"I have held up a light in the obscurity of Philosophy, which will be seen centuries after I am dead. It will be seen amidst the erection of Tombs, Theatres, Foundations, Temples, Orders and Fraternities for nobility and obedience — the establishment of good laws as an example to the World. For I am not raising a Capitol or Pyramid to the Pride of men, but laying a foundation in the human understanding for a holy Temple after he model of the World. For my memory I leave it to Men's charitable speeches, to foreign Nations and the next Ages, and to my own Country after some Time has elapsed." -- Francis Bacon, Advancement of Learning (1605), Bk II.

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Join me to explore the hidden tenets of arranged alignments of architecture and art. Structures as diverse as the Great Pyramid, Baalbek, The Tower of the Winds, Hagia Sopia, Basilica San Vitale, The Dome of the Rock, St. Peter's Square, Gisors, The Newport Tower, Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest, and the Georgia Guidestones all may have a common origin.

Three reproductions of the Tower of the Winds in England help to display how this age old value is viewed through time. Along the way many legends and myths associated with the Holy Grail and other relics are examined.

Treasure myths such as the Oak Island Legend and The Beale Treasure Legend may have a common origin and hidden meaning. The tale of The Bruton Parish Church Vault (a.k.a. "Bacon's Vault) may also be a copy of an already existent mystery at Stirling Castle.


The Strange Tale of the Heart of Robert the Bruce and Avenel House in Bedford Virgnia.

The Strange Tale of the Heart of Robert the Bruce. 2/15/2020

A small leaden casket said to contain the Heart of Robert the Bruce as recovered at Melrose Abbey.
When examining history sometimes even the standard story may suggest some hidden or misunderstood aspects of the tale at hand. The story of the heart of famous Scots King Robert the Bruce may include some mysterious overtones that could help to unfold a spectacular story. The saga surrounding the Heart of the Bruce is spectacular in many ways yet there are some inconsistencies that may suggest an even more interesting story that has yet to be told.

Robert the Bruce passed from what is now thought to have been a form of leprosy on June, 7 1329. As was the custom of many monarchs including Holy Roman Emperors different parts of Bruce’s remains were interred in different locations. The King’s viscera or organs were interred at the Saint Serf Abbey near Cardross where the king had passed. The main portion of his body was embalmed and interred in a tomb at the famous Dunfermine Abbey that had been built by the Seton family of Scotland.

Of course. the most well know aspect of the death of the great King includes the story of what happened to his embalmed or preserved heart after his death. Most sources agree that his good friend Sir James Douglas had the heart removed and preserved in a small metal casket which he sometimes wore on a chain around his neck. Douglas was a close friend and military fellow of the Kings and undoubtedly Douglas had a great amount of respect for the King.

One of the last requests of Robert the Bruce was that his heart be taken to the Holy Land in battle against the Moors or Muslims that occupied that region when he passed. His death came in the era just after the Crusades and famous exploits of the Knights Templar and other orders that had fought in the Holy Land. As the saga of Bruce’s heart unfolds there are many different versions of what happened when James Douglas, Simon Locard, John St. Claire, and William St. Claire, William de Keith, and Kenneth Moir set out with a band of followers to fulfill the kings last wish.

Many versions of this story also include the fact that these men were supposed to also take the Bruce’s heart to the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. During the era in question this wish may have been hard to fulfill for political reasons. The Muslims now controlled Jerusalem and today it is not clear if a band of Scottish Knights would have been welcome there. This is where the story then leads to Spain.

Many accounts of the travels of Douglas and company include them visiting the sepulcher of St. James or Santiago in Santiagod de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. James Douglas was even named for Santiago after his uncle who had also been named for St. James. During periods when the Holy Land including Jerusalem was not accessible to pilgrims many Scottish and other pilgrims would visit Santiago de Compostela which had been a place of pilgrimage for Christians since the ninth century. In fact there are scant suggestions that James Douglas was a member of what was called the “Order of the Tomb.” This may indicate he was a Knight of Santiago or possibly of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher.

Both orders had maintained close ties with the Latin Church after the time the Knights Templar had been disbanded for example. Many Scottish Pilgrims would first sail to the Galician port of A Coruna and then make their way to Santiago de Compostela. Coincidentally A Coruna was also said to have been the home of the legendary Queen Scota prior to her making her way to Scotland. In this way there is a strong link between Santiago de Compostela and the land of Scotland.

