The Knights Templar, Jeremiah and the Ark of the Covenant
I have previously remarked that the Knights Templar found the Ark of the Covenant with the Holy Grail but not in Jerusalem. We know the Templars carried out excavations under Temple Mount where they were originally quartered. Indeed, this may have been the true purpose of their foundation, since it is unlikely that nine knights could have managed to preserve the safety of the highways for Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land on their own.
The Dead Sea Scrolls
There is some archaeological evidence to support the fact that the Templars were involved in extensive excavations under Temple Mount since an 1867 investigation by a team of British Royal Engineers found a 25 metre (80 foot) tunnel hewn through solid rock that at the bottom radiated out into a network of tunnels under the Dome of the Rock mosque in which various Templar artefacts such as part of a Templar sword, the remains of a lance, a spur and a small Templar cross were found. As these tunnels were built so precisely, it raises the question why were they quarried and what function did they serve. Were the Templars looking for something specific and did they find it?
In 1952 an archaeologist found a copper scroll near a cave in Khirbet, Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea. Unlike the other Dead Sea Scrolls that were discovered in eleven caves near Khirbet, which were all made of parchment or papyrus, this scroll was made of copper mixed with a little tin. Although the Dead Sea Scrolls comprise fragments of extra-biblical and early Jewish writings, the Copper Scroll by way of contrast features, in Hebrew, a list of locations at which sacred artefacts and treasures are meant to be buried or hidden. Dating from circa 50-100 AD, the Copper Scroll contains an inventory of items that were taken from the Temple before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar. These items have not been seen or accounted for since. Among other things, the Copper Scroll claims that the ‘Tabernacle of the Lord’ was hidden in a desolate valley – 40 stones deep under a hill on its east side. This has led many to speculate that the Jewish sect who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls (most probably the Essenes) buried the Ark in the Jordan desert before they were overpowered or they hid it in a carved-out secret chamber ‘40 stones’ under Temple Mount. Hence, although the Templars had no knowledge of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were not discovered until 1947, they may still have been trying to locate the Ark of the Covenant under Temple Mount based on other documentary evidence that may have come into their possession. An international team during the mid-20th century investigated the Dead Sea Scrolls and searched every site listed on the Copper Scroll but found nothing relating to the Temple or any biblical artefacts. However, they did find further evidence of the Templar presence in the 12th century, which gave rise to speculation that the Templars were looking for certain things and that they knew where to look.
The Prophet Jeremiah
The prophet Jeremiah will prove to be a key figure in our quest. Laurence Gardner has pointed out in his book ‘The Lost Word’ that according to French Masonic lore stemming from the Middle Ages, the treasure the Knights Templar found in the Holy Land was the specific responsibility of the Templar Grand Knights of Saint Andrew, instituted by King Baudoin II of Jerusalem in 1118. Apparently these elite Knights were called the Guardian Princes of the Royal Secret. Gardner then claims that according to ancient Scottish tradition, the Knights of Saint Andrew were the inheritors of the Samaritan Magi who were therefore the true ancestors of speculative Freemasonry and this history dates back to the Temple Guard of Jerusalem in 586 BC. He further claims that before the Temple was destroyed by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II, the Temple Guard were summoned by the High Priest Hilkiah (who according to Gardner was a priest of the goddess Anath rather than Yahweh or Jehovah). Hilkiah was renowned for finding the Mosaic Book of the Law. The captain of the Guard was the High Priest’s son, Jeremiah now known to us as the Prophet Jeremiah. His task was to secret the Ark of the Covenant and other valuable Temple treasures away from the invading Babylonians.
However, we have also seen that Jeremiah was by ancient Irish tradition supposed to have been the person charged by King Zedekiah, the last King of Israel, with getting his daughter, Tamar Tephi or Scota, to safety, first to Egypt and then to Ireland, although there is no actual biblical authority for this tradition.
