Royal Arch Masonry
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What is Royal Arch Masonry?

The Royal Arch Masonry is the continuation of Craft Freemasonry. Its members, called Companions, meet in Chapters held in Masonic Halls. Chapters are ruled conjointly by three Principals.

The Chapters in England and Wales are grouped as a Metropolitan area or Provinces (based on the old counties) and Chapters overseas are grouped in Districts. They are all part of the Supreme Grand Chapter based in London and its ruler is the First Grand Principal. 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 the particular area.

In England and Wales, the Royal Arch has four ceremonies: the exaltation ceremony to bring in new members and an installation ceremony for each of the three Principals. The exaltation ceremony is in two parts: a rather dramatic presentation of the principles of the Order followed by three Lectures in which the history, symbolism and principles of the Royal Arch are further explained. Like Craft Freemasonry, the Royal Arch is open to men of all faiths.

The allegory of the exaltation ceremony is based on the Old Testament telling of the return to Jerusalem from the Babylonish captivity to rebuild the city and temple. In clearing the ground of the original temple for the foundations of the second temple, the candidate makes a number of discoveries which emphasise the centrality of God to man's life and existence and, without transgressing the bounds of religion, lead the candidate to a consideration of the nature of God and his personal relationship with Him, whatever his religion might be.

In England and Wales, the Royal Arch is considered to be the completion of ‘pure ancient Masonry’. In the Craft the candidate is presented with a series of eminently practical principles and tenets which if he practises them he may hope to live a life pleasing to his God, however he worships him, and of service to his fellow man. But man is not simply a practical being, he has an essential spiritual aspect to his nature. That spiritual aspect is introduced in the Third Degree, in which the candidate is led to a contemplation of man's inevitable destiny, and becomes the central message of the Royal Arch. In that sense, ‘pure ancient Masonry’ can be seen as a journey of self - knowledge and discovery with the Royal Arch completing the practical lessons of the Craft by a contemplation of man's spiritual nature, not replacing but reinforcing and supporting what he has learned from his religion.

How to Join Royal Arch

The prime qualification for admission into the Royal Arch is to be a Master Mason, of at least four weeks standing, in a Lodge under the United Grand Lodge of England, or a Lodge under a Grand Lodge recognised by it.

Like all other Masonic Orders, you will need a proposer and seconder who are members of the Chapter in which you seek to be exalted. If your Lodge does not have a Royal Arch Chapter attached, it will probably have an arrangement with another local Chapter. Check your Lodge summons which may give details of either the Chapter attached to it, a Chapter to which it supplies candidates or a member of the Lodge who is a Royal Arch Mason who will assist members interested in joining the Royal Arch.

If there are no details on your Lodge summons you can usually identify the members of your Lodge who are Royal Arch Masons as they will normally wear the jewel of the Order with their Craft regalia. They will be delighted to be approached about membership.

Provincial Grand Chapter of Northumberland

In the Province of Northumberland, the head of the Royal Arch Chapter, the Grand Superintendent is also Provincial Grand Master. Currently Peter Magnay DL is the head of both Orders and he was installed on the 11th July 2007. There are 60 Royal Arch Chapters in the Province of Northumberland.

All Northumbrian Freemasons should note that it is the wish of our Provincial Grand Master that every Freemason in the Province should eventually become a Royal Arch Companion!


Ask the Secretary of your Lodge about the Royal Arch Chapter or contact the Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra (also the Provincial Grand Secretary) at Neville Hall who will also be pleased to supply details.


United Grand Lodge of England