Archaeologists from Historic Scotland are divided over the discovery of a mysterious stone in the village of Temple, the site of the Templar Preceptory for Scotland.
John Ritchie, author and historian, admitted the debate, “It is a crude carving, quite primitive, but I have never seen anything like it in my life. It has a whole series of symbols on it and the symbols are very interesting.
“The symbols at the bottom look like Viking sun compasses, while the dials at the top look a little bit like a Celtic cross but with notches carved on them.”
David Connolly, of Connolly Heritage Consultancy, told The Scotsman that; “It is a significant site because it was the Templar Preceptory for Scotland. I think from the condition, it may once have been set inside the church – which was once much bigger,”
“He could be a Templar, he could be a Hospitaller, he could just be a knight who wanted to be buried there – but the heraldry is like nothing anyone has seen before.”
Connolly believes the stone may have been carved in the 13th or 14th century.
However, the historian Michael Turnbull was more sceptical. He told the newspaper that he did not think the find was significant; “There were certainly Templars there but this might be a fake,” he said.
The stone was discovered by Crispin Phillips as he worked to renovate a house beside The Old Parish Church. He was repairing an old wall which was beginning to fall into the graveyard when he unearthed the stone among the foundations.
The plan is to complete the rebuilding of the 17th-century graveyard wall but to leave an opening or arch to allow scholars to further examine the stone.
Treasure in Temple
The remains of an abbey founded by the Templars can be found in Temple. The building was placed on lands granted to the Templars by King David I of Scotland in 1127.
The Templars were famously rich knights. Many believe it was their wealth that led to their downfall as some of the royalty of Europe and the Catholic Church turned against them. The Templars are also credited with the early invention of international banking as they used credit notes to allow the easy transfer of wealth between people and support the vast sums of gold they had hidden elsewhere.
It is believed that some of this gold was hidden in Scotland. An old Temple legend suggests that some of this treasure is buried in the village. The only clue is an old rhyme, “Twixt the oak and the elm tree/You will find buried the millions free.”
In Pure Spirit
Do you think the stone is significant? A fake or perhaps another clue in the great Templar mystery?