It is also interesting that Sir William Sinclair and Sir John Sinclair of Rosslyn were both included on this mission. There are equally scant references that suggest the later builder of Rosslyn Chapel the later William Sinclair was also a Knight of Santiago. Given this value of St. James and his sepulcher it is no surprise that many narratives of the Heart of the Bruce include this band of warriors visiting Santiago de Compostela instead of Jerusalem at that time. This period of history in Spain also afforded these men the possibility of taking Bruce’s heart into battle against the Moors as per the King’s wishes.

It is this part of the story that is difficult to interpret as surprisingly there is very little information about what actually happened. Eventually our band of Knights led by Sir James Douglas were slain in the Battle of Teba in central Spain. At this time it is said that Douglas threw the “braveheart” into the advancing column of Moors where he and his companions eventually met an untimely death. The only survivor was said to be Sir Simon Locard (Lochheart) who in turn was said to have prepared these men’s remains for return to Scotland after the battle. It is also said that the Moors returned the heart of Robert the Bruce to Locard at that time and had also expressed regret for slaying the men whom they would have usually kept for ransom. 

Later in history William Sinclair and Douglas’ graves were exhumed resulting in nothing being found there. No remains were recovered at that time. This may not be unusual for a grave that old yet it is odd that no trace of their remains was noted. There is a memorial stone to William Sinclair at Rosslyn Chapel as well that many people mistake for his grave.

After this time folklore and legends stated that the Heart of Robert the Bruce was then interred at Melrose Abbey near the altar of the Church there. This was the standard story of the Heart of the Bruce until 1921 when an leaden casket was found by archaeologists on the grounds of Melrose. Again this part of the story is ripe with inconsistencies as some versions have the heart being found near the main altar and others stating it was found in the Chapter House where the heart was subsequently re-interred after its discovery at that time. It would have been somewhat unusual for his heart to have originally been buried in the Chapter House as this location was commonly reserved for the remains of those that had been monks at the Abbey.

There are records of other hearts and remains being interred in the Chapter House of Melrose Abbey. Among them was a forebear of the Seton family a man named Robert Avenel de Saye. The moniker de Saye would eventually give us the famous Seton family of Scotland who had built Dunfermine Abbey where the body of Robert the Bruce had been buried. Though he was a wealthy member of the nobility in the 12th century Avenel had become a monk at Melrose for the last few years of his life resulting in his heart and remains being interred in the Chapter House of the Abbey.

Is it possible the heart found at Melrose was that of Robert Avenel and not that of Robert the Bruce? Many different historians speculate that the heart found was possibly not that of the valued King Robert. So in the end we are faced with the fact that there is still a grey area as to the conclusion of this story. It is possible that the heart found was that of Robert Avenel instead?  

Why would this author guess that it was Robert Avenel’s heart as opposed to that of Robert the Bruce? As it turns out one of the most famous and accomplished antiquarians of Scotland may have left us all a “clewe” as to the truth of this story over one hundred years prior to any archaeologist finding a heart reliquary at Melrose Abbey.

In his book “The Monastery” first published in 1821 Sir Walter Scott may have been dropping some clues as to his thoughts about what had happened to the Heart of Robert the Bruce. Though a fictional tale the main story in “The Monastery” involves the Avenel family as the main characters in his book. The book also includes a strange preamble termed an “epistle introduction that may indeed give the entire story away and suggests the heart of the Bruce was taken to far off lands during a period of history in which others may have appreciated him and his legacy more than the people who now ruled Scotland. 

In turn this story may also link to another specific character in Scott’s work of fiction that literary historians have connected to the image of none other than Thomas Jefferson third President of the United States of America. It is also suggested that the Declaration of Arboath had influenced Jefferson in his penning of the Declaration of Independence.

How had Sir Walter Scott predicted all this one hundred years prior to the discovery of what is said to be the Heart of the Bruce at Melrose Abbey. In the following story it is obvious that Sir Walter Scott was also very aware of who Robert Avenel was.

