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"It is regrettable that Masonic research during recent years has failed to throw light upon the origin and early history of the Royal Arch."
Arthur Edward Waite, 1921 1
"…go and prepare for the foundation of the second temple. But let me lay this injunction upon you - that should you meet with anything belonging to the first temple, you will communicate no part thereof to any one, until you have faithfully made your report to the Sanhedrin here sitting in chapter."
Richard Carlile, 1825 2
"In 1740 he (Ramsay) came over to England and remained in this country for more than a year; after which he returned to France, where the rage for innovation had now fairly commenced. It was during this period, I am persuaded, that the English Royal Arch was fabricated; for very soon afterwards, the ancients publicly announced that 'Ancient Masonry consisted of four degrees' while modern Masonry had only three, the fourth signifying the Royal Arch."
Dr. George Oliver, The American Freemason, 1859 3
The Moderns and the Antients had finally come together in union in 1813, the rift between the two Grand Lodges being healed. One of the main problems had been the Royal Arch ritual, seen by the Antients as a fourth degree but practiced by the Moderns as the completion of the third degree. The bitterness and feuding had escalated until both sides finally came together, and after the union, it was settled that the Royal Arch was the completion of the third degree, though was practiced in separate 'Chapters,' the Chapter room set out differently than the craft Lodge room. Despite this, the Royal Arch was still referred to as a fourth degree by some stubborn lodges until around 1850, and the rebel Grand Lodge of Wigan still practised the Royal Arch as a separate degree. In fact during the Liverpool Masonic Rebellion, the Royal Arch became a point of debate.
In my book, The Genesis of Freemasonry, I put forward how Dr. John Theophilus Desaguliers had reconstructed the Masonic ritual in the 1720's, creating the three degree structure set within Solomon's Temple, describing its initial construction by chief architect Hiram Abiff, disclosing his murder and the attempt at raising him from the dead to regain his lost knowledge. The Royal Arch ritual continues this theme with the rebuilding of Solomon's Temple under Zerubbabel and the search for lost knowledge within the temple ruins, the ritual revealing a number of lost artifacts set within the keystones of three arches in the temple. These artifacts were lost in the destruction of the original temple, but with their discovery, the temple could be reconstructed, the divine measurements of God being found to recreate the most sacred holy place on Earth.
The Royal Arch ritual has obscure origins, and the first tantalizing mentions of the ritual reveal hints that it was put together after the three Masonic degrees were formed, continuing the mystical dramatization of the building and rebuilding of Solomon's Temple. It has the hallmarks of being put together by Desaguliers himself, the ritual continuing the education of the Master Mason and revealing the Biblical story of Solomon's Temple with embedded themes of the search for hidden knowledge. It does make sense that this could be a fourth degree and that there could have been a proposed fifth degree ritual to follow it telling the story of the construction of Herod's Temple, five being a mystical number in Freemasonry and completing a cycle. Because it was left unfinished may be the reason why, after the death of Desaguliers, the Royal Arch was seen as an awkward "add on" to the third degree. It should have been the fourth degree, but without the fifth to complete the story, it caused debate and confusion.
