Chapter of Rectitude No 502

In 1882, Queen Victoria was our Monarch and William Gladstone the Prime Minister, the first Boer War had recently ended, the country engaged in the Anglo Egyptian war, which resulted in Egypt becoming a British Protectorate, the Royal Courts of Justice in London were opened, and the Ashes Test Cricket Series was born.

It was also the year when the Chapter of Rectitude No 502 was created; it was granted its Charter by Supreme Grand Chapter on 1st February 1882 and consecrated at a meeting of the Provincial Grand Chapter of Warwickshire held at Rugby Town Hall, on 26th April 1882; it is the 9th oldest Chapter within the Province.

The Town Hall at that time was in Rugby High Street and is the large building on the right of the photograph below; the building at the end of the Street is Rugby School.

Chapter of Rectitude No 502

The Chapter was formed because there were no Royal Arch Chapters in Rugby at that time, and those members of the Lodge of Rectitude, the only Lodge in Rugby then, who wanted to complete their journey in Pure Antient Masonry, were travelling to the Chapter of Fortitude No 279 in Leicester, which is in the Provincial Grand Chapter of Leicestershire and Rutland.

As more brethren in the Lodge of Rectitude were expressing an interest in joining the Royal Arch, those Companions from Fortitude Chapter became Founder members of the Chapter of Rectitude, and it is to them that we owe our “different” traditions, much to the amusement of our visitors.

The Chapters have maintained a good relationship over the years, resulting in the Principals and some Companions from each Chapter visiting one another at the Installation Meetings.

With the exception of our few “different” traditions, the Chapter adheres strictly to the current Warwickshire workings, and have embraced dividing the main work between the 3 Principals and 3 Sojourners and explaining the Exaltation ceremony to the Candidate and Companions as it progresses.

The work after the exaltation is usually carried out by those junior Companions who, with help and assistance, want to do so.

We learn the ritual rather than read it, and have rehearsals a week before our Convocations, to which all Companions are invited.

We meet at the Masonic Hall in Rugby on the third Thursday in February (Installation), April and October and the first Thursday in December, where we enjoy an excellent Festive Board after the Convocation.

We currently have 39 members in the Chapter, who come from all walks of life; we have a good mix of Senior and Junior Companions, some of whom are retired, but many of whom are still working, and the timing of our meetings reflect this.

We take our ceremonies seriously, but our Festive Boards, whilst conducted with decorum, are more relaxed.

We have a good relationship with Composite Chapter No 5727, which also meets in Rugby, and the Principals and some Companions visit one another at most meetings, especially the Installation meetings.

We also enjoy a joint Family Sunday Lunch with them every year.

Our members mainly come from the Rugby Lodges and whilst most of them live in the Rugby area, some live further afield.

We believe, and our visitors tell us, that we are a friendly Chapter, with keen and dedicated members, and we can assure any brother who joins us of a warm welcome and every assistance to help them achieve maximum enjoyment from their Royal Arch Masonry.

Anyone interested in joining the Chapter, or who would like any further information, please contact:

E Comp Ivan Norris PGStB, PProvGSN by email or telephone 01788 817110 or mobile 07771 546484