Roslin Chapel: The Grail's Hiding Place?
The Tradition: In the Chapel of Roslin
in Lothian stands a most remarkable carved
pillar, known as the "Prentice Pillar".
It is said that the design for the chapel pillars
was created by the local master mason, but the
scheme was so intricate that he did not have the
skills to carve them. So he travelled abroad in
an attempt to learn the necessary expertise. On
his return, however, he found that his apprentice
had completed the first pillar and, on their
Lord's instructions, had hidden the secret Grail
within it. In a fit of jealous rage, the mason
killed the poor boy! The murderer had, however,
failed to learn the continental skills he had
hoped for and, with the talented apprentice dead,
the "Prentice Pillar" remained unique.
The Theory: According to Wolfram Von
Eschenbach's "Parzival," the Grail was
kept in a Holy Temple where it was guarded by
formidable force of fighting men known as the Templiesen.
Knight and Lomas believe that this was the Temple
of Solomon in Jerusalem, where the treasures of
the Jewish people were buried before the
destruction of Jerusalem in AD 68. The Templiesen
are the Monastic Order of the Knights Templar, supposedly heirs to
this hidden treasures which they recovered while
on Crusade a thousand years later. The most
precious object salvaged was the Holy Grail,
which the Templar's Grand Master, Hugues de
Payen, brought to Scotland to entrust to his
wife's uncle, Henry Sinclair, Earl of Orkney. It
remained with the family until the 3rd Earl built
the present chapel at Roslin Castle in 1446. It
was constructed as a replica of the original
Temple of Solomon, and the Grail was encased in
the beautiful Prentice Pillar there.
interpretations & Criticism: The Knights Templar
were a mysterious order of monks-cum-soldiers
under the protection of St. Bernard of Clairvaux.
During the Crusades of the 13th century, they
undertook a quest to recover a piece of the True
Cross from the Saracens in the Holy Land.
They consciously promoted this as a parallel to
the Grail Quest, and may have even had the Grail
legends rewritten to suit their own bizarre
were indeed a well-connected family with close
links to both the Order of the Knights Templar
and the later Freemasons. The Chapel at their
Castle of Roslin is certainly unique, not only
housing the "Prentice Pillar" but a
singular collection of fascinating imagery and
symbolism which may well have been inspired by
their Templar beliefs. Perhaps the pillar itself
was so very complicated to complete that its
mason never made another, but the Grail
connection appears to be mere speculation on the
part of local tradition.
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