Chapter History

It was not until 1958 that members of the Richard Collyer Lodge who had been exalted into the Royal Arch (and those who wished to be exalted) were to have the opportunity of assembling under a Chapter exclusively for Old Collyerians. The main reason for the founding of the Chapter was clearly to provide a dedicated "home" for Old Collyerians (as with the Lodge, Old Collyerian Royal Arch Masons would hitherto have had to pursue their interest through the March and Darnley Chapter or some other Chapter of their choice). A subsidiary reason might have been to create opportunities for Companions to have another chance at or to accelerate their chances of gaining office if the waiting time in their own Chapter appeared unreasonably long.

Discussions for forming a Chapter had originally started as far back as 1951 but it was only in 1956 that the idea gained momentum and it was formally considered at the Lodge GPC meeting in January 1957 where it was agreed that letters should be sent to all Lodge members canvassing their support for such a move. The results of this exercise were discussed at the February GPC when it was announced that 14 Lodge members were willing to act as Founders and 7 as candidates for Exaltation whilst others had expressed interest in considering joining. A sub-committee was duly formed to progress matters and by the October GPC meeting the Founders had met and a Petition submitted to the Sussex Provincial Grand Chapter requesting approval to open the Richard Collyer Chapter.

Official approval was subsequently granted and the date was set for the Consecration of the new Chapter - Friday April 18th 1958 - at the Sussex Masonic Temple in Brighton. The sub-committee met again in April 1957 to recommend the arrangements for the Chapter. There would be three meetings a year on the Saturdays before the second Mondays in April, June and December (this was later amended in the original By-laws to the Saturday before the second Monday in April, the second Saturday in June and the Saturday before the second Monday in December, which arrangements have been preserved to the present time), although in 1962 there was an abortive suggestion to move the June meeting to November. Problems with Easter have occasionally necessitated a change by dispensation of the April meeting date, on occasions to March. The founding committee decided that no Founders jewels would be purchased and the Chapter would meet at The Horsham Masonic Hall. Old robes would be purchased from March and Darnley Chapter, but in the event these were shared. A guest Janitor would be engaged and Comp.S.C.Worsley of March and Darnley Chapter agreed to fill this office. A more formal business meeting was held in March 1958 to finalize the arrangements. The fees were fixed as follows:- The Exaltation Fee to be Three Guineas and the Joining Fee, Two Guineas, such fees to be exclusive of subscription. The annual subscription to be Two Guineas, except for members residing outside Great Britain who will pay One Guinea. The first officers were nominated and it was further agreed to appoint the Seven Consecrating Officers as Honorary members. A final committee meeting was held in April to complete all of the necessary arrangements for the successful enactment of the Consecration ceremony. A cocktail reception was planned on the day at the Brighton Masonic Club for the Official guests, Founders and Consecrating Officers.

The Ceremony was in two parts - the Consecration followed by the Induction of the Three Principals together with other regular business. A total of 125 Royal Arch Masons were in attendance.