’For the Lord of Neele made the Lord of Cambrein this book be written, that never before this was treated in Romance but one single time besides this (this is the copy that Master Blihis put together, Perlesvaus) and the book that was made before that is so ancient that only with great pains may one make out the letter (this is the original copy in Latin that Melkin brought to France). And let Messire Johan de Neele well understand that he ought to hold this story dear, nor ought he to tell nought thereof to misunderstanding folk, for a good thing that is spread amongst bad people is never recorded faithfully'.
This is written after the discovery of Arthur at Glastonbury and 30 years after the Glastonbury fire, but this is a copy of Henry’s ‘Perlesvaux’ written earlier around 1150. There are certain bits in the ‘high history’ that may have been used by Henry to convince people that Glastonbury was Avalon, even before the great necessity to do so after the fire by the subsequent Glastonbury polemicists. However he stuck to the story which for the most part revolves around a Chapel on a tidal Island near a valley and a river. Hardly an exact description of Glastonbury tor.
After all, to title the entire work Perlesvaus or ‘through the vales’ indicates that all the stories in the Branches, take place in a certain region and revolve around geographical descriptions that apply to a kingdom specifically located by the title of the book; especially with the main protagonist called 'Perceval' (through this Valley). Some commentators have thought that a French version before Henry compiled his, might have been from a mistranslation of Pellesvaus or the vales of King Pelles the sometimes fisher king.
"Wherefore Perlesvax?" saith the King.
"Sir," saith she, "When he was born, his father was asked how he should be named in right baptism, and he said that he would he should have the name Perlesvax, for the Lord of the Moors had reft him of the greater part of the Valleys of Camelot,
The original story teller lets us know that by right of baptism his name is derived from his inheritance 'from among these valleys'. through Troubadour distortion this later account gets confused often, when the storyteller recounts about islands of the moors unless he is referring to Dartmoor tors. However the gist is that the Lord of the Moors seems to have overtaken some of the remenant of the Holy families lands in the time of Perceval, but the land that his father is giving him the title to (in name) is the land that stretches across or throughout the valleys (Perlesvaux).
As we posited earlier, Joseph could have owned the Island and there are accounts of Arviragus giving him it, but this may be of later fabrication or an incidental confirmation. We must not forget that Joseph must have been incredibly wealthy being a trader in a commodity that was so sought after in the Roman world and he had known where to source this material......operating a monopolistic enteprise to the Eastern mediterranean. If the Romans had known where Ictis was located, Pliny would have let us know. As we shall cover at the end of this investigation it is this Island that is mentioned in a charter as being accompanied by fisheries and Castles known as an area called Venn, (or Vales).
Elucidation by the troubadours of Melkin’s Grail book may go far back, but the stories are never far from their geographical setting even though, once a locale is visualised, (as in our proposed location) the accounts may not accurately match spatially, as this was accounted as extraneous detail by the trobadours who focused more on character detail.
For those people who are still open-minded enough to accept that the original account of the Grail's arrival in Britain is historical; enough relevant material has survived attaching itself to the storyline, through troubadour embellishments and distortion, that lets us know that the Island of Avalon is certainly not at Glastonbury.
However the troubadour accounts have confused the castle with the Grail chapel on the Island opposite and even with Camelot. Whatever the confusion that has been caused by troubadours weaving their tales; directionally and spatially, there is enough incidental information that has been passed on to confirm the Grail romances do not take place at Glastonbury and have nothing in common with the topography which has survived in the storyline from Melkin's original Book of the Grail from which the entire compendium is derived.
What seems to have occurred is that Melkin originally is relating accounts that all transpired in the same area, around the Island of Avalon (situated in Devon)..... and troubadours have mixed the generations and stories that Melkin had originally laid down to explain the entire period from the arrival of Joseph up until the death of King Arthur.
This is not to say though, that Melkin’s Grail book is a purely factual account, even though most or all of his information that he wanted passed on to posterity still exists in one form or another, because I don’t think he ever outwardly stated that the 'Grail object' was Jesus (exept in his prophecy). Rather, he formed stories segmented into branches (probably focusing on characters in each generation) that subliminally transferred information, just as he adeptly has managed to do in his English prophecy. The understanding of the nature of the Grail was subliminally transmitted as he weaved together historical stories covering a period of about 4-5 hundred years.....from the time of Joseph through the generations of a royal ramily. He also related material pertinent to how these events play out in the elevation of Consciousness of Mankind (better known as the divine plan), but couched in didactic form to be acted out by our Grail Heroes. This is the mess that modern scholarship has pondered over; the answer to how Joseph of Arimathea is concurrent with King Arthur.
The spiritual nature of the Grail may have been highlighted by some troubadours and in others ..... the quest or the particular relationships between warring relatives. The geographical topography is inescapable...... just as much as all the content in the storylines is set in a particular backdrop. Basically, the story is about a body and a cloth that got put in a tomb on an island by Joseph of Arimathea and this island is in Devon or the Vaus d'Avaron.
It is advised that the reader should read the various Branches of the Perlesvaus. After doing so, one can only conclude that what we have elucidated upon up until now, as regarding Joseph having brought a body to England and this body being presently on Avalon........ is exposed in many places throughout the text.
Let us firstly reassert that the 'High History' is given the authority of the original story from a certain Josephus. This is essentially due to the fact that Melkin asserts (in his Latin text) that his account is derived from original detail supplied by Joseph of Arimathea. The strange thing is that...... the writer of the High history refers to him as a 'narrator' not as Joseph 'the eyewitness', protagonist and author from which the record is derived. Obviously the reference is only refering to that part of the sequence of events that Joseph himself would have been able to relay while alive..... but the veracity of the authority of this account stems from Joseph and it to his authority that the author is appealing. Later the following accounts get unduly mixed with events that transpired after the death of Joseph yet it is to him the author appeals for his credibility.
Now is the story silent of Perceval and cometh back to King Arthur, the very matter thereof, as testifies the history, that in no place is corrupted and the Latin lie not.
If the fact that Jesus' body (the Grail) was brought to England is not historical, then there is no Avalon anyway……… and no point in the monks at Glastobury trying to misrepresent Glastonbury to appear to be synonymous with a purely mythical island. If this were the case, it would be even more fantastic that a supposed fabricated text called the Prophecy of Melkin gives precise directions to an Island (which he also incidentally called Avalon), that so concisely geographically fits the description of Avalon as described in the 'High History' of the Grail. There is then the further coincidence of the same story that tells of a mysterious object that was brought to that same Island by Joseph of Arimathea. Further, it just so happens that the prophecy which is supposed to be a 13th or 14th century fabrication, tells us that Joseph and the Grail are buried within this fictitious Island.
Anyway, Joseph is appealed to as the authority of the High History. What most scholars tend to be misled by, is the fact that Melkin is also relating history after Joseph’s death that takes into account the subsequent years and thus in their minds disqualifies Joseph of Arimathea, as being the one appealed to as a narrator by the High History. Don’t forget that most scholars think there is no historical content in the Grail literature, but it all evolved as a twelfth century fiction. How, if one takes this view, were the French responsible for propagating such a fiction about a mythical island in Britain and what would be the reasoning behind it. How is it the topography of the island described in these French tales corresponds to the Island pointed out by this fictitious monk known for his Geometry?
Josephus telleth us in the scripture he recordeth for us, whereof this history was drawn out of Latin into Romance, that none need be in doubt that these adventures befell at that time in Great Britain and in all the other kingdoms, and plenty enow more befell than I record, but these were the most certain.
It is Robert de Boron (his original source being derived from Melkin’s book of the Grail) that says the final destination of the Grail (although not explicitly Joseph himself) - is 'En la terre vers Occident / Ki est sauvage durement / En vaus d'Avaron'...... in the land to the West, which is very wild, in the Vales of Avalon. These are the rugged and steep sided forested valleys that cover an area south of Dartmoor.
Most scholars recognise this incongruous fact, but rationalize the whole Grail edifice as having some relevance to Medieval religious squabbles. This might in part be the case with later infusion, but how is it that Joseph is giving first hand accounts (which obviously Melkin discovered) that pertains to events 1000 years before any of the troubadours wrote. Robert De Boron’s Le liuro de Josep de Arimthea translation from Portuguese says the book he used was ’secret’ and that:
‘I dare not and could not tell at the time of writing, but that I had the secret book before me wherein the histories are written by the great clerks of all time. Therein are the great mysteries, which are called the Graal’.
No matter how tenuous the connection in the High History that the region in which the story is set might apply to Glastonbury, it is surely how it has been understood for the last 800 years.
Finally, she travelled so far through hill and dale, up and down,(Devon) that more than a month had passed, and as yet she had learned only so much as she knew before—that is, absolutely nothing. One day she was crossing a field in a sad and pensive mood, when she saw a tower in the distance standing by the shore of an arm of the sea. Not within a league around about was there any house, cottage, or dwelling-place. Meleagant had had it built, and had confined Lancelot within.
Even in Chretien's 'Lancelot' the tower variously synonymous with the Grail chapel was by the sea not at Glastonbury.
