Ark of the Covenant

Ark of the Covenant

Ark of the Covenant

One of the most legendary objects in religious history, has to be the “Ark of the Covenant.”  Housed within a wooden box and overlaid with pure gold, containing the “Ten Commandments,” inscribed upon stone tablets.

  • It is believed the Ark, is responsible for bringing victory during battles.
  • Bestowing blessings upon worthy recipients.
  • Sending plagues down upon enemies.

The Ark of the Covenant, stand’s for God’s communion with Moses, when he led out the Israelites, to their own land.

King David conquered Jerusalem in 993 BC, and his son Solomon, built a temple to his God, between 958-951BC.  Solomon’s temple housed the Ark of the Covenant: A wooden casket covered in gold, holding the Ten Commandments, which God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai.

Jerusalem and the history of the Jewish people, play a significant part in their religion.  For it is written in their writings that Abraham would prove himself to God, by sacrificing his own son; Isaac.  God stepped in, and sent a Ram, for Isaac to use, for sacrificial purposes.

Solomon’s Temple was built by Phoenician craftsmen.  The inner walls lined in gold, with marble blocks and fine emeralds adorning the temple.

Rehoboam became King of Israel as successor to his father; King Solomon.  Shishak, the Egyptian king ransacked Solomon’s Temple in the fifth year of Rehoboam’s reign.

In 586 BC, the Babylonians completely destroyed Solomon’s Temple.

A second temple was built upon the site, between 535-515 BC.

Over the next 470 years, Persian rule gave way to the Greeks, then the Romans, with Herod the Great as its ruler.  In 20 BC Herod introduced courts and walls to Solomon’s second temple.

In 70 AD, Jews revolted against the Romans, and General Titus (Caesar) besieged the city and burnt the temple to the ground.

In the year 691, a shrine was built upon the site; “Dome of the Rock.”  By 715, the Al-Aqsa mosque was built alongside and destroyed by earthquakes over the next 300 years.  By 1035 a new mosque was constructed, and in 1118 became the headquarters of the Knights Templar (Holy Warriors) in the Holy Land.

The Knights Templar, dug deep tunnels underneath the Temple, as they sought out religious treasures and the fabled prize of all, “Ark of the Covenant,” one of the most important religious artefacts of all time.

Bas-Relief of the Ark

A bas-relief depicting the “Ark” can be found at Chartres Cathedral in France.  One has to ask, does the Ark of the Covenant, still remain within the Cathedral?

Claims were made by Louis Charpentier (20th century French author) that the original nine members of the Knights Templar, possibly discovered the “Ark” early on in the order’s history, whilst digging under Temple Mount.

A pillar, part of Chartres Cathedral, known as the Portal of the Initiates, features a carving of the Ark upon a wheeled cart.

What could this mean, and many historians have put forward their own interpretations:

The Templars discovered the Ark in Jerusalem, and moved it to France, coinciding with the construction of Chartres Cathedral.  When news of the Templar’s impending arrest in the 14th century leaked out, the Ark was moved from France to Scotland.

Louis Charpentier published: Les Mysteres de la Cathedrale de Chartres (The Mysteries of Chartres Cathedral) in France of 1966.

Knights Templar: Switzerland

switzerland-map

Is there any connection between Knights Templar and Switzerland?

The “Old Swiss Confederation” was born on the 1st August 1291.

In 1280, the French Monarchy was in conflict with the Templar’s, so it was inevitable issues would come to a head.

The Templar’s headquarters in the city of Troyes in France was lost, when the region had come under the control of the French Crown.

The Templars must have got wind, of possible actions being put in place by King Philip IV of France.  Twenty-four hours before the arrest of Jacques de Molay on the 13th October 1307, a fleet of Templar ships sailed from the French port of La Rochelle, laden with treasure and knights.

Knight Templar Ships

Templar Fleet

The French Monarchy, who had expected to confiscate Templar treasure, found empty store houses… it had sailed away from France under the cover of darkness, destination unknown.

When the order went out by the Pope, that all Templar knights were to be arrested.  Thousands were rounded up and arrested on charges of heresy and burnt at the stake, whilst other’s dispersed across Europe, seeking sanctuary.  Some escaped to Spain, joining up with the Caltrava and Alcantra, some moved to Portugal and took on a new name; the Order of Christ.  Others joined the Teutonic knights of Germany, and some joined the Hospitallers, the stepping stone to the Knights of Malta.

