Discoveries of the knights templar
R. W. Bro. Rev. Brian Burton
Past Assistant Grand Master, Grand Chaplain of UGL of NSW, AU
PM The Research Lodge of New South Wales #971
Many different theories have been expounded to identify the origins of
Freemasonry. It has been suggested that ancient Egypt and its geometry was the
cradle of masonry; others suggested the Phoenicians in their building of King
Solomon's Temple, or from the Essene community that produced the Dead Sea
Scrolls in the monastery of Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea. Still another
theory concerns the Comachines, or Roman college of architects near Milan,Italy.
A well based assumption is that the learned, scientific societies of England
took over the ideas of the medieval Cathedral masons, and established
But the theory that we want to expound tonight was first introduced by the
Frenchman, Chevalier Ramsey, Grand Orator, when he lectured the Grand Lodge of
France in 1737, when he argued that modern Freemasonry came " not from a
confraternity founded on a system of architecture, but solely from the military
prowess and religious of knighthood." What he was referring to was the Crusader
order of the Knights Templar.
When Jerusalem was captured in the First Crusade, nine knights fought together
under the leadership of Hugh de Payens. They formed a brotherhood or arms, and
made a compact to clear the highways and protect the pilgrims in the mountain
passes. They called themselves the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Jesus Christ. Their
patron was Mary, the Mother of God.
They renounced worldly pleasures, and in the Church of the Resurrection in
Jerusalem, they took vows of chastity,obedience,and poverty. In 1113, they
elected Hugh de Payens as their Grand Master.
In 1118, as a reward for their services, King Baldwin of Jerusalem gave them
possession of the enclosure of the temple on Mount Moriah, on the ruins of
Solomon's Temple, and they then became known as the Knighthood of the Temple of
Solomon. The Mosque on Mount Moriah, built by the Caliph of Omar, was also given
to them, as they had no church of their own. Nearby was the Church of the Holy
Sepulchre, where Jesus' tomb was reputed to be situated. Because of this
association with theTemple, they were then known as the Knights Templar.
For the first nine years of their existence, they appear to have achieved
little. They did not recruit any new members. They lived in poverty. But it was
during this period that they excavated under the foundations of the Temple. In
1894, a team of British Army engineers mapped the vaults under the temple ruins,
and discovered pointed arches with a keystone after the Gothic style, along with
certain Knight Temple artifacts, such as the part of a sword, a spur, a lance
and a small Knight Temple cross.
A year or two ago, that excavation tunnel was re-opened, causing an outburst of
violence between the Muslims and the Jews. Today, visitors can examine that
tunnel, and it has proved so popular that when I was there last year, wanting to
walk along the tunnel, I was informed that there was a three month waiting list
to book your tour.
At the end of nine years, Hugh de Payens went to Rome to have his order
established and recognised, and from that time on, the Knights Templar became
very rich, very suddenly. They established castles and temples all over Europe
and Great Britain. They deposited their wealth in various centres, so that they
became the bankers of Europe, establishing a system of promissory notes which
predates the modern system of bank cheques. They financed kingdoms. They also
did business with the Moslems, and became proficient in Arabic language and
Bernard, the Abbot of Clairvaux, and a Cistercian monk who wrote many beautiful
hymns that we still use today, was engaged to draw up the constitution of the
order. The Council of Troyes in 1128 approved the 72 chapters of the Code
prepared by Bernard. The knights were to wear white, and their servants black.
They were not to wear any jewellery. They were not to write or receive any
letters. Any gift was to be handed over to the Master. Hawking was prohibited,
but lion hunting was permitted. No brother was to kiss a female, even a mother
or a sister.
In 1952, among the Dead Sea Scrolls found in the caves near Qumran, there was
discovered a copper scroll, made up from sheets of thin copper riveted together,
and with Hebrew writing pressed into the copper with a stylus. There was great
difficulty in unrolling the copper sheets without destroying them, but
eventually, Manchester University devised a method of cutting them into strips
so that they could be read.
The scrolls referred to another leather scroll deposited under the ruins of the
Temple, that carried the same information. Reference was made to a pit beneath
the altar of the Temple, which was capped with a marble block with a metal ring.
The scroll lists gold, silver, and precious objects along with 24 scrolls hidden
within the Temple, along with directions for finding 61 different hiding places.
