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The Templar treasure location

Chapter 15

Finding the Templar Treasure.

“I saw three ships come sailing in,” today is a catchy little tune which has been sung as a Christian Carol since the 1600s. The first references to it are from Cornwall in association with the arrival of Joseph of Arimathea in Belerion. The song nowadays is sung in churches throughout England, set to the tune of Greensleaves at Christmas time. The origin of the song owing its provenance to the south-west of England, relates to the arrival of the treasure ships that left La Rochelle on that fateful day before Friday the 13th 1307. The ships rumoured to contain the untold wealth of the Templars were never seen again, while the treasure which they contained is as yet still not accounted for.

Most people can remember from their school years, the fact that those things that one hopes to keep hidden or one is self-conscious about, are brazenly thrust in one’s face. Childish rhymes set to taunt and expose, the examples of which would be endless, but for the most part, such taunts are also couched within a rhyme or tune. As the old adage goes, there is nothing hidden that shall not be found out. The locals, on the Devon coast who witnessed the arrival of the treasure ships would have been aware of the attempt to keep the operation secret. There would most probably have been land-based agents, dis-banded Templars, who would have created diversionary tactics, even though the delivery of the treasure was to be on Christmas Day. One would assume that the entrance to the ancient tin vault, now housing the relics of Jesus and Joseph of Arimathea, would be known to those who were about to make such a magnificent deposit and if the Pray Codex is indeed evidence of the Shroud possibly the Ark had been deposited at an earlier date within the tomb. It was they who had propagated the Grail stories and had physical evidence through the book of the Graal of the islands existence so obviously it would make a perfect place to conceal their wealth.

The obvious day in anybody's calendar to remove a treasure trove from three ships without being seen would be Christmas morning. If no other land-based diversion had been organised, it would be safe to assume, that the minimum number of watchful eyes gazing out to sea, would coincide with this day. Christmas morning, the one day of the year when most working folk who otherwise might be out ploughing or fishing, would be at home with their families or otherwise engaged at church.
If the treasure ships were able to slip in to Bantham in the early morning and anchor behind the headland, they would be hidden from view, from any passing seaward vessel, just as they were when the island of Ictis acted as the tin agency, stockpiling tin and foreign trade goods, for the whole of the Dartmoor region. To have three ships moored out in the bay off the island while they unloaded would have attracted attention from Hope Cove and Thurlestone villages. Because of Bantham’s solitary location however, they could have remained there undetected for at least 24-hours. Anchored in the small harbour at the mouth of the River Avon, they could transfer their loads over into the old vault on Burgh Island as the time of day or the tide became convenient.

Figure 49 Showing a chart of the entrance between the sand flats at low tide and the proximity of Bantham harbour to Avalon.

Bantham due to its remote location would have been very quiet that Christmas morning, once the ships had moored in the small harbour and while the fields were found empty of prying eyes from field labourers. Although today the Sloop Inn at Bantham, is a busy little pub, back in 1308, there would probably have only been one or two houses at the end of the long winding single-track Lane leading down from Churchstow. Bantham even today has remained a remote and sleepy little haven, having lost all memory of its ancient history as the secret port of the Island of Ictis. The ‘banned’hamlet as its name suggests, is secreted in the depths of Bigbury Bay not visible to any other hamlet except for the modern day seaside village of Bigbury on sea, just across the river mouth where the Avon's waters are mixed with the sea.

Figure 50 Showing the silted harbour where the Treasure ships moored in Bantham harbour.

One Thousand years before the birth of Jesus,‘Tinners’ on southern Dartmoor transported their ingots downward, passing through South Brent and Loddiswell and onward through Aveton Gifford on the road shown in Leonardo’s painting. The ancient trackway further upstream from the bridge has now disappeared but is evident in Leonardo’s Lansdowne painting. The old track is now covered by the flood plain opposite Venn but it was used to transport the tin by cart as Pytheas had related and this old trackway down from Loddiwell led to a small bridge called Hatch Bridge upstream of the weir on the river Avon. The tin was then stored on the island until a trading vessel arrived to buy the miners wares.