The Grail Chapel or Castle as it is variously known is on the Island of Avalon and the tidal causeway as at Burgh Island is the 'Bridge' of varying descriptions in many Grail versions. In the ‘Knight and the Cart’ Chretien who really has never seen the sand causeway to Burgh Island is struggling to describe something in the text from which he is sourcing his material.
Copyright Francis Frith
Showing what might be the location of the house of the worshipful Hermit at Shipley Bridge at the start of the Avon valley as it leaves the moors.
Hear ye the history of the most holy vessel that is called Graal, wherein the precious blood of the Saviour was received on the day that He was put on rood and crucified in order that He might redeem His people from the pains of hell. Josephus set it in remembrance by annunciation of the voice of an angel, for that the truth should be known by his record of good knights, and good worshipful men how they were willing to suffer pain and to work for the setting forward of the Law of Jesus Christ, that He has willed to make new by His death and by His crucifixion.
We should look into the text and see if the High History points to an Island that is the same as pointed out in Melkin’s prophecy by his precise geometry.
The hazardous tides that are relentless at the heads where the river Avon exits in view of the of the Island of Avalon underneath the position of the Widow's Castle.
We know that the river mouth is not far from the Castle as the river, spendeth itself in the sea is it most foul and most horrible, so that scarce may ship pass that is not wrecked.
We also know that there is a Chapel and holy house on Avalon sometimes referred to as the castle of the Fisher king and the island is close by the mainland because after Perceval and his cousin leave Gohaz all sorrowing on the rock,
Perceval hath rowed until that he is come nigh a castle that was burning fiercely with a great flame, and can see the hermitage upon the sea hard by.
What is the castle?"
"Sir, the good King Fisherman's, that is surrounded with great waters and plenteous in all things good, so the lord were in joy.
The Tidal road where those fishing could converse with those making their way out to the island of Avalon. The hills in the background are those to be climbed (mountains) before descending down to the island and the Widows Castle.
What this shows is that by the similarity of storyline containing circumstances that can be transposed onto a geographical location with conversational text that include instructions which concur with the topographical features.... that when followed lead to Avalon; is also a confirmation that originally this particular account is set on the river Avon, which just coincidentally has the island at the mouth of the river and this same island is the one that Melkin refers to as Avalon and his geometry points us right to it.
What we understand to be the first Grail literature may indeed be derived from a conglomeration of accounts compiled by Henry Blois as he is appealed to as one that knows all the stories, but these accounts appealed to a much older source in Joseph of Arimathea himself as their authority. This therefore evidences there was a common source before Henry, who obviously was Melkin. It is Melkin's words that say the authority for the Perlesvaus is derived from Joseph of Arimathea and it must be from Melkin we have recieved the accounts up to the time of King Arthur since by his prophecy he is showing us the same Island location.
The view looking back down towards were perceval or Lancelot would have met the fishermen before climbing the hill out toward the Island of Avalon. This is on the same route that the carts of tin would have taken out to the Island of Ictis as it was referred to by classical writers, before Melkin renamed it Avalon.
The Lonely Forest, which would have enveloped Avalon in all the vales below the moors, is mentioned in the Perlesvaus as ‘la soteinne forest’ or ‘la forest souteinne’ or by Chretièn as ‘De la foriest soutaine’. We can deduce that both Chretien and Henry Blois are sourcing from a common source that supplies the same topographical detail that holds together their stories, which, unless they can be identified as being applicable to a certain locality, they might just seem incidental.
"Sir," says the hermit, "I know not who he is, save only that the sea is hard by here, where the ship runs past often wherein the knight is, and he goes to an island that is under the castle of the Queen of the Maidens,
How can Glastonbury ever have been misconstrued as existing by the sea, when we know the castle, (sometimes synonymous with Camelot) has an island opposite and has cliffs below it . It exists beside a river as certain knights rode to it while others were seen rowing down river to it.
How can anyone seriously confuse these descriptions as happening near Glastonbury. How can Glastonbury tor be confused with coincidental topographical features mentioned incidentally that pertain to the area around Burgh Island. Realisically it can only occur if the Grail stories are accounted as fictitious. If they are, then so is Avalon. So why, one must ask, is Glastonbury witnessed in occupying itself complying with certain features in Melkin's riddle. Why when one follows the progressive manipulation of the understanding of certain instructional data like the 'bifurcated line' , would Glastonbury acolytes be so eager to convince the world that it is a fictional Island in a fabricated tale. The only reason for doing this is because they knew Melkin was from Antiquity and the Island of Avalon was a reality.
The Folly Hill site which back in the fourth or fifth century was where the castle of the Queen of Maidens or the Widow Lady existed, where one can see the Island, but has cliffs below it.
The Bantham anchorage showing the cliffs where the castle would have stood before recent buildings have obscured the site.
‘Lords, think not that it is this Camelot whereof these tellers of tales do tell their tales, there, where King Arthur so often held his court. This Camelot that was the Widow Lady's stood upon the uttermost headland of the wildest isle of Wales by the sea to the West. Nought was there save the hold and the forest and the waters that were round about it. The other Camelot, of King Arthur's, was situate at the entrance of the kingdom of Logres, and was peopled of folk and was seated at the head of the King's land, for that he had in his governance all the lands that on that side marched with his own.’
Gildas (Concerning the Ruin and Conquest of Britain) says at this time the king of the Summer Region (i. e., Somerset) was Melwas, who had wickedly abducted Guinevere, the wife of King Arthur, and had brought her to his fortress at Glastonbury Tor, an invulnerable position because of 'the fortifications of thickets of reed, river and marsh.'
We know from various other accounts that the land around the tor flooded at times, but there are no references to ships visiting and no beaches. It seems incredible how the Glastonbury establishment found it so easy to convince so many into thinking Avalon was synonymous with Glastonbury tor. But we have already traced the progression of this myth through the writings of Glastonbury chroniclers.
We have a Knight from the ‘Red Launde’ and a 'Lord of the Moors' who feature in this rich Perlesvaus text which unintentionally divulges the real location.
This story telleth how he conquered him and by what means, and how Galobrus of the Red Launde came to King Arthur's court to help Lancelot, for that he was of his lineage. This story is right long and right adventurous and weighty, but the book will now forthwith be silent thereof until another time.
The View of the entrance to Salcombe harbour with the red land to the left within the vales of Devon
If Glastonbury became synonymous with Arthur’s kingdom, it is only through occasional sentences such as this:
Again we are made to assume that the story has its authority of a Josephus as a narrator, rather than the real authority of Joseph of Arimathea:
Of the most Holy Graal here beginneth another branch in such wise as the authority witnesseth and Joseph that made recoverance thereof, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
It is almost as if the whole fable is designed so that subconsciously one makes the necessary connections to figure out who is who. Even where the narrator is concerned as being exterior to the textual content, this supposedly unknown source (which is consistenly appealed to as the ultimate authority), bears the same appellation as the only Joseph who could have supplied the account of the Grail’s arrival, but Joseph now becomes a separated persona from the Fisher king.
The Last mention of the shroud being in the Gopels.
Next we have one of the only connections with the 'Lady chapel' at Glastonbury that are made through the Grail chapel existing on an island and also paying respect to his sweet mother or ‘Our lady’ that associates with the ‘virginem adorandam’ as being synonymous with the Lady chapel. This we know was latterly dedicated to conform with Grail descriptions and comply with Melkin's prophecy.
‘The damsel signs herself of the cross and commends her to the Saviour and to His sweet Mother. She looks before her to the head of the grave-yard, and sees the chapel, small and ancient. She hits her mule with her whip, and comes toward it and gets off. She entered within and found a great brightness of light. Within was an image of Our Lady, to whom she prays right sweetly that She will preserve her senses and her life and enable her to depart in safety from this perilous place.’
Photo taken from the top of Burgh Island
The Pilchard inn on Burgh Island.
'All along the valley thereof was great plenty of everything continually, and nought was ever lacking in the rich castle that Perceval had won'.
As we know the Pilchards were plentiful even in Pytheas' time and the 'Plenty' that surrounds the Island, could refer to the fishing or tin. The river valley today abounds in fish, mussels and oysters. We know they are at the Grail castle and in the tin district of Devon by the fabrication of Bells that causes much wonderment elsewhere in the text, but it is the forested land of the vales, south of Dartmoor, that provides the backdrop for many of the encounters.
She departeth from the castle and goeth the speediest she may toward the Valleys of Camelot.
She followeth him weeping, and pointeth out to him the Valleys of Camelot and the castles that were shut in by combes and mountains, and the broad meadow-lands and the forest that girded them about.'
Figure 68a. The combes of Devon and the various river valleys of the area described as the vales of Avalon or Vaus d'Avaron.
The coffin, tomb or sepulchre features heavily as an icon throughout the various branches:
‘He showeth them the tomb of King Fisherman, and telleth them that none had set the tabernacle there above the coffin, but only the commandment of Our Lord, and he showeth them a rich pall that is upon the coffin, and telleth them that every day they see a new one there not less rich than is this one. King Arthur looketh at the sepulchre and saith that never before hath he seen none so costly. A smell issueth therefrom full delicate and sweet of savour. The King sojourneth in the castle and is highly honoured, and beholdeth the richesse and the lordship and the great abundance that is everywhere in the castle, insomuch that therein is nought wanting that is needful for the bodies of noble folk’.
