HISTORIAN Andrew Sinclair is acclaimed as one of the world’s
foremost experts on the story of the Holy Grail. A founding
fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, he has taught and
travelled widely across the world. In his new book, he draws on
years of research to explain the importance of a discovery that
he believes holds the key to the Grail mystery — and much else
besides. It is a story that combines religious heresy, Masonic
secrets, and the bloodthirsty adventures of the Crusades.
WHEN I saw
Paradise, I was standing in a Masonic lodge on an island in the
North Atlantic, 24 miles off the Scottish coast. Before me was a
vast cloth scroll, more than 18ft long and 5ft wide, carrying a
vision of the Garden of Eden so beautiful that I could hardly
believe my eyes.
In faded pastel
colours, a six-pointed sun and a moon with a face surrounded by
seven stars shone down from the sky. Between them was a row of
six mysterious symbols that might be numerals or runes.
In a strip of
ocean under a mountain chain, an eel and a fish cavorted with a
whale and four other varieties of sea creature.
On the ground
were three doves, a swan, a ewe and a ram, a serpent, a maned
lion and other beasts that rang the changes from black cattle to
Behind all these
was a strange hermaphrodite figure, both Adam and Eve at once,
under the shade of a Tree Of Life. Male and female were merged
into one being, in an image far removed from conventional
As I gazed up, I
sensed that I had chanced upon one of the great treasures of the
Middle Ages, perhaps rivalled only by the 13th-century Mappa
Mundi that hangs in Hereford Cathedral. It was a
priceless relic that would demand
the rewriting of medieval history.
For years, the
scroll had lain neglected in a Masonic room at the old town hall
in Kirkwall on the island of Orkney. The Masons had moved it
into their present lodge in the late 19th-century.
It had been in
their hands for so long that they no longer realised its full
importance. Only by enormous good fortune had I, a trained
historian, been invited to examine it while attending a
conference on the island.
My eyes darted
across the vast surface, dazzled by its magical and heretical
images. The biblical golden calf was being worshipped on an
inverted cross. On another cross was a fiery serpent with two
priests bowing down before it.
examination showed that the scroll consisted of a centrepiece
and two side panels. On the central part, beneath the Garden Of
Eden, were dozens of mystic signs and two angels guarding the
Ark Of The Covenant — the casket containing the Ten Commandments
on their tablets of stone.
AT THE sides, in
two strips, were primitive maps of Egypt and Palestine. They
showed the wanderings of Moses and the Twelve Tribes Of Israel,
searching for the Promised Land, and a Christian attack up the
Nile during the Seventh Crusade.
The link to the
Crusades was the vital clue I needed. There was much work still
to be done, but the scroll’s significance was clear.
This was a
message resounding across the centuries from one of the most
fascinating and mysterious military orders ever to bear arms —
the Knights Templars.
It was a message
that conveyed the hidden religious wisdom of an heretical
tradition that has been suppressed by the Church for two
Through this scroll, the Templars
had passed on their knowledge to the Freemasons. The scroll was
a missing link between these two secret brotherhoods.
It was new proof
that the Templars had sought refuge in Britain, carrying their
treasures with them, after fleeing persecution In France at the
start of the 14th-century.
would show how they had played a key role in one of the great
battles of British history, and how their astonishing skills had
enabled sailors from Scotland to cross the Atlantic to North
America nearly a century before Columbus.
The scroll was a
key to all these secrets, and yet it was still more. For I
believe that the scroll is a treasure map, setting out an
ancient code that offers vital clues in the greatest quest that
mankind has ever known — the search for the Holy Grail.
It is a search
that has dominated my life, and which I believe leads to a
chapel in Scotland that is one of the most enigmatic and
extraordinary places on Earth.
HUNTING for the
Holy Grail is rather like hunting for Lewis Carroll’s Snark. It
comes in many shapes, it leaves many trails, and, if you find
it, the only certainty is that it won’t be what you were looking
for. Like the hunters in Carroll’s poem, you’ll discover that
the Snark was a Boojum after all.
The most common
image of the Grail is a chalice or bowl. According to one
tradition, it is the cup from which wine was drunk at the Last
Supper as a symbol of Christ’s blood. Pictures and church
windows across Europe show Joseph of Arimathea using this same
cup to catch the blood of Christ from the cross.
perhaps, Mary Magdalene is shown doing the same thing, using her
long red hair to wipe the gore from Christ’s nailed feet and
squeeze it into a precious casket of her own. The message to us
is clear — there is not one Grail, but many.
Indeed, in the
literature of the Middle Ages, the Grail could be anything from
a green meteorite to a silver platter with a severed head on it.
For some, it was the lance that pierced Christ’s side at the
Crucifixion. For others, it was the lost Ark Of The Covenant.
Two of the most
celebrated Grails were located in Constantinople, now Istanbul.
They were the jewelled receptacles that held the Holy Shroud, in
which Christ’s body had been wrapped after death, and the Veil
Of Saint Veronica, used to wipe the sweat and blood off his face
on the way to Calvary
Constantinople fell to the Crusaders in 1204, these two Grai]s
came into the hands of the Knights Templars. The veil eventually
reached the Vatican, and the shroud — or its copy — ended up in
BUT what became
of their precious cases? And what of the other sacred treasures
accumulated by the Templars who were hailed in medieval
literature as the Guardians Of The Grail?
To find out, we
must look more closely at the order’s bloody and turbulent
The Templars were
founded in 1118 in Jerusalem, two decades after the Holy City
had been wrested from Moslem control during the First Crusade,
amid scenes of massacre and destruction.
accounts of the conquest speak of ‘mounds of heads, hands and
feet’ filling streets that were ankle-deep in gore.
Christian victory, Moslem marauders continued to attack visitors
to the region’s newly liberated shrines. The nine founding
Templars vowed to live the life of armed monks, defending the
faith and protecting pilgrims.
They made their
headquarters at the Dome Of The Rock, the Moslem mosque in
Jerusalem that marks the spot where the prophet Mohammed rose to
heaven, and which is also one of the most sacred sites in the
world for Christianity and Judaism.
It was here that
Abraham came to sacrifice Isaac, here that King David brought
the Ark Of The Covenant and here that David’s son, Solomon,
built his great temple, from which the Knights took their name.
The Temple of
Solomon was the wonder of its age, glittering with precious and
base metals as if forged in the fires of heaven. But it was
destroyed by the soldiers of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon,
and the fate of the fabulous relics it contained has remained a
mystery ever since.
Legend has it
that the founding Templars spent their first years digging
beneath their feet for this lost treasure, including the Ark Of
The Covenant. Among many fantastical allegations is that they
discovered the embalmed head of Christ.
Beguiling as such
stories may be they remain speculation, and the Templars were
soon engaged in far less outlandish activities.
The forces they
built up — at their height numbering about 20,000 knights —
became a vital element in the defence of the Crusader states,
and garrisoned every town of size in the Holy Land.
Clad in their
distinctive uniform of a white surcoat marked with a red. cross,
the Templars were fearless and disciplined fighters. So long as
their black and white banner still flew, no Templar could leave
the field of battle.
Every aspect of
their life was regimented. Long hair was forbidden and beards
were compulsory. Shoes and breeches had to be worn at night so
that the men were ready to fight at a moment’s notice. There was
even a rule dictating the correct way for a Templar to cut
cheese. It was an austere regime, and personal possessions were
outlawed. But military success brought plunder, and the knights
gathered priceless stores of holy relics and other treasures.
They were also
astute businessmen, garnering enormous wealth as a combination
of bankers, diplomats and medieval travel agents, making safe
the major trade and pilgrimage routes across Europe.
donations of land from noble families, the Templars grew into a
multi-national conglomerate. In every country where they
established themselves, they became a state within a state,
their Grand Master a king among kings.
days of glory were numbered. In 1187, less than 100 years after
the Christian conquest, Jerusalem was recaptured for Islam by
the great warrior Saladin. The Templars were ousted from their
succession of new crusades were launched, Jerusalem never came
back into Christian control. With the fall of Acre, their last
stronghold in the Holy Land in 1291, the Knights Templars lost
their main reason for existence.
wealth now made them marked men. The Templars had 9,000 manors
across Europe, none of which paid taxes to any ruler, thanks to
the patronage of the Pope.
Their home at the
Temple in Paris was the centre of the world’s money market, and
Europe’s crowned heads were forced to come to them for loans.
Combined with an
appearance of arrogance and secrecy, such riches could inspire
only envious hatred. The French king, Philip the Fair, plotted
the knights’ destruction.
October 13, 1307— the original Friday the 13th — he planned to
have every one of the 3,000 Templars in his kingdom arrested in
one night. Although many fled to safety, hundreds were arrested
ON THE basis of
confessions drawn from men whose limbs had been stretched on the
rack and whose feet were roasted over fires until the bones fell
out, the Templars were accused of blasphemy and sexual
perversion. Their initiation ceremonies were said to have
involved spitting, stamping or urinating on an image of Christ
on the cross. Homosexuality was said to be rife within the
order, or even compulsory.
The knights were
also said to have worshipped a severed head called Baphomet,
stored within a reliquary of precious metal. Some would claim
the bearded head had three faces and glowed in the dark.
Although such stories reeked of superstition and invention, and
although the confessions of tortured men were worthless and
often later retracted, the truth is that the Templars had indeed
strayed far beyond orthodox Christianity.
and their secret rites, were rooted in Gnosticism —one of the
great heresies of the Christian faith, to which they had been
exposed in the Middle East.
Its name is
derived from the Greek word gnosis, meaning higher knowledge,
and its central tenet is that its adherents can come into direct
and intimate contact with God without the intervention of a
priest or a church.
together threads from astrology, alchemy and the old pagan
faiths that predate Christianity. Its texts include apocryphal
gospels by the apostle Thomas — the doubter said to have poked
his fingers into the wounds of the risen Christ — and Mary
For the Gnostics,
official worship is at best a delusion, at worst the work of
Satan. True understanding can come only through a process of
mystical initiation in which the spiritually elect will achieve
a personal vision of the divine.
This was the
supreme sin of the Templars: to preach the approach to God
through personal inspiration outside the rules of orthodox
religion. Their purported worship of the severed head can best
be understood as a complex piece of Gnostic symbolism — the
worship of the divine mind, the ultimate wisdom, the head of the
But the king of
France was not interested in understanding what the Templars
really believed. He was interested in wiping them out, and the
Pope eventually supported him by ordering the arrest of all
Templars in other territories.
It was in vain
for the order’s elderly Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, to
retract his confessions of heresy when he was brought on to a
scaffold in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris to receive
his sentence in 1314.
‘I confess that I
am indeed guilty of the greatest infamy,’ he said. 'But that
infamy is that I have lied. I have lied in admitting the
disgusting charges against my order.
‘I declare, and I
must declare, that the order is innocent. Its purity and
saintliness have never been defiled. In truth, I have testified
otherwise, but I did so from fear of horrible tortures.’
He was burned
alive at the stake the next day. The power of the Knights
Templars seemed at an end — but as the secret scroll shows, that
was far from true.
Philip’s destruction of the Templars was as efficient as
Hitler’s coup against the Brownshirts, during the Night Of The
Long Knives in 1934, there is no record of him finding their
treasure in Paris, or their secret archives.
suggests that these were removed by ship, using the Templar
fleet based at La Rochelle in Brittany, after senior knights
were tipped off about the purge.