Figure 51 Showing the tidal road which was the ancient track-way from the moors to Ictis and after rising up to the village of Bigbury, it then passes through the ancient settlement of Folly hill above Bigury on Sea.

They would have passed along the tidal road in Aveton Gifford (Figure 51) and up a small hill, travelling through the small hamlet of Bigbury and as they descended down the hill from there, they would come across the most beautiful vista on the British coast seen in Figure 52; a tiny island lying peacefully, shrouding a mystery, keeping its ancient secret for 2,500 years.
On that Christmas Day in 1307 an unknown number of people witnessed the ships arriving. The small village of Bigbury on Sea, lying across the sand causeway and opposite to Burgh Island was at this time, completely undeveloped and the small beachside village of Challabourogh didn't exist. It would seem likely that the originators of the song in question were the witness’s from Hope Cove and Thurlestone who might have espied the ships entering Bantham, on Christmas day early in the morning. However, were these, the people or persons responsible for the specific wording of the Christmas Carol that has come down to us today, which has its provenance in the West Country?

Figure 52 Showing the peaceful Island of Ictis as it is today.

It seems likely that, as in the schoolyard situation, these people at a later date when letting Templar officials know what they had seen, taunted them with such words as ‘And what was in those ships all three’? As they would not have seen the activity of unloading the treasure but knew by the ships very arrival on Christmas morning, there was something not quite right, they unwittingly had created a chorus that was to last until the present day. Ships of this type did not generally go in to Bantham in this era, and the ship's departure the next morning had the air of something secretive. It is not an unlikely scenario that a single villager would have sung the song as a taunt to extort money for their silence, and villagers might have seen the resultant pay-out and done the same to receive further compensation.

The Templar ships left, and as life returned to normal and memories faded of that day, the catchy tune lingered on. No one actually saw the treasure been unloaded at night, hence the enquiring statement “and what was in those ships all three”.

I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas day, on Christmas day;
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas day in the morning.

And what was in those ships all three,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day?
And what was in those ships all three,
On Christmas day in the morning?

It continues on:

Pray whither sailed those ships all three,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day?
Pray whither sailed those ships all three,
On Christmas day in the morning?

O they sailed into Bethlehem,( Bantham)
On Christmas day, on Christmas day,
O they sailed into Bethlehem,
On Christmas day in the morning.


Figure 53 Showing the turning room for a sizable craft circa 1930 before the silting of Bigury anchorage due to the construction of the Avon dam. This illustrates the ample depth and room for navigating and mooring the Templar ships, which were probably similar to a French ship of the era.


Figure 54 showing the old Bantham tin trading port which has now become more silted since the Avon dam was built.

The Dead Sea lies 20 miles from Bethlehem and cannot be seen from there. Apart from the fact that there is no record of the wise men coming to Bethlehem by ship (purportedly what the song is commemorating), it seems far-fetched that this song has its roots in the Holy land. It seems that the residents of Hope Cove and Thurlestone actually recorded in their song that the treasure ships arrived at Bantham, and as this tune emanated throughout the South West the original purport of the song was lost in the mists of time. Through the 14th and 15th century, when the tradition of Joseph of Arimathea as a tin merchant trading in the South West was still a known and widely accepted fact, this Devonian song became associated with his arrival on the shores as it still is in Cornish tradition today.
Templars were aware of the island of Ictis, its history traced back through Greek and Roman chroniclers and they also knew that it ‘coveted’ in its vaults, deep within, the bodies of Jesus and Joseph of Arimathea. They were also fully aware that the island of Avalon (one of Burgh Islands various appellations) held the remains of the wounded body of King Arthur the Cornish king because the source of their information was Melkin. The Grail romances, that the Templars themselves had propagated, bore witness to a consolidated body of knowledge connecting the British and the most famous members of the Davidic Royal line in recent history.

