By E Comp Tony Shepherd, Metropolitan Grand Inspector


As part of its continuing commitment to extending knowledge of Royal Arch masonry, Metropolitan Grand Chapter hosted a hugely successful Awareness Event at Furniture Makers Hall on 25th October 2021.

Assistant Metropolitan Grand Superintendent E Comp Simon White launched the evening by describing to the craft masons present their journey as a four-part television series. The first three episodes are the three stages of craft masonry, with the final and concluding episode being ‘exaltation’ into the Royal Arch.

E Comp Patrick Penny, the Second Metropolitan Grand Principal’ and E Comp Ian Clark, Assistant Metropolitan Grand Superintendent, introduced the origins and historical foundations of English Royal Arch masonry.

They explained that the Royal Arch ritual, unlike the craft degrees, is just one ceremony. It focuses on the discovery of a hidden vault by three labourers sent to clear the ground in preparation for the second building of King Solomon’s Temple at Jerusalem by Zerubbabel and his Companions after their return from 70 years of captivity in Babylon. From this are derived the core lessons of the Royal Arch Order.

Then, E Comp Patrick explained the different officers and their roles together with an insight into the layout and furniture found in a Royal Arch Chapter, as well as the symbolism attached to the Principals, their colourful robes and sceptres and the regalia.

E Comp Ian reminded everyone that the United Grand Lodge of England and the Supreme Grand Chapter continue to work together in close harmony, with a joint headquarters, joint administration,  often joint Rulers and the Regulations for Supreme Grand Chapter are contained within the craft mason’s Book of Constitutions.

The Preliminary Declaration forming the preamble to Rule 1 in the Book of Constitutions states that ‘……pure ancient masonry consists of three degrees and no more, those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft and the Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch’. The 18th Century masonic pioneer Laurence Dermott described the Royal Arch as ‘the root, heart and marrow of Masonry’. Indeed, membership of the Royal Arch is often described as being the climax of a mason’s craft experience. The Royal Arch breast jewel, incorporating the Seal of Solomon, is worn in Craft Lodges as a further visible sign of the indissoluble link that exists between Craft and Royal Arch masonry. 

The event concluded with a lively ‘question and answer’ session, and E Comps Patrick, Simon and Ian reminded everyone that any brother who has been a Master Mason for at least four weeks is eligible to join the Royal Arch. A fantastic dinner followed with members of the presentation team continuing to discuss masonry and the Royal Arch with all those drawn to the event.

The next Royal Arch Awareness Event will be at Freemasons Hall on 6th June 2022.

This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 47 January 2022 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.

Read more articles in the Arena Issue 47 here.