Some of the
refugee Templars took their galleys to Portugal, where they were
reconstituted as the Knights Of Christ.
explorer, Vasco de Gama, was a member of the renamed order, and
Prince Henry the Navigator — who founded the world’s first
school of navigation —was to become a Grand Master.
In other European
countries, the Templars vanished, went underground, or merged
with other orders. In Germany, many joined the ranks of the
Teutonic Knights — later to be one of Hitler’s great
inspirations — as they carved out an empire to the east.
However, most of
the sea-borne Templars made for Scotland, laden with their
sacred relics, treasures and records. According to one French
Masonic tradition, the priceless haul was taken on nine vessels
to the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth.
This is borne out
by Templar tombstones I discovered at Currie, near Edinburgh,
Westkirk, near Culross, and other sites along the Forth. Carved
into the ancient stones were images of swords, crosses, Gratis
and the steps of the Temple of Solomon.
The Templars knew
that they would find a protector in the Scottish king Robert the
Bruce, who had been excommunicated by the Pope and would have no
interest in obeying the order to suppress them.
HE WOULD also
value their martial skills in his struggles against his English
rival, Edward II. Proof of that came in the extraordinary events
of the Battle Of Bannockburn, fought near Stirling Castle on the
Forth, just three months after Jacques de Molay was burned at
Robert the Bruce
was outnumbered by the English army at least three to one, with
6,000 men pitted against 20,000. His worst deficiency lay in
Accounts of the
conflict are sparse and fragmentary. Yet, they testify to two
strange events. Shortly before the battle, Bruce received new
supplies of weapons from unknown sources — much to the fury of
Then, while the
fight was raging and after Bruce had sent his final reserve of
mounted troops into action against the English archers, a fresh
force of horsemen appeared with banners flying and routed the
legend claims that these were camp followers riding ponies and
waving pitchforks, but such a mob could never have put the
English king and 500 of his knights to immediate flight.
suggests that the squadron that struck terror into the English
was made up of exiled Templars.
Each June, on the
battle’s anniversary, modern Scottish Ternplars still pay
tribute to their predecessors who were martyred here in the
struggle for independence.
To show his
gratitude for their role at Bannockburn, the Scottish king drew
the Templars into the ancient guilds that were the forerunners
of today’s Masons. It was a perfect cover to ensure the
Among those who
fought with Bruce were three of my ancestors, the St Clairs of
Rosslyn, a family closely associated with the Templars. One of
them, William de St Clair, would later die with other Scottish
knights in a charge against the Moslems in Spain, while taking
the heart of Bruce for burial in Jerusalem.
His was the first
Templar tombstone I discovered in Scotland. Broken Into three
pieces, it lay ignored in a dark corner of the 15th-century
Rosslyn Chapel, near Edinburgh.
Crouching in the
gloom, I could hardly make out the design of the oblong slab.
But, using flower and vegetable dyes, a rubbing was made that
revealed the tell-tale cup of the Grail and. a medieval
crusading sword. But even more magical than this discovery was
the building in which I had made it. For Rosslyn Chapel lies at
the heart of the Grail mystery — and the story of the secret
THE chapel at
Rosslyn stands in the shadow of an ancient wood, planted on the
Pentland Hills in the shape of a Templar cross. Set in an
otherwise unassuming village, it is perhaps the most
extravagantly ornamented sacred place in Northern Europe.
irregularly shaped, every inch of the chapel’s ancient stones is
encrusted with lavish carvings in which pagan symbols of the
Green Man and representations of the Temple of Solomon jostle
together in one mystic tapestry.
signs and seals are cut into the walls, and the influence of the
Gnostic heresy is everywhere, in designs of such rich profusion
that nobody has succeeded in unravelling them.
One carving calls
to mind the Templar worship of the head of Baphomet — it shows a
bearded face, with horns, peering over the tablets of the word
of God, brought down by Moses from Mount Sinai. Another shows
the head of Christ on the Veil of Saint Veronica.
upside-down angel is shown bound by a rope — a Gnostic image of
Lucifer as the angel of light and intelligence, constrained by
the rope of order.
The chapel was
founded by my ancestor William St Clair, Earl of Orkney, who
employed masons from all over Europe to execute his complex
vision. Its most extraordinary feature of all is its unique roof
— a great barrel-vault of solid stone — in which the Holy Grail
is shown, set amid the stars, pouring forth the waves of God’s
Many have claimed
that Rosslyn is the ultimate hiding place of the Grail. Sir
Walter Scott recorded the legend of 20 knights said to be buried
in full armour in its vaults as if on eternal sentry duty over
some great treasure.
SOME others have
claimed that the Grail is housed inside the barley sugar curves
of the chapel’s curious Apprentice Pillar, entwined with eight
stone serpents. The Nazis were obsessed by the Grail mysteries,
and Rosslyn was inspected by one of their emissaries in 1930.
I was determined
to learn the truth, and my cousin Niven Sinclair obtained
permission to make a groundscan of the building using the latest
radar techniques developed for modern archaeology. What we found
was hugely exciting.
indeed, evidence of hidden vaults. The radar pulses also
detected what appeared to be metal — the armour, perhaps, of the
buried knights. One particularly large signal also suggested the
existence of a metallic shrine. The problem was how to reach the
vaults. The groundscan had shown two stairways leading beneath
set of flagstones was lifted, rubble was cleared and three steep
stone steps were exposed leading to a vault below. I was the
first to squirm into this secret chamber.
It was small,
comprising the space between the foundation of two pillars. It
was arched with stone, but access to the main vaults beyond had
been sealed by a thick wall of masonry.
The soggy wood
from three coffins had been stacked against the blocking wall.
Sifting through the debris, I found human bones and the
fragments of two skulls, two rusty coffin handles, a mason’s
whetstone — and a simple oak bowl.
That is what the
original Grail from the Last Supper would have been — a wooden
platter passed by Jesus Christ in His divine simplicity to His
poor Apostles. But the one I held in my hands had no doubt been
left by the same medieval mason who discarded his whetstone.
We lifted the
slabs to a second staircase, supposing they might lead down to
the shrine, only to discover many feet of earth and sand. This
was a bitter disappointment. We had not realised how deep the
lower vaults lay, and how much infill was packed above them.
called in to force through a narrow hole, down which we would
lower an industrial endoscope — a tiny camera at the end of a
glass fibre tube, as flexible as the head of a striking snake,
which could point at buried objects under the light of a laser
beam. It could operate to a depth of more than 30ft and transmit
colour images to our monitor screen above ground.
As we drilled deeper and deeper
into the centre of the chapel, we struck 3ft of solid stone.
Finally, the drill bit broke through into open space — only to
jam fast. Only after working day and night did we manage to
remove the drill and introduce the protective pipe through which
we could drop the endoscope.
At last, it
seemed that we were about to see what lay inside the chamber of
the Knights. But the bidden shrine was still not ready to give
up its secrets.
Again and again,
we pushed the pipe down the drill hole. Again and again, inflll
poured down and blocked it. All we ever saw on our monitor was
dust and detritus clogging up the end of the pipe.
After a week of
work, we were defeated. For now, Rosslyn would keep its secrets.
BUT what if there were a treasure
map — a chart that would prove once and for all that the
Templars had hidden their sacred relics beneath these stones?
This was what I found when I was invited to the Masonic lodge at
Kirkwall on Orkney. Although I myself am not a Mason, my
ancestors and relatives have been the traditional Grand Masters
of all the crafts and guilds of Scotland for many centuries.
The great scroll
that I was shown had been in the hands of the Masons for so long
that they themselves were unsure of its origins. So far as the
outside world was concerned, it might never have existed.
But it was clear
to me that this vast piece of painted sailcloth, blackened at
the edges, was a storehouse of mystic Templar wisdom. Much of
the imagery could have come straight from the carved walls of
When I saw the
hermaphrodite figure of Adam and Eve, I knew that I was seeing
the ancient goddess Sophia, a symbol of the divine wisdom that
merges both masculine and feminine. Below this Gnostic vision of
Eden were dozens of the most ancient Templar and Masonic signs.
worshipped on the cross, for example, was another symbol of
arcane knowledge — a source of truth and illumination, not the
malign tempter of the conventional Bible account.
At the left of
the scroll was a mounted Moslem knight, beside an armed camp
besieging a city on one of the mouths of the Nile delta. My
Investigations told me that this could only be Damietta, taken
and lost in two Crusades.
If the scroll was
not Templar in origin, the selection of images was hard to
fathom. But the greatest revelation, and the one that made my
long quest worthwhile, lay at the base of the scroll’s central
Here, fringed by
banners and geometric patterns, I found a painting of the Temple
of Solomon that provided nothing less than a blueprint of its
PAINTED in rough
perspective, the groundplan clearly set out the two hidden
vaults containing the Ark Of The Covenant and the tablets handed
down to Moses.
What took my
breath away was that the plan was exactly that of Rosslyn
Chapel. When I compared the image to an architectural survey of
Rosslyn, everything was in the right place, pointing to the
The scroll showed
the Ark within its secret tabernacle, with three great arches
supporting a buried catacomb. To my astonishment, the vaults
were precisely where we had dug for the lost Templar treasure at
I already knew
that when William St Clair built Rosslyn Chapel, he was trying
to create the Temple of Solomon anew.
That was why the
walls were studded with 20 little images of the original Temple.
That was why Rosslyn’s Apprentice Pillar was complemented by
another ornate pillar in the Lady Chapel, so that together they
represented Jachin and Boaz, the fabled pillars that held up
serpents writhing at the foot of the Apprentice Pillar enshrined
the legend of the Shamir, a mysterious worm-like creature whose
touch split and shaped stone, and whose magic powers enabled
Solomon to build the Temple without iron tools. This was a
secret jealously kept by Hiram, the architect of the Temple,
whose face also appears on the pillar.
For years, this
face of a man with a wound in his forehead was associated with a
legendary apprentice, said to have carved the pillar and then
been killed for his presumption by his master mason.
In fact, this
seems to be just a Christian cover story for Solomon’s great
builder who was killed by fellow craftsmen when he refused to
surrender his secrets, which are said to be guarded by the
Masons to this day.
Now, in addition
to all these clues, we had the Orkney scroll — not only showing
that Rosslyn was the Temple rebuilt, but giving the clearest
possible sign that Templar treasures were buried beneath it.
JUST one problem
remained. I was faced by sceptics who claimed the scroll was not
a medieval relic at all, but the work of an 18th-century house
painter who presented the Kirkwall Masons with a ‘floor cloth’
when he was admitted to their number in 1786. The gift was
referred to in the lodge minutes of the time, although the fate
of the ‘floor cloth’ was left unclear.
The only answer
was a scientific test. An inspector from the local CID, who was
a Mason from the Kirkwall lodge, gave me fragments of the scroll
for radio-carbon dating. I went to the same Oxford laboratory
that had identified the Holy Shroud Of Turin as a fake. Would
the secret scroll be discredited, too? Far from It.
After months of
suspense, and one initial test that seemed to show the scroll
was not more than 50 years old, my theory was vindicated. The
scientists dated the scroll to the 15th-century — the period of
the building of Rosslyn Chapel.
