Perpetual choirs of the Triads
Geometric forms constructed from the ‘Perpetual Choirs’.
We will discuss the relevance of the Perpetual Choirs in this chapter in relationship to Melkin's reference to a 'Circle of portentious Prophecy' as translated by most commentators. Again the skeptic can either dismiss its relevance to the construction of a Pyramid on the British or include it as relevant. The main point being the line which we have been sent to find by Melkin's instructions which points out the Island of Avalon and the burial site of Joseph of Arimathea..... can be found entirely independantly from any reference to Perpetual Choirs. This Chapter which defines the Pyramid construction is only relevant when we understand the nature of the Grail in a later chapter and its association with the Jerusalem Temple and its relation to the pyramidal form in references such as 'the head of the corner stone'.
Old Sarum has been named as one of the “Perpetual Choirs” noted in the Welsh bardic tradition of triads or“Triade” where three line verse is employed. The Welsh Triads of the Island of Britain are a group of related medieval manuscripts which contain Welsh folklore, mythology and sometimes corroborated historical fact in groups of three. The triad is a form of stanza, in which objects or subjects are grouped together in three’s, usually with a heading indicating the point of the stanza, followed by verse relating what the subjects have in common. The Triads relate much of British history and often put the escapades of King Arthur into a Welsh arena. Much of the material is in common with that of Geoffrey of Monmouth and Grail stories but tends to confer on King Arthur, a Welsh or heritage.
There is an English translation of the Welsh text from the 1796 edition of a book entitled Fabliex, which in translation means tales, legends or fables, in which the Triads give the names of places for three “Perpetual Choir” locations. These “Perpetual choirs” seemed to have been instigated by the monastic movements, to give praise to God continually day and night in three named locations but may convey a tradition that was instigated at a much earlier date, but which was possibly suppressed by the Roman invaders.
In 1801, Iolo Morganwg wrote that 'in each of these choirs there were 2,400 saints; that is there were a hundred for every hour of the day and the night in rotation, perpetuating the praise and service of God without rest or intermission.'
The three Perpetual Choirs of Britain, given in the translation are the 'Isle of Avalon' (Glastonbury), 'Caer Caradoc' (Old Sarum) and ‘Bangor Is-y-Coed’.
Figure 6a Showing the large oval earthworks mound of Old Sarum with evidence of human habitation since 3000 BC.
Like so many unravelled half-truths, there has been considerable dispute over whether Bangor Is-y-Coed is one of the main sites or whether a fourth contender, Llantwit Major in South Wales, stands as a true candidate. The reason why we should consider such a question only becomes relevant to our investigation in terms of Melkin’s prophecy which purports to give the location of Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb in the form of a riddle in which it is suggested that ‘circles of portentious prophecy’ in connection with a ‘choir’ somehow, geometrically express the whereabouts of his resting place.
In the Old Welsh language, Llantwit Major was known as Llanilltud Fawr and the date of the first settlements in this area are vague. There is a strong tradition that metal merchants from just eleven miles distant across the Bristol channel, exported lead from the Mendip Hills and there is an age old proverb in parts of the Mendips ‘As sure as Our Lord was at Priddy’; concurring with a Cornish tradition of Jesus accompanying Joseph of Arimathea on his trips to Britain as a metal merchant.
Archaeological evidence found in Llantwit Major shows occupation dating as far back as the Neolithic Period and into the Roman era. It is quite possible that it was once an export point for copper ingots from the Great Orm mine further North in Wales. It is only a short distance across the Bristol Channel, from where the lead was exported; it would save foreign traders having to navigate the hazards of the treacherous Welsh coast to the north and may be the reason for the Joseph tradition that exists there.
In Welsh records, the Welsh Triads and the Llandaff Charters, there are references to Llantwit Major being the arrival point of Joseph of Arimathea and his disciples in 37 AD. Local legend in Llantwit Major tells us that Joseph built the first Christian church in the world there, where the first Welsh college,Caer Eurgaine, was constructed. Today there are no signs of the monastic buildings that would have housed these 2400 monks who were rumoured to be part of this college. The Old Church, as the church is now known, is supposedly built on the foundations of earlier buildings. Local lore has it that the old monastic college lies to the north of the present town but no one can be sure of its precise location. Local folklore records that the college was extremely large with over 2000 pupils and it was St. Illtyd who instigated the church, the monastery and four hundred houses for the college in which the pupils resided but as with the other Perpetual Choir site, Bangor Is-y-Coed, there is little evidence of such a large community.