Avenel House and Wilton House; The Key to Heart of the Bruce and other lost treasures?

The famous Beale Treasure in Virginia uses ciphers to tell you things about where the Treasure was hidden, how it was hidden, and people who were supposed to have received part of the treasure once recovered. The only cipher that has been broken to date is the one that uses the Declaration of Independence to break the code. Each letter of each word of the Declaration is broken down to a corresponding number in order starting at the beginning of the Document. The deciphered part of the Beale Papers includes a description of the treasure vault and what is in it. There are still two other keys to the two additional ciphers which have not been solved to date. The remaining two comprise information that gives you the location of the treasure with a third giving one the names of the people that the treasure belongs to. This suggests that there are still two remaining sources of documents or literature that may be used to decipher the last two components of the mystery. 

Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. It is possible that his involvement along with the famous document he penned are also associated with the Bruton Vault in Williamsburg sometimes referred to as “Bacon’s Vault.” This may also infer that President Jefferson may have been involved in supplying us with the Beale Ciphers even though he only lived for a short span of time involved in the chronology of the Beale Treasure story. He was still alive in 1820 when the original story of how and where the Beale Treasure was found as related in the deciphered first cipher that used his writing the Declaration of Independence to interpret. This could be a hint that he was involved in the creation of this entire story. Thomas Jefferson was an adept of creating codes and even had a device similar to the cryptex similar to the one seen in the movie “The Da Vinci Code” that is part of the plot of the Book and Movie. Jefferson was also an accomplished land surveyor and cartographer. 

It may be that two other pieces of literature that decipher the remaining two coded portions of the Beale Ciphers could be decoded using works that the President appreciated or in which he himself was referred to in metaphor. There are two distinct pieces of literature which seem to refer to President Jefferson as characters in fictional stories. Both are by very famous authors. This may also represent a similar phenomenon with regard to how Philip Sidney’s literary work “Arcadia” contains both the last words of King Charles I and another passage that is very similar to the original folklore of Oak Island which describes the Money Pit. All of these lost treasures may be associated with works of fiction or documents like the Declaration of Independence that will lead one to the treasure vaults that all of these legends include. In turn many of these vault legends have Enochian overtones that are still appreciated by Freemason’s and members of other similar groups to this day. 

In my studies, I have described in depth how I believe Monticello and Poplar Forest were designed in part as what may be described as “Personal Meridians” that were valued by the President. Both of his octagonal estates had sundials of his own design associated. Jefferson had personally corresponded with Dominique Cassini as to how to create Meridians to help establish time and spatial attributes to the United States that could be compared to ones already established in Europe. This would be needed to accurately spatially and temporally compare places in the United States to those of the rest of the globe. Dominique Cassini was of course part of the same Cassini family that had created the Paris Meridian and had also produced a very early and accurate map of France. The Cassini’s may be associated by many with landscape mysteries in France such as the famous Rennes le Chateau and Perillos lost treasure myths. Many researchers speculate that the famous Knights Templar had used a system of prime meridians that they had created associated with major ports at which their ships were based. It may be that the Knights Templar had used such as system somewhat in the same way a pirate’s map leads one to treasure in fictional stories. Thus far the stories we have seen involving Oak Island and the Newport tower utilized all the same concepts in the manner in which they were analyzed here.

What Jefferson is displaying is a concept that goes all the way back to Heliopolis Egypt but was also appreciated as being part of the Greek cultural sphere. The Greek association infers that the Tower of the Winds of Athens was the inspiration for the design of Poplar Forest, Monticello, and Barboursville Mansion also designed by the President. Jefferson was likely also exposed to this concept in the form of the Powder Magazine in Williamsburg which is also a copy of the Tower of the Winds of Athens. Coupled with this value Jefferson was also aware of the use of Star Castle and the Newport Tower and their true meaning as relating to Sidney’s “Arcadia.”

The Tower of the Winds was used by the Greeks to fix time and their position on the globe. Many copies of the Tower of the Winds were constructed on English estates of Jefferson’s era that conform to exactly the same tradition that he was displaying in the plans of the structures he designed including the Rotunda at the University of Virginia. This includes Tower of the Winds reproductions at Shugborough Hall and the West Wycombe Estate of Sir Francis Dashwood who was a friend of Benjamin Franklin. The Shepherds Monument of Shugborough Hall is what led this author to the assumption that Philip Sidney’s “Arcadia” was referring to Oak Island and the Newport Tower. 