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Knights Templar

Some Templar knights landed in Scotland and were granted sanctuary by Robert the Bruce.  These knights took up arms and joined Robert the Bruce in his fight against the English, for Scotland’s Independence.  Rosslyn Chapel, home of the Sinclair knights, members of the Templar order.  These warriors were buried along with their treasure in the crypt of the chapel.

With Switzerland located over the border to the east of France.  Hundreds of Knights Templar would have easily slipped across the border with their treasures, into this newly formed country.

The main income of Switzerland was farming… it was a poor country, ripe for a takeover.

In 1315, Duke Leopold of Habsburg attacked several hundred men with his force of 2,000 knights and 9,000 foot soldiers… expecting little resistance.

He was in for a surprise, as the Swiss possessed a new weapon, the “Halberd” which was mounted on a long pole, capable of bringing down horses and used like a lance.  Leopold lost almost 2,000 warriors that day, and was forced to retreat.

halbard-switzerland

Halberd

Therefore in my opinion a primitive farming country had received outside assistance, enabling them to protect their lands from invading warriors.

The only answer that made sense, Templar Knights had escaped from France, crossed the border into Switzerland and granted sanctuary, bringing with them their military expertise and Templar treasure… buying their way into this new country.

The Templar’s were Europe’s bankers from the 11th – 14th century, now the largest banking and financial institutions of Europe are located in Switzerland.

Pope Julius II called upon Helvetian soldiers in 1506, these mercenaries who would shape Italy’s future, and were granted the title “Defenders of the Church’s Freedom.”

On the 22nd January 1506, one hundred and ninety-nine years after the arrest of Jacques de Molay in France, the Vatican created the Pontifical Swiss Guard.

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The Vatican’s Swiss Guard

One hundred and fifty Swiss soldiers under the command of Captain Kasparvon Silenen of Canton Uri, passed through the Vatican and were blessed by Pope Julius II.

switzerland-flag

Flag of Switzerland

The famous cross associated with the Knights Templar, is incorporated into the flag of Switzerland.

Wikipedia Images

 

 

Templars… Sinclairs…

henry-sinclair

Rosslyn Chapel, and the family lineage responsible for the construction of the “Bible in Stone” takes us first back to Normandy in France, then back even further to the Scandinavian Vikings.

Hrolf also known as Rollo (860-932), was the son of Rognvald, the Earl of More, the Viking warrior who plundered Europe’s coastlines, and went on to create the French Dukedom of Normandy, at the mouth of the River Seine.

Rollo was the great – great- great grandfather of William I of England (William the Conqueror) who fought for the English crown at the “Battle of Hastings” in 1066 and won.

King Edward of England had no heir to succeed him, and William the Duke of Normandy his cousin had been promised the English throne and Harold had promised to support him.  In 1066 upon Edward’s death, Harold claimed the throne backed by nobles.

william-the-conqueror

King William I (William the Conqueror)

An angry William wanted revenge.  He gained support from French nobles and received the Pope’s blessing.

William’s forces crossed the English Channel, landing at Pevensey, without resistance, for Harold was waging war in the north.  William and Harold met at the “Battle of Hastings” where Harold was defeated and William became King of England.

Walderne of St.Clair (1006-1075) was appointed as one of William’s commanders and was granted land on the Medway River.

William Sinclair (1028-1090) son of Walderne also fought at Hastings.  Following William’s victory he became disenchanted with his King’s aggressive side, in expanding his kingdom.  He left England, becoming steward to Queen Margaret and King Malcolm III of Scotland.

Roslin Castle

Rosslin Castle

Rosslin Castle, some 9 miles south of Edinburgh, home to the Sinclairs since 1070, and home of the Knights Templar.  These warriors were formed by Hugues de Payens, after the First Crusade in the Holy Land, offering protection to pilgrims on route to Jerusalem.

Scottish forces led by Sir William Sinclair attacked lands in northern England.  At the “Battle of Castle Alnwick” in 1093, victory was theirs.  The King of Scotland was in the process of receiving the Castle Keys, when a spear flew through the air and killed him.

