If some did, then the town that claims to have received them with open arms is Kilwinning on the west coast of Scotland. The SyFy channel – not one of my usual sources – has been airing a new programme called Legend Quest presented by Ashley Cowie. And one of his investigations has been in to whether the Templars did indeed arrive at Kilwinning with the wealth of the Paris Temple – which appears to have been conspicuously empty when King Philip of France turned up to ransack it.
Cowie references a book called Born in Blood that supports this proposition. The author of that tome, John J Robinson believed that while many Templars fled south to Spain and Portugal when the Order was suppressed by the Pope and the French king – most of the Order’s wealth headed north and it was to the monks of Kilwinning Abbey that the Templars found a safe refuge.
That would surely be enough to put Kilwinning on the map – but no! Local historian Jamie Morton says that the Holy Grail was hidden by the monks in a secret chamber under the abbey and it’s also claimed that the stone cross in the main street contains a piece of the True Cross.
And there’s more! Kilwinning is also the site of Heredom. Quite what Heredom is turns out to be a bit of a mystery in itself. Is it a biblical mountain? Is it the Jewish guild of master masons called the Harodim? Or is it, as Cowie claims, a word meaning New Temple. One Masonic claim is that the first lodge was held on the ‘mountain of Heredom’ and it turns out that the freemason lodge in Kilwinning is called Mother Lodge No. 0. Therefore, Kilwinning was the birthplace of freemasonry – as well as having a strong Templar connection.
Cowie is convinced there is a tunnel leading from Kilwinning Abbey to Eglinton Castle and that in the concealed tunnel, he would hope to find the treasure of the Templars and possibly even the Holy Grail. It remains to be seen if he’ll get permission to conduct a dig.