The Kirkwall Teaching Scroll
A Masonic scroll that has hung in
Kirkwall for centuries could contain the evidence to force a rewrite
of Scottish history - so says historian and author Mr Andrew Sinclair.
Mr Sinclair, who mentions the "Kirkwall Teaching
Scroll" briefly in his 1993 book The Sword and The Grail,
came across the 18-foot scroll during his research into the history
of the Sinclair Earls of Orkney, whom he believes had connections
with the Order of the Knights Templar.
He is of the opinion that the scroll proves without
a shadow of a doubt that the secrets of the Templars were incorporated
into Freemasonry and that this esoteric Templar legacy was kept
within Rosslyn Chapel, the Sinclairs' stronghold in Midlothian.
He goes on to state that after a fire devastated
the library in the time of Earl William Sinclair, the scroll was
relocated to Kirkwall for safekeeping, possibly in the now-demolished
How the scroll came to be in the Kirkwall lodge
The masonic lodge's archives reveal that in the
eighteenth century they received the gift of a symbolic floorcloth
from one William Graeme. Whether this "floorcloth" was
actually the Kirkwall Scroll is still hotly debated today.
The results of carbon dating a fragment of the
scroll, says Andrew Sinclair, confirm that it dates from the time
the fifteenth century - the time the Sinclair's held the Orkney
Earldom. As such he has declared it to be a priceless relic of incredible
national significance - a relic he says is comparable only to the
thirteenth century Mappa Mundi which hangs in Hereford Cathedral.
However, although Andrew Sinclair is convinced
of the artefact's age, his theories are not widely accepted, with
historical research indicating that
the decoration on the scroll dates from the eighteenth century.
These two differing theories are made no clearer
when carbon dating results are taken into account - according to
the Oxford laboratory that analysed material from the scroll on
two separate occasions, each analysis yielded a different date.
The sample from the outside of the scroll appeared to date from
the late 18th century, the second piece from the central panel dating
from the late fifteenth century.
This would indicate that the scroll was made up
of two separate sections, a fact confirmed by former past master
Mr Jack Donaldson who explained in July 2000 that the cloth had
been joined and that the evidence of this was clearly visible.
Regarding some of Andrew Sinclair's theories as
to the origin of the Kirkwall Scroll, Mr Donaldson's personal opinion
was that although they may contain elements of truth, his was merely
one pet theory among many.
"We need far, far more information about
this than just his word," he said.