Who now can doubt
that something truly glorious is buried at Rosslyn? Is it the
Ark of the Covenant itself? The chalice of the Grail? The
containers of the Holy Shroud and the Holy Veil from
Constantinople? Maybe it is best not to speculate, but I am
convinced that there is something. I doubt, however, that we
will ever see it. Since my own attempt to drill into the vaults,
Rosslyn Chapel has been taken over by a private trust dedicated
to its conservation. Legal restrictions mean that disruptive
excavations in the immediate future are unlikely.
It seems that the
knights who guard the treasures will not be disturbed in their
tombs, and perhaps that is how it should be.
legend, they will reappear only on the Day of Judgment, when the
stone slabs will crack open.
HIGH on a hill
with a commanding view over Massachusetts, the Westford Knight
lies on his ledge of rock, a silent witness to one of the most
remarkable sea journeys in the history of navigation. His
existence was first recorded in 1883. A local history book noted
that the ‘rude outlines of the human face’ had been traced in
the rock, apparently by native Indians.
On their way to
school, boys from the town of Westford sometimes did a war-dance
on the Indian face to show off their daring. One even used a
chisel to add a pipe of peace, to make it look more authentic.
Not until the time of World War II did someone notice that this
wasn’t the face of a Red Indian at all. An amateur archaeologist
published photographs of the rock, without giving its exact
location, and argued that part of it bore the shape of a
medieval sword, of European origin, broken in two as a memorial
to an exceptionally brave warrior.
at the theory. But another enthusiast, Frank Glynn, spent years
tracking down the mysterious figure in the rock. When he finally
found it, he stripped away the turf and moss to reveal a series
of punch-holes and hammer blows tracing the funeral effigy of a
helmeted knight-of-arms. Nearby, he came across a carved stone,
which a local farmer had unearthed by a track to the sea. The
stone showed the shape of a ship with twin sails on a single
mast, along with eight portholes or rowlocks, and the numerals
184. After taking advice from a Cambridge archaeologist, Glynn
decided that the numbers signified paces And within a radius of
184 paces, he found three rough stone enclosures, resembling dry
docks for small ships. It was a dramatic discovery.
Long-established legend claimed that would-be colonists from
Scotland had landed on this strip of the New England coast
almost a century before Columbus reached the New World in 1492.
Had Frank Glynn found proof of their visit? Many local people
were sceptical. They insisted the image of the knight was simply
a combination of weathering and vandalism by the boy with a
chisel. The ship stone was dismissed as an Indian signpost, of
only recent vintage.
OTHERS, however, were convinced
they now had confirmation of a Scottish expedition to America in
the late 14th cebtury. Geologists who studied the knight’s
effigy confirmed the marks in the rock were between 500 and 800
When I visited
Westford, I had a rubbing made of the tombstone. The cloth
impression clearly showed a gigantic knight, some 7ft tall.
He wore the habit
of one of the Christian military orders such as the Knights
Templars. At the base of his shield was the outline of ship,
similar to one on the coat of arms of my Scottish ancestors, the
St Clairs, who fought in the Crusades and were members of the
Templars from the order’s earliest days. But if a medieval
crusading party from Scotland had reached Westford, surely they
would have left other clues? My attention turned to a curious
stone tower at Newport in nearby Rhode Island.
suggested this was merely an old windmill, no older than the
17th century; but I was convinced they were wrong. It was
completely the wrong shape for a windmill.
All my instincts
and experience told me that I was looking at a medieval Templar
church. Clearly based on the stone architecture of Northern
Europe in the Middle Ages, the tower was constructed on the
model of the ancient Temple Of Solomon in Jerusalem, where the
Knights Templars were founded. The design was an octagon within
a circle, one of the guiding principles of sacred architecture,
with eight arches built into the round walls. This was one of
the hallmarks of the Templars. Round churches were rare. The
only one in Scotland, built in the 12th century, was in Orphir
in Orkney, where my Templar ancestor Henry St Clair was Earl.
The arch of its one surviving window was constructed in the same
fashion as those of the Newport Tower. Moreover, the unit of
measurement of the Newport Tower was not the English foot or
yard, nor a Portuguese or Dutch standard, such as 17th-century
colonists might have employed. It was the Scottish ell, a cloth
measure used in England until Shakespeare’s time, equivalent to
just over 37 inches. The diameter of each column in the Newport
Tower was exactly one Scottish ell; the diameter of the circle
surrounded by the columns was exactly six Scottish ells. On the
tower’s first floor was a fireplace made to a 14th-century
design. Not only would this have burned down any mill, it was a
further link to the Templars and Scotland.
The flames would
have shown through a small window facing the fireplace and acted
as a beacon for ships entering the local harbour — a feature
familiar to me from the watchtower of a church at Corstorphine,
near Edinburgh. The Corstorphlne church also holds the grave of
Henry St Clair’s daughter, and carvings of the Temple of Solomon
and a crusader sword.
confirmed the tool marks on the Newport Tower’s stones were
identical to those of medieval buildings in Orkney and the
Shetlands, and could be found nowhere else in New England.
We were now far
beyond the realms of mere coincidence — the legend of the
Scottish colonists was based on fact.
So who were the
men who built this sacred tower, carved the Westford Knight and
beat Columbus to America by a century? As my research would
show, the story was an astonishing one — and my St Clair
ancestors had played a central part in it.
to the tale can be seen on the secret scroll that I found in a
Masonic lodge in Kirkwall, on Orkney. As I described, this vast
wall-hanging dates from the 15th century and is covered with
mystic Templar symbols and clues to the location of the Holy
these is the seal of a medieval ship with a single mast, similar
to that of the St Clair family. Round it is an odd inscription
in dog Latin and code: ‘Noterina et Svltcrinea.’
The first word
can be deciphered only as meaning ‘distinguishing marks or
symbols’. The last word has no Latin equivalent, but is an
anagram of’ St Cler’ and ‘Vina’. Was this a reference to the St
Clairs and Vinland — the old Norse name for the New World?
CLOSE by are the
heads of two sea serpents — one bearing a crown, the other a
cross. They are remarkably similar to the dragon crest of Henry
St Clair. Other images include sea-borne angels and the lost Ark
Of The Covenant floating on the waves. There were emblems of the
Ancient Ark Mariners Guild, a Masonic brotherhood of shipwrights
who built the St Clair family’s fleet. I believe the scroll’s
symbols reflect the long odyssey of the Templars, from heroes of
the Crusades to persecuted pariahs. It was an journey that took
them from Jerusalem, where the Ark Of The Covenant was said to
be buried beneath their headquarters, across Europe and the
Mediterranean to Scotland, where the knights took refuge after
the French king — envious of their wealth — sought to
It was in
Scotland that they passed on their secret religious wisdom,
gathered in the Holy Land, to the Masons. And it was here, too,
that they brought the priceless holy relics accumulated during
their years of glory.
As I revealed,
the secret scroll offers powerful evidence that these relics —
which some would hail as the Holy Grail — eventually reached the
vaults of Rosslyn Chapel, an extraordinary treasure house of
Templar mysticism near Edinburgh.
was founded by William St Clair; Henry’s grandson, in the 15th
century. Astonishingly, it contains carvings showing maize and
aloe cactus — crops that were then unknown outside the New
evidence suggests that it was Henry St Clair who led the
Scottish expedition to America, left behind the Westford Knight
and the Newport Tower, and brought back knowledge of the New
His voyage is
said to have taken place around 90 years after the Templars made
their exodus from France to Scotland, bringing with them the
seamanship and navigational expertise built up while
transporting pilgrims and merchants to the Holy Land. It is this
expertise that would have been the key to Henry’s astonishing
achievement. And although I do not believe that he took the Holy
Grail or other Templar treasures on his voyage, he did take with
him the idea of the Grail — a holy quest, the civilising
mission of a European knight to pagan countries.
The voyage was
also a quest for a home. After their catastrophic fall from
grace at the start of the 14th century, when their Grand Master
and other leaders had been accused of blasphemy and burnt to
death, the Templars were refugees. Although they had found
protection with King Robert The Bruce, who absorbed them within
the early Masonic guilds, it was natural they should look
further beyond the seas for a new land where their ideals could
take root. The outcast Templars would look to the West, and set
out to build their new Jerusalem.
THE story begins
with a shipwreck. Nicolo Zeno, a member of a distinguished
family of Venetian mariners, which had played a key role in
transporting knights to the Holy Land, was caught in a terrible
His vessel was
smashed onto the rocks of what has been identified as Fair Isle,
between Orkney and the Shetlands. The inhabitants were about to
kill him and his crew when they were rescued by a local prince.
This was Henry St Clair. Born in 1345, he had become Lord of
Rosslyn at the age of 14 and was made Earl of Orkney by the king
of Norway just ten years later. A knight skilled in the arts of
war, but also a diplomat and deep thinker, he had become a
powerful figure in the Scottish royal court. Henry took the
shipwrecked Venetians under his wing, and persuaded Nicolo Zeno
to write home and get his brother, Antonio, to buy another ship
and join him. Henry was to employ the Zeno brothers as his
admirals. It is documents compiled from the records they left
behind, known as the Zeno map and narrative, that are the best
evidence of the Templar expedition to America. They tell how
Earl Henry first sent the more experienced Nicolo Zeno on a
scouting mission to Greenland. Then, in 1398, Henry set off with
Antonio and a fleet of ships, packed with knights and monks, to
discover what lay even further west. It was a perilous voyage in
rough seas and, at one point, the fleet was scattered, before
managing to regroup. However, helped by a following wind, they
reached what is now known as Nova Scotia just 18 days after
leaving the Faroe Islands, where they had stopped to take on
water and supplies.
THE original log
of the voyage is lost, and the Zeno narrative was pieced
together in 1558 by one of the brothers’ descendants. Sceptics
have claimed that it is a forgery — a cynical attempt by the
Venetians to steal the thunder of Columbus, hero of the rival
city of Genoa.
But this seems
unlikely. The Zeno family was one of great honour and integrity,
to whom such chicanery would have been utterly foreign.
Then there is the
precision of the map showing the brothers’ travels, which was
used by other seafarers until the end of the 17th century. The
accompanying narrative is equally convincing, particularly in
its descriptions of the Nova Scotia shoreline around Cape Breton
It speaks of
various strange features — a smoking mountain, which came from a
great fire in the bottom of a hill; a spring that exuded a
substance like pitch that ran into the sea; and many small and
timid natives who lived in caves. When I visited Nova Scotia, I
found all these things could be substantiated.
Besides being the
home of a head-land known as Cape Smokey, so-called because
clouds almost always wreath its crests, this area also had
natural gas and coal seams burning underground, producing smoke
from the bottom of the hills. Oily residues from open coal seams
still seep into the rivers that run down to the sea, polluting
the beaches with their greasy, black waters. The local Micmac
Indian tribes are of small stature, and not as warlike as the
neighbouring Algonquins. There are sacred Indian caves in the
sea-cliffs and, to this day, the Micmacs tell traditional tales
of a tall white man who visited their ancestors from over the
seas. His vessel was variously described as a stone canoe and a
floating island with trees on It, very manageable and able to go
like magic. This suggested a ship with two masts, able to steer
with a rudder and sail to the wind.
visitor was known as ‘Glooscap’ — a name which, in the Micmac
tongue, sounds much like ‘Earl Sinclair’. He was a friend and
teacher to the Indians, showing them how to fish with nets and
cultivate the soil.
