The Antients Grand Chapter

The Antients Grand Lodge had the opposite view to the Royal Arch to that of the premier Grand Lodge, regarding it as an integral part of their system and working it in their Lodges as a fourth degree. Indeed, their Grand Secretary, Laurence Dermott, described the Royal Arch as "the root, heart and marrow of Masonry". They believed that their Lodge warrants entitled them to work any of the known degrees in Masonry, and extant Minute Books for Antients Lodges provide valuable evidence for the working of the Royal Arch and other degrees in the late eighteenth century.

Dermott was a great promoter of the Royal Arch. He became Deputy Grand Master of the Antients in 1771 and, jealous of the existence of the Excellent Grand and Royal Arch Chapter, engineered a debate in the Antients Grand Lodge as to whether or not that body was a suitable forum to debate Royal Arch matters as there would always be present brethren who were not Royal Arch Masons. Those present agreed with him that the Antients Grand Lodge was a proper forum to discuss any matter relating to Freemasonry but that details of the Royal Arch should first be discussed only by those qualified to do so.

So came into existence the so - called Grand Chapter of the Antients. In reality it was no more than a Committee of qualified members of the Antients Grand Lodge. The Minutes of that body show that the Grand Chapter met on a number of occasions but its Minutes have not been found. It had no separate Grand Officers; issued no Charters; had no Provincial system; and its decisions and code of Regulations (first published in 1783) had to be approved by the Antients Grand Lodge itself before they could be promulgated.