‘About a couple of bowshots above the bridge (the tidal causeway) was a chapel fashioned like the one at Camelot, wherein was a sepulchre, and none knew who lay therein’.
He goeth forth and findeth the bridges broad and long, and goeth his way a great pace beside a great river that runneth in the midst of the valley.
the first bridge is a bowshot in length and in breadth not more than a foot. Strait seemeth the bridge and the water deep and swift and wide. He knoweth not what he may do, for it seemeth him that none may pass it, neither afoot nor on horse’.
"Ha," saith Messire Gawain, "Fair sir, but teach me how I may pass hereby."
"Certes, Sir Knight, no passage know I to this entrance other than this, and if you desire to come to the castle, pass on without misgiving."
Messire Gawain hath shame for that he hath stayed so long, and forthinketh him of this that the Hermit told him, that of no mortal thing need he be troubled at the entrance of the castle, and therewithal that he is truly confessed of his sins, wherefore behoveth him be the less adread of death. He crosseth and blesseth himself and commendeth himself to God as he that thinketh to die, and so smiteth his horse with his spurs and findeth the bridge wide and large as soon as he goeth forward, for by this passing were proven most of the knights that were fain to enter therein. Much marvelled he that he found the bridge so wide that had seemed him so narrow’.
Sand ‘eels’ are still dug up for bait on the beach below the island at low tide and the size of the bridge is ever changing.
A 'cerecloth' is a waxed or oiled cloth used for covering bodies but uncannily by adding a ‘d’ which, surely given Melkin’s penchant for subliminal information, would have been a ‘cedre’ cloth or cedar cloth, especially as we are informed it was sweet smelling.
He beholdeth the sepulchre, that was right fair, and forthwith the sepulchre openeth and the corners parted and the stone lifts up in such wise that a man might see the knight that lay within, of whom came forth a smell of so sweet savour that it seemed to the good men that were looking on that it had been all embalmed. They found a letter which testified that this knight was named Josephus.’
They go to the chapel right speedily, and Messire Gawain seeth them coming and alighteth. "Lady, saith he, "Welcome may you be, you and your company."
The Lady answereth never a word until that they are come to the tomb. When she findeth it not open she falleth down in a swoon. And Messire Gawain is sore afraid when he seeth it.’
‘She followeth him weeping, and pointeth out to him the Valleys of Camelot and the castles that were shut in by combes and mountains, and the broad meadow-lands and the forest that girded them about.’
When considering Arthur’s Kingdom, it does, (as we have maintained before), seem to cover the whole extent West of Saxon Wessex. So Cardoil was Tintagel in Cornwall which also doubled as the court of Camelot as well as the Folly Hill Camelot where the Widows castle was situated and the ‘Fu venuz de vers Carlion / Li rois Artus et tenu ot / Cort molt riche a Camaalot’, from Chrétien, provided the link to Caerleon of South Wales for the Welsh protagonists and polemisists.
They came thitherward and saw that the enclosure of the castle was sunk down into an abysm, so that none might approach it on that side, but it had a right fair gateway and a door tall and wide whereby one entered. They beheld a chapel that was right fair and rich, and below was a great ancient hall. They saw a priest appear in the midst of the castle, bald and old, that had come forth of the chapel. They are come thither and alighted, and asked the priest what the castle was, and he told them that it was the great Tintagel. "Damsel," saith he, "My name is Arthur, and I am of Tincardoil."
"Sir," saith Lancelot to the King, "So it please you, and Messire Gawain be willing, I will go back toward Cardoil, and help to defend your land to the best I may, for sore is it discounselled, until such time as you shall be come from the Graal."
The central theme and many accessory episodes are similar to Chrètien’s Perceval and its first two continuations. However the story of the Chess board is elongated in Gautier’s continuation of Perceval, but barely mentioned in Perlesvaus, the Welsh text making no mention of the board. How this allusion to the chess board fits in,(thinking historically) as it is not just an arbitrary icon, is not clear; unless in the subliminal sense the chess board originally in the book of the Grail was alluding to the valleys of Avaron as the board where Kings, Queens, Holy men(Bishops), Knights and Castles, (which all the grail literature incorporates) was somehow incorporated in some misunderstood sense as part of the story from its original potent meaning.
Chrètien’s exemption could be for many reasons, but Gautier’s embellishment does imply the Perlesvaus as primary and of equal or older than Chrètien. I think that Henry heard much of his Grail material in the court circles of France as a youngster and may have put alot of material together from memory. It would seem that in the end the Grail which may have moved from the Island at one time and was located in a chapel above ground was in the end secreted due to outside and family feuds.
He hath won the land that belonged to good King Fisherman from the evil King of Castle Mortal, that did away thence the good believe, and therefore was it that the Graal was hidden.
At what stage after Joseph's arrival these feuds appear is not certain, as all the characters seem so interchangeable along with how they are related, but the offspring of the Holy family are concerned with the guardianship of the Grail and known as Grail Keepers.
Even Dugdale's account who follows the Glastonbury tradition seems to think St. Philip is responsible for 'Despatching' Joseph. This however could be of a later tradition where Joseph leaves Sarras (Avalon) and goes off to Proselytise. Even though Dugdale thinks the Island he refers to is Glastonbury he confirms the Small Island which by the time he wrote had become synonymous with Glastonbury Tor : " About sixty-three years after the Incarnation of our Lord, St. Joseph of Arimathea, accompanied by eleven other disciples of St. Philip, was despatched by that Apostle into Britain, to introduce in the place of barbarous and bloody rites, long exercised by the bigotted and besotted druids, the meek and gentle system of Christianity. They succeeded in obtaining from Arviragus, the British king, permission to settle in a small island………”
William of Malmesbury also tells us how Joseph of Arimathea was sent over by St. Philip, and how a king of Britain, whom he does not name, gave Joseph and his companions the island called Ynyswitryn, where, by admonition of the Archangel Gabriel appearing to him in a vision, he built a chapel which he dedicated to the Virgin. This Island originally had been called Sarras or Avalon. William, however, makes no allusion to the Graal, Josephes, Mordrains, and Sarras or to Lancelot or Gawain, or even to the prophecy of Melkin. Obviously (as we have discussed previously), he thinks any other tradition about Joseph bringing with him holy relics i.e the Graal is a frivolous invention and basically just associates the old church with Joseph but omits to inform us of whole legend of Joseph. It is mainly Williams omission of a reference to Melkin's prophecy on which most scholars base their assumption that it must be of a later invention. This presumption of course has been added to with such trite pronouncements upon 'Abbadare', 'saphat' and the Baybars having an eastern connection..... when the prophecy itself is so obviously concerned with its subject... which is clearly the Island of Avalon. How modern scholarship has made this contrived drivel stick and supposedly prove that Melkin and his prophecy was of a later invention is a curious mirroring of the earlier contrivances carried out by Glastonbury chroniclers. This is especially true when we consider Glastonbury chroniclers themselves attesting he was a geometer and his Geometry locates an island with stunning geometrical precision. We will assess in a moment the source of this misdirection by modern scholarship which is mainly derived from a publication known as ' Melkin the Bard and Esoteric tradition at Glastonbury Abbey' in the Downside review.
And so he ded sofftely, and there resceyved hym three ladyes
with grete mournyng. And so they sette hem downe, and in one
of their lappis kyng Arthure layde hys hede. And then the quene seyde,
“A, my dere brothir! Why have ye taryed so longe frome me?
Alas, thys wounde on youre hede hath caught overmuch coulde!"
And anone they rowed fromward the londe, and sir Bedyvere
behylde all tho ladyes go frowarde hym. Than sir Bedwere cryed
“A, my lorde Arthur, what shall becom of me, now ye go frome
me and leve me here alone amonge myne enemyes?”
“Comforte thyselff,” seyde the kynge, “and do as well as thou
mayste, for in me ys no truste for to truste in. For I must into the
vale of Avylyon to hele me of my grevous wounde. And if thou
here nevermore of me, pray for my soule!”
But ever the quene and ladyes wepte and shryked, that hit was
pité to hyre. And as sone as sir Bedwere had loste the
syght of the barge he wepte and wayled, and so toke the foreste
and wente all that nyght. (Malory, Vinaver edition p. 716).
It is probably due to accounts that had the Queen living at the advent of Arthur's death, that we get the whole 'Second wife' scenario from Glastonbury, as earlier material had the king buried alonside Guinevere who had died previously.
‘There were three hermits therewithin that had sung their vespers, and came over against Lancelot. They bowed their heads to him and he saluted them, and then asked of them what place was this? And they told him that the place there was Avalon. They make stable his horse. He left his arms without the chapel and entereth therein, and saith that never hath he seen none so fair nor so rich. There were within three other places, right fair and seemly dight of rich cloths of silk and rich corners and fringes of gold. He seeth the images and the crucifixes all newly fashioned, and the chapel illumined of rich colours; and moreover in the midst thereof were two coffins, one against the other, and at the four corners four tall wax tapers burning, that were right rich, in four right rich candlesticks. The coffins were covered with two pails, and there were clerks that chanted psalms in turn on the one side and the other.’
Here we have the evidence that the queen is buried in Avalon (which is next to one of the Camelot's) and king Arthur is off to Tintagel (the other Camelot).