As to Jeremiah’s role in hiding the Ark, the Second Book of Maccabees tells us at the beginning of chapter 2 how the records show that it was the prophet Jeremiah who ... prompted by a divine message ... gave orders that the Tent of Meeting and the Ark should go with him. Then he went away to the mountain from the top of which Moses saw God's Promised Land [Mount Nebo in Jordan]. When he reached the mountain, Jeremiah found a cave-dwelling; he carried the Tent, the Ark, and the incense-altar into it, then blocked up the entrance. Here is the actual narrative:
“He came forth to the mountain where Moses went up and saw the inheritance of God. And when Jeremiah came thither he found a hollow cave and he carried in thither the Tabernacle and the Ark and the altar of incense, and so stopped the door
Some of his companions came to mark out the way, but were unable to find it. When Jeremiah learnt of this he reprimanded them and said:
"The place shall remain unknown until God finally gathers his people together and shows mercy to them. The Lord will bring these things to light again, and the glory of the Lord will appear with the cloud, as it was seen both in the time of Moses and when Solomon prayed that the shrine might be worthily consecrated
Although the Book of Maccabees is accepted as a canonical work by the Catholic Church and by Orthodox Christianity it is considered to be apocryphal by Orthodox Judaism and most Protestant denominations and is not therefore included in the Torah or the Protestant Bible. Apart from this extract from Maccabees, there is also a reference to the Ark in the Old Testament Book of Jeremiah, where the prophet Jeremiah condemns the Jewish people for losing their faith in God and reverting to idolatry. For this reason, he tells them, the Ark will be lost for generations to come and they will no longer have the means to overcome their enemies:
“The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it: neither shall they visit it”.
Finally, there is also some support for Jeremiah’s part in hiding the Ark in the Mishneh Torah, which are 14 books of Jewish religious law compiled between 1170 and 1180 and written by Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (aka Malmonides 1135-1204). It states that the prophet Jeremiah gave instructions to King Josiah that it was imperative for him to remove the Ark of the Covenant from the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Jerusalem. Since Josiah reigned over Jerusalem from 641 BC to 609 BC, this was twenty years before the Babylonians overran the city.
Q: I know that, I'm sorry. Let me ask this: when you mentioned the name 'Moshe' at the time that Roxanne was present, was it this Moshe you were referring to?
It is interesting that the Rabbi’s name is ‘Moshe’ as it reminds me of something the C’s once said to Laura during a session when she enquired about the name:
A: There are so many Moshes, perhaps you should study the Hebrew root.
The Hebrew root of the name ‘Moshe’ is found in the word Mosheh meaning to ‘draw out’, ‘pull out’ or ‘rescue’. Hence, it is curious that we should be considering what a celebrated Jewish Rabbi called Moshe had to say about the hiding of the Ark of the Covenant, particularly if it was eventually found by the Knights Templar who in recovering it had to draw it out or pull it out of a hidden chamber in order to rescue it nearly 1800 years later. Were the C’s giving us an important clue here perhaps?
The Mountain of God
The mountain in question where Moses went up and saw the inheritance of God appears to have been Mount Sinai but the only problem is that the exact location of this holy mountain of God has been forgotten over time. This issue was the key one that vexed the English writer Graham Phillips
in his book ‘The Templars and the Ark of the Covenant
’ written in 2004. I have previously mentioned in an earlier post another one of Phillips books ‘Act of God
’ in which he linked the Exodus and the biblical plagues of Egypt to the date of the eruption of Thera (the modern day Island of Santorini), which he set in the reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten. Hence, he is one of the few authors who concur with the C’s on this point. I could not remember which Egyptian prince he had identified Moses with. However, he usefully repeated some of what he had said about this matter in Act of God
and I can now confirm that he identified Moses with Prince Tuthmose
, the older brother of Akhenaten. If he is correct in his analysis, this would make Tuthmose also Abraham according to the C’s. This places an amazing spin on Abraham being Paris, a prince of Troy according to Homer’s Iliad. However, we are not concerned with this issue insofar as the finding of the Ark of the Covenant is concerned and I am therefore content to leave this matter for further discussion when returning to the subject of who Abraham/Moses really was.
