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Thomas Mc Rae
[To Thomas Mc Rae’s index]

Of Roslin, Sinclairs, and Masonic Myths

By Tomas Mc Rae, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, ©2008
A revision with a postscript of his 2001 masonic lodge lecture
and his
2003 article in Philalethes Magazine

[This article is featured in the Lowlands-L History collection as well.]

Entrance to Roslin Castle, near Edinburgh, Scotland
(Photo: Supergolden)

H ere’s a recipe to make a fortune. Mix together extra­vagant tales involving Scot­land, Free­masonry, and Knights Temp­lar. Season with some ancient Egypt and garnish with the odd lost scroll. As­semble this into the most outra­geous story you can envisage then … get it pub­lished. There are already many success stories using this re­cipe, why not you?

Masonic history has been described in The Economic History Review as “a depart­ment of history which is not only obscure and highly contro­versial, but by ill luck the happiest of all hunting grounds for the light-headed, the fanciful, the alto­gether unscholarly and the lunatic fringe of the British Museum Reading Room.”

How true is this for the Roslin area and the Knights Templar? Ian Rankin, world famous thriller writer, says in his novel Set in Darkness … “Roslin was the home of the ancient and extraordinary Rosslyn Chapel which in recent years had become the target of a range of millennialist nutters.” A typical local view of the place.

Unlike most of those “nutters” I was born and educated in Scotland and lived for many years within a bike ride of Roslin village. There’s a nebulous connection with my family as my Great Great Grandfather managed a gunpowder-mill there until it blew up … After that he taught the fiddle.

Let’s begin with Rosslyn Chapel, started by William Sinclair around 1446 and developed by his son Oliver to its present state in the 1480’s, lack of funds probably stopped the project’s completion. Frankly any claims that this wonderful building has strong connections with Freemasonry must be taken with a bucket of salt. I concede however there had to be a settlement of Stonemasons during the construction of, first the castle, then the Chapel but there are no reliable records confirming this.

It’s claimed that Cromwell’s General Monck destroyed the Castle but left the Chapel alone as he and Cromwell were Freemasons. Total bunkum! The Castle was wrecked due to its strategic importance Cromwell was not into destroying churches and Monck stabled his horses in it while some of his senior officers looted the extensive library. Hardly Masonic acts. There is not the slightest evidence that Cromwell or Monck were Freemasons.

Carvings illustrating biblical messages to an illiterate population. are commonplace in Medieval churches all over Europe, In The Second Messiah Knight and Lomas claim there are no Christian symbols in the Chapel. They must be blind! There are several crosses around the place as well as angels and Bible illustrations in stone. One group they claim as The Turin Shroud” is actually a portrayal of St Veronica wiping Christ’s face when his image was superimposed on the cloth. Is this Christian enough? They do not seem to have much knowledge of Christian traditions.

I have not only visited the Chapel but have been given a conducted tour by the then Minister, long before they charged the admission admission fee I had to pay in 2004. He took me round and explained many of the carvings, making no mention of anything masonic.

The Prentice Pillar (Photo: Thomas Mc Rae)

Among other things I saw the famous “Prentice Pillar” which has a fascinating tale to tell. Legend tells how at the construction of the Chapel the Master Builder, being confused by plans that included a mysterious pillar, travelled to Italy to consult with the architect, leaving his apprentice to work on his own. During his Master’s absence the apprentice thought long and hard about the pillar and is said to have had a dream where angels showed him its true form. He managed to complete it but when the jealous Master saw the wonderful work he killed the poor lad with a mallet. The apprentice’s widowed mother saw the crime com­mit­ted and The Master was sup­pos­ed­ly hanged.

Some claim the account is allegorical, symbolising the Apprentice passing to a new life as a Craftsman. Whatever the tale is just a myth also attached to several churches and ca­the­drals in Britain and Europe.

It is so easy to find masonic connotations where none exist … as Freud said “Some­times a cigar is just that ... a cigar.” Maybe some­one should have told this to Mo­ni­ca Le­vin­sky … In recent times the Chapel has been associated with Templars, UFO’s, The Holy Grail, The Turin Shroud, only thing missing so far is an Elvis appearance and I’m working on that. I find it significant that the official website for the Chapel .rosslyn-chapel.com/ make no mention whatsoever of Masonic, Templar, or even Elvis connections.