It is with this certain knowledge that had been conveyed to the Templars, through the manuscript of Melkin’s Book of the Grail in France that the knights journeyed to Jerusalem to uncover what was known to exist under the Temple of Solomon upon which the Al-Aqsa Mosque had been built .

Eleanor of Aquitaine was the wife of the English King Henry II. As we have already covered, she first married the French king Louis VII and had knowledge from her possession of the Book of the Grail as to the whereabouts of the Temple treasure in Jerusalem. It was her family which commissioned the Grail writers while she was alive as her father, known as ‘The Troubadour’ had done before her. It is more than likely that it was her father who instigated the first translation of Melkin’s book into French.

When Louis VII went on crusade in 1147, Eleanor of Aquitaine his wife went with him. Eleanor, Raymond of Poitier’s niece, together with Louis visited Antioch. Raymond sought to deter Louis from going south to Jerusalem and attempted to induce him to stay in Antioch and help in the conquest of Aleppo and Caesarea. So it was in Antioch in 1148 that Eleanor met up and had an affair with her uncle Raymond.

After the crusade Louis wanted his marriage to Eleanor annulled, but why did Eleanor want to go to Jerusalem so much as to risk having an affair with her uncle?

According to John of Salisbury, Louis became suspicious of the attention Raymond lavished on Eleanor, and the long conversations they enjoyed. William of Tyre states that Raymond seduced Eleanor to get revenge on her husband, who refused to aid him in his wars against the Saracens, and that, ‘contrary to Eleanor's royal dignity, she disregarded her marriage vows and was unfaithful to her husband’.

Did Eleanor the most powerful woman in Europe with full knowledge of the Joseph material which probably revealed the whereabouts of the Temple treasure, have an affair with her Uncle to get him and his army to Jerusalem? What were their long conversations about? If she did retrieve the Ark, was it now in Ictis along with the Book of the Grail since neither have surfaced? It also seems probable that Eleanor is the link to the Templars (the builders of the St. Michael churches), having had knowledge of the whereabouts of Joseph. After all, it was the Templars who followed Melkin’s instructions and built the St. Michael churches that indicate the line that must be bifurcated to find Joseph. The Ley line existed long before it was defined by the dedicated churches which now demarcate its existence. We would be able to find Avalon from the circle contained within the pyramid from Harnhill, by plotting the St. Michael shrines, even if we had not had John Mitchell to locate the Ley line for us.

Figure 55 Showing the St. Michael chapel at Roche Rock in Cornwall, equidistant from the St. Michael Ley line, and the Harnhill line.

Melkin’s line, with which we are to bifurcate, was not evident until the St. Michael churches were built along it. But not only has a wealthy order with complete knowledge of this design shown us the line we are to look for, they have also put a St. Michael church on every marker for us to find, by linking them up like dots. It is for this reason it appears that several of the ‘Marker churches’ were not only destroyed but someone in the intervening years actively tried to hide the Montacute connection. In the case of Father Good’s testimony about Montacute, we saw it was blatantly absented from manuscripts, but to remove every stone, which constituted the chapel that existed atop St. Michael’s hill, is accounted as serious obfuscation and with a definite intent.

Figure 56 Shows a cut and shaped stone from the old St. Michael chapel. This honey-gold Ham Hill stone, cut from the Ham hill quarry was found in the undergrowth about 100ft from the summit on the eastern side of St. Michael’s hill. This forgotten stone is the only surviving physical evidence of the previously removed chapel.