I am going to relate the incredible story that Phillips sets out in his book ‘The Templars and the Ark of the Covenant‘
, since it involves a real life treasure hunt on his part that yielded genuine treasure in the shape of some unusual artefacts that he and his friends discovered in England that may well be linked to the Ark of the Covenant. However, Phillips very usefully sets out a truncated version of this book on his website, so you are welcome to read it for yourself at your leisure at this link The Ark of the Covenant 1
. The accompanying photographs included with his article will prove useful when looking at his evidence for the location of the Mountain of God, which most biblical experts take to be Mount Sinai.
In modern times biblical scholars have fiercely debated Mount Sinai’s true location, and to this day it remains one of the Bible’s most contested mysteries. Phillips points out in his book though that the ‘Mountain of God’ is referred to by two different names in the Old Testament: Mount Sinai
and Mount Horeb
, or simply Horeb. However, the Bible leaves no doubt that these were both the same mountain. The holy laws that God is said to have revealed to the Israelites at the Mountain of God are referred to in the Bible as ‘the Covenant
’. When the book of Deuteronomy talks of the Covenant it refers to Horeb. For example:
“God made a covenant with us in Horeb
” (Deut 5:2)
“And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God
” (1 Kings 19:8 concerning the Prophet Elijah)
Mount Sinai merely refers to a mountain in the Sinai Wilderness while in Hebrew the word ‘horeb’ simply means “mountain in the desert”, “hor” meaning “mount” and “choreb” meaning a dry or desert place. Hence, neither Mount Sinai nor Mount Horeb refers to a specific site. Today there is an area called Sinai, an area of land in Egypt, east of the Red Sea and the Suez Canal. However, in biblical times the Sinai Wilderness also included what are now southern Jordan and Israel, and part of north-western Saudi Arabia.
Through dutiful research into the biblical texts and, in particular, by using the biblical narrative relating to the famous story of Moses miraculously causing a torrent of water to gush forth to quench the children of Israel’s thirst, Phillips was able to pin down the mountain’s location to the Land of Edom. According to the book of Exodus, when the Israelites first arrived in the Valley of Edom, God commanded Moses to use his sacred staff to create a miraculous spring:
“Behold I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it
”. (Exodus 17:6)
Edom was a small kingdom in the northwest of the Sinai Wilderness that was inhabited by a Semite people known as the Edomites from around 1700 BC. After poring over ancient maps, Phillips noticed a mountain range in southwest Jordan running through what was once the Land of Edom but is today called the Shara Range. It has been determined by archaeologists that the Edomites had migrated south from Canaan at the same time other Semitic groups (including the Israelites) had settled in Egypt. The Edomites would therefore appear to have been closely related to the Israelites and this would seem to be reflected in the Old Testament story of Jacob and Esau. After Jacob tricked his brother Esau out of his inheritance, Jacob and his family was supposed to have migrated eastwards to Egypt where his descendants became the Israelites, whereas Esau was supposed to have moved south from Canaan into Edom where his descendants became the Edomites. DNA tests on Edomite and Israelite skeletons have shown that they did in fact share a common ancestry. Phillips recognises that the story may have been allegorical and we, of course, have been told by the C’s that the biblical patriarch Jacob was in fact just another guise for Abraham/Moses.
However, Phillips also noted in the Genesis account of Esau settling in the land of Edom a passage which made reference to a specific mountain around which the Edomites lived called Mount Seir:
“Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir … And these are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in mount Seir.
” (Genesis 36: 8-9).
