In recent years, I’ve appeared on several TV documentary series asked to discuss whether the Knights Templar got to Scotland with the Holy Grail. The idea being that they fled France in 1307 with their treasure, escaping the arrest warrants put out by King Philip and sailed up to Scotland. There, they were protected by local nobility and possibly sailed on to the New World.
So runs the theory in differing forms. Evidence of course is a bit thin. But then that’s why it’s a mystery!
I’ve just released a new edition of Templar Knight TV covering my travels to Rosslyn chapel, the ruins of Kilwinning Abbey and Abercorn church. I also spent time in the Scottish capital Edinburgh and visited the medieval cathedral of Saint Giles. That cathedral was once run by the Order of Saint Lazarus. They fought alongside the Templars in the Holy Land and had a special responsibility for the care of lepers.
We know for a fact that the Knights Templar did establish a base at Balantrodoch by the river Esk in Midlothian. That is about nine miles away from Rosslyn chapel. They also had a preceptory at Maryculter in Aberdeenshire. The establishment of these Templar bases followed a visit to Scotland by the first Templar grand master, Hugh de Payens. He had been crusading in the Holy Land alongside a local noble by the name of Henri St Clair, First Baron of Rosslyn.
Rosslyn and the Knights Templar in Scotland
You of course know about the alleged links between Rosslyn chapel and the Knights Templar. This is often presented as concrete proof the Templars were in Scotland. And there are claims that the Holy Grail was at one point buried under the nave of the chapel. Down in the sacristy, there are curious marks on the walls that some assert are a sort of map to the New World.
Rosslyn was built by the St Clair – or Sinclair – family decades after the official destruction of the Knights Templar. But the linkage between that aristocratic family and the knights has proven too irresistible to ignore. Depending on your point of view, it’s either been spun out of control or reflects what actually happened.
In a nutshell, the St Clair – or Sinclair – family helped the Knights Templar go undercover in Scotland. The knights then fought alongside the Scots at the Battle of Bannockburn, defeating the English. An act of gratitude one assumes. And then the Templars make their way to America.
That story plus the alleged links to Kilwinning and Abercorn are explored in the video below – watch and enjoy!