In the year 1135, King Henry I of England, son of William I and Matilda of Flanders, died.  He had left the English throne to his daughter; Matilda, but the crown had been snatched by Stephen, the grandson of William I.

In 1136 at the “Battle of Allerton” Stephen took on the Scots in an attempt to capture Scottish lands.  Sir William Sinclair defended Scottish lands against these English.  Some years later William Sinclair, Scotland’s Ambassador represented Scotland in England’s disputes over land… victorious as ever, William Sinclair gained the lands in Northumberland for Scotland.

At the “Battle of Largs” in 1263, Scottish forces led by Sir William Sinclair (1190-1270) under orders of King Alexander III of Scotland, won a decisive victory against Norse invaders.

King Henry III objected to the “Provisions of Oxford” act drawn up by Simon of Montfort, which inturn led to Civil War.  At the “Battle of Lewes” in 1265, Henry was taken prisoner.  William Sinclair fought alongside Henry, under orders from King Alexander of Scotland, and managed to escape amid the commotions.

Sir William Sinclair (1260-1305) was one of William Wallace’s army commanders who like his leader, was intent on driving the English from Scottish lands.  In the year 1297, they successfully overpowered the English at the “Battle of Stirling Bridge,” then captured Stirling Castle from the English and finally were successful against the 30,000 strong, English army at Roslin.

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William Wallace

William Wallace had been executed by the English and Robert the Bruce, now led a mighty army of Scottish warriors against the English, seeking Independence.  Sir Henry Sinclair (1275-1329) 8th Baron of Roslin was one of the signatories who played his part achieving a declaration of peace between King Robert the Bruce of Scotland and King Edward II of England.

At the “Battle of Halidon Hill,” Prince Henry Sinclair (1340-1402) of Roslin and Orkney, most remembered for his discovery of America, was slain in September 1402.

At the “Battle of Flodden” thirteen Scottish nobles and their men were slain by the English soldiers, along with King James, who left a son and heir barely a year old.

William Sinclair (1440-1513) received a Charter from King James of Scotland, written upon a drum head, renewing the Earldom of Caithness to William Sinclair.  A runner was summoned to carry the Charter to Sir William’s Lady.  Sir William Sinclair lost his life the very next day, and his son John, inherited the Earldom.

At the “Battle of Somersdale” John Sinclair (1490-1529) 3rd Earl of Caithness died in battle in May 1529, the leader of 500 Scots in the defence of the Orkney Islands, assisting fellow kinsman; James Sinclair.

NPG 1766,Mary, Queen of Scots,by Unknown artist

Mary, Queen of Scots

In 1568, Henry Sinclair assisted Mary, Queen of Scots to escape Lochleven Castle.

Sinclair names have been carved into the floor of Holyrood Palace and its Abbey.  They who played a part in Scotland’s history.

The “Battle of Worcester” took place in 1651, during a time of religious Reformation, when Scottish forces came under English attack led by Oliver Cromwell.  Thousands were slain and other’s taken prisoner.

John Sinclair (1612-1700) fought at Worcester alongside John Bean, arrested and sent to Boston.  For several years worked as lumberjacks to work off their indenture’s and gain their freedom.  John Sinclair settled in Exeter, New Hampshire, America.

Wikipedia Images

The Legends of Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel

Scotland’s Legendary Rosslyn Chapel

In 1070, William St.Clair was granted the Barony of Roslin.  In 1446, the construction of Rosslyn Chapel, was approved and they received its founding charter from Rome.

Rosslyn Chapel is steeped in history, and many secrets are hidden within its walls.

Rosslyn Chapel Gargoyle - Holy Grail

Holy Grail Gargoyle

Many legends exist; the Knights Templar brought to Scotland the Holy Grail, the chalice as used by Jesus, and it is hidden within the chapel walls.  Upon one wall can be seen a gargoyle of a knight, holding what appears to be a chalice, could it in fact mean the Holy Grail is in fact located within?

A legend talks about descendants of the Prince of Orkney.  If one should die, the whole chapel will give off the impression that it be on fire.

Eerie feelings in the dark confines of the crypt, as cold winds blow, senses that you are not alone.

A ghostly image of a monk, praying at the crypt’s altar surrounded by four guardian knights.  Phantom monks witnessed in the chapel and its grounds.  Eerie sounds, but no one there.