Mount Seir is mentioned a number of times in the Old Testament and, like Mount Sinai, it is considered to be a holy mountain associated with God. God is said to have resided on Mount Sinai and there are repeated references in the Old Testament to God also residing in Seir. The prophet Isaiah, for instance, tells us that when God speaks to him, “He calleth to me out of Seir” (Isaiah 21:11). The prophet Ezekiel, for example, tells his followers to “set thy face against mount Seir” (Ezekiel 35:2). One particular passage leaves us with little doubt that God was thought to reside here and that Mount Sinai is somewhere in the Seir Range. In the Book of Judges 5:4-5, the prophetess Deborah prays to God:
“Lord, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water. The mountains melted from before the Lord, even that Sinai from before the Lord God of Israel.
The Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy 33:2 is even more specific. When Moses is dying he calls upon God to bless the children of Israel: “the Lord came from Sinai and rose up from Seir unto them”. Not only is this evidence that God was thought to reside in Seir but that Mount Seir is in fact another name for Mount Sinai.
The Valley of Edom
The Edomite temple located on the summit of Jebel Madhbah – the Mountain of the Altar. This may have been the place where the Bible says Moses communed with God and received the Ten Commandments.
For further images of Mount Horeb and the ancient temple on its summit see The Mountain of God.
The Edom Valley is around half a mile wide and three miles long. Although the entire Negev Desert was known as the land of Edom, at the time of the ancient Israelites, the Kingdom of Edom was a tiny realm centred on this fertile vale. In ancient times an important trading route ran through the Valley of Edom from east to west connecting Egypt and Africa with the Arab world and the East and the Edomites who controlled it prospered from the tariffs they charged. Phillips points out that if the Israelites had come from the southern Sinai Wilderness, then they would have arrived at the border of the Edomite Kingdom at a gorge that is today known as the Siq al Barid
(the Arabic for “cold canyon”), which is called Siq for short.
The Valley of Edom is today called Wadi Musa
, which in Arabic means the “valley of Moses
”. It was so named because the local Bedouin of the Shara Range believed that it was here that Moses brought forth the miraculous spring in the Old Testament story. In fact they had built a shrine to identify the exact site at the foot of the mountain where they thought the incident had occurred near the entrance of the Siq. They called it Ain Musa
– the Spring of Moses. Phillips conjectured that if this spring had really been the one Moses had brought forth from a rock “in Horeb”, then presumably the mountain rising above it was Mount Horeb itself or Mount Sinai. He learned again that the local Bedouin had long considered the mountain to be a sacred place and called it Jebel Madhbah
– Mountain of the Altar - as there was an ancient shrine on its summit that dated back well over 3,000 years (radio carbon dating places it at 1500 BC). Phillips subsequently took a ride through the Siq, the long winding gorge, and in doing so made a monumental discovery for when the gorge finally opened out he immediately recognised the ruins of the City of Petra
, the place Steven Spielberg had used as the last repository of the Holy Grail in his movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade*
. The irony of this point will soon become clear.
* Interestingly, Spielberg had met with Lincoln, Baigent and Leigh (the authors of the Holy Blood and the Holy Grail) in Paris for discussions before shooting Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
However, before moving on to the Knights Templars’ discovery of the Holy Grail, I must point out something that the Cassiopaeans had said about Abraham/Moses and the Israelites concerning their forty years of wandering in the desert. When Laura had asked what they had been doing during this time, the C’s replied they had been Bedouins. Hence, one must ask if it is possible that Abraham’s link with the Bedouins could explain why the local Bedouins of the Shara Range to this day retain the tradition of Ain Musa being the Spring of Moses and Jebel Madhbah – the Mountain of the Altar - being a sacred place where Moses met with God.
