Royal Arch Masonry
Provincial Grand Chapter
History of the Province of Jersey
The Provincial Grand Master of Jersey for Craft Masonry, RW.Bro James John Hammond was appointed Provincial Grand
Superintendent for the Royal Arch degree in 1848. There is no record that he ever formed a Provincial Grand Chapter
although he was signing documents as Grand Superintendent of the Channel Islands. There is every indication that he
was not enamoured with the degree, and resigned or was excluded from each of the Chapters during the 1850s.
E.Comp Col E.C.Malet de Carteret was appointed Grand Superintendent in succession to Comp Hammond in 1871, but he too was very reticent in forming a Provincial Grand Chapter. It was not until 28th July 1888 that five very senior companions visited the island, and opened a Chapter in ancient form. The visitors included Grand Scribe E of the Grand Chapter of England, the Grand Superintendent of Dorset, and a Past Grand Superintendent of Bengal. In the presence of forty-one Companions, The Acting First Principal, E.Comp Col.Shadwell H.Clerke addressed the companions:
He stated how pleased he was to see the determination the companions of this Province had arrived at in wishing for a Provincial Grand Royal Arch Chapter and we felt very proud in being present to declare the consent and approval of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, First Grand Principal of England for the formation of a Provincial Grand Royal Arch Chapter in the Province of Jersey, and as the representative and at the request of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales he felt it a great honour to perform the duty of consecration, he therefore without further ceremony would pronounce the Provincial Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Jersey duly constituted, wishing it every prosperity and success.
A deputation of eight Excellent Companions of the Province headed by E.Comp F.Richardson, Director of Ceremonies of England, left the convocation to wait on E.Comp Col.E.C.Malet de Carteret. Upon his entrance, he knelt to take the obligation of his office. The first Provincial Grand Principals to be installed were: Col E.C.Malet de Carteret, Dr J.Le Cronier and J.T.Du Jardin. Amongst the other officers were names already well-known in the Craft, Comps P.Binet, P.Bois, T.J.Aubin, J.G.Pallot and G.Rogers. At this time there were just three Chapters, Chapter of Harmony No 244, Royal Sussex Chapter No 491, and Césarée Chapter No 590, the latter to surrender its warrant soon afterwards.
At the second convocation held in August, the Bylaws were approved. The minute book commences by recording the contents of the preparatory meeting and audit committee meeting as well as each convocation. The Provincial Grand Chapter held annual convocations in 1889 to 1892, the last two attracting less than a dozen companions. A dispensation was obtained to permit E.Comp T.M.Bichard Past First Principal of the Royal Sussex Chapter, and resident in Guernsey, to hold the office of Provincial Grand Sword Bearer.
There was a gap of four years before the next convocation in November 1896. There was then a gap of four years to 1900 and thirteen years to 1913 when the convocation was held under the banner of the Chapter of Harmony. The Provincial Grand Scribe E at this time was E.Comp C.E.Malet de Carteret, son of the Grand Superintendent. During the entire time of his tenure of office, Provincial Grand Chapter never met. With just sixty two members, it is surprising that it continued. After the Province had recorded the fact that they had not even been able to draw up a set of accounts for the past thirteen years, as the previous Treasurer was now deceased, it was decided that Provincial Grand Chapter should be called together again before another thirteen years elapsed. The Chapter of Harmony Principals were restored to their chairs, and the Provincial Officers left the convocation in procession. E.Comp C.H.Wilson was appointed Provincial Grand Scribe E and his minutes are clear and tidy, and in coloured inks. After he had handed over the position in 1923, on his appointment to Second Provincial Grand Principal, the minutes were continued in a similar form and colours.
Just one year later the Province mourned the death of the Grand Superintendent, and noted that his son E.Comp C.E.Malet de Carteret was to succeed him. The installation took place in Jersey at 3.00pm on the 20th August 1915 by E.Comp Victor Gosselin Carey, later to become Provincial Grand Superintendent of Guernsey & Alderney. The minutes record that owing to the terrible war being waged with Germany the "chiefs of our order" had found it impossible to come over to Jersey to perform the ceremony. During that same year, the third Provincial Grand Principal, E.Comp A.C.Godfray was to pass away. At the convocation in 1918 and to mark the cessation of hostilities, the two Chapters decided to present to the Grand Superintendent the collar and jewel of his office, the presentation being made by E.Comp V.J.Bailhache.
Several convocations were held under the auspices of the Chapter of Harmony or the Royal Sussex Chapter during the next few years. Numbers attending were low, and the meetings were held in the Chapter room on the top floor of the building (now the rehearsal room). There were some signs of an increase in interest in the Royal Arch but when an application was made in 1925 to found a new Chapter to be attached to the Duke of Normandy Lodge, the Province viewed this with mixed feelings, as Césarée Chapter had folded just a few years previous for lack of support. The total number of companions was now 185, of which 125 belonged to the Royal Sussex Chapter.
The Provincial Grand Chapter met annually until 1939 during which period, the minutes record a steady growth in numbers. The last convocation before the Occupation was held on the 9th November 1939. The next was to be on the 8th November 1945 at which meeting, eleven offices were filled by acting officers, the appointed companions having either died or being out of the Island.