The only confirmation that we have located the resting place of Joseph is through the fact that the Joseph line passes directly over the old chapel at Montacute as this was said to be, by Father Good, ‘where Joseph was carefully hidden’. Who tried to obscure this confirmation since the Templars built this 13th century design to enable us to find the Isle of Avalon? Without Father Good’s reference or the name Montacute on the Glastonbury pyramid, Melkin’s thirteen degrees would not have been confirmed that Burgh Island is where Jesus and Joseph are.
It is uncertain that the Ark of the Covenant was recuperated but if it was, it would be with the rest of the Templar treasure. The Ark and the rest of the Jerusalem Temple treasure like the Menorah had been secreted beneath the Temple before, either the Egyptian or Babylonian armies threatened to ransack Jerusalem. The Temple treasures that were eventually seized by Nebuchadnezzar and taken to Babylon were of great value in gold, but the Menorah and the Ark had been secreted as there is no record of them being carried off to Babylon. The knowledge of their whereabouts was passed down much as we witnessed at Glastonbury and during a period of 500 years from the Captivity, this information was eventually to be passed on by Joseph.
This information was no doubt relayed by Melkin in the book which Eleanor and the Templars eventually possessed. The treasures taken as booty from the Temple by the Babylonians at the first and second deportation into captivity, was returned with the Jews after the captivity, by Ezra and Nehemiah on the magnanimous orders of Cyrus the great. On the arrival of the Romans, and most probably during the Maccabean revolt, much of the gold and Temple treasure that was restored to the returning Jews, was also secreted with the Ark and the Menorah beneath the Temple. However the Menorah is in fact depicted in a frieze as having been carried off by the Romans (on the Arch of Titus in Rome) at the sacking of the temple in 71AD but this was most probably a replica, the original having been built by Moses, secreted under the Temple. There is certainly no record of it having been in the temple in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus. The Menorah was as sacred as the Ark and can be considered to be a representation of “Biblical Time,” illustrated in a vision received by the prophet Zechariah, of the Lord’s ‘Two Anointed’ as olive trees emptying out of themselves and supplying the Menorah with oil and again reiterated in Revelation11:4 ‘These are the two olive trees and are two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth’, but we shall return to this shortly.

The knowledge of The Temple cache in all probability had been revealed to Joseph of Arimathea, who was rumoured to have been one of the Temple elders in Jerusalem as a member of the Sanhedrin. This raises the question of what else was passed on in the text to be re-itterated by Melkin and did Joseph of Arimathea originally translate this information which, as we have seen, contained Hebrew words, into Latin? If we assume that Camelot is derived from the Hebrew and it was un-translated, how much of the document came to the French as Hebrew? It would seem that the word Graal that gives the sense of the concept of degrees or grades, was translated into French but the name from which the concept is derived ‘Shirei ha Ma'a lot’ was transcribed literally. Joseph of Arimathea probably wrote the detailed account of the literal meaning of ‘Shirei ha Ma'a lot’ as pertaining to the divine plan in Latin. We do not know if this account of a Divine plan was passed to Joseph by Jesus directly or that some of this material taken from the temple by Joseph was later read and compiled into the book of the Grail still leaving traces of its Hebrew origin.

The primary source written by Joseph of Arimathea, from which the Grail stories and Melkin’s material were derived, was probably written in Latin with reference to Hebrew sources and this assumption is based upon the probability that Melkin did not read Hebrew, the Vulgate and‘Vetus Latina’ in circulation well before Melkin’s time. We must not forget however that ‘Abbadare’ is a word comprised from two Hebrew words invented by Melkin as Jesus’ Psuedomyn, so he must have had some comprehension of the Language. Whether Melkin did or did not read Hebrew (considering the complexities of understanding the ‘Shirei ha Ma'a lot’ as a concept) is debatable, but for the Ark to be found by the Templars, indicates that he must have related that information in the Grail book. In either case the Templars (or Eleanor) would have had first-hand knowledge of the treasure's location beneath the Temple. This Jerusalem literary material would probably have existed in two parts, one part divulging knowledge of the Divine Plan related to Joseph by Jesus, (that of the Gradual Steps to the temple), the other part relating to the directions to the Ark, either by temple documents or by Joseph’s personal knowledge. Joseph however may have compiled a volume of his own.

