The Royal Arch

Royal Arch Chapter

In England and Wales there is an indissoluble link between Craft Freemasonry and the Royal Arch, with the Royal Arch being considered the completion of a Freemason’s journey in “Pure Antient Masonry”.

The Royal Arch has four ceremonies: the exaltation ceremony to admit 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.

Its members, called Companions, meet in Chapters under a Grand Chapter. Chapters are presided over conjointly by three Principals, and the Grand Chapter by three Grand Principals, with a Pro First Grand Principal when the First Grand Principal is a Royal Prince. Chapters are organised as a Metropolitan area or Provinces (based on the old Counties), each with a local Grand Superintendent in charge.

QR code for UGLE Royal Arch

Provincial Grand Chapter of Bristol

Grand Superintendent – Jonathan M.W. Davis

The Triple Tau

The Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch, also known as Chapter, takes up and completes the Masonic narrative of King Solomon’s Temple, the subject of Craft Masonry. It dates from the period around 450 years after the completion of the Temple at Jerusalem. From a biblical perspective, it appears that the completion of the Temple was in around 967 BC, shortly after the death of the principal architect.

It is a product of the Charter of Compact of 1766 which formed the first English ruling body, The Grand and Royal Chapter of the Royal Arch of Jerusalem which later became Supreme Grand Chapter.  This followed the formation of the breakaway group of Craft Masons who in 1753 formed a rival Grand Lodge, ‘The Antients’ to the Premier Grand Lodge of England ‘The Moderns’.

New Chapters had to be sponsored by and attached to existing Lodges and would take on the same number, therefore, St. Augustine Lodge No. 3108 took on this role (having itself been consecrated in 1905). The new Chapter, therefore received its Warrant on 6 August 1924 and was consecrated on 29 September 1924 with 27 founding members.

In  November 1940 our Masonic Hall at Park Street was destroyed by enemy action. We were amongst one of the lucky Lodges and Chapters whose Minutes Book of our committee meetings were saved.  The last recorded committee meeting before that date was on October 22 1940 when it was mentioned that there were difficulties of getting to meetings because of air raids and it was considered that perhaps to meet on Saturday afternoons would be a good idea.

Why join the Royal Arch?

There are several reasons why a Master Mason may choose to join the Royal Arch:

  1. Further Light in Masonry: The Royal Arch is sometimes called the “fourth degree of Masonry” and is seen as a continuation of the Master Mason degree. Joining the Royal Arch can provide further insights into the history, symbolism, and teachings of Freemasonry.
  2. Deeper Understanding: The Royal Arch degree explores themes of loss and recovery, and the search for truth and enlightenment. It can help Masons develop a deeper understanding of themselves, their place in the world, and their relationship to a higher power.
  3. Brotherhood: Like other Masonic bodies, the Royal Arch provides a community of like-minded individuals who share common values and beliefs. Members of the Royal Arch work together in fellowship and charity, forming strong bonds of brotherhood.
  4. Leadership Opportunities: Joining the Royal Arch can provide opportunities for personal growth and leadership development. Members can serve in various positions within the chapter, gaining experience in organisation, management, and public speaking.
  5. Philanthropy: The Royal Arch, like other Masonic bodies, is involved in charitable work and community service. Joining the Royal Arch can provide opportunities to give back to the community and make a positive impact on society.

Overall, joining the Royal Arch can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for Master Masons who are seeking further light in Masonry, deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them, and opportunities for fellowship, leadership, and philanthropy.

St. Augustine Chapter

St. Augustine Chapter meets five times a year on the fourth Thursday of September, November, January, March and April.

Membership is open to all Brethren who have been Master Masons for four weeks.