On to the St Clair or Sinclair Family. It is claimed that members were hereditary heads of Masonry in Scotland, calling an annual assembly of Scottish Lodges at a small village called Killwinning. David Murray Lyon, Grand Secretary of The Grand Lodge of Scotland, 1887–1900, demonstrated that claims of the Family having any territorial rights on Killwinning area in Scotland’s West are dubious. Remember that Lyon had access to all existing documents. St Clair lands were in the East and in Orkney.

Masons journeying to Killwinning from all over Scotland would have faced wild beasts, brigands, disease, and hazardous terrain. Some would also have had to traverse the huge Selkirk forest long since destroyed. For over a century the whole area was the scene of almost constant Scots/English wars with attendant mayhem and tra­vel­lers would have required armed retainers for protection. We must also ask where all those Masons stayed in this tiny hamlet and where they held their As­semb­lies?

James II of Scotland (1430–1460)
(Sources: Wikimedia Commons)

It is claimed that in the15th century James II of Scotland appointed William St Clair and his descendants hereditary Protectors of Scottish Masons which probably made them their patrons and arbitrators. Gould and Lyon play the claims down. As does Robert Cooper the current Grand Librarian of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The only evidence supporting this is a letter written in the reign of James VI by William Schaw his Master of the Royal Buildings making those claims and requesting the current William to resume that patronage. Said William did nothing about the appeal being too busy fleeing the wrath of an angry miller whose daughter he had seduced.

During the reign of Charles II, Wil­liam’s son received a second appeal but when he tried to have this ap­point­ment confirmed by the King it was spee­di­ly re­ject­ed as with­out foun­da­tion.

Nonetheless, in 1736, the William of that time renounced all claim to this ma­son­ic title, and was initiated into Lodge Canongate Kill­win­ning, in Edin­burgh, then elected first Grand Master of Scotland. Obviously he had not been previously Made Mason. William was the last of his line, had none of the titles enjoyed by his ancestors, but is re­port­ed as being a great gentleman.

He sold both Castle and Chapel for much needed funds but, if the Chapel really had strong Masonic connections, surely steps would have been taken by Scots Freemasons of the time to maintain it? In fact no real maintenance took place until the late 18th century.

Onwards to The Knights Templar or The Poor Knights of The Temple of Solomon to give them their full title. The Order was founded as a fighting monastic discipline protecting Pilgrims to Jerusalem. Other Orders including those of St John, Lazarus, and The Teutonic Knights were among warrior monks dedicated to this task. These Orders also did great work establishing hospitals for sick pilgrims.

Templar Knights lived under strict discipline, subject to the Pope alone with no other Church or Civil Authority able to touch them, truly laws unto themselves. In time the Moslems expelled most Christians from The Holy Land but The Order had vast land resources in Europe and Cyprus so many of the fighting men moved to that lovely island.

As well as being warriors the Order organised an efficient system of money transfer from the Holy Land to various European destinations. In time they began issuing loans which increased their wealth while reducing that of their creditors. This, and their arrogance, would lead to the destruction of The Far From Poor Knights. Allegations of homosexuality and witchcraft had already been made against the Teutonic Knights, forcing them to move to Prussia. Similar accusations involved the Templars in France and advantage was taken of these rumours to begin the Order’s annihilation.

France’s King Phillip the Fair coveted Templar wealth and began illegally arresting members of the Order. He then induced his puppet Pope Clement V to start proceedings against them. Mass arrests started in 1307 the same year that Edward I of England died. Confessions were extracted under the foulest tortures and this evidence convinced the Pope of their guilt. He dissolved the Order commanding European rulers to round up all Knights in their domains.

Edward II destroyed the Order in England and in parts of Scotland where he still occupied large areas of the country. Templar refugees in Bruce’s lands would hardly have received sympathetic treatment, having helped Edward I defeat Wallace at Falkirk then Bruce at Turnhouse near Edinburgh. Aye, Bruce had scores to settle with the English-supporting Knights!

Edward II grabbed most of the Knights’ wealth and lands just as Phillip had done in France. Tales of vanished Templar treasure are just that, as are the myths of surviving Templars settling in the Scottish Highlands. The Knights more probably vanished into continental urban communities. Some may even have been admitted to other Orders especially in Portugal where they continued under new names but there are no records of any Post-Persecution Scottish settlement..