The ritual reveals similar language to the third degree, with poetical elements and references to Newtonian language, the "science of sciences" taking the Master Mason to a higher level of secret knowledge. Indeed, Carlile writing in his Manual of Freemasonry in the 1820's calls the Royal Arch a degree in its own right, and the story does stand alone rather than acting as a mere add-on to the third degree. In this sense, the Royal Arch seems to be the next chapter in the unfolding story of the temple, taking the search for hidden knowledge and the understanding of the divine measurement of God to another educational level. As the rebuilding of the temple is announced, "three sojourners from Babylon" arrive to offer their services in the rebuilding. They explain that they suffer the wrath of God because their ancestors "deviated from the true Masonic principles" and "ran into every kind of wickedness." These three men are thus travelling on a path of enlightenment and have been sent by God to complete a task which will not only redeem them but will educate them. They "deem the lowest situation in the Lord's house an honor" and beg for employment as labourers. During the construction work to rebuild the temple, a discovery is made and the workers report back: "being at our work early this morning, our companion broke up the ground with his pickaxe, and we, judging from the sound thereof that it was hollow, called upon our companion with his shovel to clear away the loose earth and discovered the perfect crown of an arch. With my crow-bar I removed the key-stone." 4
The Royal Arch ritual describes an archaeological excavation, and the workers from Babylon are deemed trustworthy as they report back to "the Most Excellent Principal" with their discoveries. Like the third degree, a moralistic and educational drama is being enacted, and though not exactly of Shakespearian quality, the ritual is vibrant, embracing themes of how the weakness and wickedness of man can lead to the loss of God's sacred word, the divine measurement of the Temple itself. Through trust, unity, and industry the workers first retrieve a lost scroll from an excavated arch, a scroll which is the long-lost book of the holy law. The workers return to the excavation, and find a second "crown of an arch," though after removing the key-stone, they find nothing. However, judging from the hollow sound beneath, the workers continue to search, and find a key-stone of a third arch, and on removing it: "the sun, having now gained its meridian height, darted its rays to the center. It shone resplendent on a white marble pedestal, whereon was a plate of gold. On this plate was engraved a triple triangle, and within the triangles some characters which are beyond our comprehension." 5
The word "meridian" was also used in the third degree ritual, again suggesting that Desaguliers had an influence, who in 1724, wrote his Dissertation Concerning the Figure of the Earth, a work based on Newtonian principles in which he discussed the "proper method for drawing (the) Meridian," and "observations of the rising and setting sun," putting forward the importance of the meridian in creating more accurate maps.6 The Royal Arch, like the third degree, certainly celebrates the Newtonian obsession for the search for lost knowledge, and when the workers report back with their glittering find, they are informed as to the importance of the gold plate which displays "the Grand Omnific word." "The three mysterious words" displayed "in a triangular form, is the long-lost sacred word of the Master Mason," and the secret signs of the Royal Arch are thus revealed to the workers. Redemption and trust is earned, and the mysteries are revealed. God's sacred word has been rediscovered, and the temple can be rebuilt.7
The essence of the Royal Arch ritual is undoubtedly a continuation of the temple story, in effect a sequel to the third degree continuing the themes of lost knowledge being found by the worthy and that the lost divine word will be revealed to those who seek it for selfless reasons. A strong moralistic overtone is portrayed as the ritual is dramatically set among the Temple ruins, and the Mason is reminded of the destruction of the most sacred place on Earth which has been destroyed by man's selfish greed and lust for war. As in the third degree where the master is murdered by selfish Masons who lust after the secret for themselves, man's weaknesses have led to the destruction of the temple which can only be rebuilt by finding the true path to enlightenment. The men involved in the reconstruction rediscover the true way to God. The rebuilding of the temple in the Royal Arch ritual reflects the interest within the Premier or Modern Grand Lodge of the rebuilding of St. Paul's Cathedral by the Freemason, Sir Christopher Wren, after its destruction, the parallel being evident when recognizing St. Paul's as the new temple built in London.8
The Royal Arch ritual is a powerful reminder of man's folly, and it would be natural for the cycle to continue, with a fifth degree revealing the story of the building of Herod's Temple, again reflecting the theme of the search for lost knowledge and its rediscovery leading to a rebuilding of the temple and a reminder of the importance of following a moralistic and righteous path. The person who wrote the Royal Arch ritual was astutely aware of Biblical knowledge and of the rebuilding taking place after Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon's destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and the ritual is filled with Biblical characters such as the Principal Zerubbabel and Nebuzaradan, who is described as the chief of Nebuchadnezzar's officers. Herod the Great rebuilt the temple, and this version of the temple was finally destroyed by the Romans. The ritual also contains poetical elements and rhythmic style which reflect the presentation of the third degree ritual. When reminded that Desaguliers was a practicing Reverend and a poet, as well as being the driving force behind Freemasonry in the 1720's and 1730's, he once again becomes the obvious contender for the authorship of the Royal Arch. Desaguliers would have been familiar with the themes of searching for lost knowledge, especially concerning Solomon's Temple, as his mentor Isaac Newton worked obsessively on searching for the divine measurements of the temple for many years.