Other parts of the Joseph account related in the Grail book would have been those bits of detail found in the early Grail stories when Joseph tries to convert Evalak, the king of Sarras, Zerah’s offspring; declaring the doctrine of the Trinity, the very truth behind ‘Biblical Time’, (time, the Times and half of the Times). It becomes clear that for there to be a King of Sarras there must have been an account of the connection of Zerah to the British, (Zara and Sarras sounding identical in French). The Grail story went on to say, that the king provided for the wants of Joseph's company, but the King has doubts about the truth of the doctrine. This actually sounds like first hand information that only Joseph would have related and then Melkin reitereated to be picked up by the grail writers. The King of Sarras would (as the story relates) not have understood or probably accepted the part played by Jesus in the Divine plan or certainly would have found its truth or doctrine doubtful. Yet if Jesus had undergone instruction in the Prophets outside Jerusalem we may assume( if it were in Britain) the King was appraised of the prophetical literature.

The Ark of the covenant containing the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments within it, overshadowed by the two golden Cherubims (pre-ordination and confirmation of the two witnesses) on top of the chest, each side of the Mercy Seat, together with the Menorah, and all the Temple treasure may have been secreted at Burgh Island before the final transport of the rest of the treasure in 1307. However an amassed treasure hoard would have been cached in the temple in Paris until it was transported to the treasure ships.

It seems that the treasure ships headed out from La Rochelle into the Atlantic, but there are several options here for those responsible for the safekeeping of a body of knowledge likely to stem back from ancient Egypt, when Joseph, Jacobs son, was Pharaoh’s Vizier. The Ark of the Covenant and the rest of the Temple treasure along with arcane knowledge, the proofs of biblical history, the knowledge of mankind’s progression toward full consciousness since the birth of civilisation, was now perilously afloat in the Atlantic Ocean.

What a responsibility must have weighed on the shoulders of the three captains, not to mention the new ‘Nautonnier’ of a nameless dis-banded order! If we are correct in our portrayal of events, let us consider the circumstances.

In the 13th century oceangoing schooners were not rigged for upwind sailing. Although they could go up wind, the tacking would have been laborious probably being able to make only 50-60° against the apparent wind and the hull of the ship, (which was more akin to a bath tub) would have added more leeway to their intended course, so one would need to be an excellent seaman to arrive at a specific point on a specified day.

It was a 74 day period from October 13 1307 until Christmas Day of that year. As previously discussed with any land based participants, the arrival at Bantham had to be on a Christmas Day to coincide with any diversionary tactics or night time signals that had been prearranged. So the question is, in the interim, did the ships head north of the Azores and heave-too for some of the 74 days, waiting stationary hove too for a month and a half before heading back to Burgh Island on the predominant Westerlies, to deposit the cargo, or did the ships set sail south of the Azores? If the three ships followed the trade winds across the Atlantic, bearing starboard in a following wind as they approached the Caribbean and headed up the East Coast of the United States on the Gulfstream to Newfoundland or Nova Scotia, they could have possibly waited out the winter and returned the next year on the already agreed day for an undercover entry into Bantham.

Most certainly this was within the Templars capability because South American, Eskimo, Mayan and Aztec records and legends bearing witness, to Europeans making landfall in the Americas, still prevail today. It is common knowledge that, earlier than Columbus, even though Rodrigo de Triana was accredited as the first person to site the New World aboard the Pinta on October 12, 1492; it had already been seen by Europeans. Prior to this date, landfall had been made by the Europeans and it is even rumoured that Henry I Sinclair Earl of Orkney (Rosslyn Chapel) visited parts of North America via Greenland. This could of course be just the story that would give explanation behind the Money Pit, where most commentators consider the treasure to have been hidden.

