With Israel’s new war attracting headlines around the world and with It renewed focus on the Holy land and its turbulent and fascinating history we take a look at an exciting somewhat connected ancient discovery in a sleepy corner of the British countryside.
It might look like an unassuming rabbit hole, but this tunnel leads to a stunning network of caves dating back 700 years.
The caves are hidden less than a metre beneath a farmer’s field in Shropshire and were used by followers of the Knights Templar, a medieval religious order that fought in the Crusades. Knights Templar is an organisation that’s inspired many Traditionalists because of the bravery and purity of the knights, who protected Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land. An order that are of great inspiration to some Neo-aristocrats who of which have been known to try to emulate them in many ways, not least their selfless dedication to their faith and folk.
The order was founded at the height of the Dark Ages and was given space on the Temple Mount above the ruins of King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem.
The order attracted new members from all over Europe, before it was disbanded by Pope Clement V, in 1312. Some people continue to believe the knights simply went underground and to this day harbor a secret that could topple the Catholic Church.
Photographer Michael Scott, from Birmingham, ventured beneath ground to witness them for himself.
The 33-year-old said: “I traipsed over a field to find it, but if you didn’t know it was there you would just walk right past it.
“It’s probably less than a metre underground, so it’s more into the field than under it.
“Considering how long it’s been there it’s in amazing condition, it’s like an underground temple.”
The tunnel leads to a network of walkways and beautifully carved arches.
Scott added the cave was quite cramped and those nearing six feet tall would have to bend down to fit in.
He said: “I had to crouch down and once I was in it was completely silent.
“There were a few spiders in there but that was it. It was raining so the slope down was quite sludgy but inside the cave was bone dry.”
This and countless sites like it in and around Europe shouldn’t be just be viewed as tombs or dusty relics but places that we can commune with our ancestors, to channel their energy and heroism that it might give us the strength to face our own dangers and enemies in this new dark age we find ourselves in. We where not able to find out if the caves are open to the public or not after a closure due to vandalism however if you are in the area It is not the only Shropshire location with links to the Templars.
Within Ludlow Castle is an early Norman chapel dedicated to St Mary Magdalene.
Some people say it may have been associated with the Templars as the interior carvings include two Templar crosses and because of the group’s affiliation to St Mary Magdalene. It also has a round nave, again in the image of the Holy Sepulchre Church.
Penkridge Hall in Leebotwood was built on the site of the former Lydley Preceptory, a building serving as an administration centre for a group of Templars.
It was founded in 1158 and closed in 1308 when the order was dissolved.
St Jame’s Church in Cardington was acquired by the Templars in 1186 and the first documented priest was Arnulf. After the suppression of the Templars in 1308, Cardington Church was taken over by the Crown and given to the Knights Hospitaller in 1314, an order of knights created in 1113 by the Pope to provide care for sick, poor or injured pilgrims.
Stanton Long Grange was founded in 1221 as a farm and closed in 1308 when the order was dissolved.
The site is at the hamlet of Brookhampton but nothing now remains.