The United Grand Lodge of England (1813)

United Grand Lodge of England LogoAfter an extended period of discussion, the Grand Lodge of Ancients and the Moderns merged into “The United Grand Lodge of England” in 1813.

The delegates shared differing views as to the place the degree of The Holy Royal Arch should, or should not, occupy in the official structure of Freemasonry. Delegates from the “Modern” Grand Lodge advocated its omission, while the “Ancients” delegates maintained it should be incorporated into the system. After much debate and arbitration, the following statement was inserted into the Act of Union:

“It is declared and pronounced that pure Ancient Masonry consists of three degrees, and no more; viz: Those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft and the Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch.”

The statement went on to say:

“But this article is not intended to prevent any Lodge or Chapter from holding a meeting in any of the degrees of the Orders of Chivalry, according to the constitutions of the said Orders.”

Thus, in England, in 1813, the Royal Arch and the Orders of Chivalry were acknowledged as having rightful connection with the approved Masonic structure by the highest authority, the United Grand Lodge.

The heraldic arms selected by the United Grand Lodge empaled the castles of the Moderns with the Royal Arch banners of the Ancients, with modified cherubim as supporters, and the crest of the Ancients.

Excerpted from: A History and Handbook, The York Rite of Freemasonry, by Frederic G. Speidel

Posted in Excerpts.

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