In short Jefferson valued the directions his octagons pointed to on the globe. This would have created what in Greek terms is known of as a “Templum” or region controlled and defined by the position of the “Temple” which in turn defined the “Temporal Fabric” of the Cosmos from that point on earth. This is a tradition later valued by Astronomers who form a meridian from which to measure all angular associations they observe with regard to the Pole Star or the North Pole of the earth. In a remote way this could also be representative of Templars creating Temples that defined Templum defining in turn the Temporal fabric of time and space. Jefferson is showing us that an octagonal template must be used in association with Poplar Forest and Monticello and possibly Barboursville Mansion. 

Is it possible Jefferson had created a Templum using his octagonal home Poplar Forest as the Temple or place from which time and space is measured that may apply to the Beale Treasure? This may actually be true. Jefferson had attended William and Mary during the heyday of the Jacobite movement in the American colonies. Part of his education at William and Mary likely included the works of Sidney and Shakespeare. He undoubtedly was a huge fan of Sir Francis Bacon and may have known how Williamsburg was designed by earlier Virginia Governor Francis Nicholson as a “New Atlantis.”

As stated above Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and this was used to decipher one part of three of the Beale Ciphers. Jefferson also built Poplar Forest in the very region where the Beale Treasure was later said to have been hidden. An examination of the places that Poplar Forest “points to” on the globe may help us to expose the specific pieces of literature that may be used to decipher the other two unbroken codes that are part of the Beale Ciphers. Jefferson lived in a time when navigational technology would make his assumptions even relatively accurate using a modern tool like Google Earth. Sounds outrageous? Read on. 

The easterly trending azimuth or arc on the globe that is inferred by the plan view of Poplar Forest leads to the estate of one of Jefferson’s direct forebears from his mother’s Randolph family. On the James River between Williamsburg and Richmond, Virginia is the Wilton Estate of William Randolph II who was Jefferson’s grand uncle. William Randolph named his home Wilton House after the home in England of Philip Sidney and Mary Sidney Countess of Pembroke.

We have discussed Philip Sidney and his work “Arcadia” in relation to the Oak Island treasure story and Newport Tower earlier here. This is an amazing correlation that may even serve to link the two famous treasure stories together if only via complex metaphor and allegory. William Randolph II would not have named his home Wilton for no reason as his naming of his home in this manner displays a kind of not so hidden regard for Philip Sidney and his sister the Countess of Pembroke. Is it possible that William Randolph was aware of the hidden meanings of Sidney’s work entitled “Arcadia?” He may have valued it also because “Arcadia” contained the last words of Charles I. William Randolph lived in an era of Virginia History during which many exiled Cavaliers of Charles I such as Thomas Beale had come to Virginia. Is it possible that people in Virginia were aware of the truth of Oak Island as well?

William did live in colonial Virginia in an era just after Charles I was beheaded but prior to the discovery of the Money Pit on Oak Island by roughly one hundred years. It is interesting that he is showing a value of Philip and Mary Sidney in this manner. It does reflect the fact that he was appreciative of their literary accomplishments or was there more to it? We may be seeing Jefferson inferring this same association in how his home points to the estate of his forebear who had openly displayed what may be hidden knowledge with regard to the importance of Sidney’s “Arcadia.”

It is clear that the theme or notion of Arcadia was appreciated in Virginia but how does this then connect to any treasure? All’s we know so far is that Jefferson’s octagonal Poplar Forest points an arc on the globe to Wilton Plantation. Still this reference to Wilton House in England owned by the Countess of Pembroke and home to Philip Sidney is interesting. It is clear that Philip Sidney wrote “Arcadia” at Wilton House in England which coincidentally is not far from Stonehenge. Could all of this be chalked up to a period appreciation for the literary works of Philip Sidney or is there more to the story?

