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Benevolentia Royal Arch Chapter.


The Bloomsbury Rifles chapter is Benevolentia Royal Arch  Chapter No. 2549 Consecrated 2nd March 1905 which is also the Chapter for Benovolentia Lodge No. 2549.


For a Royal Arch Chapter to exist it has to be affiliated to a Craft Lodge. Benevolentia Chapter 2549 is affiliated to and takes its name and number from the Benevolentia Lodge. Like the Lodge whose name it bears. As a constituent chapter of the Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London our Companions are drawn from every corner Metropolitan Grand Chapter.


The Chapter meets at the Royal National Hotel on the 20th May 2016  (Installation Meeting) and Friday 9th October 2015 & Tuesday 1st March 2016. We dine after each meeting.


Membership is open to all Master Masons of 4 weeks and upwards. If you would like to learn more about Benevolentia Chapter, a Master Mason interested in joining us or a Royal Arch Companion wishing to visit, please refer to the contact us page.


The Royal Arch.


The basis of Freemasonry in England is Craft Freemasonry, which comprises three Degrees - Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason. In England, Craft Freemasonry is organised and regulated by the United Grand Lodge of England. The Royal Arch is regulated by its parent body, the Supreme Grand Chapter of England, itself essentially the Royal Arch equivalent of the United Grand Lodge of England.


The origins of the Royal Arch in England are interesting and are fervently debated by masonic historians. One of the earliest recorded references to a Freemason receiving the Royal Arch is of Laurence Dermott who was exalted within a Dublin Lodge in 1746. He became the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of the Ancients in 1752 and in 1756, he expressed the Ancient Grand Lodge’s opinion in his book Ahiman Rezon (or A Help to a Brother) that:


“The Royal Arch I firmly believe to be the root, heart, and marrow of Masonry.”


Before the Union of the two rival Grand Lodges of the Ancients and the Moderns to form the United Grand Lodge of England in 1813, the Royal Arch was worked as a separate Degree under the authority of the Craft warrant by the Ancients from 1771, whereas the Moderns occasionally and unofficially performed the Royal Arch ceremony without the sanction of their Grand Lodge until 1765. Thereafter, the Moderns worked the Royal Arch separately under the authority of their own Grand and Royal Chapter.


The second Article of Union specified that the Royal Arch was considered part of Ancient Freemasonry:


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


Thus, the Royal Arch is considered is the culmination of “pure ancient masonry.” For further background to the Royal Arch and the reasons for joining, please visit the Supreme Grand Chapter of England’s web site at


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