It was certainly not beyond the Templars’ ability to make such a trip, and probably a prior trip in recent memory, noted in Templar records had been successful in completing the north Atlantic route, which is aided by prevailing and following winds throughout the circuit. Any returning vessel from North America could sail with ease to the western approaches on the prevailing westerlies and onward up the English channel, the coast of France or the entrance to the Mediterranean, no matter what the sail plan or hull shape.

It however seems more likely, taking into account the ships’ precious cargo, coupled with the likelihood of the ships getting separated on a long ocean voyage, and a whole list of unknown risks, that the treasure ships would have headed north of the Azores and hove-too for a month and a half. The perils of undertaking such a transatlantic journey heading south of the Azores, would surely have averted any pursuers but surviving a year in an unknown destination with unknown currents, populations, and wind patterns would have persuaded the Nautonnier to deposit his cargo at the earliest possible opportunity, avoiding all the aforementioned risks.

The three treasure ships having completed their covert operation in the dark would then have set sail for the New World on an ebb tide on Boxing Day morning, the crew for the most part unaware of the previous night's disembarkation of its cargo. “Pray whither sailed those ships all three”, does seem a rather misplaced enquiry while celebrating in Church the birth of Jesus, during the festive Carol season, for the last 500 years. The fishermen and the resident families of Hope Cove and Thurlestone confirmed that they neither knew the business of the treasure ships nor their eventual destination by including this question within their verse.

In spite of the fact that it was deemed in the best interest of secrecy to pay bribes to the villagers for their silence, it would seem that the opposite happened and it is fortuitous for us, otherwise the Templar treasure would never be confirmed as secreted in Jesus and Joseph’s tomb. It may be that the Templars were marking the treasure only but the fact that this was done by dedicated churches to St. Michael shows that they had understood the essence of the Grail, as St. Michael plays an integral part in the Divine plan spoken of by Daniel the prophet and this will become clear as we progress.

The ‘Money Pit’ on Oak Island in Nova Scotia, rumoured to be the burial place of the Templar treasure, could quite possibly have been a ruse devised by the Nautonnier of the three treasure ships, laying a false trail for any future treasure hunters. The treasure from each of the three ships would have been covertly removed during Christmas night, after the crew had been plied with ample celebratory alcohol after a month and a half of being hove-too at sea. French military ships probably not dissimilar from those used by the Templars, generally ranged between 60 and 80 feet, weighed about 60 tons and were crewed by at least 20-30 hands. The Templars aboard the three ships were the surviving order of an elite group in the Templar hierarchy, the ships providing a means of escape for them from the persecution, while at the same time, securing the treasures which were transported urgently from the temple in Paris.

The most likely explanation for the Money Pit on Oak Island is that the three Templar ships arrived there in Nova Scotia and the 60-80 crew (not privy to the unloading) were set to work constructing the pit, in which, on their departure, they assumed the treasure was buried. This ruse would at least ensure that where ever the crew ended up, the ‘Nautonnier’ would have succeeded in perpetuating the story of Templar treasure being buried on the other side of the Atlantic.

As we have discovered during our coverage of events during these pages, an island exists off the Devon coast called Burgh Island that contains not only Templar knowledge and treasure but the potential for reawakening mankind’s consciousness to a new form of understanding, when the contents, which lay within the vault on Burgh Island are unveiled. Since Christmas day in 1307 the contents have laid undisturbed, but what must the Templars have thought in adding their treasure to the already hugely important and sacred contents? There is nowhere else on earth that contains anything this momentous. Where else on earth could one bury something of such importance in the hope that it will be found by a later generation? Where else could one bury something this momentous or big but in a place called Bigbury?

Copyright Francis Frith collection
Figure 57 Showing Burgh Island from a photo taken in 1918

Figure 58, showing the bustling causeway today at low tide, on which the cart loads of tin described by Pytheas, were unloaded on to vessels dried out on the beach.

copyright Francis Frith
Figure 58a Showing the Harbour of Bantham in 1904

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