The Enigma of The Royal Arch

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The colourful sight beheld by new Companions during Exaltation into the Holy Royal Arch (HRA) is often remembered for the rest of their lives and a number find Chapter banquets more congenial than Craft festive boards. Combined with the story of ‘How that which was lost is discovered’, the HRA gives great pleasure to almost everyone who has taken the ‘Fourth Independent Step in Core Freemasonry’.

There is also a sense of ‘doing the right thing’ in heeding the Pro Grand Master’s call for all Craft Masons to join the HRA before considering additional Masonic Orders. Nevertheless, there is an enigma (Oxford Dictionary: a person, thing or situation that is mysterious and difficult to understand) which most Companions end up accepting but offset it against, what is to them, a most enjoyable part of Freemasonry

There is no shortage of excellent publications about the HRA which are often written for the more serious researchers or learned Companions without examining the enigma in the way Essex Freemason and author, David West, does in his new book ‘The Enigma of The Royal Arch’.

Starting with a background of current membership trends and contrasting English workings with Scottish, Irish and York Rite, the reader is drawn into exploring a combination of facts and fiction found in evaluating early ritual and manuscripts. Followed by an analysis of what was lost and other significant factors, all the content is explained in a way which helps readers clearly understand why the HRA in England is considered to be the completion of ‘pure ancient Masonry’.

Full of lots of interesting information and well-illustrated, with the cover designed by Lawrie Morrisson, the new 66-page book is easy to read and would prove useful to Scribes E, Chapter Mentors, newly elected Principals and RA Representatives. Since my own Exaltation (1978), nobody has ever been able to explain to me the mysterious and difficult-to-understand situations in the HRA, as well as David West has done in ‘The Enigma of The Royal Arch’.

Paul Palmer

Group Communications Officer
Provincial Grand Lodge of Essex


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