Royal Arch Masons

History of the Royal Arch Masons

While parts of the Royal Arch degree can be identified as early as the 1720s, the first written appearance of Royal Arch Masonry was in Ireland around 1740.  Originally held in suspicion due to the fact that they were additional degrees that were being held by many lodges, Dr. Dassigny’s “Serious and Impartial Inquiry” of 1744 noted the degrees in an unfavorable light. clear evidence shows that the degree was being performed in Dublin, London and York, as an “organis’d body of men who have passed the chair.” In other words these degrees were for past masters of the Lodges. Because of that a separate degree has been added, which is called the “Virtual Past Master” which educates men on the secrets of the chair, even if they have not presided over their lodge.

During the years of the split between the the Freemasons who called themselves the “Ancients” and those who called themselves the “Moderns” the Royal Arch Masons became a very divisive factor and caused the two groups of Freemasons to split even more dramatically. In 1764, a lodge of Scottish masons actually switched from being Ancient masons to Moderns. (the difference lies in their constitutional set up and regulations, think of it like the difference between a c corp and an s corp in the united states, legally. However politically it had far greater implications.) Because of this, in 1766, the Grand Master, Lord Blayney, also became the “Excellent Grand and Royal Arch Chapter”, taking on authority of those degrees and formed first Grand Chapter under Freemasonry of the Grand Lodge of England. The minutes of Grand Chapter note that it met in the Turks Head tavern, in Soho, the same tavern that had recently hosted the birth of the Ancients Grand Lodge.  The Moderns’ Grand Chapter was independent from the Grand Lodge of England, while the Ancients’ was tied to Grand Lodge. However, regardless as to whether a lodge was an Ancient or Modern, the Royal Arch became recognized as the fourth degree, open to those who had served as a master of a lodge. Authority of the Royal Arch finally rested entirely with Grand Lodge.

When the Ancient and Modern Grand Lodges of England united in 1813, it wasn’t for another four years that the “Supreme Grand Chapter” finally formed in 1817. The Antient’s Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons had, however, ceased meeting after 1813. Their remaining members were simply absorbed into what had been the Moderns Grand Chapter. The last development in English Royal Arch Masonry occurred in 1823, when Master Masons were allowed to join the Royal Arch, without having already been a master of their lodge.

Degrees of Royal Arch Masons Masons

The degrees of the Royal Arch Masons are given in four degrees. The first being the Mark Master, Followed by the Virtual Past Master, the Most Excellent Master and the Royal Arch. The first three degrees are to lay the foundations of understanding for the Royal Arch, which is the highest level of that body.

Washington Royal Arch Masons

The Royal Arch Masons of Washington is open to any Master Masons in Washington. It is divided into 17 districts, under a separate Grand Lodge, which works in concordance with the Grand Lodge of Washington. Here is a complete list of the chapters and districts for Washington.

The Sponsored charity of Washignton Royal Arch masons is the ROYAL ARCH MASONS CHILDREN’S HEART FOUNDATION, INC.

Grand Chapter
Royal Arch Masons
of Washington Charity

RAM Children's Heart Foundation Logo

If you would like more information.


Louis E. Bartrand
Secretary / Treasurer
360-658-4581 or 1-800-813-9900

Robert E. Truesdale

PO Box 223

Marysville, WA 98270-0223

Interested in Freemasonry?
follow us