Apparently these objects were hidden when the Roman general Titus invaded and
destroyed Jerusalem in 73 AD.
In the copper scroll, there are listed 65 tons of silver and 26 tons of gold. It
could be that the Knights Templar found these treasures, and that they were the
source of their great riches.
But there is another, and I think more interesting, suggestion. In excavating
under the Temple ruins, the Templars were able to discover the secret geometry
of the Gothic Arch. Prior to that discovery, large churches and cathedrals were
built in the Romantic style, which required the use of very thick pillars
supporting rounded arches, following on the design of the Roman bridges. The
pressure of the roof structure was forced downwards, requiring the use of the
thick broad pillars that looked so ugly.
The Gothic design spread the load in a different way by alleviating the weight
of the walls and requiring only very slender pillars to support the arch,
sending the weight outwards rather than downwards, and thus producing a much
more pleasing structure.
The timetable of cathedral building supports this view. Hugh de Payens went back
to Rome in 1127. The first Gothic church was the Abbey of St Denis consecrated
in 1140. The great cathedrals of Europe followed quickly - Notre Dame with its
flying buttresses in 1163. Bourges Cathedral was begun in 1190. Chartres was
commenced in 1170, Rheims in 1212, and Amiens in 1220. It was this Gothic style
of architecture that so interested Christopher Wren and the members of the Royal
Society that formed the first Grand Lodge of London in1720, and devoted itself
to the study of the new Gothic style of building. Perhaps it was this Gothic
design that brought such great wealth to the Knights Templar.
In the years that followed, the Templars became a significant fighting force in
the Crusades, with a reputation for fierceness. They fought under their black
and white banner called by them Beausant. They had tremendous battles against
Saladin and his Saracen forces. Finally, the Templars were besieged at Acre in
the year 1291. During the siege, the Templar fleet fled to Cyprus, apparently
taking their great treasures with them. There they set up their headquarters,
with Jacques de Molay as their Grand Master. In that same year, Philip IV came
to the throne of France. He had an argument with the Pope, Boniface, who was
supported by the Templars. The King was in financial trouble, and he had his eye
on Templar wealth.
Boniface was poisoned, probably with the connivance of Philip, so Philip
appointed a French Pope who centered himself at Lyons and became Clement V.
Clement invited de Molay to bring the Templars to France for consultation. The
Templars brought their treasures with them.
The King prepared secret letters to all bailiffs in France, with instructions
that on a given day, all Knights Templar in their districts were to be arrested
Someone must have given a warning, because many of the Knights escaped out of
the country. One account says that 18 galleys of the Templar fleet sailed from
La Rochelle, and were never discovered again.
On the designated day, Friday, 13th October, 1307, surprise arrests were made
all over France, and all Templar property was seized.
The Knights were examined by the Inquisition, and torture was freely used. They
were offered pardon if they confessed to the crimes, and death if they refused
to admit their practices. Most of the Templars denied their accusations, and
died under torture. Some, under the pain of torture, confessed. At one stage,
some 900 knights were in the Paris prisons. De Molay was kept in prison for the
next five years and then executed.
The Pope disbanded the order, their wealth and possessions were seized. The
inquisition then was organised by the Dominicans, while the Templars came from
amongst the Cistercians. Revenge was a bit bizarre. The Order was not destroyed.
It survived in European countries, and also in Britain. Soon, the Pope was to
die from eating too many figs. The King died a few months later, paralytic after
falling from a horse. Many of those who took part in the tortures died from
hanging or stabbing.
One of the charges laid against the Templars was that they worshipped some sort
of bearded head, that was called Baphomet. It was suggested that it was the
decapitated head of John the Baptist, or an image of Mohammed, the founder of
About 500 years later, a failed Roman Catholic priest, writing under the
pseudonym of Eliphas Levi, wrote a lot about Baphomet, supposedly worshipped by
the Templars. He claimed that if you reversed the letters of the word, you
produced "Tem Oph Ab", which was thought by him to be a reference to King
The idea was later taken up by the American Leo Taxil, when he perpetrated a
hoax on the Masonic writer, Albert Pike. He depicted Baphomet as a man's demonic
body with the head of a goat, and this hoax probably introduced the idea of the
goat into Freemasonry.