Josephus telleth us that as at this time was there no bell neither in Greater Britain nor in Lesser; but folk were called together by a horn, and in many places there were sheets of steel, and in other places clappers of wood. King Arthur marvelled him much of this sound, so clear and sweet was it, and it well seemed him that it came on God's behalf, and right fain was he to see a bell and so he might.
There are so many references to that which we have posited, which seem to be subliminally indicating Mary Magdalene buried Jesus in Britain.
The High History witnesseth us that when the conquest of the castle was over, the Saviour of the World was right joyous and well pleased thereof. The Graal presented itself again in the chapel, and the lance whereof the point bleedeth, and the sword wherewith St John was beheaded that Messire Gawain won, and the other holy relics whereof was right great plenty. For our Lord God loved the place much. The hermits went back to their hermitages in the forest and served Our Lord as they had been wont. Joseus remained with Perceval at the castle as long as it pleased him, but the Good Knight searched out the land there where the New Law had been abandoned and its maintenance neglected.
It is evident that a Jew could be a person who dwelled in any nation and spoke any language. The prophets’ view of a Jew primarily is someone who lives the Law. Essentially a Jew today is anyone who has had peace conferred on them through spiritual growth and by the attainment of gnosis as described by in Isaiah 32:17 The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. 18 My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.
Who would be bold enough to assert that the God through whom the prophets spoke and of which the Bible recounts had chosen an inept or inadequate means of unveiling his work of divine intervention by the evidences left behind in a book that only trace the heritage of one tribe. It Is in this book and by the Prophets that we hear repeated 'And you shal Know that I am the Lord'. Many might consider an Omnipotent God appealing on a broader scale, but the inadequacy of this view is that all the nations perceive him. It is the proofs of his Divine hand at work which are lacking and thus we have in the history of the Israelites and the words of the Prophets those proofs when they can be deciphered or grasped through the continual elevation of mans Consciousness. It is pertintent to remember the accusation against the way that Mankind thinks:
You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, "He did not make me"? Can the pot say of the potter, "He knows nothing"?
Due to Man’s obvious link to the flesh, that which was implanted within us (the spirit) is continually contravened as a measure of correction and the mixture of the weakness’s of the flesh has acted to corrupt what is essentially a correcting influence and rendered mankind rebellious and slow to receive instruction.
The foretelling of his deeds are as an expectation to the end time, as a protector and unifier of God’s elect at the Day of Judgment or as Melkin relates ‘for a long time before’. It seems to be a common expectation that at his coming in the flesh, all the nations are gathered to one understanding i.e. religion will become redundant. Most theologians perceive Michael and his advent as being similar to that of Jesus’s return. As we know, Jesus was certainly a witness who delivered a new understanding of the law, so it would follow that Michael should be the other witness from Revelation, said to come at the end of time as confirmed by Daniel..... as even theologians have had difficulty separating their differences.
In the past this extraordinary function of time repeating itself in consciousness, has not been consciously acknowledged, but perceived or described as ’foreshadowing.’ The prophets not only spoke the truth through God and predicted what was to come in their own time, but also speak as prognosticators across time.... to the progression of consciousness within this framework of what has transpired, so that, entirely dependent upon individual choice and obedience to the Law, mankind is elevated, spiritually becoming consciously self-aware of a Divine plan.
It is through the thing called ‘time’ that we might be able to grasp the structure, mechanism or form, since it is the prophets that use this medium to predict across time that mankind might receive the truth that there is a God, as in Isaiah 37: 26 ’Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it. In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass, or in Isaiah 42:9,
‘See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you’.
Solomon, probably the wisest man to have lived was cognisant of this pattern or structure and knew that man’s conscious elevation was linked to a repetition of past events.
Even if this view were widely accepted as part of human cognisance it will always remain subjective by its nature of being based in cognitive experience.
St. Michael one of the ‘two witnesses’ from Revelation is said to be the builder of the spiritual temple and here is the essence and purport of the Grail in steps, degrees or grades toward the temple as highlighted earlier, as confirmed in Zechariah 5:11 ‘To the country of Babylonia to build a house for it. When it is ready, the basket will be set there in its place.’
Babylon becomes Iconised to be ‘re-cognised’ as the Spiritual place of purification and this process is likened to the time of the Captivity, yet the time spans being numerically similar are foreshortened as the progression of the 7,000 years passes as related in Daniel 9:24, ‘Seventy 'sevens'(weeks) are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy’.
The only way that this can be understood is that an occurrence or set of events that transpired is perceived on a different plane and it is consciousness that has perceived this connection, yet it is within 'time' in which that function is carried out.
So if we were to try to identify time there would be three genres: Absolute time, (that which can only be understood mathematically), Relative or Linear time (that within which we are in constant flux) and Biblical time which gives location to consciousness, but is set within the parameters of a seven thousand year period of 'Linear time', the starting point of which is allegorised in the book of Genesis as having started with Adam. Biblical time has a beginning and ending, it is the period through which God's work is to be accomplished and this work is the 'Elevation of Consciousness'.
It is as if a random seven thousand year period in relative time was sectioned off, in which consciousness might find location or might become self-aware within its parameters, as if being born and the womb of this work was a set period of time. When they see among them their children, the work of my hands, they will keep my name holy; they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
The temporal position of events with respect to the transitory present is forever in flux, future events forever becoming present, then becoming events measured in time that have lapsed into the past. These events are then classed on a grander scale, for example in geological time spans... and this gives us our position relatively in lineal time. This concept of proportion renders us a sense of position locating us in the present relative to for example, the geological periods or the ‘big bang’.
We can see evidence of this in the mystery of ‘Adam’ becoming ‘iysh’ in the prophets and also of man bearing a son. Adam in the Hebrew is defined as ruddy, a human being, an individual or of the species, mankind, but more specifically, a common sort or low, a mean man of low degree basically giving the sense of rudimentary man. This sense of the word is defined by the prophet’s use; as being equatable with the first man, the progenitor of all men. He differs from the higher animals in that his substance, (which is consciousness) was not something that evolved but was made by God to be conscious seven thousand years ago i.e. through God’s action alone man became a conscious being.This is not to compare with the consciousness of animals but to be separated from them by the infusion of the Divine spark, spirit or whatever attribute it is that sets mankind apart in his cognitive processes such as abstract thought. This is really highlighted in the sudden exponential rate of change compared with the slow progression of man over a huge timespan from his beginnings as an ape through to Homo Sapiens. Of course we see sedentary progression in the species of man but nothing like the near vertical graphical change from horizontal that has occured in the last 6,000 years.
Spiritual man came with the advent of what was termed the Holy spirit at the outpouring, after Jesus’s death. Not wishing to fall into the same trap of definition that Newton faced, suffice it to say that the duality of man seems to be behind that part of man’s conscious formed through mankind’s growth experiences through the empires which constitutes what we know to be the soul as opposed to the spiritual side of man which has been formed over the last two thousand years. Like most theological or philosophical discourses, they are self-confuting because how can the resonance of words based in the mundane pertain to attributes more dimensional but we should falteringly proceed to an outline on the canvas.
This will lead theologians into understanding that Jesus’s effect is historical, its only benefit being a rationalisation of belief and faith, yet it is his effect on the internal duality where one finds the benefit to mankind. The sceptic may ask, how is it that, all men fall under this umbrella of spiritual formation. The answer is, that they do not. Even though three quarters of the world fall under the Abrahamic faith, few men abide by God’s Law, yet an Edomite is under the Abrahamic construct of the divergence of spiritual paths.
The one point to make here which differentiates 'Historical time' or the first 4000 years against the 2000 years which have just passed is that in 'Historical time' men were judged on the sins of their Fathers whereas for the last 2000 they have been judged on their own merit. To understand this, it leads to another area of understanding that encompasses what happens to the soul and spirit that have fused after death and how it is that the substance of persona is 'Gathered unto his people' as it is often referred to:
|... And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron
thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people:
... And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people:
Camden relates that Zarah sailed from there for Ireland where he founded ‘Ulladh’ modern day Ulster. Although Geoffrey of Monmouth in his history of the Kings of Britain relates that Brutus came to Totnes in Devon from Troy, he also relates that he was accompanied by a leader called Corineus a sober minded man, wise in Council from whom Cornwall derives its name.
Since the Grail stories are unclear on the relationships between Joseph and some of the main characters who, however are related in some way, one now gets suspicious of the two Children in Leonardo’s painting accompanying Mary Magdalene as possibly being Jesus’s offspring.
Britain was a name that was recorded by the Romans, but the word "Brit", means "covenant", from the Yiddish word for the circumcision ceremony, from bris milah,( Ashkenazi pronunciation of brit milah) "covenant of circumcision." And the "Ish" part of the word as we have seen in juxtaposition to ‘Adam’ means spiritual(higher) man or people. So the word "British" is derived from the words "Covenant People", “spiritual man”. Some commentators have suggested the ending ’tain’ in "Britain" is derived from a Phoenician association with the ‘Land of Tin’. Ceasar bore witness to the complex religious understanding the Britons had at the time of the Invasion. The British Israelites (a late eighteenth century fad) that proposed connections with the ancient israelites after the captivity were probably not incorrect in assuming the arrival of some of the Diaspora (and thus an understanding of prophetical literature). I still maintain that the connection was previously established by the arrival of Calchol, Judah's offspring. Britain is where Solomon sourced his tin from and hence the Britons reference to the Phonecian trading ship that Joseph of Arimathea arrived on being termed Solomon's ship in Grail literature. It was probably the arrival of this ship from ancient time that established Ictis as a co-operative of tinners and thus the island being termed an 'Emporium'.