The Knights Templar and the Forgotten Cave
The most striking building in the City of Petra is the structure hewn out of the bedrock called the Treasury or ‘Al Khazneh’ in Arabic. Old as this building may be, it was not there when the Edomites occupied the Valley of Edom in Old Testament times. It was built by the Nabateans who moved into the valley in the 4th century BC and replaced the Edomites as the principal occupants of the valley. The City of Petra was constructed by the Nabateans in accordance with Greco-Roman designs and became one of the most important cities in the Middle East where it dominated the ancient trade route between the Mediterranean lands and the Near East and Asia until the Romans ended its independence in AD 106. Whilst visiting Petra, Graham Phillips discussed with his Arab guide the reason why the Treasury had got its name. He discovered that it was due to the legend of hidden treasure being found there. Apparently, in the 12th century, European Crusaders had found jewels and artefacts of pure gold hidden in a nearby cave. Phillips subsequently met up with an Australian historian, Jonathan (Jack) Warren, who was working on a Ph.D thesis on the history of Petra who confirmed there was no contemporary record of the Crusaders’ purported find of treasure and the oldest historical references to it dated back to the early 19th century. Apparently, the story had been told to a Swiss explorer, Johannes Burckhardt, who was the first westerner to have visited the ruined City of Petra since the Crusaders abandoned their forts on the site in 1189. The Crusaders had occupied the valley briefly and had constructed a series of forts but, after they abandoned them, Europeans had completely forgotten about the ancient city until Burckhardt stumbled upon it completely by accident in 1812. It was Burckhardt’s Bedouin guide who had told him about the legend of the treasure found by the European Crusaders, which included jewels and a gold chest.
Q: What was the head worshipped by the Templars that was supposed to have been called "Baphomet?"
The Treasury’s full Arabic name was Khaznat al-Faroun meaning ‘the Treasury of the Pharaoh’. One Bedouin myth had told of the Pharaoh of the Exodus chasing the Israelites to the valley at the time that Moses had made the Ain Musa spring. We should recall that that the C’s confirmed that Pharaoh Akhenaten had chased after Abraham and his party to recover the Ark of the Covenant but had failed. However, it is clear that the Treasury could not have been built in Edomite times so was there evidence of an earlier structure at the site? Phillips learned from Jack Warren that an excavation of the site organised by the Jordanian Ministry of Antiquities in the early 1980’s had found that the valley floor at the time when the Treasury was constructed over 2,000 years ago had been much lower than it is today. The archaeologists had then excavated down into the flood debris in front of the Treasury until they reached the level where the valley floor had been at the time of the earliest Edomite occupation of the area, as determined by radiocarbon dating of animal bones found in the rubble. At this level, the archaeologists found evidence of a much earlier chamber cut into the rock to a depth of about 20 feet directly below the present entrance to the Treasury. It turned out to be a passageway about four feet wide and five feet high, leading to a plain chamber measuring approximately ten feet square and seven feet high. Warren ventured that it might have been an Edomite tomb as the entrance was partially sealed by purposely placed boulders. However, it appeared to have been robbed centuries ago as there was nothing found inside.
Phillips subsequently learned that the Crusaders who had briefly occupied the Valley of Edom and the City of Petra in the 1180’s had been the Knights Templar and it must have been they who were credited with finding the lost treasure. This leads me to recall what the C’s said in the Session dated 20 June 1998:
A: Seer of the passage.
Q: What does that mean?
A: Remember, secrets of Knights Templar were kept in caves guided by eternally burning lamps.
Moreover at this time the commander of the Edom Valley Templars was the English Knight, Ralph de Sudeley. According to an Arab chronicler Numairi, who wrote around AD 1300, in the 1180s the knights discovered a sealed cave at Jebel Madhbah where they found "treasures of pure gold, precious stones and a golden chest". There was no specific reference to the Ark of the Covenant, but the knight did claim that these were holy relics that had belonged to the ancient Israelites. Numairi described the chest as being made from panelled gold with two winged figures on the lid, which he described as being similar to ancient statues that still survived in his native Egypt. Unfortunately, he did not give the dimensions of the chest, which may have been any size. However, Numairi’s description of the chest does bear a striking resemblance to the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat. Phillips had by this time exhausted his resources in Israel so he returned to England to delve deeper into the history of the Templar commander at Jebel Madhbah, Ralph de Sudeley.
