What is Pure Ancient Masonry?

Frequently we hear the term “pure Ancient Masonry” being used by the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of NSW & ACT and the First Grand Principal and Grand Master of the United Supreme Grand Chapter of Mark and Royal Arch Masons of NSW & ACT but what does this mean?

When using this term they are referring to an Ancient Landmark of our Fraternity recognised in many Masonic Constitutions around the world including England and Australia but more significantly here in NSW & ACT. It dates back to the very beginnings of Speculative Freemasonry and precedes the joining together of the ‘Antients’ and the ‘Moderns’ to establish the first recognised Grand Lodge in the World, the United Grand Lodge of England.

In the very first Clause of the Constitution of the United Grand Lodge of NSW & ACT the term “pure Ancient Masonry” is defined:-

Chapter 1.1 reads:
“Degrees Recognised
It is declared and pronounced by the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, that pure Ancient Masonry consists of the following Degrees, and no more, viz.: Those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft, and the Master Mason, together with the Honourable Degree of Mark Master Mason, and the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch.”

Therefore by the very Constitution of the United Grand Lodge of NSW & ACT, if a Mason in this jurisdiction wishes to complete his Masonic journey and obtain all of the Degrees of ‘pure Ancient Masonry’ as defined, he will need to acquire, in addition to the three Degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason, the Degree of Mark Master Mason and the last and final degree of the Royal Arch.

This proposition is best embodied or explained graphically in the following simple equation:

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