It has commonly been assumed by commentators on the scriptures, that St. Michael and the Devil are disputing over the whereabouts of Moses’s tomb, as Moses’ bones were buried in Moab before the Israelites crossed into the Promised Land. Deut 34:4 Then the LORD said to him, "This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, 'I will give it to your descendants.' I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it." Most theologians’ misinterpretation of the purport of the Archangel’s dispute is brought about by not having understood that the Promised Land is as a state of mind or recognised internally within an individual. Just as Jerusalem was the ‘I’ or ‘me’ and existed as a locus in consciousness; so too is the promised land akin to a mental landscape giving locus in which to reference the Prophets. In the Book of Joshua 5:13-15, Joshua encounters a "captain of the host of the Lord" in the early days of his campaigns in the Promised Land which as we shall see shortly is connected with St. Michael.
Philosophers doubt and question everything, which is why Rene Descartes made his name in philosophy supposedly by proving his own existence. He used this premise to demonstrate, indubitably, even that his own self existed, yet had he applied ‘I believe that I might understand’ (credo ut intelligam), instead of ‘cogito ergo sum,’ he might not have excluded the only evidence that would substantiate his premise, which is consciousness, the very objective of the divine plan. Descartes said, "I noticed that while I was trying to think everything false, it had to be that I, who was thinking this, was something. And observing that this truth, I am thinking, therefore I exist (Je pense, donc je suis; cogito, ergo sum) was so solid and secure that the most extravagant suppositions of the sceptics could not overthrow it, I judged that I need not scruple to accept it as the first principle of the philosophy I was seeking." Descartes in saying that he existed, counteracted those philosophies of absolute scepticism, but those who thought thinking was the proof of existence needed a locus as proof and thus we have the prophets setting of the Promised land as in Isaiah 62:4 for the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married. For Descartes, ‘thinking’ included any activity of consciousness, thinking, imagining, willing etc, but strangely the proof for which he was searching, without the acceptance of God (full consciousness) is the very answer he needed. The proof that he used is the same that God had given to the Israelites and which Descartes used for his own existence ‘I am who I am’. So one can see the essence of Descarte's struggle to an arbitrary sophist conclusion, is in fact the essence behind the Divine plan, for without locus (all of historical Biblical time) self-awareness would have no foundation.
The two events in Jewish history most often referred to in the prophetical literature, are the coming out of Egypt and the fall of Jerusalem in conjunction with the Captivity and return after the seventy years. These are directly synonymous with the Spiritual progression of mankind. The first, the ‘coming out of Egypt’, is mentioned in so many ways and with certain admonishments and with great frequency, all reference to this event being a form of pre- cognition, so that Mankind might understand that through the history of the Jews a story is being unveiled of the spiritual progression of Mankind.
Even if the invocation by the Jews against Jesus was entirely polemical (which it could well have been), the status held by existing Jews as not ‘peculiarly’ chosen by God is evidenced by the precarious state of their present habitation..... and there can be little doubt that in its entirety, their position against Jesus was one of rebellion against the Law and thus a rejection of his message. If the Land of Israel and Jerusalem are always considered in mundane terms, obviously there can never be a solution for those who believe Zion is to be built in modern day Israel rather than it being a spiritual state of mankind.
The real relevance of Jesusalem has shifted to being part of potential for consciousness. This misunderstanding is still peddled by the religions contrary to the real purport of the Temple.... as being exemplary of existing within the individual.
Many of the probems in Israel are caused by the great prognostications by the prophets regarding Jerusalem. Of course if these profound prophecies are applied literally those that do not understand will live in a 'state of expectation' of the appearance of the third Temple. Regarding the physical location of Jerusalem, these prophecies are not going to be fulfilled. Of course they will be in the New or Spiritual Jerusalem. There can be no solution while the misguided religions and their leaders misunderstand the purport of these prophecies and squabble over Land in which their expectations will never be fulfilled.
This relation of the Sabbath not only being the 1000 year period i.e. the seventh day of a six thousand year period; but a seven year period of spiritual obedience after the fall of Jerusalem, again being evidenced in Mark 2:27 when Jesus states; The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Although this was used as a rebuttal for an accusation that Jesus’ deeds did not fit with social perceptions, the truth of the saying being more profound when applied to the seven year period of purification and the seventh day of the seven thousand year period, designed as a Divine plan.
Essentially the whole experience that happened to the Jews in Historical time is now undergone on an individual basis by spiritual Jews and these are ‘Troublous times’. This all takes place at the stage when consciousness has reached that period in historical time when the captivity took place and this time is therefore doubled i.e as occurring now in consciousness (replicated) and this happens at the year 6,000(sixty weeks) of Biblical time. We are told to discern this spiritual event when 6,000 years has occurred twice, one as accounted in spiritual time reckoned by Michael helping the Elect in the Medo-persian era coinciding with the passage of 6,000 years of Biblical time to the present era.
It is hoped however, that progress is allowed to take place, to uncover these relics for the good of Mankind. It appears that when the present owners first bought Burgh Island, they attempted to banish walkers promenading to the summit of the Island. Apparently local reaction fought against such a ban and holidaymakers and hikers were allowed back on the island, albeit with limited access. This may be the cause for their dismissive attitude, but the author tried three times to make contact with the owners of the island personally and through his agent, but unfortunately, there has been no co-operation up to the time of writing.
It should be considered also, that Melkin, when giving us directions to the entrance of the tomb has guided us ‘high up in Ictis near to where one prays’ and this instruction was given at least six hundred years before the Templars managed to build their chapels and churches.
What if Melkin had in fact written his Grail book in France and the source of Helinand’s material, who recounts the apparition of an angel occurring to a hermit in Britain...... rather occurred to a British Hermit in France. It does seem more probable that a French source speaking of a British Hermit connected with the Grail is more likely to hear of the account of an apparition that transpired in France or from the British monk that had arrived in France. This becomes more probable when Helinand’s source gives the outcome of the apparition as the explanation of the source of the account concerning the Graal...... and this Graal account in many forms, emanated from France.
The Graal was an object concerning Jesus, the ‘matter’ of which transpired in Britain. Melkin known to be British is responsible for the 'Matière de Bretagne' more than any other possible source having left us the puzzle in Britain which deals with the same two subjects Joseph and Jesus and also the common ground of Avalon. But here it gets interesting in that.... if we examine the evidence, it does seem that the apparition of presumably the Archangel Michael to Melkin is the real source for the name of Mont-Saint-Michel.
The sceptic who is dubious of angelic apparitions should remember that it is the only explanation offered as to the transfer of the hidden knowledge. This occult information is essentially the purport of the Graal i.e the spiritual ascension toward the temple which was misconstrued as a quest in the romances.
The belief that a angel transferred this occult knowledge is more logically counteracted if we assume Melkin found the occult manuscript evidence in the tomb. This he would have added to his account of Joseph's arrival in Britain that was also contained in the Book of the Grail. So we should assume that Melkin would have seen the Grail Ark...... discovered the information about Joseph’s Journey and the occult knowledge which was the essence of the Graal that had originated in Jerusalem. Was it Melkin though that offered such an apparition by way of explanation of his source?
We can never know if an apparition of an Angel occurred to Melkin or simply this was posited as an explanation for the appearance of the most extraordinary account of how Melkin had become aware of truths that could not be muttered overtly.
The account that Melkin would have found in the tomb gave witness concerning two of the most sacred personages in recent history and like the prophets in Biblical literature, the profundity of what was related as occult material was largely misinterpreted. The quest or occult nature of the Grail was mixed with accounts of Joseph's arrival by the early troubadours. The account was beautiful but not fully understood (exept by Melkin) and hence the Grail Ark object became the Graal which was the occult spiritual story.
The subliminal information regarding the Shroud and the tomb of the unknown occupant in the Perlesvaus is glaringly obvious once we understand that the body of Jesus is on Avalon. However, since Melkin did not divulge this in the Grail book none of the troubadours understood how the Jerusalem or arcane literature interacted with the account of Joseph's arrival at Sarras.
It seems probable that originally the reason that Mont-Saint-Michel, known as Mons Tumba or the Mount of the Tomb from a very ancient time (without containing a tomb) derived this appellation because of the echo of someone’s knowledge of what a similar island in Britain contained. This name of Mons Tumba is likely to be an echo of a British connection long before the ‘Revelatio’ of Mont-Saint-Michel was written that purports to relate the legends of the French mount's founding. To the skeptic this may just appear as supposition but again if we follow the dots the French island appears to have echoes of a similar insular British mount containing the tomb. The British Hermit that gave us the story of the Grail (which subliminally is all about the tomb) was supposedly given it (according to Helinand's source) by the Archangel Michael.