Apprentice Pillar

Apprentice Pillar

One legend states that an apprentice stonemason was murdered in the chapel.  This apprentice carved a pillar, whilst his master travelled to Rome for inspiration.  Upon the master’s return, he found an exquisite pillar, which far surpassed his own abilities, and in a jealous rage, killed his apprentice.

In 1546, Marie de Guise, the French Regent wrote to William St.Clair – Part of letter in original form.

“Likewise we shall be leal and trew Maistres to him, his Counsill and secret shewn to us we sall keep secret.”

“Likewise that we shall be loyal and true Mistress to him, his Council and the Secret shown to us, which we shall keep secret.”

In 1556, William St.Clair went to France at the bequest of Marie de Guise, to obtain support for her daughter; Mary, Queen of Scots.

It makes one wonder what the secret be?

It is said, that the Knights Templar had discovered in the Temple of Solomon, three stones, one which carried the name of God upon it, another which had been used to stand the Ark of the Covenant upon it.  At the Templar’s dissolution all three stones were moved to Scotland.  Could this have been the secret?

Knights Templar Tombs

Templars Vault

The biggest secret of all has to be access to the Knights Templar vault, where Sinclair and St.Clair ancestors lay, dressed in full armour, with their treasures.  The entrance no one knows!!!

Images: Wikipedia

Scotland’s History: Roslin Castle

Roslin Castle

Roslin Castle

Just a few hundred yards to the south of Rosslyn Chapel, connected via a pathway and some 9 miles south of Edinburgh, lies the remains of Roslin Castle, above the North Esk river.

In the 14th century, Henry Sinclair the 1st Earl of Orkney, sought protection for his land, leading to the construction of Roslin Castle.

The first stone was laid in 1304, and a square keep was built in the south-east corner of the site, and this was followed up in 1390 with a tower at the south-west corner.  Defences were improved by the construction of a gatehouse and drawbridge.

In 1452, the castle was destroyed by fire and rebuilt, at which time a curtain wall was built on the west-side of the site, as protection from military ordnance.

Roslin Castle - Curtain Wall

Curtain Wall

Located at the bottom of the curtain wall are six arched niches which correspond with seven buttresses on the other side of the wall.  One niche contained a gate, whilst the other’s being windows.

In 1544, the Earl of Hertford destroyed parts of the castle during the period of the “War of the Rough Wooing.”  The south-west corner tower was all but destroyed, leaving a solitary wall plus a few sections.

In the latter part of the 16th century, the ruinous Roslin Castle, was given a new lease of life, when it was rebuilt.  The new castle consisted of five floors, with its eastern side built into the eastern cliff face.   Three lower floors were carved from rock, and each featured vaulted ceilings.

It is believed completion was in 1597, for in the main hall stands a carved fireplace bearing an inscription; WS and JE along with the date 1597.  WS would be William Sinclair and JE would be Jean Edmonstone his wife.

Roslin Castle - Fortified

The gatehouse was rebuilt and the drawbridge replaced with a stone bridge supported by a stone arch across the ditch.

In the year 1622, the eastern upper floors were treated to a Renaissance styled makeover.

The year 1650 was a bad period for the life of the castle as General Monck’s artillery fired barrage after barrage at it, during Cromwell’s campaign of Scotland.

Then in 1688, the “Glorious Revolution” turned its attention to Roslin Castle, as mobs laid siege to it.

By the 18th century, the castle had joined the ranks of another Scottish Castle ruin, remnants of past battles, saying that, it was still inhabited.

In 1789, James Erskine inherited the estates of Rosslyn and Dysart which included Roslin Castle, from his cousin; James Peterson St.Clair, and went on to adopt the surname of St.Clair-Erskine.  In 1805, inherited the title of Earl of Rosslyn.

Wikipedia Images

Knights Templar: Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel – Scotland

Henry Sinclair, the Earl of Orkney is a descendant of Rollo, the son of Rognvold a 9th century Norse chief.  Rollo went to war against King Charles of France, and a peace treaty was signed in 912 at St.Clair-sur-Epte, and so the St.Clair name was born with Rollo as the 1st Duke of Normandy.

William “The Seemly” St.Clair descendant of Rollo, founded the Scottish Sinclain clan, and fought alongside his cousin; William the Conqueror at the “Battle of Hastings” in 1066.