The Pope decreed the Knights of St John were to receive the bulk of Templar property. Edward and Phillip however held on to their loot for some time before disbursing portions to the new owners. By 1314 Templar leaders including Jacques de Molay had been brutally executed and the once great Order was no more. King Phillip and Pope Clement died shortly afterwards, and Robert Bruce eventually gained control of Scotland. Those are the facts accepted by competent historians, yet a convoluted mythology persists.

Gould in his History of Freemasonry tells how Dr Anderson started off the Templar legend in his Book of Constitutions. Anderson made numerous other claims making everybody from Moses onward Freemasons, he had a a good imagination. Mackey’s Encyclopaedia tells how the Chevalier Ramsay elaborated the myth in his own Rite “to give Freemasonry some sense of nobility” but by the 1800s the Templar myths had been dismissed, but alas not once and for all.

A later authority, Coil, (Freemasonry Through Six Centuries) dismisses … “the chivalric or military theories, which are detected to be quite fanciful … there was never the slightest evidence of any such element in Freemasonry until it was added during the multiplication of degrees in the eighteenth century’. Despite all those disclaimers Templar myths keep coming up like badly cooked sausages at a barbecue. It really is time they were flushed away for good.

At the time of the French Revolution Templarism re-appeared after a French eccentric Bernard Raymond Fabré-Palaprat decided he was the living successor of Jacques de Molay, producing a fake document to prove his claim. Known as the Larmenius Charter it first made its appearance in 1805 and claimed that de Molay appointed a Jean Jacques Larmenius as his successor prior to his execution. How Larmenius managed to visit Jacques in a secure prison to get this appointment borders on the miraculous.

Out of those dubious claims The Order of the Temple re-appeared and Palaprat made a fortune in fees. He ended up proclaiming himself Pope...nuff said! His Order survives to this day but became a Christian charitable organisation which denies any connection with the Knights Templar. I suspect it was some of those Templars who guarded a lump of rock in a Scottish church for years, claiming it was the REAL Stone of Destiny

Aye, crazy claims persist involving the Old Warriors.

Last September at an assembly of Scots Masonic Templars in Stirling a lecture delivered by a Bro Robert Lomas purported to tell the true story of the origins of Freemasonry. Lomas and his partner Knight have written idiotic books. laughing all the way to the bank while filling our minds with nonsense.

The Prentice Pillar chapter with angels and the controversial rectangles (Photo: Thomas Mc Rae)

The Hiram Key, The Second Messiah, Uriel’s Machine … Don’t waste your time or money. Authorities have dis­missed them as rubbish.

I do concede however that The Hiram Key and The Second Messiah combine to give their readers a very important message. Do not try using dictionaries for lan­gua­ges with which you are unfamiliar to support nebulous theories.

I refer to their allegations that they found Masonic secret words when perusing Ancient Egyptian dictionaries. In the second book they inform us that they studied Gae­lic dic­tio­na­ries to find that Rosslyn means “Inherited Wisdom.” Apart from anything else Lowland Scots was the language of the Scottish Lowlands. Only in the area of Galloway are there claims of Gaelic being the common language of a Lowland po­pu­la­tion.

The two words forming the name are much more probably “Ross” the name of a person. but with the European Lowlands influences on Scots dialect it could also be “horse.” “Lynn” is a word used in Scots for a waterfall and occurs in Burns poem “My Hoggie,” ie “We heard naught but the roarin’ lynn amang the braes sae scroggy.” In Scots myth we also have the famously randy Tam (o’ the) Lynn.

Our friends state there are no waterfalls anywhere near the village, fact is the adjacent gorge was formed by two rivers and a fall remains at their confluence. Baigent and Leigh mention this in “The Temple and the Lodge.”

The text of Lomas’ lecture is given in full on his Web Site, included in the references at the end of this paper. He claims surviving Templars, and their relics, arrived in Scotland and that William St Clair built Rosslyn chapel to store them on their behalf.

