The county of Hertfordshire in England is world famous for being the site of a complex of film and television production studios commonly known as ‘Elstree Studios.’ Production facilities were first built in the town of Elstree-and-Borehamwood in 1925 , and were operated by the Associated British Pictures Corporation.
The studio was commandeered by the military with the outbreak of World War II in 1939, but was reopened for commercial film after the war. 33rd Degree Freemason Jack Warner then bought a 25% share in the complex and the studios became a hotbed of both British and American film-making.
Beginning in 1959, the legendary British firm Hammer Films also used the Elstree Studios for their string of classic comedies and horror films, including the seminal ancient astronaut epic Quatermass and the Pit, the Bram Stoker adaptation Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb and The Satanic Rites of Dracula, which seemed to have an enormous impact on the work of David Icke, among others.
In the 60’s and 70’s, the Elstree studios became the place to shoot big-budget American movies, since the favorable exchange rate helped reign in production costs. Blockbusters such the Star Wars films (themselves drenched in Templar symbolism), the Indiana Jones films (likewise) , Murder On The Orient Express, Never Say Never Again, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Chariots of Fire, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Last Emperor- among many others- all made use of Elstree’s soundstages and production facilities. In the early 90’s the land was subdivided for retail usage, and a portion of the old studios were converted to use for television.
It’s not only the movie industry that has found Hertfordshire to be an amenable place to do business. In the Middle Ages, Hertfordshire was also the British headquarters of the Knights Templar. It was there they had built a perceptory that has come to be known as Temple Dinsley.
The land had been granted to the Templars by an English king, and it was at Temple Dinsley that the Templars held their national meetings. Following the disbandment of the Templars, the land was given to the Knights Hospitalers, and was finally appropriated by King Henry VIII when he broke off from the Roman church.
Yet Temple Dinsley is not the only well known Templar hotspot in Hertfordshire. In the town of Royston, there is what is known as the ‘Royston Cave’. This underground temple was discovered in 1742, lying beneath a block of shops. It was known that the Templars ran a market in that same area in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries. It is believed that Templars used the cave to keep their foodstocks cool, but that they also used it to conduct their prayer ceremonies.
Templar Carvings have been found on the walls, including their two knights on horseback seal and a picture of Jacques De Molay burnt at the stake. Other carvings depict Mary Magdalene, the head of John the Baptist, St. Catherine, St. Christopher and St. Lawrence. However, others carvings are of pagan origin, including sunwheels and a pornographic image of the Celtic fertility goddess Sheela Na Gig.
Royston Cave offers us a compelling link between the Mithraists and the Templars. Most observers agree that the religious decorations indicate the cave was used for ritual purposes. These rituals were no doubt secretive, else the Templars would have built a chapel nearby. Ultimately, what the Royston Cave shows us is that these Knights Templar worshipped in a cave exactly as the Mithraic knights did.
The saints chosen are an interesting mix. Lawrence was said to be the guardian of the Holy Grail. Some have noted that the carving of St. Catherine resembles ancient depictions of Persephone, and that St. Christopher is seen with an engorged phallus. St. Catherine (Ka-Hathor-Ein) emerged from the Sinai in Egypt, and her shrine is located on the same site as an ancient temple of Hathor. Christopher was also identified with the god Anubis by early Egyptian christians and was pictured as being dog-headed even outside of Egypt.
It is believed by some that the carvings were made while the Templars were hiding from arrest, and that they were praying to Catherine and Lawrence because both saints had become martyrs through the very same methods of torture that the Church was now using on the Templars. However the Templars actually saw these saints, it is clear that these knights held to a quite unorthodox and syncretic variety of Christianity.
INHERIT THE WHIRLWIND
Several groups over the years, whether Christian, Masonic or Occult- have claimed to be the “true” remnants of the Knights Templar. Several sizable organizations refer to themselves as Templars, and use Templar iconography to identify themselves. But in 2004, a shadowy group emerged and claimed that they were the true Knights Templar, and in a formal letter to the Vatican, demanded an official apology from the Catholic Church for their suppression. What separates this group from all the others is that their announcement became a major news story in the British news media and garnered feature stories in major UK papers like the Times of London and the Guardian.
An article ran on November 29, 2004 in the Times, saying:
The letter, signed by the Secretary of the Council of Chaplains on behalf of the Grand Master of the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Jesus Christ and the Temple of Solomon Grand Preceptory...formally requests an apology “for the torture and murder of our leadership”, instigated by Pope Clement V.It was said that the Pope John Paul II had been given the matter serious attention before his death and that the current Pope, Benedict XVI, had been investigating the British Templar group while as the Cardinal in charge of the Office of the Congregation of the Faith (formerly known as the Office of the Inquisition). So, where in Britain is this Templar group headquartered?
“We shall witness the 700th anniversary of the persecution of our order on 13th October 2007,” the letter says. “It would be just and fitting for the Vatican to acknowledge our grievance in advance of this day of mourning.”
YEAH, YEAH, YEAH
Hertfordshire isn’t the only place in England rich in Templar history. Liverpool was the location of many Templar holdings, and their presence there is marked by roads with names like ‘Temple Street’ and ‘’Temple Court’. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Liverpool area was used as a military base by the Roman Legion long before it was even established as a borough.
Interestingly enough, there is a cellar of a uniquely Roman style in a building on the corner of Temple Lane and Mathew Street. Strangely enough, this cellar is identical in construction to a Roman Mitraeum: it’s a long ‘half-cylinder’ shaped room complete with arches, columns and a curved ceiling, made entirely of brick. So aside from the Royston Cave, we now have to contend with the fact that a space identical in nearly every way to a Mithraeum can be found on a Templar road in Liverpool.
In the 1950’s, the space was converted to a nightclub. Its name? The Cavern Club.
The links with Mithraism are only part of the story. As we will see, the Templar connections take us much farther back in history. All the way back, in fact.
TO BE CONTINUED