It is a picture
of Earl Henry that matches the account of him in the Zeno
narrative. Far from being a hostile conqueror, he went to the
New World in peace and was determined to live in harmony with
the local inhabitants.
piece of evidence appeared when I was shown a photograph of a
primitive ship’s cannon dredged from the sea off the Nova Scotia
coast in 1849. I could hardly believe my eyes.
The design — a
narrow barrel of welded iron rods, held together by eight rings
to keep it from bursting — was one I had seen in the Venice
naval museum. It had beep pioneered by the Venetian hero Carlo
Zeno, elder brother of Nicolo and Antonio, when he saved his
city from the Genoese in 1380.
Clearly, the Zeno
brothers had shared this piece of military technology with Henry
St Clair, who had used it to armour his boats on their dangerous
voyage. Such cannons swiftly became obsolete, so the chance of
this one being left by other sailors is remote.
ACCORDING to the
Zeno narrative, Earl Henry -was so delighted by the country he
had discovered that he immediately began laying plans to
establish a city.
members of the expedition were exhausted and feared the approach
of winter. He sent them back across the Atlantic, keeping just a
small party to continue his explorations.
The evidence of
the Westford Knight and the Newport Tower suggests that he made
his way around Nova Scotia and down along America’s east coast
to what is now Massachusetts. It must have been here that they
wintered. I believe that Earl Henry left small parties of
colonists behind him, both in Nova Scotia and New England,
before finally setting sail for home. Hints of their existence
remain on ancient maps.
map of the world in the library of Harvard University, based on
a German original marks Nova Scotia with a crowned and bearded
knight kneeling by his shield and wearing the surcoat of a
military order like the Templars.
Dutch globe of 1537, the Frisius-Mercator, depicts the region
with three flags containing crosses that have a remarkable
resemblance to the Templar war banner. It adds the words
terra per britannos inventi - the land was discovered by
But those early
colonists were to be cut off, and no doubt suffered swift
extinction, following Henry St Clair’s death less than a year
after his return to Orkney in 1400.
He was cut down when sea raiders
made a surprise attack on Klrkwall — a deliberate act of
assassination by the Baltic traders of the Hanseatic League, who
had heard rumours of his activities and feared the competition.
The Templar settlers in the New
World were thus left to their fate.
THE influence of
the Templars would still be felt in America in later years, but
by more indirect and underground means.
As the scroll in
the Masonic lodge at Kirkwall makes clear, the great inheritors
of the Ternplar tradition are the Freemasons. It was into the
forerunners of today’s Masonic guilds that the Templars had
merged and disguised themselves after fleeing to Scotland at the
start of the 14th century.
was brought south of the Border when King James VI of Scotland,
himself a mason and the ultimate judge of all Masonic disputes,
became James I of England in 1603.
following the demise of the House of Stuart, many Masonic
historians came to disclaim their northern roots, and insisted
their lodges had entirely English origins under the Hanoverian
kings of the 18th century.
It was left to
the Jacobites, the Stuart loyalists, to keep the flame burning.
One way in which they did so was to establish Masonic lodges in
the American colonies that were true to what was known as the
Ancient Scottish Rite.
These did more
than just cherish their Templar heritage. They drew together men
who believed in religious tolerance, freedom from persecution
and political liberty. It is no coincidence that many leaders of
the American War of Independence were masons.
LODGE members in
Boston, where a new Knights Templars degree was conferred in
1769, were to the fore in the celebrated Tea Party. The most
prominent mason of all was George Washington, revolutionary
general and first President of his liberated nation.
His brothers in
the American Supreme Council of the Ancient Scottish Rite would
proudly commission a commemorative painting of him laying the
foundation stone of the United States Capitol in his Masonic
apron and regalia.
also stamp Templar and Masonic symbols on the dollar bill, which
survive to this day. The eye enclosed in a triangle echoes the
apocalyptic visions of an obscure medieval seer, Joachim de
Fiore, while the pyramid, left unfinished, suggests a pinnacle
of human wisdom that is still to be reached.
reflected the millennial yearnings that fuelled the American
Revolution — a belief in building a Heaven on Earth, as well as
a better society. They are directly related to the similar
symbols that cover the secret scroll of Kirkwall.
Henry St Clair
had failed in his attempt to build a new Jerusalem in the New
World, but the dollar bill and the sacred scroll ensured that
his Templar vision lived on.
extract published in the Daily Mail, UK, from The Secret Scroll
by Andrew Sinclair published by Sinclair-Stevenson at £19.99.
The Strange Tale of
the Kirkwall Scroll, The Great Cyclic Cross of Hendaye, and the Great
Seal of the United States of America.
By Cort Lindahl
The true origins of the Great Seal of the United States have already
been exposed by researcher Gary Gianotti. It appears that the creation
of the Great Seal was done in a tradition that dictates the talismanic
use of symbols that have hidden meanings and histories to convey a
message that possibly only adepts would be privy to. Mr. Gianotti’s work
has exposed the true meanings and origins of the Great Seal and he
identifies Robert Scott as the person behind the engraving of the Great
Seal and many other mysterious objects of United States History. Much of
Mr. Gianotti’s work has given us a new view of these symbols that may
include many previously unknown tenets. Many conspiracy theories seem to
have inaccurately placed the origins of this great part of American and
Some new information that may compliment Gary’s findings with regard to
the Great Seal would include family relations of Mr. Scott that had also
practiced this hidden activity and value over a wide span of time prior
to the creation of the United States. Gary had already established a
clear bloodline in association with his theories with regard to the
Great Seal. Indeed this activity appears to be still occurring in the
modern world with many ancient symbols and architectural forms in this
milieu still being created.
By examining some of the blood relatives earlier and later in Scott’s
genealogy some startling facts about the Great Seal, Kirkwall Scroll,
Great Cyclic Cross of Hendaye and more may be exposed. Along the way a
study of the Great Seal and its symbolism may expose some historical
events that have previously been ignored or simply theorized. It is
clear that Scott was part of a dynasty of inter related families that
also contributed a great deal to the settlement of Canada and the United
Part of the tradition of the so called ‘First Families’ of the United
States included a vast knowledge of ancient symbolism and spirituality.
It is clear that from the Declaration of Arbroath that Scottish nobility
had a belief that they and the Irish had descended from Egyptian and
Scythian Royalty. From this they likely believed that they had the right
to fulfill the legacy of these ancient cultures in the modern world.
Much of this value translates to the Great Seal of the United States via
the ancient symbols that are present on the seal itself as well as the
U.S. one dollar bill. In addition the Great Seal is featured on the
entryways of many Federal courthouses and administrative buildings all
over the country.
Three of the most easily recognizable symbols that comprise the Great
Seal are the truncated pyramid, the all seeing eye, and the Phoenix bird
that many feel the eagle on the seal actually represents. Indeed many
early versions or drafts of the Great Seal include a bird with a plume
on its crown that does not resemble the eagle and is representative of
the Phoenix of the Mithraic faith of what was once the Persian Empire.
Mithraism would also go on to be very popular in the Legions of Rome at
about the time of Christ. Interestingly some of the origins of fabled
Knighthoods may lay in the working and values of the Byzantine (Greek)
and Roman (Latin) Legionaries themselves. The all seeing eye symbol is
clearly associated and documented as being a product of dynastic Egypt.
By examining the involvement and value of these symbols by both the
forebears and descendants of Robert Scott some new views of history may
be revealed. In fact these revelations may indicate that men from Europe
who felt they had an Egyptian pedigree may have actually attempted to
claim the entire Nile basin for their home country. There are six men
whose lives may be examined that seem to expose the true nature of why
these symbols may have been featured on the Great Seal and also were
representative of this family groups goals and philosophies.
Robert Scot (a distant forebear of the R. Scott who created the seal)
was a thirteenth century scholar referred to as a ‘travelling magi’ by
many accounts of the day. He served as advisor to Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II and indeed was likely related to him via their common
Norman heritage. During Fredericks reign he built the octagonal tower
present at San Giovanni en Tumba at Monte ‘Sant Angelo, Italy. It is
likely that Robert Scot had a hand in the placement of this structure
and its use as a temporal axis mundi used to mark additional places of
value on the globe. The octagon of ‘Sant Angelo points to the Tower of
the Winds in Athens and the International Peace Garden on the border of
the U.S. and Canada that was later created in the same tradition by the
same familial group. Many of these octagonal structures were built to
value the Tower of the Winds and the legacy of the octagons built by
The original purpose of the site of the modern Peace Garden may have
served as an axis mundi or datum used to measure property. Robert Scot
clearly held the geometric and geographic skills to calculate a point on
the earth in relation to another using star logs or ephemeris that had
been collected at the Tower of the Winds in Athens in this case. Scot
had studied extensively at the University in Toledo Spain and had
learned many of the Moorish scientific concepts that may have been
suppressed during the dark ages.
James Bruce was also what many considered a traveling magi or scholar.
He lived in the late eighteenth century and was an amazing character of
his day. His manifestation of the family tradition is undoubtedly linked
to his ancestry that included none other than Robert the Bruce King of
Scotland. James Bruce was an amazing man that had an immense impact on
the philosophies society at large, Masonry, and other occult oriented
secret societies and orders. Bruce was a world traveler in an era when
this was not necessarily a normal thing. Bruce was known to have
travelled to Baalbek and Palmyra in Syria. Bruce traveled to Ethiopia to
search for the headwaters of the Nile. He returned with the earliest
verifiable copy of the Book of Enoch and Kebra Nagast found to that
point. Later he would discover in Alexandria the original manuscripts
that comprised the Pistis Sophia. Notably the Pistis Sophia contains an
early rendering of the Gnostic Cross. This type of cross is associated
with Egyptian Oriental Christianity and is similar to the well known
Egyptian Ankh symbol.
The Gnostic Cross is a symbol that is featured prominently on both the
Great Cross of Hendaye and the famous Kirkwall Scroll in Scotland. It is
clear that both the Great Cross (mid seventeenth century) and scroll
(fifteenth century) predate the discovery of these manuscripts by Bruce.
What is significant is that Bruce was noted as being the first one to
return with an ancient authenticated version of the Codex containing the
Pistis Sophia, The Kebra Nagast, and Book of Enoch. He was said to have
obtained his copy of the Book of Enoch and Kebra Nagast in Ethiopia and
the codex that comprised the Pistis Sophia in Alexandria, Egypt. A value
of these books and their associated symbols may in turn expose a value
of the so called Oriental or Egyptian Coptic forms of mystical
Christianity. In this regard these belief systems were not included in
the accepted Christian cannon accepted at the Council of Nicea. There
are also distant hints that this faith was valued by some Byzantine
It may be no coincidence that some scholars compare the Kebra Nagast
volume to the Book of Mormon. The Kebra Nagast tells the story of the
origins of Ethiopia and its line of Solomnic Kings. The passages
concerned with the arrival of the Israelites in Ethiopia may have
inspired parts of the Book of Mormon since many note the similarities in
these two stories. These volumes did become available during the era of
creation of the Mormon faith so it is not out of the question that Mason
Joseph Smith had heard of and read the works of James Bruce. As we may
see this volume would have held a special importance to James Bruce and
others that shared his noble Scottish heritage.