Llantwit Major has always had an association by tradition with Joseph of Arimathea and Joseph’s appellation in the Welsh tongue was ‘Ilid’ which translates into Welsh from the word Israelite and subsequently St. Ilid by the later church. It is highly probable that St. Illtyd in the 5th Century was somehow confused by earlier references to Joseph of Arimathea, thus confusing legend with recorded history. It also seems likely that, through this long-standing and eminent association with Joseph of Arimathea, Llantwit Major was elevated by some to be ranked as one of the Perpetual Choirs in some of the later Triad versions.
It is possible that Joseph landed here but monasteries in this era required close association with saints to encourage pilgrims and it is more probable however, that St Ilid is confused with St.Illtyd, with a following tradition that placed Joseph in Llantwit Major. It seems that an early 18th century mention of Llanwit Major interpolated into the main Peniarth Triad source was the cause of this confusion thus conferring on Llantwit Major the same standing as Glastonbury in its associations with Joseph of Arimathea. The four of these potential Perpetual Choir sites, were supposedly large medieval monastic sites but neither Bangor nor Llantwit Major leave a scrap of evidence behind them, so it is necessary to keep an open mind and to see what can be uncovered.
William Mann writes books about the Knights Templar and there is a recent tale, in one of these, of a ring owned by his great-uncle. When he was a boy, he was shown a Masonic ring by this uncle who was a Grand Master of the Knights Templar in Canada. This ring held a secret chamber and a symbol of two intertwined circles centred on a line that ran through an amethyst jewel. It is with these two overlapping circles in mind centred on a line, that we should further our geometrical design already plotted on the British landscape. References made to squares and triangles marked out in lead on the original floor of Glastonbury’s church before it was burnt down also indicate that there is somewhere to be found a mystery based upon geometric shapes and seems, from varying sources to indicate a quest. In addition to “the circles of portentous prophecy” suggested by Melkin’s prophecy, it would seem obvious having found two new Ley Lines, that we should try to find out what it is that connects all this information together.
Let us commence by finding a point on the Ley line that had been discovered going just East of North out of Avebury. Bearing in mind Perpetual Choir locations and finding the point on our line in a built-up area called Marlbrook; from this point draw a circle that has a radius that passes through all the previous Perpetual Choir sites mentioned except Bangor Is-y-Coed, so that our circumference now passes through Old Sarum, Glastonbury, and Llantwit Major as indicated in figure 7.
Figure 7 Showing the radius connecting the Perpetual Choirs with that of Whitelow Cairn.
One can see that, at the top of the circle that has been scribed, at the point where it intersects the northern extent of the line and subtends the circumference, these lines cross through a point where there is an old Neolithic cairn, just East of Ramsbottom in the North of England, called Whitelow cairn. The reader must remember here that we are trying to assimilate various sources of information, such as the circles centred on a line of Templar origin, clues from Melkin’s prophecy about a choir with allusions to circles of portentous prophecy. Since Whitelow cairn fits neatly onto our Neolithic canvas and defines a point, we should also keep in mind the triangles seen on the floor at Glastonbury that William of Malmesbury declares might hold some mystery.
As we continue on to see where this quest might lead us, let us next scribe a line back to the point of departure of the St. Michael ley line at Carn Les Boel in Cornwall. Straightaway the shape stands out as half pyramidal, so let us replicate this procedure on the other side by extending a line down to the church of St. Michael Roquetoire thus forming a pyramid; covering an area of 29,642 miles with base angles of 51.25° similar to the Great pyramid of Cheops, which has base angles of 51.85°.
Figure 8 Showing the Pyramid form on the British landscape.
One of the first things to notice, following on from the construction process of our pyramidal shape, while remembering the arc that by passed through all the Perpetual Choirs’ sites, is the fact that now the left-handed side of the constructed pyramid passes one mile from Bangor Is-y-Coed (Iscoed), our fourth contender for what can only be a three horse race, as we are referring to a Triad.
The function of the choirs was to maintain the enchantment and peace of Britain, but one must ask, is it just by coincidence that Bangor had been named as a Perpetual Choir site in earlier translations? It has been suggested that Llantwit Major was substituted for Bangor in a triad translation from the Welsh by Iolo Morganwg much later and who lived near and promoted Llantwit Major. The 1885 O.S map of Glamorganshire shows approximately 2 miles north of Llantwit Major, a location called Nash Manor which has inscribed on the map next to it, “Monastery,remains of” also shown on an earlier O.S map from 1813,so this could well have been the site Iolo promoted.
A monastery had been built at Bangor Is-y-Coed by St Dunawd and had been destroyed in 616AD along with most of its occupants in the battle of Chester. The Venerable Bede relates that 1200 monks were killed even before the battle took place. "Most of these priests came from the monastery at Bangor where there are said to have been so many monks that although it was divided into seven sections, each under its own abbot, none of these sections contained less than three hundred monks, all of whom supported themselves by manual work. About twelve hundred monks perished in this battle and only fifty escaped by flight."