The Fallen Angel (Photo: Thomas Mc Rae)

Claims are also made that the Chapel is an exact replica of King Herod’s Temple and conceals im­port­ant arti­facts, found by Temp­lars in the foun­da­tions of that an­cient struc­ture. He continues to state that, with the co­ope­ra­tion of the St Clairs, Temp­lars founded Free­ma­son­ry which therefore did not exist in England until James VI, a Free­mason, went to England in 1603, as James I.

The Grand Lodge of Scotland has records going back to the 16th century, there is no mention in them of James ever having been a masonic initiate. Lomas next claims that after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715 the English founded the first Grand Lodge to dissociate themselves from the rebellious Scots. Ireland followed suit, then Scotland finally established its Grand Lodge. What a collage of myth, speculation, and bent history!

Let’s start with the Templar presence in Scotland …

In The Temple and the Lodge Baigent and Leigh claim they found Templar graves in the Wester Ross area of the Scottish Highlands. How valid is their discovery? As the gravestones they found have no inscriptions they state this proves them to be Templar.

In fact most mediaeval people were illiterate so inscriptions on tomb stones were rare. I concede that some of the stones have swords inscribed on them but not only Templars had swords. They were scarce, expensive items and one inscribed on a grave stone showed the high status of the deceased. The Museum of Scotland states that a sword on a gravestone often denoted A Soldier of Christ. In one example at the Museum we have a child’s grave from 13th century.

Baigent’s most “convincing” proof is the finding of stone “Templar” crosses at several sites and even a gravestone showing a Templar “admiral.” No way, José! Remember Freud’s cigar? Stone crosses of this type are found all over Scotland and Ireland, some dating from at least the 6th century. They are classic examples of Celtic art carved long before any Templars appeared on the planet. The cross on Baigent’s photograph of an alleged stone of a Templar “admiral” shows typical Celtic knot work predating the Templar era.

The subject’s armour is similar to that on Iona’s 8th century warrior carvings, while the boat displayed is the longship design used by the local seagoing people. An alleged Masonic Square is more probably a heraldic chevron showing the warrior’s nobility, and the subject does not have the mandatory Templar beard.

Horned Devil? No, it's Moses and The Commandments
(Photo: Thomas Mc Rae)

Kiwi Baigent and American fiction writer Leigh’s claims prove just one thing their ignorance of Scottish culture.

The Medieval Highlands were po­pu­lat­ed, not by kilt-wear­ing, hag­gis-eat­ing, ca­ber tos­sers, but by a wild ag­gres­sive people who fought at the least pro­vo­ca­tion. (Just as they still do in Glas­gow and Edin­burgh pubs). Strangers tended to die quick­ly until after the 1715 Re­bel­lion when law and order finally started taking hold.

Could a mob of Templar refugees really wander into a glen of Gaelic speakers and settle in such lawless country? Any influx of strange men would have been regarded as rivals for attentions of the available women. Outsiders had scant hope of long-term survival no matter how tough they were in such an environment. Highland Scots have a long established bardic tradition yet there are no accounts of an influx of settlers from beyond the sea in the songs or ballads.

So what about the Lowlands? Pretty much the same outside the large towns. Remember the Scots were only just throwing out the English who the Templars had supported, I doubt if Scots would have accepted recent enemies as neighbours. Apart from anything else would people from the warm Mediterranean exist happily in a cold, wet, misty land like Scotland?

I defy anybody to find the slightest trace of latter-day Templar settlement in Scotland. Scottish historians and archivists have yet to find anything relevant despite popular writers making “discovery” after “discovery.” Great play is made in some masonic traditions of Templars fighting at Bannockburn. In The Temple and the Lodge Baigent claims their arrival on the field was enough to send the English running.

The scant accounts available actually tell how the English, already in deep trouble, fled when large numbers of reinforcements were seen approaching. This force was probably Bruce’s second Reserve comprised of largely untrained but keen volunteers. To keep them out of trouble these were assembled some distance from the main combat zone..

When the so-called Little People saw the English starting to falter they moved in. and the tired and bloody English soldiers broke and ran. Nary a Templar in sight! Contemporary records prove this story, there’s no mention of Templars and the Scots were perfectly capable of defeating the English without the help of foreigners with no knowledge of the terrain.

In any case by the time of their dissolution most veteran Templar warriors were slain leaving inexperienced recruits as replacements. William Wallace killed the Grand Master of the English Templars with ease in single combat during his resistance to English rule. Latter day Templars were hardly the formidable warriors of yesterday.