This association may have played out at a later date during the creation
of the Mormon Religion by Josheph Smith. There are many clues that the
faith of Mormon is somehow related to Masonry with a few speculating
that it was outright created by Masons with Smith later taking the faith
in his own direction and displeasing his Masonic masters. The Book of
the Holy Grail by J.R. Ploughman states that Smith was a Knights Templar
Strict Observance American Rite as was Thomas Jefferson. Many tales of
Joseph Smith state that he displayed the ‘hand up’ Masonic distress
signal at the time of his death.
This is curious because it is unknown how the Kebra Nagast, Pistis
Sophia and Book of Enoch were viewed during at least the time of the
creation of the Kirkwall Scroll, which is said to be in the fifteenth
century long before the time of Bruce. How did the earlier creators of
the scroll and those in Masonry that value Enochian concepts develop
these values before Bruce had found copies of the originals? The answer
would have to be that they had access to these ancient manuscripts for a
long time before the era of James Bruce. It seems this value as
displayed on the Kirkwall Scroll was well defined long before the time
of James Bruce. Perhaps the views expressed on the Declaration of
Arbroath had been backed up by their knowledge of these very concepts at
that time. This may comprise the evidence that gave them the caveat to
claim that they were descendants of Egypt. As we may see the
significance of the true age of the scroll may pale in comparison to the
information exposed when viewing it as a displaying the influence of
Logically it may be surmised that they had access to these ancient works
at least during the time of the thirteenth century Latin Kingdom of
Jerusalem or possibly just prior to their regime there. It is possible
that somehow Bruce and other Scottish nobles had become privy to this
information because of the Crusades. It may have been during this era
that this family line actually discovered these concepts and adapted
them as part of the cultural heritage displayed in the Declaration of
Arbroath. Alternately they had found this information long before that
It is also highly likely that knowledge of the Ethiopian Jews existence
was known of by the Ptolmaic Greek rulers of Egypt after the time of
Alexander the Great (327BC). There are records of the Greeks and Romans
visiting Merowe, Sudan and seeing the smaller steep sided pyramids that
seem to be present on the Great Seal of the United States. An imperial
knowledge in Rome of the pyramids of Merowe is also displayed in Rome.
The Pyramid of Cestius was built in 18B.C. and is said to be based on
the ‘Nubian’ pyramids of Sudan. Originally the Cestius Pyramid had a
twin known as the Romulus pyramid located on what is the grounds of the
Vatican today. So here we see a Ptolamaic Greek and Roman value of the
same types of pyramids seen on the Great Seal. Is it possible that these
Roman pyramids were the inspiration for the Great Seal and Drummond’s
Star Pyramid at Stirling. This is possible but it is known that both
Bruce and Drummond traveled in the region of Sudan where these same type
of pyramids are located and likely saw them in their original context.
It may be assumed that both had also seem the Pyramid of Cestius in
This may be important because it is possible that Bruce was using
ancient Ptolmaic or Roman accounts that included the pyramids to guide
him up the Nile to his final destination. If a value of the Roman
pyramids were included in the philosophies of Bruce it would still fit a
value of ancient Kings whom he may have thought he was related to. The
Royal line of Rome (Cestius) that valued this form in Rome may also
possibly be related to the ancient lines the Scottish Kings referred to
in the Declaration of Arbroath. Lots of signs point to a value of these
strange smaller pyramids in Sudan. The question lingers as to why this
small out of the way place would be valued in such a manner?
There are many theories of the Knights Templar and other groups existent
at the time of the Latin Kingdom searching for lost knowledge and relics
not only in the Holy Land but in other far ranging places like Aksum and
Lalibela Ethiopia. Coincidentally a place that fascinated people like
James Bruce and other later family members who would also travel this
region in search of not only information but possibly to prove that an
ancient claim had been made by their forebears on the entire Nile
watershed. Aksum is also home to a far older civilization than that of
the Chrisitian or Jewish Ethiopians that includes monumental
architecture comprised of many megalithic obelisks. These obelisks are
again different from the Egyptian form. They appear as huge pylons with
doorways carved into their base. Many of the motifs seen on these more
ancient structures were later repeated in the construction of the rock
hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia.
In addition the story of the Queen of Sheba and her son Malik state that
he brought the actual Ark of the Covenant first to Elephantine Island
along the Nile in Egypt and then to Ethiopia where it changed locations
several times including a stay in Lalibela finally resting in Aksum
today. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church claims that the actual Ark of the
Covenant resides in the Church of St. Mary to this day. These men’s
travels up the Nile River also followed what they may have believed to
be the path of the Ark of the Covenant. Is it possible that the
Ptolemaic rules of Egypt and then the Romans had also quested up the
Nile to Ethiopia in search of something? Had these earlier groups laid
claim to the Nile basin prompting a later blitz of European explorers in
search of the claim markers so they could co-opt the claim it
Some light may be shed on these questions by examining the development
of the Egyptian culture. Most scholars agree that many of the concepts
that are considered to be classic Egyptian originated in the Upper Nile
or the region of Sudan and Ethiopia. The town of Merowe in Sudan has the
largest concentration of these small steep sided pyramids and was indeed
a large city prior to the times of dynastic Egypt. Though the small
pyramids were added during a later era anthropologists point to this
region also known as Nubia as the seed source of the Egyptian culture.
Merowe was once the capitol of what would become Egypt. Is is possible
that Bruce and the others had surmised this in their journeys and thus
the value of the pyramids located there?
Supporting this notion are the facts surrounding a sojourn made to this
region by two additional family relations of both the Robert Scot and
James Bruce. All of these men are ultimately related to Scottish and
Norman Royalty. Both of these later men would share the distinct Norman
heritage that seems to be a hallmark of the value of these ancient
concepts. Both William Drummond (creator of the Star Pyramid) and
Antoine-Michel d'Abbadie and his brother Aurnaud d’Abbadie travelled
extensively in the same region that Bruce did. Both of the d’Abbadie’s
were accomplished geographers. As we may see both of these men may have
also had a hand in creating talismanic architecture that displayed both
the concepts of the Gnostic Cross and the Great Seal of the United
States. All concepts possibly related to the images on the Kirkwall
scroll including the Gnostic Cross.
The legacy of the Drummond family of Scotland is well documented and
amazingly three different men all named William Drummond would display
tenets of their understanding of the symbology of the Gnostic Cross, and
Great Seal. One of them would explore the Nile basin personally. The
Gnostic Cross is also prominently featured on the Kirkwall scroll
seemingly in a similar context as the one that adorns the Great Cross of
Hendaye. The Scroll displays a monument similar to the Great Cross with
the Gnostic Cross featured in a similar part of the statue displayed on
the Hendaye monument. This may have not been an intentional illustration
of the Great Cross of Hendaye but the coincidence is notable and may at
least indicate a similar belief system or hidden message. The Gnostic
Cross’ presence on the Kirkwall Scroll may indicate that this symbol has
a place in Masonic initiations as well.
First we should look to William Drummond who was one of the First
Families of Virginia at Williamsburg during the early seventeenth
century. This same Scottish Drummond family is the namesake of a lake in
Virginia known as Lake Drummond. Amazingly the Native American legend of
the lake states that a large fiery bird had left a smoking hole there
that subsequently became a lake. This legend seems to reference the same
Phoenix bird that was included on the original part of the Great Seal of
the United States now occupied by an eagle.
This is an amazing association that predates the creation of the Great
Seal by well over a hundred years. A Scottish Drummond somehow
associated with a legend of the Phoenix. Early renderings of the Great
Seal clearly display a Phoenix in place of the Eagle we see today. If
this story is not a Native American legend why then would the tale of
the Phoenix be propagated in early Virginia? The answer may involve the
fact that the Phoenix is one of the symbols of the Drummond family of
Scotland. The Phoenix is associated with Mithraic and Zoroastrian
concept from the Persian Empire of antiquity.
This early American William Drummond was one of the only people actually
executed for his role in Bacon’s Rebellion in the Virginia Colony. This
was the same era in which the Lee’s (Robert E.), Beale’s, Moncure’s,
Washington’s, and many other First Families were establishing their
dynasties in what would become the United States. The Drummond family
would go on to make their mark on United States history without William.
The Beale Treasure Legend, the octagons of Thomas Jefferson, and the
creation of the ‘Moncure’ pyramid in Wyoming in the 1930’s displays a
continuation of the talismanic values of this family line in the same
manner their forebears had displayed.
Secondly we have Sir William Drummond known for his expertise in ancient
cultures and deciphering ancient inscriptions. Drummond travelled
extensively through the ancient world of the Mediterranean rim. He is
most known for interpreting ancient rock art at Gibraltar that referred
to Hani-Baal or the famous Carthaginian leader Hannibal. Sir Drummond’s
birthdate is unknown but he was a contemporary of James Bruce and it is
likely that the two at least knew of each other. Sir Drummond passed in
1828 after having written a long document comparing the Bible as a
metaphor for a faith based on astrology.
This is an amazing concept that actually seems to be displayed at Gothic
Cathedrals especially at Chartres Cathedral and its Zodiac Rose Window.
He never published this work for fear of censure by his academic peers
but is today known for these views. Interestingly part of Drummonds
career was spent as Scottish envoy to the Royal Court of Naples and the
Ottoman Empire. The Kingdom of Naples and Sicily had long been the
domain of Drummond’s Norman ancestors and direct family. This was the
same Royal Court that his forebear Robert Scot had been a part of during
the time of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II.
The last Drummond in this tale actually once traveled to Ethiopia and
what is today Sudan in a region known for its small steep sided pyramids
just like the one featured on the Great Seal of the United States. He
would also display his value of this form by returning to Scotland and
building what is known of as Star Pyramid or the ‘Salem Stone on the
grounds of Stirling Castle in Scotland. Star Pyramid is clearly a
rendering of the same steep sided smaller pyramids that are located
along the Upper Nile in what is today Sudan near Merowe. Is this symbol
on the Great Seal telling us something more than the standard
‘Illumnati’ interpretation most researchers refer to? There is an
amazing connection between the legend of Bacon’s Vault in Williamsburg
and a mystery existent at Stirling. Both mysteries involve coded
messages left on gravestones and are deciphered using ‘Books of
Emblems.’ (More on that in my next book). The Star Pyramid seems to be
part of this mystery existent on the ground of Stirling Castle.
The type of Nubian Pyramid seen by Drummond and Bruce seem to be what is
displayed on the Great Seal of the United States and not the more gently
sloping pyramids featured at Giza in Lower Egypt. Given the fact that
the later Scottish American Robert Scott was likely the creator of the
Great Seal what connections or cultural values may be ascertained by
this William Drummonds value of this type of pyramid? So far two William
Drummonds directly reference symbols present on the Great Seal and the
third contributed a wealth of academic knowledge that may have
contributed to a value of these concepts. Why would William Drummond
construct such a pyramid at Stirling of all places?
In addition we have James Bruce verifying and documenting the Pistis
Sophia, Kebra Nagast, and Book of Enoch by obtaining ancient copies of
both works. Both of these works are valued by Masons and seem to have
had a role in the development of that craft. Were these men searching
for some unknown relic or information in their sojourns to the upper
Nile and Ethiopia or is there more to it? Why would they actually search
for the headwaters of a water course? Were they there to simply log
geographic features? It is clear that they all had an investment of
family tradition and destiny in their travels. What they learned and
searched for would go on to have an immense impact on the development of
Masonry and the history of the western world. These men’s academic
prowess and travels may reflect a hidden quest for specific items or
relics from antiquity they knew of and searched for.