Ralph de Sudeley and the Templars of Herdewyke
The Herdewyke Treasure
Ralph de Sudeley, the leader of the Templars who apparently found the treasure at Petra in the 1180s, was an English knight who joined the Templars at their Jerusalem garrison in the Holy Land in 1182. Although he came from a reasonably wealthy family, as a younger son he did not stand to inherit his father’s estate. However, in 1189 he returned to his home at Herdewyke (now called Temple Herdewyke
) in the county of Warwickshire in central England, only ten miles from what would later be Shakespeare’s birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon, an extremely wealthy man.
On his arrival home, de Sudeley immediately bought a large estate in the area and founded a Templar preceptory to train new recruits for a fresh Crusade planned by King Richard I of England, which was to commence in 1190. He built a lavish manor house on the estate, married and settled down to raise a family. During this period, there was no such thing as a full-time, professional army in England, and in wartime troops were supplied by landlords (earls and barons) who raised the required number of men from among their tenants. Most of these were sent into battle with little or no training. The exception, however, could be found in warrior orders such as the Knights Templar. A Templar preceptory was a strange cross between a military base and a monastery. While they were there, the monks lived a monastic life in one part of the camp, while the military laymen lived in traditional barracks in another part of the base. From the records that survive, it is clear that the Herdewyke preceptory was a huge establishment, housing around a thousand men. To feed, shelter, equip and train such a large body of men would have cost a fortune. This is proof positive that De Sudeley was clearly by now an exceedingly rich man even though only a decade before, when he had set off to join the Crusades, he had been a man of modest means. Phillips points out that he could have made his wealth from plundering the Arabs or from charging a levy on the merchants who travelled through the Valley of Edom, since he was the commander of the small Templar garrison at Jebel Habis
(a Templar fort located on a small rocky mesa that overlooked the ruined city of Petra) that controlled the valley. However, Phillips suggests there was an alternative explanation, which would go some way towards accounting for his sudden and mysterious wealth – holy relics – which were big business at that time (MJF: I wouldn’t rule out alchemy either since the Templars seemed to possess the knowledge of this arcane science).
The local Feet of Fines
, contemporary records of land and property holdings, show that de Sudeley’s preceptory possessed expensive holy relics
brought back from the Middle East. An entry for the year 1192 included mention of certain objets sacrés -
"sacred artifacts" - that were housed in the chapel of the Herdewyke preceptory. As official documents in the twelfth century were frequently written in French, the term objets sacrés was the usual way of describing holy relics returned from the Crusades, often precious objects thought to have been associated with the Bible. Phillips points out that from the 1600’s there did survive record of a local tradition that held that the Herdewyke Templars had hidden some kind of treasure when they were forced to disband in the 14th century (indeed the legend would draw the famous Elizabethan explorer Sir Walter Raleigh to the estate in the year 1600 in search of the Templar treasure – see more on this below). Unfortunately, no specific details are given of these relics in the contemporary records other than the fact that pilgrims donated large sums of money to the preceptory when they visited the chapel to see these items. Nevertheless, the chances are that these could well have been some of the same items discovered in the cave at Jebel Madhbah. The question is - what happened to them?
Upon Ralph de Sudeley’s death, the Herdewyke preceptory had been bequeathed to the Templar order and they were still in residence at the time of King Edward II’s purge of the English Templars in 1322. In England, King Edward II (the son-in-law of King Phillip IV of France) had fallen out with the Pope and had allowed the order to continue, particularly as he enjoyed their financial support. However, in 1322, when the Templars had refused to continue financing the king, he ordered them to be arrested and their property seized. Accordingly, the Herdewyke Templars’ possessions were seized by the Crown – or at least some of them were.