It was only with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls that we re-discovered the
ancient Jewish code called the Atbash cipher. This involved taking the first
letter of the alphabet, and substituting for it the last letter - taking the
second letter, and using the second last, and so on.
In the Hebrew alphabet, the second letter Beth equates in the Atbash cipher with
the second last letter - Shin, or S. Ph equates with the same letter, and the M
equates with I, and the T , or Tau, the last letter, with the first letter A.
Thus by using this cipher, Baphomet becomes the Greek word Sophia, which means
Wisdom. What the Templars were worshipping was the search for Wisdom, or Truth,
and not some goat headed monster.
But what happened to the Templar fleet, and where did their treasures end up ?
Where did they go after leaving La Rochelle ? One theory suggests that they
traveled to Scotland, where a little over 7 miles from Edinburgh, stands the
chapel of Rosslyn, the traditional home of the Sinclairs. This chapel has long
been associated with the Knights Templar, and it is thought that from Rosslyn
Chapel came the Scottish Order of Freemasonry, which is older than the Grand
Lodge of England.
But let's go back a bit for a while to pick up another thread of history. The
Phoenician race originated in Asia Minor, and produced the Dionysian mystery, in
which a widow's son was murdered, and has certain similarities to the Hiram
Abiff legend. This race came to settle in Tyre on the coast of Palestine, which
became a great trade city, because the Phoenicians were a sea-faring race. They
were also great builders,and it is for this reason that when Solomon wanted to
built his Temple, he engaged Hiram, King of Tyre, to provide the workmen. In the
gulf of Aquaba, there is today a city called Eilat, which is famous for its
production of Malachite stone, which is an ore of copper. It was there that
Solomon had his mines, that produced the metal for making the brass furniture
for the Temple, and for the two pillars, which were cast in a blast furnace not
far from Eilat.
Eilat was also a sea port, and the Phoenicians used the Cedars from Lebanon to
build boats there, that explored the African continent. In fact, the Greek
historian Herodotus suggests that the Phoenicians circumnavigated the African
continent, because he records that they sailed around Africa with the North Star
always on the starboard side - so they went from Eilat down past the country of
the Queen of Sheba, around the Cape of Good Hope, and back up to the straits of
Gibraltar and into the Mediterranean.
In fact, there were many more sea explorations taking place than we have ever
been taught in school. We have heard about Columbus sailing out into the unknown
in 1492, and landing eventually on the islands of the West Indies, and this
enabled the Church of Rome to extend its tentacles into the New World. We have
also heard about Giovanni Caboto, the Italian, sailing from Bristol in 1497 and
claiming the New World for the Hanovarians.
But we have never heard of the voyages of Henry Sinclair, from Rosslyn Chapel,
because Sinclair was a Knight Templar, and his story has been suppressed because
the Templars were anathema to Rome. But to understand Sinclair, we have to go
back to the Zeno brothers from Venice.
Venice had long been a significant maritime power in the Mediterranean,
controlled by the Doge and the Council of Ten. They withstood the power of Rome,
the threat of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and the ambitions of Napoleon. Now
the Venetian coat of arms bears the Cross-Pattee of the Knights Templar, and the
connection would appear to be with the two navigator brothers, Nicolo and
Antonio Zeno. They logged their travels with Henry Sinclair, and they were only
discovered recently among the family archives. They traveled with Sinclair
between the years of 1390 to 1404. Their map was most accurate, identifying two
cities in Nova Scotia. This map appears to have been based on a much older chart
drawn by the Knights Templar in the Middle East, and secretly carried by them
for safekeeping in Rosslyn Castle.
Sinclair was born in 1345 and raised at Rosslyn Castle. He carried many titles,
including Prince of Orkney, Lord Admiral of Scotland and Premier Earl of Norway.
At the age of 35, he built a fleet larger than Norway's navy, and hired the
navigators, Nicolo and Antonio Zeno. In 1398, after many delays, he departed for
the New World with 12 ships, up to 600 men,Knights Templar and Cistercian and
farming monks. He sailed across the Atlantic to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia to
claim the territory for Queen Margaret of Norway. Five ships were lost in the
crossing, and the local Indians, the Micmacs, were anxious to defend their
fishing rights. Sinclair wintered there, and explored Massachusetts. The Zeno's
and some of the fleet were sent back to the Orkneys, while the shore party began
to colonize the new land. They included knights, soldiers, carpenters, armorers,
shipwrights, along with Cistercian monks with farming skills.
