Is the tale of the murdered apprentice more than just a legend?
Photographic pioneer and artist Louis Daguerre's 1824 painting, The Interior of Rosslyn Chapel
The Interior of Rosslyn Chapel painting, shows two workmen crouching by the base of a pillar, with three Templar Knights nearby. One workman is staring intently at some bones they have found beneath the flagstones. For a bizarre example of life imitating art, let's fast-for-ward 186 years.On March 1, 2010, Scottish Television reported that workmen at Rosslyn, the chapel made famous by The Da Vinci Code, had discovered remains in an area with no recorded burials. The remains, continued the STV report, had been “removed from the site to be examined by archaeologists todiscover their age, type and if they are human or animal.” The local police confirmed the find, but said “it was not being treated as a crime.” Rosslyn Chapel declined comment. Two things aroused my interest. First, I was sure that even an untrained eye would be ableto distinguish between animal and human remains, and wondered why the archaeologists could not do the same. Second, I wondered exactly where the remains had been discovered. The idea they might have been found in the spot Daguerre showed in his painting made me chuckle. It would take me a year to get some answers. During that time, I searched for news updates. There were none. I also broached the subject with two St. Clair/Sinclair clan online forums. Since a William St. Clair had built the chapel in the mid-15th century, these groups share an abiding interest in its history. No one knew anything. Finally, on Feb. 21, I wrote to a Rosslyn Chapel executive. There was no reply. Someone knew more, but no one was talking. Two weeks later, however, my inquiries finally bore somefruit -- an Email containing four remarkable photos of the excavation, before the remains had been moved. One showed leg bones that were undoubtedly human, con-firming that one of the stated reasons for their removal was, as I suspected, clearly bogus. Two showed the exact location of the remains, but it was not the area shown in Daguerre's painting. Instead, they had been found at the threshold of the west door. The fourth showed a skull, face down, with a ragged-look-ing wound just a short distance above the foramen magnum, the natural aperture that allows the spinal cord to connect with the brain. Taking just a small leap of the imagination, what might this tell us? There's a long-lived legend that Rosslyn's master mason, returning from Rome after studying the design of an exqui-site pillar in person, found an apprentice had carved the pillar in his absence. Flying into a rage, he slew the apprentice with a blow to the head, a legend that resonates with the eponymous murder of Hiram Abif, chief architect of Solomon's Temple, absolutely central to the Freemasonic ritual of the Third Degree. Could the skull belong to the apprentice? READ JEFF NISBIT'S FULL ARTICLE TO FIND OUT!
Copyright March 2011 by Jeff Nisbet / www.mythomorph.com