On to the Chapel and back to Lomas. An exact replica of King Herod’s Temple? Have a look at any pictures of the Chapel; see the buttresses? There were no such things in architecture until medieval times or was Herod a prophet? Frankly we have little idea of what The Temple looked like apart from Josephus” written accounts of its massive structure. No drawings exist and the only remaining trace is Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall which gives some idea of the size of the original.

American maize (corn)? Actually the seed pods of some flower, probably goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea minuta).
(Photo: Thomas Mc Rae)

Herod’s Temple was razed by the Roman Commander Titus Ves­pa­si­a­nus when he sup­pressed the Second Mac­ca­bean revolt at Jerusalem in 70 AD. Ha­dri­an destroyed the last traces after the revolt of 135 AD and had the Roman city of Aeolia Ca­pi­to­li­na built on the site. Anything portable was looted by the Romans, as com­me­mo­rat­ed on Titus’s Arch in Rome. Christ’s prophecy of the won­der­ful build­ing’s destruction proved all too true less than 40 years after He made it.

The Temple was built on solid rock and accounts of networks of foundations and secret underground labyrinths are figments of the imagination. Rosslyn Chapel is tiny by comparison and its architecture is classic Mediaeval; buttresses, vaulted ceilings, arches, and all. I defy anyone to show how this small structure can be an exact replica of a much larger Jewish Temple, particularly as it remains unfinished.

Work on the Chapel started over 100 years after the destruction of the Templars so where were the Knights and their treasure in the interim? Maybe a secret Templar ship landed the stuff? In the 1400’s? Even assuming this unlikely event why transport valuable material from the Coast to remote Roslin? Which port was the material landed at? The Scottish coast then as now was wild and stormy.

Nowadays you can walk to Roslin from Edinburgh in perfect safety, so long as you stay on the pavement. Then, in the midst of the Pentland Hills, it was a wild area. Rebels and robbers abounded in the Lowlands and tracks were pretty rough.

Lomas shows a photograph of a badly worn carved group in the Chapel which he claims portrays a Candidate’s Masonic Initiation by a Templar.

John Hamill, United Grand Lodge of England’s Grand librarian at the time’s state­ment that this is coincidental is dismissed by Lomas as English prejudice yet he himself comes from Manchester. Must we also dismiss the evidence of Gould and Lyon as English prejudice?

In the carving one man kneels while another stands beside him holding a rope that is tied round the kneeling person’s neck. The standing figure has a cross on his tunic while the kneeling one holds a rectangular object with a cross on it. This allegedly depicts a candidate taking his Obligation on the VSL? Not so if you know your medi­ae­val history.

First to The Templar. Sure he bears a cross on his tunic but so did many men at arms. This is a simple cross not the wide apex type adopted by the Knights and he does not have the long beard required by Templar Rule. Finally he and the Kneeler both wear hats, hardly the thing when taking a sacred Obligation.

As to The Candidate, aye, he has a rope around his neck. Lomas reveals his ignorance when he claims the only other figure of “the period” with such a cord attached is a famous bronze known as “The Dying Gaul.” In fact The Gaul is from Ancient Greece and has a bronze torque around his neck, a sculpture considerably earlier than Rosslyn’s stone carvings. How can anyone fall for this man’s books when he cannot even get such a simple claim correct?

The Kneeler holds a Bible? … Does he really? Let’s think this out …

Gutenberg had yet to launch his moveable type revolution and books, still laboriously written out in monasteries, were very valuable The taking of oaths was done on sacred objects, mainly relics or tombs of holy men. Oath taking on the Bible probably started in Britain with the introduction of The King James Bible after 1603..

What does this carving really portray? We’ll probably never know but it is not a Masonic initiation. It may be an illustration of some Biblical theme, the Commandment “Thou Shalt Not Steal” is a possibility. Or is it part of the famous series in the Chapel portraying The Seven Deadly Sins.

The so called “Bible” could be a reliquary box for holy relics or some other precious item the holder has stolen.

Lomas in his website uses some very bent probability statistics to prove his claims. The same data can be used to prove the contrary, that the carving predicts the coming of Elvis, or just about anything else you want There are lies, damned lies, statistics, and Lomasian mathematics. Check his website for yourself, don’t take my word for it..