In the oldest version of the Triad mentioned, Thos. Wiliems, ‘Trefriw’, only spells‘Bangawr’, the same as Robert Vaughan’s version ‘Peniarth’, as‘Mangor’. In the John Jones version which came out at the same time as Vaughan’s he writes ‘Bangawr vawr yn fford y Maelawr’; the ford indicating a place where one crosses a river, so we can assume that it is Bangor on Dee they are all referring to and the ‘Bangawr’ or ‘Mangor’ is just a shortened version of an exceptionally long descriptive place name. The modern day Bangor Is-y-Coed, meaning Bangor on Dee, ‘Bangawr’ originally indicating a monastery; could conceivably be confused with the Bangor near Anglesey where another murderous act took place in Roman times. Before the battle took place in the year 613 AD according to Bede, or in 6O7 AD, dated in the Saxon Chronicle it relates;
“the most brave Aedilfrid, king of the Engles (then pagans), a great army being collected, gave, at the city of Legions (which was called by the Engles, Legacaestir) by the Britons, however, more rightly Carlegion (now called Chester), a very great slaughter of that perfidious people: and when, the battle being about to be done, he saw their priests, who had assembled to pray God for the soldier managing the battle, he enquired who these were, and what they had assembled in that place about to do. Now a great many of them were from the monastery of Bangor, in which so great a number of monks is reported to have been, that when the monastery was divided into seven parts, with the rulers set over them, no portion of these had less than three hundred men, who all were accustomed to live by the labour of their own hands. On account of the battle, a three-days-fast being accomplished, had assembled with others, for the sake of praying, having a defender named Brocmail, who could protect them with their prayers, from the swords of the barbarians. When king Aedilfrid heard of their coming, he said: “If, therefore, they cry to their God against us, and certainly, they themselves, although they do not bear arms, fight against us, who are persecuted by their imprecations adverse to us”: he therefore ordered in that abominable militia, not without great loss of his own army. They report, about two thousand men of those who had come to pray, to have been extinct in that battle, and only fifty to be fallen in flight; Brocmail, turning with his soldiers, their backs, at the first coming of the enemy, left those whom he ought to have de-fended, unarmed, and exposed to the smiting sword”.
In the edition of the translation of Fabliaux by George Ellis, it specifically names in a four line text originally from the Welsh, that the Perpetual Choirs in Britain are; The Isle of Avalon(Glastonbury), Old Sarum( Caer Caradoc) and Bangor Is-y- Coed(Mangor Iscoed) but as we shall discover shortly, the Island of Avalon and Glastonbury have little to do with each other.
Two early chroniclers, William of Malmesbury and Geoffrey of Monmouth in their respective writings do not make this connection between Avalon and Glastonbury being one and the same place. As we shall uncover shortly, Glastonbury invented itself as the Isle of Avalon, insisting that the Somerset marshes were sodden in the sixth century when Arthur died, thus rendering Glastonbury into an Island at the appropriate time. At this stage, suffice it to say, no one should dispute Glastonbury’s pre-eminence in having had the first Christian church established there by Joseph of Arimathea. None the less, the monks are indisputably culpable of distorting the truth and guilty of polemicism by trying to re-establish a link to Joseph that is not evidenced except by forgery. Both Joseph of Arimathea through Melkin and King Arthur through Geoffrey of Monmouth were said to be buried in the Isle of Avalon and up to the present day the Isle of Avalon remains synonymous with Glastonbury. This association seems to have sprung from the monks of Glastonbury having fabricated evidence of King Arthur’s tomb being found there.
On investigation, we find that the modern town of Bangor on Dee is on a floodplain and the River Dee has changed its course, several times in the intervening years since the destruction of the monastery in 616 AD. There is an explanation as to why there is no trace of what was supposedly a huge monastery with at least 2400 monks in residence and this is revealed in the river Dee’s change of course across its flood plain. Recent archaeological evidence shows that in 600 AD the monastery would have been situated within 0.2 of a mile of the line extending down from Whitelow cairn to Carn Brea on our pyramidal shape formed on the landscape. It seems then, evidenced in our geometrical construct so far, that the four Perpetual Choir sites act as indicators on a map. It seems an odd coincidence, not unlike some St. Michael churches, that the monastery that existed in Llantwit Major has vanished without trace, with no-one being sure of its original location and no river Dee to blame for having washed it away; yet local Llantwit Major records show, that there was a Benedictine monastery until the dissolution.
The association of the Perpetual Choirs to the rest of our investigation may seem tentative or insignificant but the apex of this Pyramid was defined by the radius running through three of the Choir sites and will lead us to the discovery of the Holy Grail’s whereabouts further in our enquiry. However If we had not followed through these steps to find the pyramid dimension another circle, the center of which is defined by two Ley Lines would lead us to the same design.