A possible first port of call on the French coast by Melkin could have been Mont-Saint-Michel and could be the location from which Helinand’s French source relates that a hermit or monk had a revelation from the Archangel...... from which extract as we have covered, the earliest mention of the Graal was recorded. So let us see how all this fits together.
In around 600AD 'La Vita Paterni' was written and it included in it a story of 'St. Pair' and 'Scubilion' his friend in anecdotal passages, both monks from d’Ansion near Poitou, Anjou and Aquitaine. ‘Scubilion était retenu malade au monastère de Maudane, quand il fut invité à visiter Pair; mais un bras de mer l’empêcha de traverser durant la nuit.’ Scubilion was taken ill while at the monastery of Maudane when he had been invited to visit Pair, but an arm of the sea had prevented him from crossing during the night.
Although this in no way states that the monastery was on the island of Mont-Saint-Michel, it certainly intonates that the prevention from crossing was caused by the tide. St. Pair was Bishop of Avranches and assisted at the council of Paris between 557 and 573 with Scubilion. ‘Saint-Pair–sur-Mer’ is just at the edge of the diocese of Avranches and Coutances. ‘Scubilion se trouvait à trois milles environ d’Avranches loorsqu’il se vit arête par le flux’. Scubilion also was said to be three miles from Avranche when he was detained by the tide and not by coincidence this is the distance over to the mainland across the tidal sand going east on the way to Avranches from Mont-Saint-Michel.
Although the Island is not named, it does look as if a monastery existed on the island given the above coincidences and the name of the monastery was called ‘Maudane’. Mordain or Mordrain sounds very familiar in pronounciation to Maudane and in the ‘Estoire del saint Graal the vulgate cycle of French Arthurian prose romances we find this name given to King Evalak after he had been converted by Joseph of Arimathea. His new name appears on his forehead Mordrain-Mordains after he receives Christianity (the new religion) and later, contrary to a commandment given by God.... when he looks on the Holy Grail, he becomes blind and paralyzed as a consequence. He then retires penitent to a hermitage and erects there an abbey of white monks.
So was the monastery set up by King Evalak or possibly Melkin around 600AD and recorded by the poet Fortunat Venance as the monastery of ‘Maudane’. All of this is supposition as the monastery that Evalak established could well be the rumoured one on Burgh Island. However we have nothing to link Melkin with Mont-Saint-Michel directly, but the Count of Pitou, Eleanor of Aquitaine’s father, probably the first Troubadour in the accepted tradition, comes from the same environs as St. Pair and Scubilion are said to have come from before arriving in Avranches.
There is no record of a Tomb on the Island and we hear no other record of the history of the island until what is recorded in the 'Revelatio' in which St. Aubert is recorded as the founder. St. Aubert having stones cleared for the construction of a Monastery....... on the same Mont-Saint-Michel to which by the previous account, Scubilion had just visited his friend Pair in a monastery.
So it looks as if the account of St.Aubert establishing the monastery in 708-9 can be discounted as fictitious. But let us look at a few extracts given in the account of the 'Revelatio' as to how it views its own foundations and associations with the cult of the Archangel.
There is good reason to suppose that the small monastic group of Hermits that existed upon Mont-Saint-Michel before the year 966, had in their possession, recorded information about its sister Island (where their order had their roots) in Britain. At this stage The French mount was still within Brittany (little Britain). Possibly, from an early date, a Celtic group (based upon Melkin’s knowledge) had seeked some kind of Papal or royal dispensation regarding ownership of the British island that contained the tomb.
If a celtic established order had seeked ownership of the old Ictis, it would be safe to say that they were not entirely sure of what it held, but it seems fair to establish that there were echoes of a tomb. If a dispensation was sought by the Celtic body of monks that had maintained a memory of what the British Island contained, possibly they wished to make claim to it for the French mount. It would then follow that this desire must have been based upon some previous information.
This will inevitably follow from the discovery of Jesus’ remains and the establishment of the truths related in the prophets. The discovery will of course substantiate that the shroud was in fact Jesus’s grave cloth and establish the veracity of the Passion of Jesus. The part played by The Archangel seems to be the reason that the Templar array of churches were all dedicated to him so that, by association this unveiling may be made at the appointed time in ‘Biblical Time’.
It is the understanding of and belief in the Archangel’s association with this shift in consciousness that we can assume that Burgh Island from Melikin’s time has been associated with Michael.
This is possibly the reason for the unknown reference of ‘St. Michael by the sea’ in a charter from Edward the Confessor and ‘Consecratio Michaelis archangeli ecclesiae’ as recorded in the Welsh Annals under 718AD, and is probably the explanation for the Michael appellation and dedication existing at the French mount.
If the French mount's history was Celtic or Bretton, possibly he was only interested in establishing a more Norman provenance. It is also a possibility also that the scribe of the Revalatio knew there was a whiff of association with a celtic establishment of the Michael tradition that had come from Burgh Island. It could be the scribe was trying to disassociate with any British connection. Maybe this was the reason for the mounts name and he wished to establish themselves being derived from a strictly Roman source. The original scribe of the 'Revalatio' could simply have invented the connection with Gargano as a Roman or eastern Michael had more 'credibility' for the pilgrims he wished to attract.
We can never know the scribes reasons for establishing his version, but taking into account what we have seen already, we can establish that the mount was named after Michael and it also was associated with a Tomb (hence the name) and the account is obviously fabricated.
It is basically a document that purports to expound upon the history and the practices of the Mont since its inception by St. Aubert in 709 AD. Apart from the section known as the ‘Historia’ that gives an explanation of the politics and religious interactions between the Breton and Norman ducal houses it basically fills the historical gap until the establishment of 'cannons' (religious monks) that later became displaced by the Benedictine establishment.
However the St. Michael appelation appears to have pre-existed the Revelatio and took on this name subsequently to its prior appelation of Maudane. It is here that we might establish a connection with Melkin. It is this supposition that the islands name originated by a small contingent of ex British monks that had left a similar Island in Britain that appears to be the real answer.
It was this original commune from Britain that invested the French mount with traditions leading to its two most prominent appelations today; that of the mount of the tomb and the mount of St. Michael. This view becomes more feasible if the Angel who appeared to the Hermit in Helinand’s account about the Grail was Michael and by the fact that if St. Aubert had been buried there, much veneration would have been made of this tomb in the Revelatio when it was written around 800-850AD.
The 'Revelatio' relates that St. Aubert did not give heed to this vision at first and subsequently in irritation Michael appeared to him again, this time driving his finger into Aubert's skull, compelling him to carry out his instructions. As the account is told, Michael is said to have appeared to him three times in total. After this the oratory was built. It was dedicated on October 16, 709, and Aubert is reputed to have been buried in it........ but we should assume that this was an apology for the Tumba epithet.
As the 'Revelatio' itself explains the Island was known locally as Tumba and if the author had known why, he would have embellished upon its sanctity, especially if he thought it was named so because it housed St. Aubert. The relic of St. Aubert's skull, with a hole where the Archangel's finger apparently pierced it, can still be seen at the Saint-Gervais Basilica in Avranches.
So now we have a shrine in Apulia in Italy to Michael the Archangel where the Archangel had also left his footprints. Water is also said to have seeped from the ceiling of the grotto, which healed all manner of maladies just as water sprouted at Mont-Saint-Michel according to the 'Revelatio' account, which also had curative properties.
This feast which celebrated the Gargano apparition became part of the Roman Breviary which then spread throughout the Catholic Church. It has been been formalized as ‘Apparitio S. Michaelis’ although it originally did not commemorate the apparition to the Bishop, but the victory of the Lombards over the Orthodox Greeks.
For the scribe of the 'Revelatio' it does however offer a complete contrast to a Celtic inheritance for Mont-Saint-Michel; a more Roman and therefore more credible affiliation to an already established Michaeline cult that is already revered in Europe.
The date Mons Tumba was first used in conjunction with Mont-Saint-Michel is not known, so we cannot be certain if it has the echo or memories of the sacred tomb of the initial Celtic inhabitors, or if it was imitated from Monte Gargano, but this does seem a little strange when no tomb exists...... that no elucidation is capitalised upon in the Revelatio even by invention.
After the original monastery of 'Maudane' became known as Mons Tumba it would always have been beneficial to possess a tomb, to claim that a saintly figure rests within, to attract pilgrims. The 'Revelatio' makes ‘little hay’ from this scenario appearing rather to claim the name from the islands shape. For this reason many commentators have assumed association with a previous Cairn or Tumulus that existed prior to any monastic or hermetical settlement.
The descriptive account in the Revelatio that tells of the visiting 'embassade' to Gargano to obtain relics and the miracles that transpired on the groups northward journey, does appear to impart the impression of this northern movement of the Michaeline cult .
However the Monks sent by St. Aubert to Gargano to obtain relics can only be seen as an attempt to substantiate the French mounts own flimsy ‘apparatio’. On further investigation of the Edward charter granted to the monks of Mont-Saint-Michel...... we can link the Michael cult as having had its roots in Britain and possibly link this back to Melkin the source of all the French Grail literature. The square shield and short sword purportedly found in Ireland next to the body of a Dragon supposed to have been killed by Michael the Archangel mentioned in Dom. Beaunier’s ‘Recueil général des Evêches, Abbayes’ is supposedly another sacred relic from the Archangel revered on the French Mont, further establishing a proximity to him.
