Monmouthshire Masons - Royal Arch

The Royal Arch Province of Monmouthshire


Whilst the origin of Royal Arch Masonry prior to 1766, when the first Grand Chapter was formed, is somewhat obscure, the history of the Royal Arch in the Province of Monmouthshire is certain. The Provincial Grand Chapter was founded when Col. Charles Lyne the then Provincial Grand Master - obtained his Patent as Grand Superintendent, presiding over the Chapters of:

  • Silurian No.471, warranted in 1846
  • St. Woolos No. 683, 1871
  • Philanthropic No. 818 (now renamed St. John’s), 1872
  • Prince of Wales, 1872

The first meeting of Provincial Grand Chapter was held in Newport Masonic Hall under the Banner of St. Woolos Chapter, on 1st August 1873 when E. Comp. Samuel George Homfray Installed E. Comp. Col. Charles Lyne as M.E. Grand Superintendent, and was then himself installed as Second Provincial Grand Principal. (E. Comp. Homfray was Deputy Provincial Grand Master from 1871 to 1894, and Provincial Grand Master of Mark Master Masons from 1885). E.Comp. Lorenzo Augustus Homfray was Installed as Provincial Grand J. This meeting was to have had the Grand Superintendent of Jamaica as Installing Officer; unfortunately he was prevented from attending by a family bereavement.

There are now 14 Royal Arch Chapters in the Province, with approximately 750 members.

Relationship with Craft Freemasonry

The close relationship of Royal Arch Masonry with the Craft is emphasised by the Preliminary Declaration of the General Laws and Regulations of the United Grand Lodge of England. By the solemn Act of Union between the two Grand Lodges of Free-Masons of England in December 1813, it was `declared and pronounced that pure Ancient Masonry consists of three degrees and no more, viz., those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft, and the Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch'.

This relationship continues to the present day, with the administration of the both Craft and Royal Arch from Freemasons Hall, in London.

Within the Province of Monmouthshire, from 1873 to 1942, the offices of Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent were held concurrently by the same individuals. Since 1942 the offices have been separated, however the majority of Senior Craft Officers are also members of the Royal Arch, with the administration of each through separate Provincial Offices.

Every Royal Arch Chapter must be affiliated to a Craft Lodge using the same number and although not obligatory, many Chapters also bear the same name. All Master Masons are encouraged to join the Royal Arch, which embodies the completion of the Master Mason’s degree. Contact with members of a Chapter may be made via the Lodge Secretary.

R.W. Bro. Col. Charles Lyne, D.L., J.P.
Provincial Grand Master of Monmouthshire April 20th 1871 to 1901
M.E. Grand Superintendent of Royal Arch Masons of Monmouthshire 1873 to 1901
Photograph from the Freemasons’ Calendar and Directory, Province of Monmouth ,1888

W. Bro. Captain Samuel George Homfray, J.P, PAGDC
Deputy P.G.M. Monmouthshire, 1871 to 1894
Provincial Grand Mark Master Mason of Monmouthshire, 1885 to 1896
Second Provincial Grand Principal of Royal Arch Masons of Monmouthshire 1873 to 1894
Photograph from the Freemasons’ Calendar and Directory, Province of Monmouth ,1888