Sunday, August 7, 2011

N.E.A.R.A. article of the Newport Tower Origin

It does seem entirely possible that the Newport Tower with its astrological window alignments was a Templar/Cistercian emulation of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. What if the Templars did not only go to Scotland Orkney after being disbanded. What if they went to other islands, as at Malta, to Bornholm and to Gotland. We know Gotland was given to the order later on. Gotland has the largest fortification in Europe a great horde of Silver has been found there, arabic silver too. What if these islands were the real refuge for the disappearing Knights and their ships. The title page has a link to the whole article. Below is a snippet.

Frères Maçons - 12th Through 14th Century

The order of The Knights of the Temple of Solomon or Templars were, we are told, dedicated to protecting pilgrims traveling in the Holy Land. Their original charge to rebuild the Temple of Solomon in its entire physical and symbolic splendor loomed large on their agenda. To this end, they called each other ‘brother masons” (frères maçons), surviving in English as the Freemasons of today. The central role of the Templars in Jerusalem expanded, along with an increase in wealth, throughout Europe. Templar Commanderies dotted the countryside. Full of zeal, the returning knights imitated the round form of the church of the Holy Sepulchre in their own churches.

Conceived among the saints, and committed to monastic vows, the Templars’ fall from grace was swift and fatal, marked with the badge of the basest of sinners. As originally chartered in 1118, with its rule devised by Bernard of Clairvaux, this was to be a combination military-aesthetic order dedicated to selfless service to God. But service to God became extremely profitable and the Order flourished. By 1300 it had become a powerful force both politically and financially. As heirs to the Gnostic mysteries acquired from the Desert Fathers in the Holy Land, their rituals were shrouded in mystery. This suspicion was used to plot their overthrow, particularly in France where King Philip the Fair and Pope Clement IV were anxious to join forces in assuring their destruction and the confiscation of Templar wealth and property. The intrigue culminated on the fateful day of October 13, 1307, when Grand Master Jacques de Molay and 15,000 brother masons were snared by French storm troopers, turned over to the Pope’s resourceful inquisitors for inconceivable tortures and ultimate deaths. The Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, languished, cruelly tortured, for seven years until at last, proclaiming the innocence of his Order to any abominations and cursing Philip, he was slowly burned to death in March of 1314.

After October 14, the Order of the Knights of the Temple of Jerusalem ceased to exist, at least in France. In Spain, where the Pope was not favored over the wealthy knights, the Kings of Aragon and Castile found them innocent. In Portugal, they were reconstituted as the Knights of Christ. The Germans were indifferent to the Pope’s edict disbanding the Order. The English were busy with other enemies, and it was not until the Pope’s inquisitors arrived in 1313 that persecution began in earnest.

The remaining vestiges of Templar power simply disappeared the night before the assault. The eighteen ships of the Templar fleet anchored at the Atlantic port of la Rochelle were gone. Gone, too, was much of the Templar wealth.

Where did the survivors go? The most popular theory is that the fleeing knights sought refuge along the rugged coast of Scotland where Robert Bruce, in his increasingly bloody fight against English domination would have welcomed these warrior monks to his forces. The victory over the English at Bannockburn would have assured the refugees a secure haven for many years to come. Several investigators have wondered if, in conjunction with Scots renegades or Norse-rooted Orkney Islanders, some ships of the fleet found their way across the Atlantic to a western refuge.

One wonders if the "refugio" or "Norman Villa" noted on Verrazzano’s 1524 map, or the tiny tower shown at the mouth of today’s Narragansett Bay on Mercator’s 1569 map offer any clues. Even cartographer Marc Lescarbot shows a Latin cross (representing a Christian settlement or just a stop?) on the bottom left corner on his 1609 map focusing on the Saint Lawrence seaway where crosses abound on the map. To pursue our quest for a prototype for the Newport Tower, let us consider the building traditions of the frères maçons.

Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem

Not far from the never- fulfilled dream of a rebuilt Temple of Solomon, the best known Templar construct in the Holy Land is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Built by Constantine in the 4th century over the reputed tomb of Jesus, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was variously damaged and defaced by Persians and Muslims before it was rebuilt by the Crusaders in the Twelfth century. Far more grandiose than its numerous offspring, the rotunda is surrounded by an arcade supported by twelve round columns and six square pillars which in turn support a gallery repeating the same columns and pillar configuration supporting a dome but which was originally open to the sky. Its form became the model of round churches throughout Europe. Charlemagne echoed it in his chapel Aix la Chapelle in Achen Germany. The Templars followed the model wherever possible, as have penitents of all nations who copied it in memory of their Savior. The common bond in all of these sacred buildings is their roundness.

Templar Round Churches:
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