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Masonic historian, Dr. George Oliver, writing in the 1850’s, had suggested that the Royal Arch was purely an "Antient" Grand Lodge invention, inspired by Jacobite Freemasons in France and brought over to England by Chevalier Ramsay. Oliver rather confusingly put forward that the Modern’s had not properly practiced the Royal Arch until the 1770’s:
"The introduction of the Royal Arch degree into the modern system could not be earlier than the dedication of Freemasons Hall in 1776." 9
Oliver was a prolific Masonic writer in the nineteenth century though he was never far from criticism, his views bringing him into conflict with the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, the Duke of Sussex. Oliver’s confusing views on the origin of the Royal Arch have been well and truly criticised over the years, an example being the Masonic historian Leon Hyneman who politely sums up Oliver’s misinterpretations:
"Dr. Oliver [wrote] in his ‘Account of the Schism’ in England and his elaborate letters on the ‘Origins of the English Royal Arch’ with seemingly the best intentions to be unbiased in writing to his friend and reverend brother, Dr. Crucifix, yet he wrote as if trammelled and confined in his range of thought to views in accord with all his other Masonic writings." 10
There had been a Grand Chapter of England formed in London under the authority of Lord Blaney in 1766, Blaney having previously served as Grand Master of the Moderns. From this governing body, many Royal Arch Chapters soon emerged all over England, Wales, and even several in Scotland.11 Thus the Moderns were as keen on practicing the Royal Arch as their Ancient counterparts.
Oliver’s Jacobite culprit for the creation of the Royal Arch degree was an associate of Desaguliers’ named Chevalier Ramsay. Andrew Michael Ramsay had been granted the rather exalted title of Chevalier of the neo-Chivalric Order of St. Lazarus by the Duke of Orleans while in France. Ramsay was a Scottish Jacobite who had gone to France, tutoring the sons of aristocrats, and when in London in 1730, he entered Desaguliers’ prestigious Horn Tavern Lodge. In his "Oration" to the Paris Grand Lodge in 1737, Ramsay presented that Freemasonry was originally linked with the crusaders and the chivalric orders, and after being preserved in the British Isles, it was thus passing to France. There is no historical evidence for what Ramsay put forward in his address in 1737 regarding a link to the crusaders or chivalric orders, but it does reveal that he desired a noble and chivalric origin for Freemasonry. Ramsay was an idealist, and the oration was a presentation of his ideal of Freemasonry, that its principles and values should reflect the romantic chivalrous attitudes of the medieval Knights. Though Ramsay did not set out plans for new Masonic orders in his oration, he certainly inspired them with his ideals of virtuous principles that were reflected in his romantic views of medieval crusader chivalry, and as aristocrats became increasingly interested in Freemasonry, exotic degrees and rituals with romantic chivalric themes would certainly appeal. 12
Oliver’s views that the Royal Arch was an ancient Jacobite creation had some support at the time, and in a feature entitled "The Antiquity of The Royal Arch" in the Freemasons Magazine and Masonic Mirror dated January 1868, his theory was discussed again:
"...it is clear that Dermott and his associates extended the second part of the third degree until they made it a fourth degree and gave it the name of the Royal Arch. The fact is also clear to me, and to my mind quite conclusive that the English Royal Arch – as a degree or in name – did not exist before 1740." 13
Lawrence Dermott had been the spiritual leader of the Ancients, founding the successful "Antient" Grand Lodge in 1751, though there had been earlier references to the Royal Arch by the Premier or Modern Grand Lodge which had been founded in 1717. Desaguliers’ associate, James Anderson, when writing the first edition of the Constitutions in 1723, writes about the "Arch," saying it was the cement of brotherhood preserved "so that the whole body resembles a well-built arch." 14 In this respect, the "Arch" symbolized strength, not just within architecture but within the society of Freemasonry.