In 1068 William St.Clair accompanied Margaret a Saxon princess from a Hungarian royal court to Scotland, where she married King Malcolm III, and in 1070, William was granted the Barony of Roslin.

William St.Clair’s son and heir; Henry St.Clair the 2nd Baron of Roslin answered the public appeal for men of God, Knights and warriors to take up arms and free Jerusalem by Pope Urban II.  So it was he fought in the First Crusade in the Holy Land (1096-1099).

When the Knights Templar were outlawed by the King of France, the orders went out across France, they were to be arrested on site.  Robert the Bruce of Scotland gave them sanctuary, and some 500 of those warriors, laid down their lives and fought alongside Robert Bruce at the “Battle of Bannockburn” on the 23rd and 24th June 1314.  Scotland’s bid for Independence… and they were victorious against the English.

In 1436, William the third and last St.Clair Prince of Orkney, escorted James I’s daughter, Margaret to Tours, where she was married to Louis, son of Charles VII of France.

William Sinclair (1410-1484) held the titles of Ist Earl of Caithness (1455-1476), 3rd Earl of Orkney (1455-1470), Baron of Roslin in 1070, and was grandson of Scottish explorer; Henry Sinclair the 1st Earl of Orkney.  Lord Admiral of Scotland, and Lord Chancellor of Scotland (1454-1456).

On top of that, he had a vision, wanting to remember those he was descended from, and so it was he spent four years exploring French cathedrals and their gothic architectural design, seeking out ideas for Rosslyn Chapel.

In the year 1446, a founding charter was received from Rome, allowing the construction of Rosslyn Chapel: Collegiate Church of St.Mathew, the family church for the St.Clairs.

On the 21st September 1450, the sun rose due east of Rosslyn Chapel, marking the Autumnal Equinox when Rosslyn Chapel was formally dedicated to that of a saint; St.Mathews.

Rosslyn Chapel, an historical monument, a legacy to the Knights Templar, located to the south of Edinburgh, Scotland’s ancient capital city.  It consists of medieval stone chapels, built by William St.Clair, the Prince of Orkney and Knight of the Order of St.James in the 15th century.

The original architectural design of the building was one of a cruciform shape, with a central tower, standing on fourteen pillars, with twelve pointed arches, positioned on three sides of the nave.

Rosslyn Chapel ladychapel

Lady Chapel

A group of three pillars at the eastern end create the link from the nave to the Lady Chapel.  Pillars located at the eastern end, running north to south are; Master Pillar, Journeyman Pillar and Apprentice Pillar.  Pre-Georgian era, these pillars were called; The Earl’s Pillar, The Shekinah and Prince’s Pillar.

barrel-vaulted roof 2

Barrel Vaulted Roof

The chapels barrel-vaulted roof, stand outs, an architectural design decorated with such brilliance.  The ceiling divided into five sections, containing carved flowers and their petals and finally stars.  The final section of stars are mostly laid out in a uniform manner, with the sun, moon and dove with the face of Christ partly hidden.

Each roof section is separated by lines of stones, with sculptures looking downwards.  Central in the roof, is the St. Clair or Sinclair shield and cross, supported by two hands.

Rosslyn Chapel Sacristy

The Sacristy

The Sacristy at Rosslyn Chapel, is located beneath floor level, of a crypt design, located at the eastern point, and carved into the hillside.  It contains an altar and window, and is believed to pre-date the chapel by some 200 years.  It could be part of a former building, as a castle once sat on the existing site; pre 1303.

Geometric drawings scratched into the wall, tell us this was more likely an area used by the stone masons, during the construction of the chapel.  Interestingly though, the steps which one descends to the Sacristy are not all of the same size, and a building which boasts quality and history everywhere you look, one has to wonder why.

The Apprentice Pillar is entwined with carved vines, and its architrave bears the Latin inscription: forte est vinum, fortiori est rex, fortiores sunt mulieres: super omnia vincit veritas, which means “wine is strong, the king is stronger, women are stronger still: (but) truth triumphs over all.”

Apprentice Pillar

The Apprentice Pillar

Located close by, are the carved heads of the master mason, the apprentice and his grieving mother.