What about English masons distancing themselves from the Scots after the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion? “The 15” was a small Highland uprising soon put down at the Battle of Sheriffmuir. Many Scots clansmen fought against the rebels while Lowlanders, where masonry was strongest, were less involved.

Knight and Lomas claim that the English were concerned at Scots Masons stockpiling arms to use against England. In other words Scottish Brethren were traitors to their King and Country,. What an outrageous piece of libel! The dynamic duo give an extract from an Edinburgh Lodge’s records (in Scots) concerning a levy to buy such weapons. As usual they misunderstand the truth and show poor knowledge of the period’s history.

British Trade Guilds traditionally maintained “Trained Bands” of citizen soldiers for defence in times of crisis. Members of city trade guilds, or incorporations, united in such bands. The Edinburgh Incorporations, for example, marched behind a banner “The Blue Blanket” The bands evolved, first into local yeomanry regiments, then into the Territorial Army in Britain, the CMF in Australia and The National Guard in the USA. The enemies the Scots Masons were arming against were the Jacobite rebels and the French. Our old Scots Brethren were in fact most loyal subjects of the Crown.

The records of the London Grand Lodge give detailed reasons for its formation, no mention is made anywhere of breaking away from a Scots parent body. Ireland also formed a grand lodge soon afterwards yet many Irish Brethren were of Scots descent, are you telling me they were also anti-Scots?

Much imaginative material is woven around the Sinclairs. For example we have Sir Henry discovering America c.1395. This comes from a handwritten book in the Vatican library, written two centuries later by a descendent of the expedition’s supposed Venetian navigator .

Historians reject this account but, be warned, a recent book claims a lost Masonic scroll in an Orkney Lodge is a contemporary account of Sinclair’s American voyage. In fact it Is just a Masonic Tracing Board with some English symbolism not used in Scotland.

It is on record that Sir Henry Sinclair, Jarl of Orkney, made a long voyage some­where. Soon after his return he, and many of his retinu, were killed in a surprise invasion by unknown raiders. Allow me do some speculation. I make no claims to its veracity but it is more plausible than the America’s tale.

For once I must agree with Baigent who states that Sinclair probably located Ice­land, but what could he have found in this area, what was he doing there? At the time, and for long afterwards, salt cod was an important staple in the European diet. The merchants of The Hanseatic League were the only people who knew its source and it is on record that sailors locating it were killed by crews of Hanseatic ships.

Rather than sail for months trying to find a nebulous land I believe that Jarl Henry’s voyage was an attempt to locate the cod source and make his fortune and probably he sought something else of importance. Iceland is a volcanic area where very pure sulphur from eruptions lies for the taking. Such pure sulphur was needed to make efficient gunpowder. I speculate that Henry found both cod and sulphur but vengeful agents of the Hanseatic League killed him on his return to his home base. Even in the mid 20th century Britain and Iceland fought over cod.

An earlier William St Clair, so Lomas says, was entrusted with taking Bruce’s heart to The Holy Land in 1329. In fact The Black Douglas was entrusted with the task although St Clair was one of an escort of Scots nobles accompanying him. All save one of the Douglas Party died fighting bravely against the Moors in Spain.

Lomas makes this William Grand Master of the Scottish Templars although they were not only celibate but extinct by that time. Any member of the banned Templar’s would have been arrested as he travelled through Christendom en-route to Jerusalem.

A recently made marble plinth in Rosslyn Chapel bears a worn image of an armoured warrior. The modern inscription states this is William St Clair Knight Templar. A dubious claim if ever there was one, being only about a metre in length St Clair must have been a midget. It is more probably from a child’s grave.

The Sinclairs were a truly noble family and there’s no need to pile rubbish and myths on their heads. Let it suffice that one of their number was first Grand Master of The Grand Lodge of Scotland. Let him, his Family, and the Da Vinci Code rest in peace.

I shall now let my Readers do the same. Thank you for travelling this far with me.



MACKIE J.D. A History of Scotland (1970 edition) Mackie was Professor of Scottish History at Glasgow University for 27 years and the Royal historiographer for Scotland from 1957 onwards. The book is still in print and remains a standard work.