The writer of the feature in the Freemasons Magazine and Masonic Mirror was sternly taking the official line that the Royal Arch was the "completion" of the third degree, being its "second part," referring to Dr. Oliver’s Origin of the Royal Arch Order of Masonry, a new edition of which had been published the previous year. The writer, who praised Oliver as "the greatest modern light of Freemasonry," also discussed Oliver’s theory on the mysterious "Rite Ancien de Bouillon" manuscript,15 of which, he stated, had displayed the first "faint glimmerings" of the Royal Arch ritual, "styled by its fabricators as the fourth degree" being "designed by the brethren who seceded from the Constitutional Grand Lodge (the Moderns) in 1739." 16 Oliver had discussed this secession of the Ancients in 1739 in his work, A Dictionary of Symbolic Masonry, this date fitting his theory of the Ancients creating the Royal Arch soon after:
"In the year 1739 a few brethren, having violated the laws of Masonry, were expelled from the Grand Lodge…they appropriated to themselves the exclusive and honourable title of Ancient Masons." 17
Although the Ancient Grand Lodge was officially founded in 1751 by Lawrence Dermott, there had been an incident of "irregular Making of Masons" by certain brethren reported in the minutes of the Premier/Modern Grand Lodge in 1739,18 and the Grand Lodge faced increasing ridicule and criticism throughout the early 1740’s with "Mock Masonry." 19 Oliver omitted the official "Antient" Grand Lodge foundation date of 1751 from his discussion on the Ancients, again presenting a confusing picture. The ritual displayed in the "Rite Ancien de Bouillon," which Oliver dismissed as "unsatisfactory jumble," has also been described as a "deviant ritual," and though dated to 1740, it largely presented a different version of the Hiram legend which makes up the third degree ritual. However, what the "Rite Ancien de Bouillon" also reveals is the way writers were experimenting with the Hiramic legend at this early stage, introducing different versions of the legend and emphasising the search for the divine lost word.20
The mysterious "Rite Ancien de Bouillon" puts forward a very early mention of the golden plate which appears in the Royal Arch ritual as displaying the lost word, and like the Royal Arch ritual, it also mentions Newtonian terminology with the word "meridian":
"…when we retired from labour to refreshment, at High Meridian…" 21
Oliver recited the origin of the gold plate as put forward by the "Rite Ancien de Bouillon" in his Origin of the Royal Arch Order of Masonry:
"We permitted our lamented Brother, after casting the two pillars of the porch, to engrave the mysterious word upon a plate of gold within the cabalistic figure of our signet, and to wear it as a mark of our royal favour and good will." 22
A ceremony of finding the golden "medal" on the corpse of the master then took place, with the description of the "medal" revealing a "double triangle enclosed within a circle and the Tetragrammation in the center. The medal was then placed upon the Holy Bible." 23 Oliver discusses how the mysterious word would have been forever lost if not recovered as "if it had fallen into improper hands, they might have prized it for its metallic value" and not "its symbolic worth." 24
A similar manuscript displaying the confessions of Freemason John Coustos, made before the Portuguese Inquisition on the 21st of May, 1743, also puts forward an early reference to the gold plate of the Royal Arch, when Coustos, who had been a member of a London lodge, stated that:
"when the destruction of the famous Temple of Solomon took place, there was found below the first stone a tablet of bronze upon which was engraved the following word, JEHOVAH, which means GOD." 25
John Coustos had been made a Freemason in London, but after moving to Lisbon, Portugal where he had founded a lodge, he had been arrested and tortured by the Inquisition. Coustos survived the numerous tortures, and in 1744, he was finally released, going on to write an account of his sufferings.26
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What is certain is that the Royal Arch story, the re-discovery of the lost word of God hidden among the ruins of the first Temple, was known by the early 1740's. Desaguliers died in 1744, and it is around this time that more evidence of the Royal Arch in practice appears. The earliest record of the Royal Arch in a possible ceremonial context comes from Youghal in Ireland during a public procession on St. John's Day, in the Winter of 1743, when a local newspaper account describes that the Master was preceded by "the Royal Arch carried by two excellent masons,"27 and in 1744, a certain Dr. Fifield Dassigny spoke to an assembly of Masons at York who had gathered under the title of "Royal Arch Masons."28
Oliver had dismissed the importance of "Rite Ancien de Bouillon" and confusingly used it as "evidence" for the Royal Arch as being an "Antient" concoction, suggesting that it was an early attempt at creating a degree. But the manuscript does verify the development of the popular Hiram story of the rediscovery of hidden knowledge in the ruins of the Temple, a story that Desaguliers could have easily influenced, a story that remained unfinished and left open for adaptation. Oliver created a confusing picture of events, linking the Royal Arch to the Jacobites, and with the Royal Arch being used as a fourth degree by the Antients, he thus produced a Jacobite agenda.
