Skip to content

B.5.1 The “Moderns” Masons and the Royal Arch

By “Moderns” we mean the Grand Lodge of 1717 that as, to say the least, indifferent to the Royal Arch Degree. Moreover they regarded the “Antients” as irregular and illegal, and they prohibited their members to have any Masonic relation with them. However, many “Moderns” lodges conferred the Royal Arch Degree, some even say before the “Antients” did, and the Premier Grand lodge did not react in any way. Like the “Antients”, the “Moderns” conferred the Royal Arch Degrees without any specific authorisation in their warrants. This authorisation came only with the creation of the Grand Chapter in 1766, but few lodges asked for a formal warrant and continued to confer the Royal Arch Degrees as before.

Master Lodges of the “Moderns” Craft appeared in the 1730′ to raise Fellow Crafts to the Third, or Hiramic, Degree. They filled a need in the sense that many ordinary lodges did not confer this third degree. As a consequence, the Fellow Craft who wanted to be raised in the Third Degree had to do it through the so-called Master Lodges. However from the middle of the eighteenth century most lodges were competent enough to confer the Third Degree, and the Master Lodges were becoming useless. Some experts believe that they found another occupation in promoting and conferring the Royal Arch Degree. In any case their number decreased rapidly with time and there was no more trace of any after the Union. In any case they only played a small role in the development of the Royal Arch, if any.