Is Jefferson telling us that we must use an unknown portion of Philip Sidney’s “Acadia” or other works as a cipher key in the Beale Treasure? If so this method would also match methods used later in history in the Civil War by a group known of as the Knights of the Golden Circle. Sidney was an accomplished author who did produce many other works of prose and poetry. It would be amazing if Sidney’s “Arcadia” was one of the Cipher Keys to the mystery in Virginia. Could Jefferson in addition to his appreciation of the Tower of the Winds also be referring to the two aligned octagonal star shaped lodges present in the plot of Sidney’s “Arcadia?”

Interestingly a later member of the Sidney family whose name is spelled “Sydney” in Virginia and Nova Scotia may also be the source of the cipher key. Sydney Nova Scotia is named for Lord Sydney a distant descendant of the same Sidney family. In fact Harry Lee accused Thomas Jefferson of plagiarizing portions of a work by a man named Algernon Sydney to write the Declaration of Independence! Algernon Sidney as his name was originally spelled was a great writer similar to John Locke who espoused personal freedom and constitutional forms of government that had inspired Jefferson. Along with Locke Sir Francis Bacon was one of Jefferson’s three most admired people. Algernon was the grandnephew of Philip Sidney himself!

Hampden-Sidney College in Virginia is in part named for Algernon Sydney. These associations may also supply us with a dynamic that suggests something Algernon Sydney had written could also be used as a cipher key. The fact that Jefferson may have used ideas developed by Algernon Sidney in relation to the Declaration may lead any searcher in this direction. Algernon Sidney is also somewhat of a martyr to freedom in that in the end his beliefs led to him being beheaded. None of this would be exposed without the directional qualities of Poplar Forest’s octagonal form.

Could it be true that Philip Sidney’s grandnephew had written one of the cipher keys for the Beale Treasure after Philip himself had written his work “Acadia” that seems to apply to the Oak Island Treasure? Jefferson or the designer of the Beale Ciphers may have also used this a ploy that relates both to “Arcadia” and the Declaration of Independence as related to two members of the Sidney family. As Jefferson may have believed he was of Welsh descent he may have also been aware that he was distantly related to the Sidney family. There are other documents that scholars point to as having influenced Jefferson that may come into play as part of this story.

For the sake of this argument let’s assume that Jefferson had oriented his home this way as a kind of clue to mysteries he knew existed such as the Bruton Vault legend in Williamsburg. He may have learned the secrets of the Powder Magazine and Bruton Vault as a student at William and Mary where he studied land surveying among many other subjects. We should not forget that Thomas Jefferson was alive for 29 years after the Oak Island Money Pit had been found and was known of far and wide. Again, we may be forced to ask ourselves why anyone would have done something like this. The answers may include hidden items or simply an allegorical way to lead the seeker to history that was neglected or not included in the standard narrative.

We should also note that it that Jefferson was fully aware of the fact that Continental Army General William Alexander had been awarded the titles of Baron of Nova Scotia and Earl of Stirling by the Scottish Peerage. Thomas Jefferson would have also been aware of the many colonists that had been given land and lived in Nova Scotia including John Allan a distant relative of Edgar Allan Poe who had actually plead with General Washington to invade Nova Scotia during the war. Edgar Allan Poe actually attended the University of Virginia when Jefferson was still alive. Poe had penned his story “The Gold Bug” which also seems to reference Jefferson as the character Le Grand in the story which also has some of the same overtones as the Oak Island treasure legend as well as the mystery of Rennes le Chateau. The real French architect LeGrand was said to have been one of the Presidents favorite archtitects and Jefferson had designed the rotunda or dome of Monticello using LeGrand as an inspiration.

Jefferson would later hold the title of Surveyor General of Albemarle County where Charlottesville and Monticello are located. So, concepts such as this would have been easy for the President to envision while difficult for much of the public at large to understand. That is still the case today with cartography and geodesy.

Many people will dismiss the notion that a structure like Poplar Forest infers the center of a map as they have never been taught how cartography and land surveying really work. These concepts themselves contribute to encoding any locations were things have been hidden similar to the classic notion of a pirate’s map. This author has encountered many people including treasure hunters and other people interested in the Beale and Bruton vaults that dismiss this notion out of hand because they are ignorant of how easy this really is to accomplish thus making this technique even more effective in keeping things like these treasures hidden. Still others believe that the Knights of the Golden Circle from the Civil War used this exact technique of employing octagonal templates to hide items of importance.

