In the summer of 2017, I was filmed for a History channel special programme called Buried. I found myself with presenters Mikey Kay and Garth Baldwin in the Portuguese city of Tomar. This is a beautiful and enigmatic place that was once a centre of Knight Templar power. Our objective was to find proof that the Holy Grail or other treasure had been hidden away there centuries ago.
I’d visited Tomar countless times before – something of an annual pilgrimage in fact. My mother’s family is from northern Portugal so I know the country well and its Templar history. Tomar is in the middle of Portugal, in an area that was once a king of no-mans-land between the Islamic ruled south of the country and the crusader Christian north.
The Knights Templar were basically shock troops, the bravest knights who had to hold the line. If a Muslim army surged from the south intent on retaking lost territory, then they would meet the Knights Templar head on. This actually happened at Tomar and the battle between Templars and Moors (Muslims in Iberia) was so intense that the blood ran like a flood. One of the gates to the Templar fortress is still referred to as the Gate of Blood.
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Buried – History channel on the Templar Grail trail
I worked with the producers and research team on Buried for months. A really amazing experience digging into the Portuguese history of the Templars. Mikey and Garth started out in Jerusalem and followed the Templar treasure trail westwards across the Mediterranean and Spain until they reached Tomar. And that’s where I hooked up with them.
The Buried team struggled to get access to the Templar fortress and later convent up on the hill. The problem for the History channel guys was that a previous movie production team – that shall remain nameless – had damaged a piece of masonry – allegedly – during filming. And the authorities were in no mood to let us in.
But as I said to the team – being half-Portuguese – you also have to wrestle with Lusitanian bureaucracy. Days and weeks in advance are not enough to get permission to film in such a location. It takes months!
Buried first aired in 2018 on the History channel and has been broadcast ever since. Try and make sure you catch this Templar epic – it’s a great view!