The Royal Arch raises passions. There are those who find Chapter the most enjoyable of Masonic meetings, and those who find it dull and bewildering. It has always had a special status in Freemasonry, but we have to admit it is a continuing source of confusion. We struggle with its place in Pure Antient Freemasonry. Is it the completion of the third degree, a continuation of the Craft or is there no connection between the Craft and the Royal Arch at all? At our initiation each of us promised without evasion, equivocation or mental reservation, ever to conceal our secrets; never to indite, carve or mark the least trace of them. How then, on being exalted, can we be expected to believe that they were engraved on a plate of gold by the three Grand Masters? The Royal Arch is a fictional tale teaching a moral lesson, a story of inspiring if invented events. Symbolism, allegory, and metaphor are proper and useful literary devices, but there is a logic to their use. Consistency and coherence matter if the story is not to disappoint, and the Royal Arch fails to meet the desired standards. The relationship between the Craft and the Royal Arch has long been an enigma. To understand why, we must go into the eighteenth century and examine both orders there. As the story unfolds we will see how the incoherence stems from a wrong turn taken towards the century’s end, and how reversing it can provide a new meaning to the Royal Arch. The central focus of this book is on the Royal Arch in England and Wales, but its ritual and status in Scotland, Ireland and the York Rite offer contrasting perspectives from which to view our own.