Logically, a true apparition would hardly have needed further substantiation from another site but would have its own credible relics. It seems that the French monks, not knowing the provenance of the mounts names sake, set out to create its vicarious associations.
The unknown author of the Revelatio it would appear was a monk who formulated his text based on the 'Liber de apparitione in Monte Gargano', the hagiographical account of Michael's apparition there. This monkish scribe concocted a similar story of the Archangel’s appearance including similar instructions from the chief of the heavenly host...... to build a sanctuary for him.
The object of this endeavour from the author of the Revelatio' perspective was to adorn Mont-Saint-Michel with equal sanctity by establishing its own individualised account of spiritual precedence. Especially with the increasing diffusion of the veneration of St. Michael that appears to proliferate from the sixth century onwards. The compilers of the 'Cartulary' and specifically the author of the 'Revelatio' are exposed in carrying out the same propagandist ploys that we saw earlier when dealing with the monks of Glastonbury....... all in the effort to attract pilgrims.
Given the Revelatio’s feeble attempt at establishing the original cause for the Islands name, this does not seem such an extraordinary assumption to make against established convention.
The story of its founder became a consolidated body of hagiography around 1200AD however, rounding off events set far enough back in history that they could not be verified. The author set about constructing an account that squarely put its founder with connections to Avranche, but lacking any substance on which to base a celestial apparition..... he chose on oddly familiar account based upon events that are nearly a duplicate of those having transpired in Gargano.
The whole of this early document seems to be in effect a concocted excuse for not knowing the mounts origins and why the earliest inhabitants of the island affiliated the island with the Archangel Michael.
It most certainly would have dissuaded mundane attempts to take control over the mount, if it could be shown that the chief of the heavenly host himself had instigated the islands spiritual inception. The question is: why was it necessary to fabricate this link to the Archangel by sending the 'Embassade' and imitating the account of Gargano.... unless the monks were specifically having to substantiate a previously unknown source for the nomenclature of the Island?
They could have named the Island after any saint if it were that simple, but the Monks in the ninth century living on an Island named after the Archangel had to find links to him and the only known source of obtaining credibility was in Gargano.
It would appear that through this attempt at rationalising how the island obtained its Michaeline attachment....... we can deduce that the Mont at an early date, (possibly due to Melkin’s emigration), had an association with Michael the Archangel. It is this proposition that the initial settlement was due to its insular similarity to Burgh Island that we should try to connect the two, but any obvious trace of that connection was lost long ago. All that can be seen now are the shadows of this connection.
The Mont needed to invent for itself a credible provenance based upon the now well established shrine of Gargano but was there indeed some truth in the account of the embassade sent to Gargano. In fact the earliest graffiti carved on the walls of the grotto chapel in Monte Gargano is an Anglo Saxon name of Leofwini and could have been one of the embassade. Even with these tentative associations with the Mediterranean, Francophone scholars often have discerned a Celtic imprint on the Mont rather than a Roman or eastern Euoropean influence. This being largely attested to by the replacement of the original monastic hermits by 30 Benedictines in 966 ‘à cause de leur dérèglement’.
This Benedictine community replaced the group of Canons supposedly instituted by St. Aubert. The Introductio monachorum, written around 1058 condemned these unspecified 'offences' of the Canons as justification for their replacement. This transition was most probably caused due to a power shift in that the Mont- Saint-Michel’s initial roots were Bretton. The changeover could of course be of a theological nature in that certain Celtic practices did not conform to the Roman view or even more sinister, certain beliefs held at the mount had been commuted from another Island.
The Benedictines, as can be seen in many cases, had a way of slandering any establishment they wished to usurp. It is our assumption here that when the Benedictines arrived and took over from an unknown sect that had occupied Mont-Saint-Michel since the time of Pair and Scubilion, some sort of document was found that gave evidence of a very sacred island in Britain. This document could have claimed some right over the Island by the French Mont or have proffered some previous dispensation toward it. In whatever form this evidence came to light, the new order of Benedictines was keen to get its hand on an Island in Britain.
It is also our assumption that through an early association with this British island which 'coveted' a sacred tomb...... the French mount recieved its 'Mons Tumba' appellation. It was founded or later inhabited by a British hermit called Melkin who is attested to have experienced an angelic apparition. As we are apprised already....... he certainly had knowledge of the tomb on Avalon. It is this evidence of a renowned tomb existing in Britain that drove the Benedictine community to procure from Edward the Confessor the handing over of this British island into their possession.
A charter exists that purports to give them possession, which may indeed, have been based upon previous documentation that had been unearthed when the Celtic monks were removed in 966 AD.
With all the construction that has occurred at the Island, any prior evidence of an early hermitage has now been built upon. A new façade for the nave of the more recent Roman church and a terrace toward the west, built in the twelfth century, had covered over the eighth century building by providing structural support that closed off the earlier monastic buildings until rediscovered in 1961.
This possibly concurs with the account given by Helinand of a Holy Angel appearing to a hermit that we encountered earlier in the enquiry. ‘At this time a certain marvellous vision was revealed by an angel to a certain hermit in Britain concerning St. Joseph the decurion who deposed from the cross the body of our Lord, as well as concerning the paten or dish in which our Lord supped with his disciples, whereof the history was written out by the said hermit and is called ‘Of The Graal’.
The first part of what Helinand records above is as we have covered already from an older source. This source through Helinand's chronological account is ascribed the date of 707AD and this date was understood by where it was inserted in his chronology.
The second part of Helinand's account ‘Now a platter, broad and somewhat deep is called in French ‘gradalis’ or ‘gradale’, is given by Helinand himself to explain his conception of a paten or dish in which our Lord supped with his disciples. These are Helinand's own words and take on the composition of the Graal. This part of Helinands account describing the nature of the Graal did not come from the source that supplied the apparition account about a British Hermit.
This would seem to be Helinand’s own interpretation of the Graal as it was currently perceived. The whole record of this account however does evidence that a book about the Graal emanating from a British Hermit, recorded by Helinand, given in the quotes from Vincent of Beauvais and John of Tynemouth........ was accounted for by an Angelic apparition. If this apparition recorded in 707 AD, a year before St. Aubert had his supposed vision, has been transposed upon St.Aubert and it is upon this apparition of the Archangel Michael the Revelatio gives as the reason for the naming of Mont- Saint-Michel........ then is it not possible that one apparition has been transposed, when it actually occurred to the other.
If the Mons Tumba was known by this name, where is the tomb on the French mount and who is in it? Why is it not named after the person in it rather that just known as the ‘tomb mount’. The writer of the 'Revelatio' lumps this apparition on St. Aubert to establish a local link to St. Michael while proffering as explanation the shape of the island to explain the island’s other name, which is derived from a legend of an unknown tomb. All very tentative I hear the sceptic say.....but wait until you see the charter!!!
The myth of an Island containing a tomb could have proliferated and brought on the isolated rocky high retreats that are commonly associated with shrines to St. Michael today. The knowledge of which has been perpetuated by imitation of similar sites being occupied, the obvious example being the community that inhabited beehive huts built by Irish monks on 'Skellig Michael' as we saw earlier in the geometric ley line association between Mont-Saint-Michel and St. Michael’s mount.
Signs of the insular cult of remote shrines was not seen before the sixth century in northern Europe and may indeed have emanated after Melkin had left Burgh Island.
We are told in Dom. Beaunier’s ‘Recueil chronologique des Archevêches, Abbayes, et Prieurez de France’ that the kings of France and England and the dukes of Bretagne and Normandie, all visited the Mont and in the intervening years before the Norman conquest the monastery became rich under Benedictine rule. Richard II rebuilt and added buildings covering the original structure. Also in a surviving charter it is stated that in February 966 Lothar king of the western Franks, at the request of Pope John XIII, confirmed Hugh II as the archbishop of Rouen, who approved the Benedictine establishment at Mont-Saint-Michel by Duke Richard I of Normandy.
The Mont, with its Benedictine associations and contrived history became celebrated throughout Europe and the pilgrims of Europe flocked to it. Eventually, the Mont was granted to the order of the Chevaliers de St. Michel by Louis XI.
Abbot Geoffrey eventually obtained a papal bull from Eugenius III in 1150 confirming the abbey's possessions while extending to it the protection of St. Peter, and confirming the Benedictine code of free election of its abbots. Soon after this, Abbot Geoffrey died. The monks took a year before electing their own choice of Richard de La Mouche, a relation of the Bishop of Avranches, which annoyed Henry of Normandy who had put up his own Abbot instead. Eugenius III, in a writ of 7 July 1152, maintained that Abbot Richard be restored. In 1153 both abbots and the Bishop were summoned to Rome and Henry (who was now married to Eleanor of Aquitaine) because of this fight for control........ was threatened with excommunication and interdict by the Pope. Robert of Torigny in the end was elected abbot as a compromise choice between the monks and Henry.