During the period that Oliver was writing about his dubious theory of the origins of the Royal Arch, other Masonic "degrees" were becoming highly fashionable. The Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons was founded in 1856, the medieval masons marks becoming a popular fascination with Freemasons of the prosperous middle classes who were developing an interest in medieval churches and cathedrals, many of which were being renovated or rebuilt in extravagant Victorian gothic style.29 The foundation of the Mark Grand Lodge has been linked to the increasingly prosperous middle class Freemasons separating themselves socially from the older ruling aristocrats who were held responsible for the disastrous running of the Crimean War.30 It also reveals the desire to form new organizing bodies for further attainable Masonic "degrees," Oliver referring to the fact that during "the building of Solomon's Temple, every Fellowcraft undoubtedly had his own mark, and was therefore a Mark Mason."31 This was yet another mysterious Masonic degree which could reveal further secrets, though as with the Royal Arch, the Mark degree had originally emerged in the eighteenth century.
As the Victorian era progressed, interest in Freemasonry grew, Masonry becoming a conventional culture. The desire for networking combined with the yearning to discover deeper secrets within Masonry resulted in the success of further rituals and degrees such as the Royal Arch and the Mark Master Mason. With thriving trans-Atlantic ports such as Liverpool, where trade with the United States led to established business contacts, Masonic ideas were also being traded, and a glance at the lodges from Liverpool at this time reveals many visiting brethren from ports in the United States, notably New York. There are a number of Masonic graves in cemeteries in Liverpool that display tales of American brethren who had died at sea and received a Masonic burial in Liverpool. Indeed, there was such a close relationship with Liverpool Masonry that a report on a Masonic Ball held in the Town Hall in Liverpool "in aid of the funds of the West Lancashire Masonic Educational Institution" attended by the local Masonic dignitary including the Earl of Zetland and Earl de Grey and Ripon, was featured in the Boston based Freemasons' Monthly Magazine in 1864.32 Further Masonic degrees and rituals soon took hold in the United States and Oliver's Masonic writings became extremely popular over there.
The desire for further degrees and Masonic mysteries in the United States led to the success of the "Ancient and Accepted Rite" commonly referred to the "Scottish Rite," which was nurtured from an obscure Masonic practice in the early 1800's to a Rite of foremost importance by attorney, Confederate officer, and Freemason Albert Pike. The Scottish Rite enables the Mason to complete thirty-three degrees, each ritual revealing deeper mysteries to the Freemason as he continues his journey to gain the ultimate 33rd degree. Pike received the 4th to the 32nd degree in South Carolina in 1853 from the Masonic writer Dr. Albert G. Mackey, eventually receiving the 33rd degree and becoming the Grand Commander for the Southern Jurisdiction in the United States. The Scottish Rite has its beginnings in the later eighteenth century and like the "Antients," it has been linked to Jacobite origins. It was Pike however, who reworked and revised the rituals, and by 1872, he published the gargantuan work Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. The Scottish Rite also captured the keen interest of Dr. George Oliver and Dr. Robert Thomas Crucefix in England, and together they helped to form the Supreme Council 33° in 1845, which was warranted by the Northern Jurisdiction in the United States33
Above is a photograph of a Masonic gravestone at St. James’ Cemetery, Liverpool revealing the mystical “All-Seeing Eye” above the setsquare and compass. The gravestone tells the story of Captain Charles H. Webb of the Barque St. Lawrence from New York, USA, who was buried in Liverpool by local Freemasons in 1856. Being a Freemason ensured that, no matter where you were in the world, you could always rely on your brethren to help you if needed, especially supplying funds for burial, which, in the nineteenth century, was socially important, a “good send off” being much preferred to the social stigma of a pauper’s burial. The gravestone also gives evidence for the Masonic relationship between New York and Liverpool. Photograph by Marie Shaw from the book The Genesis of Freemasonry by David Harrison.
