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The Masonic Keystone, A Royal Arch Symbol

The keystone is a significant symbol in Freemasonry, where it figures in the unfolding symbolic tale of Hiram the builder. In Masonic lore, Hiram is the inventor of the keystone, and its significance is lost upon his assassination. The ritual narrative centred on this stone and recalls the biblical “stone the builders refused,” as the uninitiated, not knowing the purpose of the oddly-shaped stone, consign it to the rubbish heap. It is only rediscovered when King Solomon inquires after its whereabouts.

The letters inscribed are: “K.S.H.T.W.S.S.T”. An obvious cipher, it can be use as one of many tests of an unknown visitors to the Chapter.

In masonry, the keystone is the stone that holds together a stone arch. The oddly-shaped keystone is a feat of early engineering, allowing builders to incorporate windows, doorways, and other building elements to a building without sacrificing strength.  The main benefit of this innovation is to allow for much more natural light in a structure. Symbolically, the stone is the last placed, completing an Arch.
 Royal Arch Marble Keystones