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What's the history of the Royal Arch in Staffordshire Written: 23/10/2020
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It is quite possible that in the early days of freemasonry the Royal Arch ceremony was worked in the Craft Lodges of Staffordshire without a separate Royal Arch Chapter being constituted. In the rough draft Minute Book of St Martin's Lodge from 1807 to 1810, it was found that brethren were proposed in the Lodge for exaltation to the Royal Arch and that the Lodge originally 'worked the Royal Arch as an integral and essential portion of the 3rd Degree'.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries there may have been many other Royal Arch Masons exalted into other Craft Lodges.

The first Wolverhampton Lodge was constituted on the 28th March 1732 and by 1768 there were four lodges in the town. A century later, in 1842, there were 13 Craft Lodges in Staffordshire; the oldest of which, still surviving today, was the Etruscan Lodge No 285 Stoke on Trent, founded in 1803, and the next St Martin's Lodge No 115 (now No 98) Burslem, founded in 1805 on a Warrant originally granted in 1764 for a lodge in Wolverhampton.

It was only after "The Act of Union" in 1817 that separate Royal Arch Chapters were established to undertake the exaltation ceremonies; although it is true to say that this directive was very slow at being implemented.

In 1833 there were only two duly constituted Royal Arch Chapters in Staffordshire; St Martin's Chapter No 115, Burslem and possibly, the Charity and Concord Chapter No 182, Longton, which was founded in 1813. The Chapter of Fortitude No 427, Stafford, was added to these two in 1834. Thereafter there was a steady increase in the number of official Royal Arch Chapters added to the list.

Over the next 120 years new Chapters continued to be formed throughout the Province of Staffordshire so much so that as we enter the 2020's the list has grown to 38 Chapters with over 1100 memberships.

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