Two other brothers from France both distant Norman relations to these
men would go on to also search for the source of the Nile just as James
Bruce and possibly the third William Drummond had done. These two men’s
family legacy also includes one of the most storied and mysterious
monuments uncovered in any study of the axis mundi or the historical
development of the art of navigation.
Arnaud-Michel d’Abbadie (24 July 1815 – 13 November 1893) described as a
‘Basque Geographer’ and his brother Antoine-Thomson d’Abbadie (3 January
1810 – 19 March 1897) again an accomplished geographer would also
explore Ethiopia just as their other Scots Norman relations had. The
d’Abbadie brothers were both born in Dublin, Ireland to what were said
to have been Basque nobility. Their family home was in Soule, France.
The d’Abbadies were a solidly Catholic family. Apparently some of the
arms included in their Basque domains included likenesses of the flag of
Scotland and the Fleur d’ lies. The legacy of these two men would
include a strange monument known as the Great Cyclic Cross of Hendaye in
Loosely translanted d’Abbadie means ‘of the abbey.’ This is a reference
to a monk or ecclesiastical figure. The d’Abbadie’s family includes a
rich legacy including a famous French Arcadian military leader
Jean-Vincent d’Abbadie Saint-Castin. Jean-Vincent’s descendants would go
on to have a major impact on Canadian history. Other relations included
a governor of Louisiana Jean-Jacques Blaise d’Abbadie (1763-65), and
Daniel d’Abbadie of England and Ireland an employee of the East India
Company. This link to the region of Arcadia by two of these men is
interesting and notable. Louisiana is where all the Acadians were moved
to from eastern Canada at one point. This is where the term ‘Cajun or
Ar’cajun comes from. Language of the Birds.
Seemingly the most important d’Abbadie in what would manifest the legacy
of Antione and Arnoud may their Heugenot ancestor Jakob d’Abbadie. The
name Jakob may be interpreted with different pronunciations within the
geographical bounds of Western Europe. In Germany and Switzerland Jakob
was normal. In France this may have been pronounced Jacques. In English
this would be pronounced James. Jakob was a clergyman of the late
seventeenth century. He lived in England and Ireland after fleeing
persecution of the Heugenots under Louis XIV in France. It is
interesting that the form of James is included here. This variety of
name pronunciations is one of the slightly hidden tenets of St. James
himself. Is it possible that Jakob or a value of him has to do with a
hidden value or alternate view of St. James or the Camino de Santiago.
The Great Cross and Hendaye is included in one of the branch route of
the Camino itself.
His birthplace may be confused by many because Switzerland and France
have towns called Hay(e) where he was supposed to be from. The French
town of this name is in the Pyrenees Atlantique province of France. This
is the same region as Hendaye and the traditional home of the d’Abbadie
family. It is not clear if there is even a town named Hay in Switzerland
where most biographies of Jakob place his birth. It is clear as a
student Jakob was educated in southern France. Either way it is clear he
is of the same line of d’Abbadies that later valued the Great Cross of
Hendaye. Both Arnaud and Antione were said to have been from Dublin,
Ireland where Jakob resided for the latter part of his life.
Amazingly in addition to his ecclesiastical duties, Jakob d’Abbadie
composed many religious and socially observational tracts of literature
during his lifetime. He composed a memorial for deceased Queen Mary
after her death and also a tract condemning a Jacobite plot to
assassinate William III. The latter work was produced at the request of
the King. One of his pieces may have later had a large impact on the
hidden values of Arnaud and Antoione our Ethiopian explorers. The later
d’Abbadies had created a millennial monument possibly warning one of
cyclical changes in the earth. This tradition of millennial monuments
has been repeated many times before and after the d’Abbadie’s value of
the Great Cross of Hendaye. Part of the secrets revealed in the Great
Cross may include metaphors about how to navigate using the location of
the cross and the star charts collected by the d’Abbadie’s in their
Jakob published his work “Le Triomphe de la Providence et de la
Religion; ou, l'Ouverture des sept Seaux par le Fils de Dieu, où l'on
trouvera la première partie de l'Apocalypse clairement expliquée par ce
qu'il y a de plus connu dans l'Histoire et de moins contesté dans la
Parole de Dieu. Avec une nouvelle et très-sensible Démonstration de la
Vérité de la Religion Chrétienne (1723)” or “The Triumph of Providence
and Religion; or the opening of the seven seals by the Son of God, where
we find the first part of the Apocalypse clearly explained by what he
experienced therein history and less challenged in the Word God. With a
new and very sensitive Demonstration of the Truth of the Christian
This work is a millennially themed piece about the Book of Revelations
and the Seven Seals. This is an amazingly similar theme to that assigned
to the Great Cross of Hendaye as discussed in the book “Mystery of the
Cathedrals.” It may be possible that some of the value the d’Abbadie’s
had for the Cyclic Cross of Hendaye sprung from an appreciation of their
forebear and the theme of the end of the world. Alexander Von Humboldt
in the era just prior to the d’Abbadie brothers had unlocked the
millennial secrets of the Aztec Sunstone using modern scientific
methods. There is little doubt that the d’Abbadie brothers were aware of
and valued the work of Von Humboldt.
One of the first monuments on earth to display the notion of the seven
seals would include the Basilica San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy. One of
the notable mosaics there displays a beardless and short haired Christ
Pantokrator holding the seven seals in his hand. This is a clear
reference to the Book of Revelations and the theme later repeated in the
work of Jakob Abbadie and the symbology of the Great Cyclic Cross of
Hendaye. The millennial theme in monuments has extended to the modern
world at places like the Georgia Guidestones, and Star Chart of Hoover
Note that Basilica San Vitale is octagonal in form and does suggest
important directions on the globe that may have been valued by its
creators Justinian II and Arian Ostrogoth ruler Theodoric. It seems the
creator of the Cross of Hendaye as well as the d’Abbadie brothers were
aware of these concepts to the degree that they would both value or
appreciate such a modest monument. Perhaps the monument was created by
one of their ancestors from the seventeenth century. The latter
seventeenth century was the era of Jakob Abbadie.
Many of he d’Abbadie’s later actions would also value scientific and
cultural information that may have been used as a rationale to prove
religious concepts. Part of the d’Abbadie brothers stated reason for
their expedition to Africa was to find the true source of the Nile
River. The d’Abbadie family were noted astronomers and had even
established an astronomical observatory in Hendaye France whose stated
mission is to collect an extensive star log or ephemeris from that
point. Ephemeris or star logs of this type are of value in fixing
longitude in ancient navigation. There are also extensive links between
the d’ Abbadie’s and the famous cartographers and astronomers of the
Cassini family in France. This involvement of the d’Abbadie’s may link
directly to the storied Rennes le Chateau mystery via their relation to
the Cassini’s (Cassini Space Probe). In many ways the d’Abbadie’s had
created a legend very similar to the mythos of Rennes le Chateau. The
Great Cyclic Cross of Hendaye was a monument that fit in with the theme
and stated purpose of their astronomical observatory. It does seem that
a tradition of this bloodline includes the construction of talismanic
architecture with a millennial theme and seemingly intentionally created
Amazingly the d’Abbadie family are also said to be responsible for the
installation of the Great Cyclic Cross of Hendaye (France) in its
current location in the courtyard of the Church of St. Vincent in
Hendaye. The Great Cross seems to be associated with what may be a
talismanic value of the Axis Mundi as displayed in the book “Mystery of
the Cathedrals” by Fulcanelli. In this book the symbols present on the
Great Cross compel one (my interpretation) to use it as an octagonal
axis oriented to the pole star. Many inferences and clues in the book
suggest that luminaries such as Alexander Von Humboldt and Thomas
Jefferson were likely aware of the Great Cross and its true
The fact that the d’ Abbadie’s were actively recording star logs in
Hendaye lends weight to the argument that this point on earth could be
used to compare other points to that had also had star logs collected
there. In the end this practice could help to define the true shape of
the earth making navigation even more accurate. If the d’Abbadie’s
collected ephemeris or knew the correct celestial body to sight they
could then compare their location to that of Hendaye or any other site
of observation from which a log had been collected. This would hold true
even in far flung places like Ethiopia.
Antione d’ Abbadie was likely the more influential of the two brothers
in this realm though they were both geographers and naturalists. He had
indeed searched for the source of the Nile and had claimed its source as
the start of the Blue Nile. Unlike Drummond and Bruce the d’Abbadie’s
promoted the notion of Catholic missionaries in Ethiopia so this may
represent a difference in these two distantly related families who none
the less seemed to have similar hidden values. It is interesting to
speculate what they saw there that would have them compel a Catholic
church presence in such a place. This is also interesting in light of
the Ethiopians earlier expulsion of Portuguese missionaries.
Antione had once even invented a new type of theodolite or surveying
instrument. He was also the Mayor of Hendaye France from 1871 to 1875.
This is the same d’Abbadie that established the astronomical observatory
at Hendaye and it is also just prior to his stint as mayor that the
Great Cross was moved to its current location. It is possible that
Antione had interpreted the symbols on the Great Cross and understood
their significance. Some of the appeal of the Great Cross may have to do
with the fact that Hendaye is a stop on the famous Camino de Santiago
pilgrimage route that ends in Santiago de Compostela.
The Camino and Santiago de Compostela are also themes covered in
Fulcanelli’s book ‘Mystery of the Cathedrals’ that also discusses the
Great Cross. Both of the d’Abbadie’s, Bruce, and Drummond had careers
very similar to that of Alexander Von Humboldt who had traveled the
world in search of scientific and gnostic secrets and may have been the
first to unlock the secrets of the Aztec Sunstone. All of these men had
gone on amazing journeys and found symbols and history that would be
strangely valued by their peers and families. Many of these concepts
would manifest themselves in the symbolic values and architecture of the
The studies of this author (Cort Lindahl) have also revealed a distinct
value of the linear orientation of many Gothic Cathedrals including all
of the structures discussed in Fulcanelli’s book. Each Cathedral may act
as an axis or place from which to measure using an octagonal stellation
of arcs on the globe along which additional talismans were built. Many
Cathedrals contain an octagonal element in their domes or ceilings.
Using buildings in this manner creates a virtual map projection using
the building as the center of the mapped area. Calculations can be made
from these points that are valid without even displaying them on a map
or globe. This method makes each axis a virtual nadir or center for a
map projection. The octagonal Kings Knot at Stirling Castle is such a
structure as well.
This is an ancient tradition extending back to the Tower of the Winds in
Athens, Heliopolis in Egypt, and likely the ‘other’ Heliopolis known as
Baalbek. The Cathedral of Amiens as discussed in “Mystery of the
Cathedrals” and its octagonal labyrinth displays this notion in an
exemplary manner. Just as the octagonal Kings Knot at Stirling points to
the Dome of the Rock and Star Pyramid the long axis orientation of the
Amiens Cathedral points to the Dome of the Rock as well. This was likely
in both cases an intentional arrangement. As these studies progress it
is becoming more and more obvious that a certain caste of this unique
family line were privy to the secrets being exposed here. They had
mastered a way to accurately map the globe. In order to execute these
plans they had a very advanced grasp of geodesy, geometry, and
Given the d’ Abbadie’s family history and legacy it is not surprising
that they would also travel to Africa to find the source of the Nile.