Pike's work cleverly promoted the Scottish Rite, and though quite a heavy read, it puts forward a tantalizing glimpse of the inner most mysteries of this version of Freemasonry. It discusses Pike's theories on the degrees, giving "lectures" on each, drawing knowledge from the Old Testament, the Kabala, and Pythagorean principles, and presents Pike's in-depth intellect on the secrets and symbolism of Freemasonry, the search for the lost word of God, and the hidden mysteries of nature and science, which according to Pike "was taught to Moses and Pythagoras."34 The work became widely published and was accessible to all kinds of Freemasons, and though quite in-depth in discussing the lost word of God, he expertly guides the reader through the lectures of thirty-two degrees (the 33rd being the ultimate degree and is only revealed at the end of the physical Masonic journey).
One particular degree, the 13th, is called The Royal Arch of Solomon within the Southern Jurisdiction, and Pike puts forward how "every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion" and discusses how the Holy of Holies is a cube "by which the ancients presented nature," describing the Temple as having a "starred" ceiling and that "every Masonic Lodge represents the universe."35 In its presentation of the Temple and the search for lost knowledge, the word of God itself, among hidden artifacts, this particular degree bears a resemblance to the Royal Arch ritual of the United Grand Lodge of England, but worked as a separate degree, it is reminiscent of how the Royal Arch was seen by the "Antients." The 18th degree is called the Rose Croix, its name echoing a romantic connection to the Rosicrucians, the degree becoming of particular interest to Oliver and Crucefix, with Oliver discussing how the Rose Croix was believed to have been practiced by King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.36 The Scottish Rite is proof of how Masons desired deeper knowledge about Freemasonry and yearned for more rituals. In this sense the Scottish Rite, and indeed other rituals in Britain, provided a pathway for promotion within the structure of Freemasonry, the society containing intricate organizations of higher orders, creating routes of progression.
The York Rite was also an American Masonic organization, but unlike the Scottish Rite, was an assemblage of Masonic degrees including the Royal Arch, giving the Mason access to a progression of higher degrees such as the Mark Master degree and the chivalric orders of the Knights Templar. The name was inspired by the legend of Edwin who organized the first Grand Lodge of Masons at York in 926 AD. The Ancient York Rite was discussed in detail in Duncan's Masonic Ritual and Monitor which was published in the United States in 1866, Duncan stating the purpose of the work being so that the Mason could "progress from grade to grade."37 The Royal Arch is alluded to in the York Rite as the seventh degree, but the version of the Royal Arch presented by Duncan is very similar to the earlier version presented by Carlile in his Manual of Freemasonry.
The Royal Arch was also practiced by the rebel Wigan Grand Lodge throughout its existence, the Masonic historian Eustace Beesley putting forward that it was used as a "degree."38 With the Wigan Grand Lodge being the last practitioners of the "Antients," they considered the Royal Arch as a fourth degree, separate from the third Master's degree. Wigan Grand Lodge member James Miller described the installation of Worshipful Master in a lodge, and how "no brother was advanced to the Royal Arch unless he had passed the chair, but the ceremony was performed in the lodge." Miller also mentioned the "Ceremony of Installation" was "also for the purpose of admission to the Royal Arch," the ceremony itself being described as a "simple" one.