What was it that was so important that Henry would risk excommunication for? Did he, by this time, believe that the Monks of Mont-Saint-Michel were the possessors of the tomb and Avalon because at this time they now controlled St. Michael’s mount in Cornwall. We should not forget that it was Henry who regarding the search for Arthur had supposedly ‘disclosed to the monks some evidence from his own books of where the body was to be found and some from letters inscribed on the pyramids’. Was it that Henry was not really in search for Arthur but for the Tomb of Joseph and after he had died (as we covered earlier), the Glastonbury Monks associated his search with their uncovering of Arthur...... his name lending authority and credibility to the find. Certainly he had the wife who was well versed in all the Grail material, but It seems probable to me that he thought that the Monks of Mont-Saint-Michel had claimed the 'Island in the west' (where Joseph was reputed to be buried) known to him and his wife as Avallon.
St. Aubert while been portrayed as the founder of the sanctuary is mentioned in context with another person known as Bain and his sons in the 'Revelatio'. Bain also had a vision and went to labour in the construction of the initial building as we are informed. Since the Revelatio and its story of the founding of the first church is obviously not a true account of the founding of the Island........ it should be considered in part as a tool to give credible explanation for the St.Michael appellation. It may also be comprised of incidental anecdotes about characters such as Bain that played a part in the Islands roots.
The mention of Childebert has led many to date the 'Revelatio', but there were three Kings of this name and it is still uncertain given the fabricated nature, if the reference to the king has a shade of historical memory and can be directly linked to the time of Aubert.
The first Childebert is from 511 to 558 the second from 575 596 and the third 695 to 711. Childebert III conveniently fits the founding date by Aubert.
The absence of all other sources that can historically date the foundation of the Mount has meant that most commentators have relied upon what the Revelatio reveals, as a near accurate account of the islands foundation. However certain events such as the sending of envoys to Gargano, if de-constructed from the historical context to which they pretend to pertain, show us that the embassade of monks might indeed have made their journey to Gargano at a much later date than that expressed in the 'Revelatio.
A more likelyscenario is that a group of Anglo-Saxon monks went to Gargano from Mont-St-Michel around the time the Revelatio was written and on their return ‘Hey-Presto’ a monastery already existed as the account recounts in the 'Revelatio'
Some commentators have posited the idea that the 'Revelatio' has the story of 'Bain' and his sons removing big rocks ready for the foundation of the first ecclesiastical building as referring to the removal of a Megalithic site. This would of course explain the site of an older tomb, but in no way give adequate explanation of the need to validate the archangel’s name with the site, by sending an embassade to Mont Gargano. This should be viewed in terms of what the 'Revelatio' relates...... that upon their return and after several miracles in the interim, Mont-Saint-Michel has suddenly been finished on the day they return and the conveyance of relics has now established the Mount as a bonifide Michael Shrine. St. Aubert only then dedicates the building and installs a collegiate of 12 monks followed by a miraculous discovery of water at the top of Mount.
It is this supposition that at an earlier time some Papal dispensation, Charter or substantiation of an earlier link had been recognised regarding these two mounts connection and that the Norman mount had in some way 'rights' over the British island known as 'St. Michael by the sea'. It is this which appears to be the basis for the formulation of a charter granted by Edward the Confessor which tries to re-establish rights over an area including what can only be an Island called ‘St.Michael by the Sea’.
If one were reiterating a claim based upon an older document one would use the names of the locations referred to in the initial deed. The fact that these locations had become disassociated or disused and their current names may have changed during a period of several hundred years ....it would be hard to represtent in a document that it alluded to a specific location. It would be even more difficult if one ignorant of these facts, especially if these lands witnessed in the older document existed across the channel.
However if a future King of England were merely updating an already established right to lands by lending his name as a future authority..... then the outmoded names of the locations in the present charter being constructed would merely be transcribed from the older document..... to the newest edition, but the ‘right’ would be established by a the future kings authority.
The possibility of regaining these lands became all the more pressing with the chance of being able to pull off such a coup, when one considers a pending invasion by ones fellow countrymen. The best way of re-establishing ones rights in the ensuing mayhem after an invasion is to have documentary evidence from the highest authority in the land. It would be fortuitous to have it look as if it were always part of ones overseas possessions with a recent charter confirming that from a British king.
It is impossible to verify who’s signature is genuine or if the whole were faked or if it were genuinely signed by all the undersigned........ but we can speculate that the charter is genuine and based upon an original document in an attempt to regain a hold on lands that the Celtic predecessors had owned. The only problem was that in error, St.Michael’s mount in Cornwall was mistaken for the intended prize of Burgh Island after the eventual invasion.
The Monks of Mont-Saint-Michel having based their charter on an old document had no idea of the island’s surroundings having never seen it, but based their charter on the names that were given in old documents from their Celtic forebears.
This position is one of many scenarios as we cannot know if the Cornish St. Michael’s mount already had the Michaeline appellation before the charter. This is a possibility if the order on Burgh Island had been forced to disband and settled on a similar Island further south in Cornwall.
The Latin Fluminea or Flumens giving river may have been a misconstrued description that gave rise to the appelation of Ruminella. The Capital ‘r’ in some medieval scroll handwritten parchment may have been mis-scribed for the ‘FL’ (capital 'F' interlinked with a lowercase 'l' to give rhe 'R' for Ruminella. We can contrive such a scenario for a diminutive understanding from , and as we know the Latin suffix ‘Ella’ would give the diminutive small or 'little river'. This may indeed be the explanation of the port next to ‘St. Michael by the sea’ being described as a little river and being misunderstood to be the name of a port. The port would of course be Bantham.
If the Charter was merely transferring mills, towns, fisheries, castles, and a port, which had at one time been the possession of a Celtic establishment, (appealed to as having been already being under the custodianship of one Brismarus as a representative of St Michael’s in Cornwall), where are all these possessions at the time of Domesday? Why are none of these substantial assets that have been granted to the alien priory, not mentioned in Domesday? Is it because the Benedictine monks only took over what did pertain to Brimarus at the time of the Conquest instead of a larger area that pertained to Burgh Island (as St. Michael by the sea) i.e as we saw in the Perlesvaus; that area containing castles and the river valleys running south from Dartmoor?
Burgh island, referred to as Avalon by the Grail writers long before the Templars were responsible for tracing over an initial ley system by marking out the St. Michael design....... was known as 'St. Michael's rock'. This charter refers to it as otherwise known as 'St. Michael by the sea'. Given the fisheries, castles and port mentioned.......it does appear to be the Island that was being implicated in the charter. The only problem was that the French monks laid claim to the wrong island.
Speed may well be referring to the era after the Templars when certainly both islands had the Michaeline appellation until Burgh island lost its chapel.....even after Camden had recorded it standing where the ‘Avons waters are mixed’.
A case of mistaken location can certainly be posited if we suppose that the Monks of Mont-Saint-Michel did not know that at the time the charter was written there was nothing on either St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall or Burgh Island. They may well have chosen St. Michael’s mount by mistake because it at least had a Hermitage on it, evidenced by the person of Brismarus. The Cornish St. Michael’s mount had not received its apparition which subsequently was to be contrived by the Benedictine monks from Mont-Saint-Michel, who also ascribed much of their erroneous history to the Cornish mount. As as we have covered, we cannot discover when it received its 'Michael' dedication. By contrast however we should understand that Michael’s association with the tomb had been established since the time of Melkin.
We know that Ictis was derived from Pytheas’ description and Avalon was Melkin’s name for the Island so it is quite possible that the Island was known locally as Romanella. However the charter’s reference to towns, agricultural and non-agricultural land, could be wide ranging over the three river valleys that surrounded St. Michael by the sea.
prosperity, of the most glorious king William and for the acquiring of eternal life do give and grant the Mount of St. Michael of Cornwall to God and the monks serving in the ecclesiastical house of Sancti Michaelis de Periculo Maris, with half hide of the land, so unbound and peaceable and free from customs, pleas and complaints as I hold them, and I appoint, my lord the king consenting, that they may have a market the fifth day there. Finally, however, I have certainly ascertained through the merits of the blessed Michael monastery and by prayers of the monks there that a son has been granted me by God to my own wife; and therefore I have increased the gift to the heavenly Prince, and have given as a gift of three acres of land in Amaneth, Trevelaboth, Lismanoch, Trequaners, Carmailoc, that is to say my most pious king lord William assenting together with Queen Matilda and with their noble sons and nobles, the Earl Robert William Rufus, Henry yet a boy, to be quit and free from all pleas complaints, and forfeits, so that the monks shall not answer in any matter this to the king's justice excepting homicide. I, Robert Moritonii, have made this donation, which wiliam glorious king of the English William, and the Queen and their children, have permitted and testified’.
After arriving in France traveling through Belgium and Helvetia (Switzerland). The writer seems to think that Pontius Pilate found death in Switzerland. This evidence is unexpected if indeed the writer has an ulterior motive and seems inconsequential as part of a persuasive polemical ploy as a proof of a visit by Paul. This information, unheard of elsewhere except through Eusebius, would make the rest of his supposed fabrication seem less credible. Eusebius, in his ‘Historia Ecclesiae’ ii: 7 quotes some early apocryphal accounts for which he gives no source which relate that Pilate met with misfortune in Caligula’s reign 37–41 and was exiled to Gaul and eventually committed suicide there in Vienne where a monument called Pilate's tomb can still be seen.
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library