The Holy Royal Arch is the continuation of Craft Freemasonry. Its members, called Companions, meet in Chapters under a Grand Chapter.

As with Craft Freemasonry, there is debate as to the origins of the Royal Arch, not helped by the paucity of surviving evidence. 

From the evidence it is apparent that the Royal Arch was known in London, York and Dublin by the late 1730s. 

In extant Lodge Minute Books of the 1750s it is clear that the Royal Arch was being worked within Craft Lodges under both the premier and the Antients Grand Lodges in England, and in Lodges under the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland.

The Union of the two Grand Craft Lodges was achieved on 27 December 1813. On 18 March 1817, the Royal Arch members of both of the former Grand Lodges were summoned to a meeting at Freemasons’ Hall. The Excellent Grand and Royal Chapter were opened in one room, and the Royal Arch members of the former Antients Grand Lodge opened a Chapter in a second room.

Both groups then processed into the Grand Hall where they were greeted by the Duke of Sussex who formed them into the United Grand Chapter, addressed them on the Royal Arch, appointed Grand Officers and a Committee to provide Regulations to govern the Order.

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