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April 26, 2001
Historic Scotland tells me that the belfry of Temple Kirk, below which is the
inscribed stone, was built in, as I recall, the 17th century. But according to
my research it is entirely unclear whether it was built or simply REbuilt,
using existing materials. HS also says that the stone is probably what they
call a "found stone," used because it fit the job at hand. HS also says that
the inscription is probably incomplete. Next time you go there, take a look.
Try to feel whether or not a builder would put an inscription in such a
prominent place, having no idea as to the message the inscription held, and on
a church at that, when the inscription could have just as easily been turned to
the inside with no one being any the wiser.
If it WAS a "found stone," I propose that it would have probably been "found"
nearby (perhaps from the original Templar headquarters).
When the Templar order was dissolved in 1307, it's thought that several
shiploads of knights managed to escape and sailed away to Scotland.
Ballantrodoch, as Temple was then called, then passed into the hands of the
Knights Hospitaller, who are thought to have acccepted the fugitive knights
into their ranks for safety's sake, but it is also thought that the order
continued to have its own autonomy within that group. At the Reformation,
ownership of Temple reverted to the crown before being "purchased" by the
Dundas "of Arniston" in the late 1500s, in whose hands it remained until it was
acquired, in some fashion or another, by the Midlothian Council. It is still
owned by Midlothian Council, and is under the stewardship of Historic Scotland
since 1971, the same year a number of other Templar properties (including at
least part of the Roslin Chapel complex) were either purchased or acquired (or
an understanding was reached about). I am unclear about this until I check my
Parts of the Kirk at Temple are very old, others less so. No clear record has
been made, just architectural observations--so it's all still very much up in
the air. In the last 20 years there has been some restoration work done by
James Simpson, an eminent Scottish architect who has done quite a bit of work
for Historic Scotland. Two of his projects are the current restoration work
done on Roslin Chapel, and the work done on Edinburgh's Magdalene Chapel.
James is aware of my research, and has expressed some interest in it, but he
has also expressed some skepticism about the antiquity of the stone. I have
only this to say: Let's find out ...
If you get into Edinburgh, I'm sure you'll find the May issue of Fortean Times
in any of the larger book/magazine stores. It's supposed to be on sale now.
PS: There's a Dundas graveslab inside the roofless kirk, in the northeast
corner. Compare the carving on it with the Templar graveslab in Roslin.
Laurence Gardner, author of "Bloodline of the Holy Grail," would call it a
Grail Stone, as would Andrew Sinclair, author of another book on the subject.
It's my opinion that Temple was in the hands of the Templars for much, much
longer than the historians would like us to believe.
Duguid John wrote:
> Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001 21:01:12 -0400
> Hi Jeff i caught your e-mail to the Sinclair List and was intrigued by it. I
> have visited Temple a number of times and have never noticed the inscription
> you mention. I am sure that the old church was built much later than the
> dissolution of the Templar order 1307. therefore are you saying that you
> think there was some continuation of the Templar order in Scotland after
> this date. The information I have seen states that nothing now remains of
> the original HQ at Balantrodoch save some foundations discovered in the
> locality in the 1890's.
> Anyway I'm looking forward to reading your article when it becomes
> available, although I've yet to see a copy of the Fortean times being sold
[ Excess quotations omitted. ]
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