York Masonry is the oldest and best known of all Masonic Rites. It takes its name from York, England, where the earliest known record of Masonry exists, dating from about 923 AD. Masonry's first written record is centered around York. This was the seat of the Ancient Grand Lodge which finally merged with another group called the Modern Grand Lodge about 1717. This is the basis upon which our present system of Blue Lodge Masonry is constituted.
The Mother Grand Lodge of England, many years ago set forth as Paragraph 1 of its general Laws and Regulations: "By the solemn act of the union between the two Grand Lodges of Freemasons of England in Devember 1813, it was declared and pronounced that Pure Ancient Masonry consists of three degrees and no more, viz.: those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellowcraft, and the Master Mason, INCLUDING THE SUPREME ORDER of the HOLY ROYAL ARCH."