Apparently both of the d’Abbadie brothers were been a trained
geographers and cartographers who would have been able to accurately
mark the origin of this great river on the world grid. The d’ Abbadies
are clearly related via Norman blood to Richard the Lion Hearted of
England and also the Drummond’s and Scotts discussed above. Still the
entire scenario of these men’s involvement begs the question: “What did
they find in their search for the source of the Nile?” What part of this
story is not being told? It is possible that part of their quest
included verifying what Bruce had found earlier and to locate whatever
new information they could gather.
Why would these men be so obsessed with establishing the origin point of
this great river? What family legacy would compel them to search for
such things? What hidden information had been uncovered in Jerusalem
that would lend credence to this theory?
The answer to that question may lay in the fact the Upper Nile region
and what is today Egypt (Lower Nile) could have been claimed by their
forebears that were part of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Alternately
the Latin Kings may have been attempting to coopt an earlier Greek or
Byzantine claim. The tradition of claiming property in that era would
have involved knowledge of astronomy and cartography. These skills would
allow a nationality or royal group to claim property in terms that the
others could understand. It is a legal precedent somewhat similar to
aspects of maritime law in the modern world.
In order to do this they would have had to establish observatories in
the tradition of the Tower of the Winds in many far flung places. This
is apparently what was done on the estates of many landed gentry in
England and France during the same period Bruce was traveling Ethiopia.
Places like Shugborough Hall, and The West Wycombe estate of Sir Francis
Dashwood included reproductions of the Tower of the Winds in Athens that
functioned in the same manner as the original. Even earlier in America
the Powder Magazine in Williamsburg and the Newport Tower had been
constructed in this tradition. It is not out of the question that
Lalibela Ethiopia’s rock hewn churches were created in this tradition.
The array of obelisk and windrose markers at the Vatican points directly
In order to claim the Nile watershed someone would have had to have left
a marker at a point near the origin of this watercourse that could be
defined on the globe and accepted by competitors. The entire notion of
these men searching the upper Nile fits a pattern of behavior that
suggests they may have been looking for a claim marker left by the Latin
Kingdom of Jerusalem that virtually claimed all of Upper and Lower Egypt
as well as the environs of what is today Ethiopia. This very same
conflict and search for property defining stones would later be repeated
between the French and English in the settlement of America. Both
parties seemed to have been searching for items that had been left prior
and may have established ownership of vast regions. It is also possible
that the Portuguese and Spanish pilots claimed land in this manner for
There are many tales of so called ‘Templars’ coming to Lalibela and
Aksum Ethiopia in search of the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Any seekers of
the Lost Ark would have had good reason to think it is there in that
there are references to this story in the Old Testament. Some of the
rock hewn churches in Lalibela form a Greek Cross from plan view that in
turn suggests an octagon. The legacy of Mescal Lalibela later building
rock hewn churches in Lalibela post dates any visits by the Templars.
More weight may be added to this theory due to the fact that a legend
exists that Lallibela had been built to serve as a kind of proxy for
Jerusalem during its Muslim occupation.
A more practical value of their travels up the Nile may have been to
claim property as part of their rights to do so as understood by the
rest of the western world. Is it possible that somehow this it true? It
is certainly inferred that there was more to their interest in this
region than simply defining the source of a great river. It fits the
paradigms set forth for the claiming of property and may also explain
some of the more arcane subjects such as the origins of the Great Seal.
If true each one of the Knights that had travelled from the Holy Land to
Ethiopia would have seen the unique small steep sided pyramids that
exist in Sudan right along the river. Both explorers Drummond, Bruce,
and the d’Abbadie’s in their travels may have also seen these sights.
In this way this symbol may have worked its way into the mythology and
lore of the bloodline that had created the United States of America and
its inclusion on the Great Seal of the United States. It is possible
that at the time of these men’s visits that they did not realize the
pyramids in Morowe were more recent additions not associated with the
original Kings they may have valued or been seeking information about.
Some evidence that may display how James Bruce’s discoveries were valued
by Masonry may be observed in a relic known as the Kirkwall Scroll. The
Kirkwall Scroll resides at the Masonic Lodge of Kirkwall Killwinning no.
38(2) in the Orkney Islands of Scotland. This artifact has had a hotly
debated origin in Masonic and historical circles. Different portions of
the scroll that have been radiocarbon dated bring back a date of
anywhere from the late eighteenth century to sometime in the fifteenth
century. The scroll seems to be composed of a wide central portion with
two more narrow strips of cloth having been added to the margins of both
sides of the scroll. The older date comes from the wider central portion
while the later dates came from the outer margins. It is possible that
the outer margins were added later.
Other Masonic historians and researchers have gathered information that
suggests that the entire scroll was likely produced in the late
eighteenth century. By comparing the origins of some of the words,
script, and symbols used on the scroll it may be difficult to assume it
was created in the fifteenth century. A fifteenth century date for the
Kirkwall Scroll may help to support the notion that some of the cultural
affiliations mentioned in tandem with Scottish nobility on the
Declaration of Arbroath may indeed be true. This may be why it is at
least theorized to be of a much older time than it actually is.
The Declaration of Arbroath states that these nobles including Robert
the Bruce believed they had descended from Egyptian and Scythian
nobility at a much earlier time. This coincides with the story of Queen
Scota emigrating to Ireland and Scotland from Galicia (Spain) with her
travels beginning in Egypt. If one disregards how old the scroll is
either way some interesting possibilities are still exposed. As it turns
out either creation date for the Kirkwall Scroll may help to prove that
they were indeed related to ancient nobility and even possibly some
characters mentioned in the Old Testament. One unique discovery or
realization of James Bruce during his Ethiopian sojourn serves to
illustrate this point.
Many of the notable explorers discussed already had traveled to the
realms depicted on the margins of the scroll. Most analysts of the
scroll all agree that it seems to depict Mesopotamia and the Nile basin
on the two added margins. Some of the script on the scroll is
interpreted as being Enochian by some observers so this would fit an
Ethiopian theme related to James Bruce bringing back sacred manuscripts
(or copies of) that all seemed to play a central role in Masonic thought
and philosophy. Indeed many of these manuscripts are valued by others
outside of the Masonic sphere as well. If the script on the scroll was
known prior to Bruce this may be significant. If this script was not
known of until Bruce returned from Ethiopia then this is also important.
Given the themes present on the scroll a good guess to at least the
inspiration of its subject matter would be the travels of James Bruce.
It is doubtful that James Bruce created the Kirkwall scroll but he did
live and thrive during the period that the later radiocarbon dates of
the scroll indicate. This date range may also match the period during
which some scholars suppose the symbology on the scroll was first used
in Masonry. This is also the era in which the Great Seal of the United
States was being designed and developed.
Did James Bruce inspire the creation of the Kirkwall Scroll? This is at
the very least a possibility. Bruce had traveled to all the places
displayed on the scroll and so had both explorers Drummond and likely
the d’Abbadie’s as well. In a strange way the Kirkwall scroll may have
been a result of these men’s quest to identify the headwaters of the
Nile River or what ever else they may have been searching for. The
entire story of all of these men searching the outback of Africa for the
headwaters of a river does seem implausible at times. They must have
been looking for something else.
There may be many surprising revelations in this vein present in James
Bruce’s book “Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile, In the Years
1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, and 1773.” This tome tells the tale of
Bruce’s adventures in Ethiopia some of which are spectacular and
adventurous. Perhaps the outrageousness the things that happened to
Bruce caused some of his critics to accuse him of fabricating some of
the story. History went on to bear out all the claims of Bruce as others
explored the region in his footsteps. In fact Bruce had been preceded in
his quest for the headwaters of the Nile by Portuguese explorers who
later even brought Catholic missionaries to Ethiopia. Ultimately the
presence of these missionaries caused them to ban the Portuguese in
their country with severe penalties for any that were found there.
Bruce was a highly educated man who had the skills of an geographer,
anthropologist, writer, and artist. While his narrative style is
descriptive in a scientific and informational sense the adventure is
laid bare as one reads along. Much of what is said in the book as well
as the majority of what Bruce spent his time doing there may indicate
that he had an ulterior motive for coming to Ethiopia in the first
place. Had his mission been to secure these ancient manuscripts rather
than identifying what turned out to be the source of the Blue Nile even
though the Portuguese had done so years before?
There is even a passage in the book that describes how Bruce found some
striking similarities between his heritage and that of Ethiopian
Royalty. As he got to know the gentry and priesthood of Ethiopia it
seems that they gradually came to trust James Bruce as an equal and not
a European who had come to subjugate them as others had before. Some
biographies of Bruce state that he was offered a command in the
Ethiopian Kings Calvary.
The Ethiopians have a strong identity and have always displayed a
willingness to ruthlessly defend their land. At one point the entire
royal lineage of the Ethiopian Kings was laid out for Bruce to examine.
It was during his studies and discussions of Ethiopian Royalty that he
came to an amazing and personal discovery. It is likely this information
came from the Kebra Nagast; one of the volumes that he would eventually
have copied and returned home with. This volume illustrates the
succession of Kings of Ethiopia descendant of King Solomon of Jerusalem.
It seems that Bruce discovered that there had been an Ethiopian King
ninety-eight years before Christ who shared the same name as the Royal
family he was a part of. There had been an Ethiopian King named Brus.
Interesting in this sense that both the Royal arms of Scotland and
Ethiopia include a Lion. Bruce also noted this similarity, as this
discovery seemed to delight him immensely. He even wrote of discussing
the similarities between the two royal lines while having to also not
say that he was part of the same lineage or had the same status as the
What Bruce likely did not convey to his hosts is that he and his
ancestors had a strong belief that they may have evolved from similar
origins to King Solomon just as the Ethiopian Kings had. Here Bruce had
independent confirmation of this ancient belief. The fact that there was
once an Ethiopian King of this name distantly connected to his heritage
may have been easier for Bruce to believe or consider as truth than his
hosts could guess. This discovery must have given Bruce great cause to
ponder the possibilities as it likely amazed him on many different
levels. This is a unique and synchronous occurrence. To Bruce this may
have meant he was related to King Solomon himself. In turn he may have
deduced that he was descendant of the very kings the Egyptian culture
had sprung from!
It is well known via the legend of the Queen of Sheba and her son Malik
I that the Ark of the Covenant had been brought to Ethiopia in the ninth
century B.C. Malik I also seemed to have brought the faith of Judaisim
along with him when he left Jerusalem with the Ark as that faith has an
ancient tradition in Ethiopia. Malik I was said to be the son of King
Solomon he who brought this bloodline to Ethiopia. There are images of
the Queen of Sheba and the Ark of the Covenant featured in the statuary
of Chartres Cathedral displaying the widespread acceptance of this tale.
(See my other work. ‘The Path of the Ark of the Covenant’ for some
amazing geographic associations between the Vatcian axis, Lalibela, and
Chartres. Both places are pointed to in opposite directions using the
windrose and obelisk at the Vatican as a datum).
