Daily Archives: January 13, 2015

The Quest for the Holy Grail (part 18)

18 – The Turin Shroud




So here we are at the end of another historical investigation, one in which we verified the existence of King Arthur, & also discovered that the legend of the Holy Grail was based, in fact, upon the burial shrouds of St Thomas of India! This artefact was also known as the Mandylion, which I believe was taken by the Knights Templars & secretly sequestered in the vaults of Rosslyn Chapel. In recent decades, a number of scholars have postulated that the Mandylion was in fact the Turin Shroud, so before I wrap up my grail quest I’m just gonna show how that particular line of investigation has no legs!




Back in 1988, after a sample of the Turin Shroud was tested for Carbon Dating, the Vatican’s Cardinal Ballestrero announced the shroud came into being at some point during the period 1260-1390 CE.  In spite of this, many scholars are skeptical of the results, citing possible errors in the date springing from bad practice, a repair in the cloth, or possible corruptions in the molecules acquired during the shroud’s exposure fire & water damage… & steadfastly refuse to accept the findings.




The shroud first officially seen in the possession of the de Charneys, the founders of the church at Lirey, near Troyes, where the ‘Holy Winding Sheet,’ was first put on display.  The initial reaction to the shroud,made by two local bishops, was that it was nothing but a painting, with Bishop Henri de Poitiers (1354-1370), even stating he knew “the artist who had painted it.” This notion was confirmed in a 1390 memorandum composed by Bishop Pierre d’Arcis, who declared the shroud had been ‘cunningly painted.’ These days, the paint has all but faded from the shroud, leaving a negative imprint rather like the ones pressed leaves leave behind in books as they release lactic acid.

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In the early 15th century, the de Charneys decided to hand the shroud over to the Duke and Duchess of Savoy , their distant relatives, who just so happened to live in Turin. I mean, its not rocket science -the Turin Shroud turns up in history at just the same time that Carbon Dating says it was created!
However, I now believe that the Turin Shroud is in fact a copy of the Mandylion, made by the de Charneys in the mid 1300s.  Presupposing that the Mandylion was in Scotland after 1307, then let us examine the movements of Sir Geoffrey de Charney, the founder of the church at Lirey. He was probably Europe’s most admired knight at the time, a wielder of many honours & much social power. We can place him in Scotland on two separate occasions; the Chronicles of Froissart stating he was on good terms with man of Scotland’s noblemen, as in;
Mctray Duglas and the erle Morette knewe of their comynge, they wente to the havyn and mette with them, and receyved them swetely, sayeng howe they were right welcome into that countrey. And the barons of Scotlande knewe ryght well sir Geffray de Charney, for he had been the somer before two monethes in their company: sir Geffray acquaynted them with the admyrall, and the other knyghtes of France
The idea is that on encountering the Mandylion on his first visit to Scotland, little Geoff of Lirey (as opposed to Big Geoff of Monmouth) returns with his best painter to copy the thing… & with that wee premise, I shall take my seat at the Siege Perilous, & banquet healthily through the Winter.





The Quest for the Holy Grail (part 17)

17 – Rosslyn

Might it not be possible that the mandylion… is buried under Rosslyn
chapel awaiting discovery at some future time Mark Oxley




On continental Europe, the Mandylion was last seen or heard of in 1287 by the Knights Templar initiate, Arnaut Sabbatier. After this it simply disappeared, more than likely during the fall-out of the Papal persecution of the Templar’s in 1307. Spearheaded by the French king, Philip IV, on Friday 13th of that year (after which it became a most inauspicious day) all the top Templars & scores of others were arrested & most of them later executed upon torture-drawn confessions for mostly made-up misdemeanours. Suddenly the Pope & the King controlled all the Templar lands & finances, which of course was a completely  unpredictable bonus.

Some of the priceless Templar treasures were spirited out of the country, however, when 50 Templars sailed from La Rochelle with sacred relics dating from the Crusades. French Legend has it that some of the treasures were taken to Scotland, where by 1314 a host of Templars were fighting alongside the equally excommunicated Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn. The knights were said to have landed on the Isle of May, in the Firth of Forth, which naturally leads to the River Esk & onto the village of Temple.
Founded on lands given to the order by David I of Scotland in 1127, the village of Temple was once home to the main Templar receptory (headquarters) in Scotland. To this day, a local proverb tells us that at Temple, ‘Twixt the oak and the elm tree/You will find buried the millions free.’ The treasure may even be connected to a strange stone found at Tenmple, dated to the Templar era, which sports a curious pacman symbol (see below & red arrow).


That the Mandylion was among the Templar Treasures is suggested by the presence of the Mandylion amongst the cornucopian carvings of Rosslyn Chapel. There is a sculptured tableau atop a pillar cornice, on which a headless figure holds up a piece of material sporting the  face of Christ. The presence of the Mandylion at Rosslyn would help to explain the mystery behind the chapel’s steps, which were said to have been worn down by pilgrims who had traveled to Rosslyn from northern Spain.


The Mandylion at Rosslyn
The Mandylion at Rosslyn


The answer is to be found in the Sudarium of Oviedo, said to be the face cloth used in the burial of Christ. A pilgrim, after seeing the Sudarium, would complete the set so to speak by travelling to Rosslyn to see the other material associated with the death & resurrection of Christ. Mark Oxley writes; ‘Folklore recounts how pilgrims in their thousands traveled there’after completing the arduous trek to the shrine of St James of Compostela.’ 


Sudarium of Oviedo
Sudarium of Oviedo



Building on Rosslyn chapel officially commenced in 1446, direcetd by local nobleman, Sir William Sinclair. He’d actually had a group of builders & masons on his hands since 1441 – perhaps even to build a secret underground chamber or a tunnel to his castle? I believe that to this day, perhaps in a secret compartment of the chapel’s crypt, or possibly wrapped around the body of on the buried Templars, the Mandylion can still be found at Rosslyn. Way back in 1546, the Queen Regent, Marie Guise, recalls a ‘secret’ shown to her at Rosslyn, while Sir Walter Scott wrote of Knights of the Grail being buried there.



For the moment, all we may do is speculate, for Historic Scotland controls the site & any excavatory work is forbidden. Local project director, Stuart Beattie, says, ‘We are not in the business of being grail hunters at the moment, although I think there are members of the trust and a lot of the public who would like to see invasive investigations. The immediate priority is to focus on conservation work, and then perhaps the trust might turn its attention to more esoteric matters.’

So I guess we’ll just have to wait….