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The Knights Templar as a Masonic order can be traced back to the mid-late eighteenth century40 and is described as a "Masonic Order of Chivalry" by Carlile in his Manual of Freemasonry, the ritual discussing the resurrection of Christ and taking place within a "well guarded grand Christian encampment." The candidate has a number of questions put to him and is asked about "The Sign and Word of a Royal Arch Mason" and if he has worked on the second Temple. The Christian encampment is, like the Temple, a sacred space, and the candidate is asked if he has received a Christian Baptism and is willing to protect the Christian faith. The candidate who is described as "a poor weary pilgrim," offers to devote his life to Christ and the service of the poor and sick and thus becomes a Knight Templar.41 The "pretended" link between Freemasonry and the medieval order of the Knights Templar was discussed as early as 1864 in the Boston Freemasons' Monthly; the confusion in regard to the history of the Masonic order was already beginning to blur.42
The search for lost knowledge within Freemasonry during the nineteenth century continued, with the industrialists and professionals yearning for a deeper insight into the secrets of Freemasonry and the hidden mysteries of nature and science. As in the eighteenth century, knowledge of science was still sought after, and Freemasonry offered an intellectual pathway to the understanding of natural philosophy. Further degrees could assist with this journey, and the Royal Arch was the beginning of a new voyage of discovery for the Master Mason, the Craft offering a road to the discovery of lost knowledge with further rituals such as the Master Mark degree and the Knights Templar revealing new mysteries. As the American Masonic writer Albert G. Mackey once put it, Royal Arch Masonry was "that division of Speculative Freemasonry which is engaged in the investigation of the mysteries connected with the Royal Arch, no matter under what name or what Rite." 43
1 Arthur Edward Waite, New Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry Vol. II, (New York: Wings Books, 1996), p. 376
2 Richard Carlile, Manual of Freemasonry, (Croydon: New Temple Press, 1912), p.121
3 George Oliver, 'Origin of the Royal Arch Degree,' in The American Freemason Magazine, (New York, 1859), p. 216
4 Carlile, p. 121
5 Ibid., p. 122
6 J.T. Desaguliers, A Dissertation Concerning the Figure of the Earth, The Royal Society Library, London, (1724), Reference: RBC.12.494. See also David Harrison, The Genesis of Freemasonry, (Lewis Masonic, 2009), pp.122-123
7 Carlile, p. 123
8 See David Harrison, The Genesis of Freemasonry, (Surrey: Lewis Masonic, 2009), p.96
9 Oliver, ‘Origin of the Royal Arch Degree’, The American Freemason Magazine, p.219.
10 Leon Hyneman, Freemasonry in England, from 1567 to 1813, (Montana: Kessinger Publishing, 2003), p.14.
See also R.S.E. Sandbach, Priest and Freemason:The Life of George Oliver, (Northamptonshire:
The Aquarian Press, 1988), p.99. For Dr. Crucefix see R.S.E. Sandbach, ‘Robert Thomas Crucefix, 1788-1850’,
in AQC, Vol. 102, (London: Butler & Tanner, 1990), pp.134-163.
11 Robert Currie, Early Royal Arch Chapters in the South of Scotland,
L1.PDF [accessed 15th of March, 2009]
12 See L.A. Seemungal, ‘The Rise of Additional Degrees’ in AQC, Vol. 84, (York: Ben Johnson & Co., 1971), pp.307-312.
13 ‘The Antiquity of The Royal Arch’ in the Freemasons Magazine and Masonic Mirror, January 1868.
14 James Anderson, The Constitutions of The Free-Masons, (London: Senex, 1723), p.48.
15 The ‘Rite Ancien de Bouillon’ has mysterious origins, but Oliver put forward that it had links to Ramsay, possibly from him being on good terms with a noble family who pretended descent from the Crusader Godfrey de Bouillon. See George Oliver,
The Origin of the Royal Arch Order of Masonry, (London: Bro. Richard Spencer, 1867), p.31.
16 ‘The Antiquity of The Royal Arch’ in the Freemasons Magazine and Masonic Mirror, January 1868.
17 George Oliver, A Dictionary of Symbolic Masonry including The Royal Arch Degree, (London: Richard Spencer, 1853), p.21.
18 James Anderson, The Constitutions of The Antient and Honourable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons,
(London: J. Scott, 1756), pp.228-229.
19 Harrison, The Genesis of Freemasonry, pp.180-181.
20 See Joannes A.M. Snoek, The Evolution of the Hiramic Legend in England and France, (2003),
http://www.scottishrite.org/what/educ/heredom/articles/vol11-snoek.pdf [accessed 8th of June, 2009]
21 Oliver, The Origin of the Royal Arch Order of Masonry, p.91.
22 Ibid., p.92-93.
23 Ibid., p.93.
25 See Joannes A.M. Snoek, The Evolution of the Hiramic Legend in England and France, (2003), p.31,
http://www.scottishrite.org/what/educ/heredom/articles/vol11-snoek.pdf [accessed 8th of June, 2009].
See also John Coustos: Confession of 21 March 1743, in S. Vatcher, ‘John Coustos and the Portuguese Inquisition’,
AQC, Vol. 81 (1968), pp.50-51.
26 John Coustos had been initiated into Freemasonry in London in 1730, and was
a member of Lodge No. 75, held at the Rainbow Coffee House, London. Also see John Coustos, The Sufferings of John Coustos
for Free-Masonry And For His Refusing to Turn Roman Catholic in the Inquisition at Lisbon, (London: W. Strahan, 1746).