It is likely that Judaism was the primary faith in Ethiopia from the
time of Malik I until Coptic Egyptians (Greeks/Byzantines) introduced
Christianity to them sometime after Christ. Many Ethiopian art and
architecture motifs resemble that of the Byzantines. Some of the rock
hewn churches of Lalibela are even seen as a Greek Cross from plan view
also suggestive of an octagon. Further comparisons would include
similarities with the traditional Greek Orthodox Church and the
Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Some of the symbols present in Ethiopia could
easily be mistaken as ‘Templar’ revealing this association with Egyptian
Coptics in Alexandria. In the end the Templar Cross is a type of Greek
Cross. Even though some ‘Templars’ may have visited Lalibela it may be
that these symbols were already there and valued at the time of their
Given what James Bruce had found in Ethiopia and his possible true
motives for visiting there what may we assume of the involvement of the
Portuguese earlier as well as similar adventures by the d’Abbadie
brothers? If per chance claim markers had been left at the headwaters of
the Nile they were likely left by Portuguese explorers who may have
allegiances to a specific order of knighthood or secret society. They
had lived during the era when this may have been more common though the
Greeks may have utilized this method as well. This information may have
leaked out to some of the members of these sects in other countries
later becoming available to the Latin Kings of Jerusalem.
During the Portuguese tenure in Ethiopia a great Jesuit European scholar
named Athanasius Kircher was fascinated by and wrote of Ethiopia. Many
of his assumptions about Ethiopia were incorrect though he was a
brilliant mathematician and scholar. Even Nicolas Poussion a figure
central to the Rennes le Chateau mystery had been a student of Kircher’s.
Poussin had painted the painting ‘The Shepherds of Arcadia’ that
included a rendering of the inscription ‘Et in Arcadia Ego’ that is
featured in Henry Lincoln’s version of the Rennes le Chateau mystery.
This imagery is also featured on the famous Shepherd’s monument at
Shugborough Hall in England. Is it possible that these Arcadia
references are related to d’Abbadie’s that actually existed in French
Arcadia at about the time of the production of Poussin’s painting?
Shugborough is also home to many mysteries itself including being the
location at which researcher Louis Buff Parry believes the true stone of
destiny is hidden. This distant connection to Poussin and Kircher is
interesting in that Bruce continually refers to the Ethiopians as the
‘Shepherds’ throughout his writing. Was Bruce giving us a subtle hint
that he considered Ethiopia ‘Arcadia?’ At the least he was referring to
the way that they had preserved ancient writings that had been destroyed
in Egypt and were no longer available anywhere else. The Ethiopians were
indeed shepherds of ancient knowledge and information.
Perhaps ‘Arcadia’ and ‘Arcadians’ are simply terms for sacred places of
knowledge and those who maintain them? We do see this term kind of
leaving a pathway to the d’Abbadie’s involvement in many different
regions of the Globe. Firstly they are from the Basque region of Spain
and France, which is home to a culture of shepherd’s and once part of
the domain of Queen Scota the namesake of Scotland. Next d’Abbadie’s go
to French Arcadia and settle there establishing a military dynasty.
Finally a d’Abbadie, governor of Louisisana , domain of the ‘Cajun’s,
completes the Arcadia connection.
It is clear that a similar scenario of the French and English leaving
and searching for claim markers was played out in N. America with each
side looking for and either stealing or eliminating the others claims
which were traditionally set at the headwaters of a river system to
claim the entire watershed. As land changed hands they may have been
seeking to replace these makers with their own. This activity could
involve many interesting legends and truths such as the Kensington Rune,
The sandstone pillar and Hebrew inscription discovered by Louis Buff
Parry, the Oak Island Treasure and much more. There are several
monuments in the tale of land claims in N. America many of which were
added later by family members displaying knowledge of this tradition.
The d’Abbadies created the Great Cyclic Cross of Hendaye mystery even if
they did not create the cross themselves. They had obviously deciphered
it and put it in a place of value outside the church of St. Vincent that
they paid to have had restored (Weidner, Bridges). Could the Kirkwall
Scroll have been a by-product of things James Bruce and the Drummond’s
had learned in their travels? All of these families were interwoven with
the Stewarts and many other Scottish and English nobles. It is also
clear via an examination of many of the gentried families of the world
that some of their influence includes leaving monuments to their family
legacies in churches of which they are the major benefactors. The Great
Cross of Hendaye fits this bill. In this saga we see first families of
the America leaving mysteries in this tradition at the Bruton Parish
Church, All Saints Maidstone (Beale, Washington), and Bruton Parish
Church Williamsburg, Virginia (Beale, Bacon, Moncure, Washington). The
mysteries of Rosslyn Chapel itself may indicate that the St. Clair
family had left a path of discovery more having to do with their own
family than any other far reaching theories concerning Masonry and
The Kirkwall Scroll mystery fits this pattern in a Masonic context. It
appears someone may have read the works of Bruce after he had returned
from his travels and created this enigmatic scroll as a response. Some
comments on Bruce’s work at that time suggest its distribution was
limited to Masonic groups. The scroll itself also seems to act as a kind
of Masonic tracing board that may teach lessons to initiates at
different levels suggesting only parts of the scroll were revealed as
one progressed. If the scroll does depict episodes in Bruce’s life then
he had gone through the ultimate path of initiation.
The bonus information revealed to initiates at Kirkwall using this
scroll may have also included a mystery as to what the strange map like
qualities of the scroll actually meant. If they were to examine the most
well known adventurer of their day as the source of these mysteries they
would inevitably be led to at least the suspicion that the scroll had
been inspired by the travels and gnostic influence of James Bruce
descendant of Robert the Bruce King of Scotland.
Amazingly there are indications of a strong family link between William
Graham (Graeme) who donated the Kirkwall Scroll to the Kirkwall lodge
and James Bruce. Part of the genealogy of the Bruce family of Kinnaird
reads as such:
“Robert Bruce of Life Gds. d. 1650, had an only heir and daughter,
Helen, who married David Hay of Woodcockdale. Helen retained the name of
Bruce and therefore he became David Hay-Bruce, and retained the title of
Kinnaird. They had a son, David Hay-Bruce who married a daughter of
James Graham, Esq. of Airth. Their son, James “Hay” Bruce was the famous
African Traveler and discoverer of the white Nile. James had 6 brothers
and 2 sisters, from his father's second marriage.”
*(Bruce is said to have discovered the source of the Blue Nile)
This entry clearly states that James Bruce’s mother was from the Graham
family. Here the excerpt said to be from the Kirkwall Lodge records from
December, 27, 1785:
"Bro. William Graeme, visiting brother from Lodge no 128 Ancient
Constitution of England [Lodge Prince Edwin, In Bury East Lancs] was at
his own desire admitted to become a member of this Lodge, and he
accordingly signed the articles and Rules thereof"
Seven months after this entry the log book records Graeme (Graham)
donating a ‘floor cloth’ that is now referred to as the Kirkwall Scroll.
There is some debate if this scroll is indeed the ‘floor cloth’ yet most
agree the scroll seen today is the floor cloth being referred to.
It is important to note that James Bruce’s Grandfather from his mothers
line was the famous Judge Graham of the Admiralty and defender of
loyalists after the first Jacobite risings. Judge Graham’s had a son
named William who also produced another William Graham. Though it is
tempting to ascribe the creation of the scroll to one of these two good
men we may consider an alternative.
It may be that a collateral relative of James Bruce’s mother was the
William Graham who donated the scroll. The entire legacy of the Graham’s
and Bruce’s crosses paths several times through history. A quick check
reveals two marriages between the families. In addition James Bruce’s
mother’s second marriage was to a Hamilton whose family still held the
title of Earl of Orkney where Kirkwall is located. James Bruce had a
half brother who was a Hamilton. A Hamilton Earl of Orkney had also once
been defacto Governor of Colonial Virginia. His Lieutenant Governor
Alexander Spotswood was a family relation and creator of the octagonal
Powder Magazine in Williamsburg, Virginia. It is then no coincidence
that the Graham who had donated the scroll was the customs inspector for
Given the era in which the Scroll appeared it is likely that the William
Graham who donated the Kirkwall Scroll may have several different links
to noble blood including a value of the legacy of James Bruce. He lived
during the same era as Bruce so it is even likely that they knew each
other and were aware of their familial relation. Given the dynamics of
how gentry value each other one may assume that these two men carried
the same blood. The Graham family also is one of the influential gentry
families of Scotland.
James Bruce’s grandfather Robert is also important in the overall
interests of this family at large. Robert marks the second association
of James Bruce and his family with the creation of the Hudson’s Bay
Company originally established by Prince Rupert of the Rhine. The Graham
family was intimately associated with shipping with and for the Hudson’s
Bay Company. James Bruce’s great grandfather ‘Robert Bruce of the Life
Guards’ was a Cavalier bodyguard of Charles I. This is an amazing
association with John Beale also a Life Guard during this era whose
family may be responsible for the legend of the Bruton Parish Church
Vault (Bacon’s Vault) in Williamsburg as well as the Beale Treasure
Legend of Bedford County, Virginia.
Both of these men may have been under the command of Prince Rupert who
was the head of the Life Guards during this period. All of these
associations may infer that all of these men were loyal to the Jacobite
cause and may have had motives of their own in the establishment of the
United States of America and other ventures such as the Hudson’s Bay
Company. Some well known monuments in the U.S. and Canada may be
associated with the way land was claimed in the past.
In the end we would be forced to at least consider a historical
personage(s) being the impetus for maps of Mesopotamia and the Nile
being featured on the Kirkwall Scroll. During the very same time frame
only within a few years of each other we have Bruce and Sir Drummond
traveling the ancient world followed closely by the d’ Abbadie’s and yet
another William Drummond. The d’ Abbadie’s and later William Drummond
left monuments in their wake at Hendaye and Stirling Castle using themes
that were valued in places they had visited. These men’s work had
brought real evidence home to prove the reality of the symbols and
cultures they valued. Their tradition and family legacy from the Kings
of Egypt and the old world had been given a great deal of rationale in
reality as well which undoubtedly inspired them personally. Some of this
information was likely shared with their families who would have
appreciated it as well.
In addition it should not be overlooked that many of these symbols would
be incorporated into the Great Seal of the United States of America. The
same families and more would go on to play a large role in the creation
of the United States of America. In the colonies the dynamics of the
first families of New England, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia
seemed to mirror those of and include members of English and Scottish
gentry. The symbolic values of these people would be incorporated into
our architecture, money, artwork, and legacy. Works of art like the
Great Seal of the United States and the Washington monument reflect
these values in an overt manner. Washington D.C. and countless other
places in the U.S. serve as testimony to the artwork and mysteries
solved by people like Bruce and Drummond. It is no surprise then that
the same values would be apparent in organizations like Masonry who did
play a substantial role in the creation of the country as well.
These concepts have been developed in some cases into historical
mysteries that may serve as paths of initiation valued by certain orders
or specific groups of people. There seems to be a clear evolution
through time with regard to mysterious conundrums such as the Kirkwall
The more modern form of these quests may be exemplified by places such
as Rennes le Chateau, the Georgia Guidestones, Coral Castle, The Star
Chart at Hoover Dam, The Maryhill Stonehenge, and The Peace Arch and
International Peace Garden. At each of these places a monument is
included that may be considered a millennial monument. Each of these
places has the influence of one of this family line. Ultimately the
lesson these places teach you may be rooted in practical geometry and
navigation which was once a cloistered and at points an alchemical art.