At Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, there is a curious pillar (there are many curious pillars, but this is the most curious) called "The Apprentice Pillar." What makes it so curious? The first legend attached to it is that the pillar was carved by an apprentice of the master mason, who became jealous when he saw how good a job the apprentice did. The master mason had decided that the necessary pillar would be too difficult to carve and left for Italy to study with other masons. Meanwhile, the apprentice took it upon himself to carve the pillar, thus outstripping the work of his master. The mason's way of dealing with this jealousy was to kill the apprentice with a mallet. The wounded head of the apprentice was then carved into one capital of the pillar, and his weeping mother was carved into another.
It has been pointed out that this story echos that of the Masonic Hiram Abif the Widow's Son, master mason of Solomon's Temple, who was murdered by the three jealous masons. It has been supposed that the Knights Templar, once disbanded, fled to Scotland, which didn't care much for the Roman Catholic Church, as Robert the Bruce had already been excommunicated. It is thought that the Templars became the Freemasons, founding Scottish Rite Freemasonsry, and that they worshipped at Rosslyn.
Which brings me to the other odd legend about the apprentice pillar--that there is hidden in its hollow center the Holy Grail. Now, it'd be very easy to put this to rest and use a metal detector or some other form of sonar or whatnot and see if there is anything embedded in the pillar, but from what I've heard, the owner of the church--presumably Peter St. Clair-Erskine, the 7th Earl of Rosslyn--won't let them.
I also heard another legend which said that the apprentice was placed inside the pillar, which the master mason took apart and put back together again with the apprentice inside. Again, there haven't (to my knowledge) been any tests to see if there are any remains to be found within the pillar.
Back to "A" | Back to JCE
Mary Jones © 2009