An old Micmac legend records that Sinclair built himself an island, and planted
trees on it - which is a reference to the boat that Sinclair constructed in
1399. In this, he traveled further down the East Coast. In 1400, Sinclair
returned to the Orkneys, and was murdered by an English raiding party commanded
by Sir Robert Logan. Sinclair's body was returned to Rosslyn, and buried in the
family church of St Matthew, and later when that church was demolished, his body
may have been re-interred under the new Rosslyn Chapel.
Sinclair was known as Glooscap by the Micmac Indians, and while there is no
written record, their legend talked about Sinclair arriving and wintering in
Nova Scotia, and then travelling south to Massachusetts. He taught them the art
of net fishing. Glooscap is still celebrated by the natives each year, and their
ballads sing about " the first and greatest to come into our land, into Nova
Scotia." And there are several relics, claimed to be proof of Sinclair's visit,
which is probably dated around 1398.
On a hillside in Westford, Massachusetts, there is a ledge carrying the carved
outline of a medieval Knight. The Knight holds a broken sword, and his shield
bears the arms of the Gunn family from Caithness , who were related to the
Sinclairs, along with the picture of a ship, a comet, a star and the sun. The
carving is claimed to represent the cousin of Sinclair, Sir James Gunn, who died
climbing nearby Prospect Hill with a party to investigate rising smoke seen in
the distance. A punched-hole effigy outline shows Gunn's cloak of the Knights
Templar, and his sword is dated around 1360.
NEWPORT TOWER, RHODE ISLAND:
This is an octagon tower, similar to churches built in the Orkneys, with eight
arches within a round tower.
CASTLE AT THE CROSS:
This is now in ruins, on the top of a hill, 17 miles from Chester, Nova
Scotia.It is believed to have been built by 14th century Norsemen and Scots,
based on designs in the rubble masonry. Items discovered there include a pin,
part of a sword blade, wooden cones, and bits of iron tools. The castle is
thought to have been a guard tower, a main gate with pillars, and a dome. It may
have been a settlement for Sinclair.
Cannons were first used at the Battle of Crecy in 1346. The Zeno's used cannons
in 1381 to win the battle of Chioggia. The Zeno brothers knew how to make these
early types of cannons, and in 1849, one of these cannons was found on the coast
of Cape Breton island, with eight rings around the barrel and a detachable
breech with a handle. It would appear to have been part of Sinclair's fleet.
Similar cannons are found in the Venice Naval Museum, and they were obsolete by
the end of the 14th century. Later cannons were made as a single piece with no
This is one of two islands in a group of 350 where oak trees grow, and it is
believed to have been a navigational aid to find the Castle at the Cross.
MYSTERIOUS MONEY PIT:
There is a deep hole at the centre of Oak Island. It was discovered by two boys
in 1795. Two feet down is a layer of stones. At 10 feet, the first of many oak
platforms was found at 10 foot intervals. In 1802, more log feet were
discovered. In 1849, a company drilled augur holes. At 154 feet, the drill went
through a 5 inch oak platform, then 22 inches of metal scrap, including an
ancient watch chain. Further down were other metal fragments. At 171 feet, an
iron plate appeared. Since then, many treasure hunters have investigated this
hole. Did Sinclair hide Templar treasures in this pit? Was the Holy Grail
deposited in it ?
Sinclair's mission was to explore and establish settlements. There were some
rubblework ruins along the Charles River in Newton, Massachusetts, from which
the Norumbega Tower was reconstructed. While local tradition dates this
structure to the Viking Age, it may be Sinclair's. BOAT STONE - in Westford
Massachusetts's library: This is an oval stone, about 2 feet in diameter, on
which is carved a 14th century ship.
To summarise all this then - the theory is that because of the persecution of
theTemplars in France, a large fleet left La Rochelle and found refuge in
Scotland among the Sinclairs at Rosslyn Castle. From there, they traveled across
the Atlantic to Nova Scotia and Massachusetts and left their marks there. And
all this long before Columbus discovered the West Indies.