MICHAEL LYNCH A New History of Scotland (1992 edition) Lynch is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Prof) in Scottish History at Edinburgh University with several standard books behind him

MICHAEL BROWN The Black Douglases (1998) Brown is a Lecturer in Scottish History at The University of St Andrews, Scotland’s oldest. He has also written a standard work on James I

A.D. M. BARRELL Medieval Scotland (2000) Lecturer in Later Medieval History, University of Belfast

ROBERT FREKE GOULD History of Freemasonry (1887). A good Scot and brilliant scholar

ALBERT G MACKEY Encyclopedia of Freemasonry (1946) Mackey put together the first really comprehensive collection of masonic lore.

BERNARD E JONES Freemason’s Guide and Compendium (1977) Masonic scholar, member of the elite Quatuor Coronati Research Group.

HARRY CARR “The Freemason at Work” (1976) The doyen of English Masonic research until his death. Travelled to Brisbane to deliver a lecture when in his eighties.

KNIGHT & LOMAS The Second Messiah (1999) The most abominable New Age writers I have come across, spewing out crazy theories based on speculation, spurious claims, and twisted history. I would rather undergo the tortures of The Inquisition than plough my way through this rubbish again!

MICHAEL BAIGENT & RICHARD LEIGH (1989) The Temple and the Lodge. Well researched, well referenced, but the conclusions are highly imaginative and inaccurate.

DESMOND SEWARD The Monks of War (2000 Folio Society Edition) The book on all main Knightly Religious Orders up to the present day. The Knights Templars’ 14th century demise is detailed but no mention is made of any Scottish settlements. Highly recommended!

GERVAISE PHILLIPS (1999) The Anglo Scottish Wars.

MARK KURLANSKY (1999) Cod. Honestly: there is such a book and it is very dramatic reading.

PERIODICAL “Scots” An excellent glossy magazine published four times a year that sticks to authentic Scottish lore. You should find it at any good newsagent.

PERIODICAL The Scots Magazine The first and oldest magazine ever published. Excellent source of information on Scots lore although some historical articles substitute sensationalism for fact. Hard to find in Brisbane newsagents those days.

ACADEMIC JOURNAL The Economic History Review, November, 1977, page 103.

LOMAS’ Website is at www.robertlomas.com/Freemason/Freemason.html

ROSSLYN CHAPEL OFFICIAL WEB SITE www.rosslyn-chapel.com/

And for those interested further information on Lowland Scots may be found at

Postscript 2008

Since writing this paper I have obtained a Folio Society Edition of Dr Malcolm Barber’s excellent work The Trial of the Templars.

First published in 1973 by The Cambridge University Press. Folio used the 1993 revision of this work in producing their beautiful edition of 2003. Barber’s bibliography is vast, incorporating Avignon Papal records of the time, records from Rome’s grim Castello de St Angelo, and many documents and books from the 1300’s until around the mid 1990’s in many languages.

Barber’s scholarship demonstrates just how pathetic works of New Agers such as Knight & Lomas really are. In his Preface to this edition he goes over the vast amount of work that has been done on the subject since 1973 and sums up thus … “This work has led to a new wave of interest in the history of the Temple and its final fate, an interest which had waned since the early 20th century. However, not all this enthusiasm can be described as academic or even historical. The revival of serious work has been accompanied by a burgeoning of the market for solutions to “the mystery of the Templars,” a whole subsection of the publishing industry in which the fraudulent and the opportunistic compete for the attention of the credulous.

This too has deep roots particularly in the masonic lodges of the eighteenth century, the conspiracy theories of the period of the French Revolution, and the romantic novelists of the nineteenth century of which Sir Walter Scott is the great exemplar. Peter Partner’s The Murdered Magicians provides a serious historical context for this and Umberto Ecco’s novel, Foucault’s Pendulum, an appropriately ironic commentary.”

I regard this well referenced and superbly written book to be yet another nail in the coffin of Templar mythology.

In 2006 Robert Cooper Grand Librarian of the Grand Lodge of Scotland totally demolished the accrued nonsense of centuries with the publication of his book The Rosslyn Hoax? This brilliant piece of academic writing should finally end the claims of Templars, Freemasons, etc being associated with Rosslyn Chapel.


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