past to deter candidates from coming forward, suggesting that they should concentrate on getting through office in the Craft before joining the Royal Arch.
My fourth reason would be companionship and enjoyment.
It is rare for a Chapter to draw its membership from only one Lodge. By joining a Chapter you will increase your Masonic acquaintance beyond the membership of your own Lodge, which, in turn, can lead to an increase in your Masonic experience and knowledge.
But, above all, joining the Royal Arch should increase your enjoyment of Freemasonry. It brings with it new experiences, new insights and new Companions, all of which add to our pleasure and our enjoyment of Freemasonry.
Supreme Grand Chapter Trifold Brochure
A trifold brochure published by the United Grand Lodge of England, it details more about the Holy Royal Arch, why you would like to join and about the history of the Chapter.