Dan Brown and other authors have theorised that, in 1307, when the Knights Templar faced arrest and trial for heresy in Europe a small group of fugitive Templars escaped France and sailed to Scotland to be warmly welcomed by young William St Clair at Rosslyn. These knights carried with them the legendary Templar treasure. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Historical documents in the British Library prove that William St Clair had no love at all for the Templars. In 1309, when the Knights Templar came to trial in Scotland, William testified against them. William gave evidence that the Templars ‘were not willing to offer hospitality to the poor’, were ‘very anxious to acquire the property of others for their Order, by fair means or foul’ and said that ‘if the Templars had been faithful Christians they would in no way have lost the Holy Land'. The Templars did not build Rosslyn Chapel; their order died out over a century before the chapel was founded.
Now the central piece of evidence presented in Robert Lomas’s new book “Turning The Hiram Key” is the infamous Kirkwall scroll.
The scroll received notoriety four years ago when it was identified as made from the 18th-century cloth, just like the local lodge where it was held always believed because documentation shows it was gifted in 1796. This does not stop Robert Lomas to claim it is not, and in his recent book “Turning The Hiram Key” basically repeats the claim (recently duplicated in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code) about Rosslyn chapel near Edinburgh, and that the Orkney textile was alleged to hold the key to ancient knowledge taken by Knights Templar from the Holy Land during the Crusades and passed on into freemasonry for safekeeping by the St Clair family that build Rosslyn chapel near Edinburgh, an important stop on the trail for those tourists inspired by Brown’s novel.
Initially mentioned in a 1993 book The Sword and The Grail, by Andrew Sinclair, he purported to show that the Kirkwall scroll had been taken from the scriptorium of Rosslyn Castle to Orkney. A DNA test done by Edinburgh University however begged to differ. And although Andrew Sinclair conceded that the side panels of the scroll do indeed include 18th-century imagery, they where overpainted , he says, to hide evidence of Templar symbols. And he bats away suggestions that carbon dating is unreliable.
But according to the Oxford laboratory that analysed the material from the scroll on two separate occasions, each analysis yielded a different date. The sample from the outside of the scroll appeared to date from the late 18th century, the second piece from the central panel dating from the late fifteenth century. This would indicate that the scroll was made up of two separate sections, a fact confirmed by Jack Donaldson who explained in July 2000 that the cloth had been joined and that the evidence of this was clearly visible.
In fact masonic antiquaries already said since 1897, the Kirkwall scroll dates from the eighteenth century. It is most likely to have been designed and presented to the Kirkwall lodge as a floorcloth. And in the 1920s another erudite Freemason turned his attention to our scroll. Brother William Reginald Day, from the Sydney Research Lodge in New South Wales, wrote a long article about it, again in Ars Quatuor Coronatorum (vol. 38, 1925). Andrew Sinclair seems to be unaware of this important piece of work.
Now on Februari 3,2005, again another specialist in Masonic symbolism went on Baldricks TV show on BBC Chanell 4 and while he agreed the scroll’s middle section is one of masonic significance, he argues that the masonic symbols on the central panel weren’t used before the 18th century— and they’re certainly not Templar in origin.” (Another claim Robert Lomas makes, in line with the Da Vinci Code fiction.
A recent visit to the lodge by a textile expert doing research on floorcloths has only fanned the flames of controversy. Sarah Randel, from Sydney University, backed the lodge’s view. “This woman had no axe to grind; she just took one look at it and said: ‘Floorcloth: iconography doesn’t predate the 18th century and material lines could indicate folds in a single piece of cloth’,” said David Partner, a local historian and past master of the lodge.
In fact in contrast to the claim in The Da Vinci Code, there is clear evidence that Rosslyn Chapel has nothing whatsoever to do with the Knights Templar, that no refugee Templars found shelter at Rosslyn and that no Templar treasures are hidden there. The carvings within Rosslyn can all be explained without the need of fanciful connections to Templars. Instead Rosslyn chapel is actually a catholic collegiate church. The St Clair family were staunch Catholics and remained so dedicated to their faith that they refused to abandon it during the reformation - leading to the family's downfall. Plus the chapel is over a century too late for any templar influence and over a century too early for speculative masonic influence. Rosslyn is full of Biblical imagery, medieval folk play carvings, plants and flowers, real and fantastical creatures from bestiaries and legends with noting unexplained about it.
Three years ago I had extensive communications with two members of the Sinclair family that used to won Rosslyn Chapel and claimed to me the sensationalist book about Rosslyn chapel started with a real estate scam.
And confirmed in turn that there is no evidence whatsoever that there is any connection between Rosslyn Chapel and the order of the Knights Templar. William was no Templar (he produced heirs, and as a Templar he would have to be celibate)in contrast, he condemns the Templars at nearby Balantrodoch as secretive, miserly bad Christians who wanted nothing but more land and wealth. And both William and Henry St Clair of Rosslyn of 1309 testified against the Templars when they came to trial at Holyrood/ Scotland. One hundred and forty years later Rosslyn’s Chapel was build without any input from the Templar order which had been extinct for well over a century.
Rosslyn Chapel cannot be considered in isolation. Given that there are a large number of the same type of ecclesiastical establishments in Scotland, many of them older than Rosslyn Chapel, there can be little doubt that the chapel must be examined in light of the material which also relates to those other collegiate churches such as Crichton, Dunbar and Seton to name but a few.
The (real) Sinclair family member also mentioned that that in fact it is Niven Sinclair who is behind much of the myth currently being circulated. He lived in South Africa where he had to leave because oc criminal acts, and can be seen listed in public records of the British Court to have been sentenced for armed assault in the UK where he runs a taxi service in London.
With the fiction invented by him and later Andrew Sinclair, followed by Knight and Robert Lomas, Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval, it is clear they have deliberately ignored evidence to suit their theories.
The name ‘Sinclair’itself is verry common- there were French and English as well as Scots St Clairs but because of the fame of Rosslyn folk now assume any st clair must be associated with Rosslyn.
The reliable historical documentation that proves the St Clairs were anti-templar not pro. that's documentary evidence from the 14th century not wishful thinking from the 20th and 21st century. A good book on this is 'Scotland and the Crusades, 1095-1560' by Alan MacQuarrie.
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