BICENTENARY OF THE HOLY ROYAL ARCH – MARCH 2013
To mark the Chapter Bicentennial celebrations in the autumn of 2013, our temporary display area has been decorated with a number of interesting artefacts from the Royal Arch.
Included in the display is a panel that briefly explains what led to the establishment of the Royal Arch, with images of the Articles of Union and the principal signatories of that document; the Duke of Kent and the Duke of Sussex.
In 1814 the Duke of Sussex, Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, commissioned the production of some tracing boards for use in the Craft and Royal Arch. They were created by John Harris, and images of the pair he produced for the Royal Arch are included in the display and shown below.
In England, the Royal Arch, or Chapter as it usually referred to, is the continuation of Craft Freemasonry and as such considered to be the completion of “pure antient Masonry”.
Its origins go back to at least the first half of the C18th but in its modern form emerged with the formation of the first Grand Chapter in 1817, following upon the merger of the then two Grand Lodges in 1813.
Records exist of only four Chapters in existence in the County of Kent in the C18th, the oldest of which was probably the Holy Mount Mariah Chapter, which met in Chatham, (warranted 1783). However there were various Military Lodges which held “ambulatory” Warrants, which at various times were stationed in the County and practised Royal Arch Masonry.
The first Grand Superintendent, Captain George Smith, was appointed in 1778, but the Provincial Grand Chapter was not formed until 1877, when William Archer, Viscount Holmesdale / Earl Amherst was appointed Grand Superintendent. At that time there were 11 chapters. By 1973 there were some 90 Chapters (and 300 Craft Lodges) and the decision was taken to divide both the Craft and Chapter provinces of Kent between East and West with an approximate division of the number of Lodges and Chapters, since when the Chapter in the county has gone from strength to strength, so that today there are some 145 Chapters in existence.
Like Craft Freemasonry, the Royal Arch or Chapter as it usually referred to, is open to men of all faiths and in England is the continuation of Craft Freemasonry and as such considered to be the completion of “pure antient Masonry”.
Please Note: This temporary exhibition has now closed.