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Re: Knights Templar suppression

Dear Tim:

Thanks so much for your comments, and the tip about the records in the Loanhead
Museum.  Do you perhaps mean the Loanhead Library, or the Loanhead Local
Strudies Center, both run by the library and the Midlothian Council?  I don't
seem to get a "hit" when I search "Loanhead Museum," but would certainly like
to visit when I am in the area later this year.

Midlothian Council owns the site at Temple -- part of a brief flurry of
purchasing in the early 1970s (I think).  It had the virtue of protecting some
sites (which continues to make the use of public funds palatable), and the vice
of spending those public monies to buy up properties from well-to-do landowners
which had become "white elephants," so to speak -- no rents to collect, no
sheep to shepherd and shear and, often enough, those oh-so-bloody-inconvenient
tombstones.  Not sure if the Temple site was purchased from the Dundas of
Arniston family, but it seems likely.  They acquired the property not too long
after it had passed to the crown not too long after the Reformation -- during
the reign of James VI & I, the "wisest fool in Christendom".

While your overall view appears to be the same as Historic Scotland's, I was
heartened that you feel that "the uncertainty surrounding [the stone] demands
further investigation." HS is not of the same opinion and, I feel, never will
be when the request comes only from me.

The reasons Historic Scotland gave for it's opinion that the inscription may
not be complete are twofold: 1. The bell-rope cut to the left of the
inscription may have erased more of the inscription, and, 2. The inscribed "RI"
around the corner on the north side of the stone.   For a close-up look at the
inscription, anyone who's interested can see it on the second page of my
"Temple Stone" article of my website at http://www.jnisbet.com.

I have a fairly extensive background in typography, and it seems probable to me
that pains have been taken to make the second line of the inscription "justify"
(become the same length as) with the line above it, which seems to indicate
that the VAESAC MIHM lines are complete as shown.  There is enough clear stone
to the left of the inscription, before the disfigurement caused by the
bell-rope cut, to certainly mitigate the possibility that there was any
inscription to the left of the inscription as shown.  The "RI" around the
corner appear to have been added at a later date, in a different hand, and with
less care, and are slanted (which might mean that they were incised with the
stone in place).  The infilling with lead, of course, could only have been
accomplished with the inscription facing up (since you can't pour lead into a
vertical surface).

I would still argue that the positioning of the stone is not as "bizarre" as
you might feel.  Yes, it is easily missed by the casual observer -- perhaps by
design -- and yet it is still prominently displayed in plain-enough sight for
those who take the care to squint their eyes up.  It is also in the NORTHEAST
corner of the base of the belfry -- a position that has no small significance
to freemasons, as many know.  It could, in fact, be considered the
"cornerstone" of the belfry.

All best, and thanks again for the input.  Much appreciated.


PS: A token of my appreciation: I know that Niven is interested in conducting
at least a groundscan of the area.  If it is within the area under the
jurisdiction of Historic Scotland & the Midlothian Council, and when the tedium
of gaining permission comes around, I will give you the name of someone it
might be wise to correspond AROUND, and will also tell you of a couple of areas
on the site where a groundscan might be VERY productive and which, given the
opportunity, it would be a shame to miss.

Tim Wallace-Murphy wrote:

> Re. the phrase used by one of your critics 'it supposes that the inscription
> is complete and that the stone has not been reused from another location; in
> both cases there is room for doubt'. A disppassionate view on that:
> 1) The bizarre location of the stone in a building that was constructed a
> considerable time after the suppression of the Templar Order rather tends to
> indicate that it was simply placed in its present position as reuseable
> stone 'quaried' from a previous building that was most probably nearby,
> possibly at the same site.
> 2) Being reused stone, there can be no degree of certainty whatsoever that
> the inscription is comple. Even if it makes sense as an isolated

[ Excess quotations omitted. ]

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