What is true is that in my studies I have found a string of cartographers and land surveyors involved in the background of many lost treasure stories. This would include Joseph Wallet des Barres of Nova Scotia who was one of the premier cartographers of his day and had produced a maritime pilot’s guide of all the ports on the East Coast entitled “Atlantic Neptune.” Joseph des Barres may have also been descendant of Knights Templar Grand Commander Everard des Barres. Joseph Wallet des Barres is responsible for naming Sydney, Nova Scotia in honor of Lord Sydney and he also designed the plan of that city we still see today.

Joseph Wallet des Barres is entombed within the Halifax Round Church that is a Palladian copy of the Temple Church of London. Prince Edward of the Royal family, father of Queen Victoria had been responsible for the construction of the Halifax Round Church. Prince Edward was of course from the Hanoverian German branch of the Stewart family. The legacy of des Barres will surface again later in this saga in a big way.

If it were true that Jefferson had known of the literary secrets of “Arcadia” what other directions on the globe may have he pointed his octagon to if he indeed had? Critically this would be difficult to do but part of what we may be seeing here is how other later people intentionally arranged things to occur on arcs or azimuths on the globe suggested by the orientation of Jefferson’s octagon at Poplar Forest. This would have represented people who had known of and valued what Jefferson had done in this scheme and had seen fit to add to it later. This may also be true of more ancient structures of this design. Building another temple or place of significance in relation to an older axis may be part of this tradition. It seems that in the case of Poplar Forest we may be seeing exactly that because the next association is completely amazing. Those that had arranged the Beale Treasure story may have indeed used Jefferson’s octagon at Poplar Forest to hide something!

In 1836 the son of Jefferson’s personal secretary named William M. Burwell built what is known of as Avenel House in Bedford Virginia. His father William A. Burwell had served as Jefferson’s secretary for a number of years and had developed a strong friendship and correspondence with the President that lasted the rest of Jefferson’s life. There are records of their correspondence that discussed some items which may be considered “National Treasures.” William M. Burwell the builder of Avenel house had also been friends with and had written about the life of Edgar Allan Poe. They met while both students at Jefferson’s University of Virginia when Jefferson was still alive.

Correspondence between Jefferson and William A. Burwell discussed among other things commemorative coins, medals and swords that were to be awarded to members of the Society of the Cincinnati which was comprised of French and American military officers from the Revolutionary War. These items had been designed by Pierre L’Enfant who had also designed the famous street plan of Washington D.C. William M. Burwell, William A. Burwell’s son had built Avenel House situated at a point on earth that is pointed in the exact opposite direction in which Jefferson had oriented his octagon of Poplar Forest to “point to” Wilton Plantation the home of his forebear William Randolph II. Avenel House of Bedford, Virginia is also smack-dab in the middle of the area where the Beale Treasure is supposed to be located. 

The possible inclusion of the Burwell family is interesting beyond the fact that William A. Burwell was President Jefferson’s personal secretary. The Burwell family had descended directly from the progeny of Nathaniel Bacon the elder who was the cousin of Nathaniel Bacon the famous colonial Rebel. The Burwell’s in fact also hold some very impressive family relations in England and Scotland that had taken part in the Crusades and had an impact on the political mores of the old country. They hold direct associations with the famous Lusignan family of France that includes as subdivisions the Rochefoucauld and de La Tour families that have been possibly associated with the history surrounding the Money Pit on Oak Island. Of interest is that the Burwell’s had also descended from the Avenel de Saye family of Scotland.

The Burwell family were part of the same Bacon family that Sir Francis Bacon had come from! Of course, Sir Francis Bacon never had any children but their association with his family at large may have been a point of pride to them and possibly had been valued by other colonists such as Thomas Jefferson. The early days of Virginia were still and era in which the works of Shakespeare and writings of Sir Francis Bacon were popular reading especially at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.

This is amazing in that Jefferson’s association in employing William A. Burwell would mark his employment of three members of the Bacon family of Virginia who worked directly for him. Two men named William and Edmund Bacon who were also descendant of Nathaniel Bacon the elder were employed in managing his Monticello estate for a long period of time. It is clear that Jefferson was a huge fan of Sir Francis Bacon and it would reason that he may have included this imagery or the imagery of Bacon’s Vault in Williamsburg into any kind of arranged mystery or treasure hunt he had played a hand in designing. We may be looking at a sort of mystery that had been added to by subsequent people who had been initiated into the truth of these legends and myths. 