27 Waite, New Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry, Vol. II, p.376.
28 Gould, History of Freemasonry, pp.407- 8.
29 An excellent example of this Masonic interest in Victorian renovation of churches and Cathedrals was the restoration of Worcester Cathedral, for which Worstershire Masons donated a large sum in 1874. In this year, the local Worcester Freemasons were involved in a procession from the Guildhall to the Cathedral for a service, and the Worstershire Province then paid for a commemorative window to be installed in the North Transept of the Cathedral. A large, three pane stained glass Masonic window to commemorate a certain Brother Joseph Bennett had also been installed in the Cathedral in 1867. See 'Freemasonry's 270 years of Lodges in Worcestershire' in Worcester News, Saturday, 15th of June, 2002, http://archive. worcesternews.co.uk/2002/6/15/264560. html [accessed 1st of May, 2009]
30 Andrew Prescott, Well Marked? Approaches to the History of Mark Masonry, http://www. freemasons-freemasonry.com/prescott01. html [accessed 15th of March, 2009]
31 George Oliver, The Historical Landmarks and other Evidences of Freemasonry: Explained in a Series of Practical Lectures, (New York: Masonic Publishing and Manufacturing Co., 1867), p.308
32 Charles W. Moore, Grand Secretary of The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, 'Masonic Ball at Liverpool', in Freemasons' Monthly Magazine, Vol. XXIII, (Boston: printed by Hugh H. Tuttle, 1864), March 1, 1864, No. 5, p.158
33 See R.S.E. Sandbach, Priest and Freemason: The Life of George Oliver, (Northamptonshire: The Aquarian Press, 1988), p.108- 109. For Dr. Crucefix see R.S.E. Sandbach, 'Robert Thomas Crucefix, 1788-1850', in AQC, Vol 102, (London: Butler & Tanner, 1990), pp.134-163
34 Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, (NuVision Publications LLC, 2007), p.186
35 Ibid., pp.187-191
36 Oliver, The Origin of the Royal Arch Order of Masonry, p. 4
37 Malcolm C. Duncan, Duncan's Masonic Ritual and Monitor, (Forgotten Books, 2008), p.1
38 E.B. Beesley, The History of the Wigan Grand Lodge, (Leeds: Manchester Association for Masonic Research, 1920), pp.76-77.
39 Ibid., pp.102-3
40 Seemungal, 'The Rise of Additional Degrees' in AQC, Vol. 84, pp.310-311
41 Carlile, pp.137-146
42 Charles W. Moore, Grand Secretary of The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, 'Order of Knights Templars: Its Pretended Continuation and Connection with Freemasonry' in Freemasons' Monthly Magazine, Vol. XXIII, (Boston: printed by Hugh H. Tuttle, 1864), December 1, 1863, No. 2, p.41
43 Albert G. Mackey, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry Vol. II, (Chicago: The Masonic History Company, 2003), p.884.
Above is a Masonic monument from St. James’ Cemetery in Liverpool revealing the story of Captain Elisha Lindsay Halsey from Charlestown, South Carolina, USA, who died unexpectedly on his ship “Thomas Bennett” while on the Bay of Biscay off the coast of Spain. The ship arrived in Liverpool, and the Captain, a Freemason, was buried and the very elaborate monument erected “by American ship masters and a few friends in Liverpool” indicating it was a local lodge which assisted in the arrangements and the funeral. The American flag appears on one side of the monument while the Masonic symbols of the setsquare and compass and the ‘All-Seeing Eye’ set within two inverted triangles dominate another side. Again this monument testifies to the trans-Atlantic relationship of Freemasonry at this time. The photograph is by Marie Shaw and from the book The Genesis of Freemasonry by David Harrison.
Dr. David Harrison is a history lecturer, having completed his Ph.D. on the history of Freemasonry in 2008 at the University of Liverpool. His thesis was published by Lewis Masonic titled The Genesis of Freemasonry and is available at all good book outlets. His second book The Transformation of Freemasonry is published by Arima and is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all good book outlets. The author can be contacted via the Lewis Masonic website: www.lewismasonic.co.uk
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