The legend, the story, of the apprentice, a tale of caution, told by older craftsmen as a warning to apprentices, to prevent them getting ideas above their station.

The design for the pillar was so intricate, the master mason travelled to Rome to see the original.  Upon his return, his apprentice had completed the pillar.  Out of rage, he killed the apprentice, with a hammer blow to the head.

The punishment to the Stone Mason, his face was carved, located close by, gazing upon his apprentice’s work: The Apprentice Pillar.

Many Green Men surround the chapel walls, starting at the east, representing young face and spring, onto the south and west, ageing faces and autumn, ending at the north, where face are skeletons.

Green Man

The Green Man

The Green Men originated from pre-Christian times, and are associated with Pagan deities.  They symbolise new life and rebirth, themes much associated with Christian life.

Symbols on the walls of the chapel, mainly relate to Old Testament events in the Bible.

Rosslyn Chapel Crypt, burial place for the Sinclairs, with its access via the staircase at the rear of the chapel.  In 1837, the 2nd Earl of Rosslyn died, and it was his wish to be buried in the original vault, alongside his ancestors.  Extensive searches were carried out, but alas, the entrance evaded them, and he was finally buried alongside his wife in Lady Chapel.

Rosslyn Chapel sits close to the remnants of Roslin Castle, some 500 yards away, where in 1303, a battle took place.  Scottish warriors defeated the English Knights, in Scotland’s War for Independence, their bid to set them free from the English.R

Roslin Castle

Roslin Castle Drawing

In 1592, the chapel altars were destroyed as part of the Reformation, and the building fell into decay.

In 1650, Oliver Cromwell’s troops used the old chapel for a stable, whilst laying siege to the castle.

In 1658, the chapel was attacked for what it stood for, blatantly Catholic in origin, and interior carvings were destroyed by an Edinburgh mob.

In 1736, James St.Clair halted its decay, by replacing the stone floor and making the roof watertight.

In 1842 Queen Victoria ordered its restoration, and on the 22nd April 1862, the chapel was re-dedicated.

In 1881, the baptistery and organ loft were added to the west end.

Knights Templar Tombs

Drawing of Templar Tombs

In 1997, ground scanners were used, seeking out anomalies within the stonework, which revealed vaults and staircases, which led to a chamber consisting of the entombed Sinclair Barons in full armour.

Additional discoveries revealed a tunnel, some 500 yards in length, running from the chapel to the ruined castle.

Ghostly sightings have been observed: A monk praying at the altar within the crypt, surrounded by four knights.  Two monks have also been observed wandering the grounds and chapel, one dressed in grey, the other in black.

Since 1997, the chapel has undergone major restoration… undertaken by the Rosslyn Chapel Trust.

Images: Wikipedia + My Own

Hugues de Payens – St.Clair Connection

Henry SinclairHenry “The Holy de Saint Clair” (1060-1110) was born in Scotland, and fought in the First Crusade in the Holy Land (1096-1099), where he met and fought alongside; Hugues de Payens.

Hugues de Payens and his retinue visited Scotland, receiving a land grant for the Templars, part of Henry Sinclairs Rosslyn Estate.

In 1127 Hugues de Payens, married Catherine St.Clair, daughter of Henry St.Clair.

History tells us of the arrest and mass execution of French Knights Templar in 1307, by King Philip IV of France, left many countries, many leaders questioning the acts by the French King.

Descendants of Henry “The Holy de Saint Clair,” one Henry Sinclair (1255-1336) and friend of Robert the Bruce, welcomed these warriors of God, these Knights Templar, fleeing for their lives.  Robert the Bruce gave then sanctuary in Scotland.

In return for sanctuary, these Knights Templar changed the outcome at the “Battle of Bannockburn.”  Mounted Templar knights smashed through Edward’s infantry and cavaliers, with Scottish knights led by Sir Robert Keith coming up behind, forcing the English to retreat from the battlefield.

Robert the Bruce

Robert the Bruce

Robert the Bruce had achieved Independence for Scotland, aided by these Knights Templar.  He went on to commemorate that day in Scottish history by creating the Order of Heridom and the Brothers of the Rosy Cross (Rosicrucian).  Later would be known as the Order of Kilwinning, Scotland’s first Masonic Order with Robert the Bruce as its first Grand Master.

Images: Wikipedia