According to the Warwickshire historian William Dugdale
, who wrote in 1656, the Elizabethan explorer Sir Walter Raleigh
visited Herdewyke in 1600 and was told a story about the Templars hiding treasure in the area. For some reason or other, Raleigh took it seriously and spent months looking for treasure. He persuaded his wealthy wife (Elizabeth Throckmorton, Maid of Honour to Queen Elizabeth I) to buy the Herdewyke estate and had a gang of men excavate the ruins of the Templar preceptory. Apparently, nothing was found. Nevertheless, could this legendary treasure have been the same relics that had once been housed in the Herdewyke chapel in Ralph de Sudeley’s time?
The Herdewyke estate had encompassed about nine square miles and included both a region of low-lying land now called Temple Herdewyke after the Templars who were once there, and an area of high land rising to over a thousand feet to the immediate southeast of it called the Burton Dassett Hills
. Temple Herdewyke and the Burton Dassett Hills are now sparsely populated with a couple of tiny villages and a few small farms. Nothing remains of the medieval barracks or monastic buildings but, remarkably, the shell of the preceptory chapel still survives and the country lane that leads up into the Burton Dassett Hills from the northwest runs right past it. When Phillips first visited the chapel ruin it was being used as a cowshed but it has now been renovated into a country house.
Phillips soon concluded that it was most unlikely that any of the Templars' sacred possessions had been hidden around or beneath the chapel. Not only was the entire area thoroughly dug by Raleigh’s men but it has more recently been excavated by archaeologists who have found nothing to indicate that anything was hidden here. Moreover, in the last couple of years extensive digging has occurred for the foundations of the modern house. There was, however, another possibility. The relics could have been hidden in another church that the Templars had built nearby
In 1327, five years after they had been outlawed and thrown from their land by Edward II, the Herdewyke Templars helped depose the king by aiding his queen, Isabella of France*
, who placed her young son Edward III on the throne as puppet king. In gratitude, the queen granted these Templars amnesty although their lands were not returned. As their preceptory was now in the possession of rival landowners, the Templars raised the money to build a new church in the village of Burton Dassett
, one-and-a-half miles to the southeast, up on the Burton Dassett Hills. By this time purely a religious order (the Knights Templar had long ceased to be a military organization), the men required the church for their devotions. Sadly, these peaceful Templars did not survive long. In 1350, they and the entire Burton Dassett community were killed off by the Black Death.
This is the same Queen Isabella who supposedly gave birth in 1325 to Laura’s ancestor, Willielmo Knyght de Bradley
(William Alfred Knight), her illegitimate love child by Roger De Mortimer (the Earl of March) who had been imprisoned in the Tower of London at the time and was subsequently executed. Apparently, the child was smuggled out of the Tower of London after his birth by the Bishop of Worcester. He was fostered by a family in Worcester and undoubtedly never told of his parentage. Although most mainstream historians dismiss this tale as fanciful nonsense, the Cassiopaeans did seem to give it credence in the transcripts.
Unlike the ruined chapel at Temple-Herdewyke, the medieval All Saints Church is not only well preserved it is still in use today. It stands on the hillside at the edge of the tiny hamlet of Burton Dassett, after which the upland is named. If the Herdewyke Templars had possessed holy relics that they had managed to keep from the clutches of Edward II, then it would have made sense for them to hide these at the time of the Black Death. It was quite possible that, knowing their end was nigh, the Templars had hidden their precious possessions in the hope of preserving them intact. Indeed, many monastic communities are known to have done just this. A number of hoards of gold and silver vessels have been found by archaeologists over the years, believed to have been hidden by monks threatened by the plague. In fact, in the late 1800s a local antiquarian named Jacob Cove-Jones
, from the village of Loxley in Warwickshire (the same Loxley village that Robin Hood is reputed to be connected with), claimed that the Templars had actually left clues in the church to reveal the whereabouts of the legendary treasure.
Continued in Part 2