But there is even more. In recent years, there have been some expeditions in
Argentina to try to follow through the theory that the Holy Grail, and the
Knights Templar, may have traveled as far south as Patagonia, and settled there
in the Gulf of San Matias, which is on the latitude of 41 degrees south - or
about as far south as we are here.
Some ancient maps, one dated 1846, and another one dated 1865, show the gulf of
St Mathias, with a fort identified in the gulf - the later map indicated that
the fort was in ruins and abandoned.
Here is an ancient document written by an anonymous author in antique French,
titled the Books of the Grail, which tells the story of the voyage of one
Perlesvaus - you might recall that one of the Grail legends is about the search
of one Percival for the Grail. I want to quote some of the book, because it
gives some clues about the Knights Templar:
Perlesvaus sails away so much from the land that he can only see the sea
all around, and the ship sails at a great speed. The ship sailed adrift night
and day as much as God wished it to go, until they arrived at a castle in a
sea island. He asked his sailor what castle it was, and he replied: "I truly
don't know, sir, for we have run so much that I don't recognize the sea or the
stars" This would indicate that the ship had crossed the Equator going south,
and they had lost sight of the North Star, and they only had the unfamiliar
stars of the South Hemisphere to navigate by. It seems as if the castle
mentioned was the fort in the Gulf of St Matthias.
The record goes on:
They approached the castle and heard the sweet sounds of four trumpets up
on the great walls, and the players were all dressed in white. Which could
indicate that the castle was occupied by the Knights Templar. As the ship
anchored above the castle, and the sea went off so that the ship stayed on dry
In that gulf, there is a very large fall in the tide, so that ships are left
stranded at low tide. Not being familiar with the tides, the ship was easily
stranded. The difference between high and low tide in the Gulf measures about
30 feet, and was quite unknown in the Northern Hemisphere.
They stepped out of the ship and got in the castle through the side
overlooking the sea and he sees the most beautiful or clear fountain that
anybody can imagine.
There is a spring there even today with clear flowing water at all seasons.
One of the masters rings a bell three times and the room was filled with
thirty-three men forming a company. They were all wearing white gowns and a
red cross amidst their chests.
This clearly reminds us of the dress of the Knights Templar, and the military
formation and the total absence of women seems to carry the same clues. As they
noticed the entrance to the ditch, the most horrifying and painful screams ever
heard came out of it.
Today the locals there still complain about these strange sounds - they would
appear to be caused by wind whistling along a crevice in the rocks. You will
start your way back when you see the ship with the sail crossed by the red
cross, and found the ship ready to depart and heard the trumpets playing upon
departure as they had played upon arrival. Got aboard the ship and sails were
hoisted. It started drawing away from the land."
Obviously by this, the tide had started to come in, so that the ship was able to
float away on the rising tide. The reference to the ship with the red cross on
its sail is an obvious reference to a Knight Templar vessel.
The other local Patagonian reference is to the Templar Stone discovered near the
Gulf. About 60 miles away from the Fort, a block of dark granite or basalt was
discovered with engravings on one of its faces, showing a bass-relief of a cross
with equal arms. This is an accepted Templar sign, and there were other
scratches on the stone that cannot be deciphered.
Expeditions over the last couple of years in Patagonia have been investigating
these finds, and the hypothesis being formed is this:
In pre-Columbus times, there might have existed series of enclaves in Patagonia,
inhabited by certain Templar or Proto-Templar orders, formed by white people of
Indo-European ethnic origin. These fortified citadels might have been at least
three in number - with one fort-harbour on the Pacific, and another on the
Atlantic both located at the same latitude, approximately 41 south latitude, and
a third in the Andes' foothills, in the central area of Argentine Patagonia and
also located at the same latitude. There is an oral tradition among local
natives that preserves this sort of tradition.
These settlements might have been a depository of the Holy Grail, brought to
that land by an Order that was not in sympathy with the Roman Catholic church.
These settlements seem to have been abandoned when the Spanish conquerors
arrived, with their strong connection with the Catholic church.
Such then is a chronicle of the discoveries of the Knights Templar. There is
much work yet to be done on these artifacts, and some of the conclusions are
being disputed. But it would appear that the sort of history that we have been
familiar with has been heavily censored by the Roman Catholic Church in its
efforts to dominate the world. After all, history has always been used to
justify the one who tells the story, and to silence his opposition. History is
only as good as the ambitions of the one who is telling the story.
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