On 24th February 2024, a Viking raiding party arrived in London, not as in times gone by as invaders, but as Companions of the Royal Arch, answering the Summons of the East & West Chapter (E&W) No 5410.


The Chapter installed its Principals for the ensuring year and welcomed their Metropolitan Grand Inspector, John Burnap, for a special final visit before his retirement. 

The Chapter now boasts 40+ members with no less than 4 candidates scheduled for Exaltation over the next course of the next 12 months. However, this is a far cry from how things looked back in 2006, when the Chapter had a proposition before it to surrender its Charter; having held on to celebrate its 50th anniversary before taking that final step. On Wednesday 18th April 2007, as the Chapter’s MEZ, E Comp Howard Hughes, was entering the Temple to open the Chapter and to propose that motion, a suggestion was made to him for the Chapter to Exalt a few Danish Brethren from the Danish Craft Masonry of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons (DDFL) which practises English Emulation Ritual – with the aim being for them to introduce the Royal Arch into Denmark. 

E Comp Sven Jensen PGStB was a Danish-born UGLE Mason who, having been initiated into Arcadian Lodge 2696 in 1981 and Exalted into Cecil Chapter 449 in 1985, was a prominent Royal Arch Mason. When visiting a Lodge in Denmark in around 2001, he gave a talk on the Royal Arch as the Lodge had no regular business. Despite the fact that Danes had been Exalted into UGLE for a number of years, just as Sven had been, his talk sparked intense curiosity among the Brethren and this soon led to his dream of having the Royal Arch in Denmark. When the original plans to exalt Danes into another Metropolitan Chapter fell through, it was an act of providence that led Sven to East and West (E&W), after having already been a founder of Cloisters Chapter No 7100 (Hers) which had begun Exalting Danes. 

Little was the sheer scale of the task anticipated at the time; nor how long it would take (nothing changes quickly in Freemasonry!) and wasn’t until 11th March 2023 that the new Supreme Grand Chapter of Denmark (SGoD) was finally Consecrated by the Pro First Grand Principal, Jonathan Spence, in Copenhagen. Large numbers of Members of the Chapter had travelled from West to East, and five members of the East and West Chapter were appointed, invested and installed as Primus Grand Officers including the Primus 3rd Grand Principal. 

In those intervening years, a great many Danes have been exalted into Royal Arch Freemasonry across UGLE, (not only from the DDFL, but also from the Swedish Rite) and East & West has naturally grown and flourished as a result with its membership currently divided broadly between those living in Denmark and those in the UK. The Companions’ ethnic origins span English, Scottish, Danish, Dutch, Greek, Turkish, Cypriot and Indian ancestry, with the Companions able to converse in no less than 14 different languages! Unlike the four Hertfordshire Chapters which moved to Denmark and then petitioned UGLE to Consecrate the Supreme Grand Chapter of Denmark. East and West will remain a Metropolitan Chapter as it is seen by its Danish members as their ‘home away from home’ as they continue to grow their new Grand Chapter. It is seen by members (and guests) as a beautiful way to experience Freemasonry universal! To quote the Chapter’s DC, “Carlsberg don’t do Royal Arch Chapters, but if they did…” 

This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 54 April 2024 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons - Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.

Read more articles in the Arena Issue 54 here.