In 1823 the Grand Lodge issued their 25th Warrant to Royal Black Association – Lodge No. 25 held in Warrenpoint, County Down. The signatures on the warrant are as follows :- Wm. Leedom, G.M.; John Moran, D.G.M.; Daniel Maulang, H.P.; Alfred La Grues, G.P., G.S.; John Patterson, G.P.
The records from 1823 to 1834 were either lost or destroyed as much cannot be said of the working of the organisation in this period. In 1834 however the Grand Lodge appears to have new officers, and are as follows :- Wm. Freeman, G.M.; G. Boyd, D.G.M.; J. W. Higgins, G.S.; John Ekan, G.T.; Hans Sloan, G.P.
We now arrive at the period when we must place on record the formation of the present Grand Black Chapter of Ireland. This was achieved under the following circumstances :- “A few Brethren in Armagh having heard of the existence of some of the foregoing mentioned lodges at Tandragee, Killyman, Belfast, Sligo, Bandon, Cork, and Co. Down, wrote on the subject of amalgamation, and the propriety of conferring together for that purpose. In pursuance of that object a meeting was held at Portadown, County Armagh, on Monday, 14 th September, 1846, when representatives from all parties were present and joined in the formation of a Grand Black Lodge, the Officers being selected equally from all parties – Thos. Irwin, G.M.; G. Whitten, D.G.M.; Edward Rogers, G. Reg.; G. D. Hughes, G. T.; Rev H. G. Hamilton, G.C.; Wm. M'Kelvey, G. P.; Rev J. B. Scriven, G. Cr. Copies of these proceedings are still in possession of many of our Brethren. At this meeting the Grand Registrar was deputed to draw up a Book of Rules, Form of Warrant and Certificate, all of which were duly submitted and approved of, and ordered to be printed at a general meeting held in Lisburn, in March, 1847, when the motto Tria Juncta un uno descriptive of the Union was first adopted. The subsequent proceedings of the body being duly registered in the Reports admit of no notice here, and we have only to explain the nature of two important officers, one of which (Censor) was added to the original list.
Censor - His authority is very extensive, in fact upon the office of Censor depends, in a great degree, the good order, conduct, discipline, regulation and conservation of the manners of the fraternity. He presides over Committees of Appeal, Explusions, &c. It is also his duty to see that an Enrolment of the Members be made every five years, and properly registered in a book denominated the “Censor Book.” His seat of office is in the committee room, and he may be recognised by the letter “C” embroidered on this scarf.
Pursuivant – The duty of this office is to attend to marshalling and ordering proceeding, solemnities, funerals and interviews. His badge of office is a wand or truncheon, and his place standing behind or on the right hand side of the Throne, that he may hear and proclaim aloud the orders of the Grand Master or his representative.
Below is a circualar written by Edward Rogers, Grand Register, Armagh for the meeting held in Lisburn, 1 st March 1847.
“Grand Black Orange Lodge of Ireland
‘Tria Juncta in uno'.
According to previous arrangement the Grand Officers and Members of the above Association, held their Half-Yearly Council in Lisburn, on Monday, the first of March, for the purpose of amalgamating the differences, and concentrating the force and sinews of three contending parties, each bearing the name of Grand Lodge.
Never was there manifested a greater unanimity of purpose; all gave way to the proper feeling, that there should be but one head, one mind, and one ruling power, to which all should refer for counsel and protection. The late grand officers were, with some slight alterations, unanimously elected; and the association now stands a noble and imposing edifice; complete in every point of ancient architecture and magnificence; and the proceedings of that day must ever be remembered in the annals of the institution, as a day of rejoicing and triumph.
Representatives were in attendance from the counties Antrim, Armagh, Cavan, Down, Monaghan, Sligo, and Tyrone. Letters of apology for non-attendance were received from the brethren of Cork, Dublin, Louth, Fermanagh, Mayo, Leitrim, and Wicklow. Thus the remaining hand has been laid to the work, and it now remains with all parties bearing that name and dignity to come forward immediately, and enrol themselves under the colours that body has unfurled for the protection of such as may avail themselves of the many privileges now presented to them, and the advantages arising therefrom.
Edward Rogers Grand Register, Armagh – Printed at the ‘Guardian' Office, Armagh
List of Grand Masters and Grand Registrars - since the formation of the Grand Black Chapter of Ireland in Carleton Street, Portadown, 14 th September, 1846,
1846 – Sir Knight Thomas Irwin, G.M.; County Down
1849 – Sir Knight Morris W. Knox,
1850 – Sir Knight Thomas H. Johnson, G.M.
1857 – Sir Knight William Johnson, G.M.; Ballykilbeg
1902 – Sir Knight Hunt W. Chambre, County Tyrone
1914 – Sir Knight Rt. Honourable W. H. H. Lyons, D.L. Antrim
1924 – Sir Knight Lt. Col. Sir W. J. Allen, D.S.O.; Armagh
Grand Registrars :-
1846 – Sir Knight Edward Rogers, G.R.; Armagh
1850 – Sir Knight Thomas Johnson, G.R.
1855 – Sir Knight Hunt W. Chambre, G.R.
1888 – Sir Knight Rev. J. M. Moutray, L.L.D.; G.R.
1908 – Sir Knight James S. Briggs, G.R.
1920 – Sir Knight W. N. Cross, G.R.
The Grand Black Chapter from its formation, assumed the title of “Grand Black Chapter of Ireland” until June 1921 , when the following title was unanimously adopted – “The Imperial Grand Black Chapter of the British Commonwealth” (Instituted in Ireland, 1797).
"The History of the Royal Black Institution above was recorded and provided by Sir Knt Edward Rogers, in November 25th 1857. Sir Knt Edward Rogers, was the Grand Registrar of County Armagh in 1846. To be in so high an office Sir Knt Edward Rogers, would have been a member of the Royal Black Institution well before 1846. We are greatly indebted to Sir Knt Edward Rogers, whose record of historical events above have added to our knowledge of events and names from within the Royal Black Institution before 1846."