As we will see Avenel is named from a specific piece of literature that even refers to the Heart of Robert the Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots, The Declaration of Arbroath, the Declaration of Independence, and the character of Thomas Jefferson himself. The location and name of Avenel House is also possibly supplying us with the third cipher key used in the Beale Ciphers!! So far it is possible that the work of Philip Sidney, Algernon Sidney, and now Sir Walter Scott could be two of the remaining cipher keys with regard to the Beale Treasure. As the story unfolds we will also examine the Burwell’s direct lineage including the de Saye Avenel family of Northumbria, the de Clare family of England and France, the Marshall family of Knights Templar William Marshall, in addition to the de Ros family.

1820 is the year the Beale Treasure was supposedly found in what is today Colorado. 1820 is also the year that famous Scottish author Sir Walter Scott had published his novel “The Monastery.” Within the pages of “The Monastery” is an amazing story that has many references to Mary Queen of Scots and Thomas Jefferson. The portion of the book referred to as the “epistle introduction” is a fictional part of the book that was included in an odd way. This portion of the book tells the story of what happened much later in history than the time frame in which the story takes place in the text of the book. This portion of the book tells the story of how an enigmatic figure termed “the monk” returns to Scotland after the Revolutionary War to recover what is termed a “treasure.” It is bizarre that Scott chose to include this strange “epistle introduction” in his book as the rest of the story does not really allude to what he is communicating. Or does it? There may be a hidden reason Scott chose to include this strange introduction to the entire story.

“The Monastery” also includes many direct references to Philip Sidney and his work “Astrophel and Stella.” In fact one of the characters in the book named Piercy Shafton seems to even be based on the character of Sidney. Shafton enters the story as an English Catholic exile who came to Scotland and becomes part of the story of “The White Lady of Avenel.” Sidney’s name is mentioned in the book several times.

The epistle introduction to Scott’s “The Monastery” includes a character Captain Clutterbuck that becomes kind of an expert on the ruins of an old Monastery where he lives. He is a well-educated man who is a military veteran. One day a man whom he refers to as both “the monk” and the “Benedictine” arrives in town and asks to be taken on a tour of the ruins of the monastery. Ultimately “the monk” is an allegory for Thomas Jefferson.

The epistle introduction seems to be temporally placed at a point in time after the American Revolution at a point in history when the Catholic Church was not welcome in Scotland. Most literary scholars agree that the monastery in question in the book is a metaphor for Melrose Abbey in Scotland. Sir Walter Scott is famous for his work that gives an impression of Scottish history in a positive way. Note that the temporal setting of the epistle introduction seems to be in the late eighteenth century just after the American Revolution while the main story of the book takes place in the era of Mary Queen of Scots in the sixteenth century.

As this portion of the story develops “the monk” makes it clear to the caretaker who is his tour guide that he is looking for a treasure that he knows is stashed in a specific spot in the ruins of the monastery. In his discussion with the caretaker he states that the item he is looking for may be valued more by people “who live along the Susquehanna and Potomac Rivers.” This is referring to the United States.

The Monk goes onto say that people in Scotland may not value this item as much as some people in America do. The Monk seems to know all of these details even though he states he has never been to the Monastery before. Here even at this early stage of the book we are being presented with a “treasure” in league with the imagery of “Avenel” possibly related to the Avenel House in Bedford, Virginia that had been built by a descendant of the de Saye Avenel family! None of this is told but if the reader cared to research the characters involved in this strange story many interesting connections become obvious.

The epistle introduction then goes on to describe a moonlit search of the Abbey resulting in the discovery of a leaden box that the Monk insists holds the heart of a historical figure valued in U.S. history. The owner of the heart is never named. This portion of the book even infers that the leaden box was found in association with a cornerstone of the altar of the Abbey. This is a reference to the heart of Robert the Bruce that was taken by Sir James Douglas to Spain and into the Battle of Teba where he and Sir William Sinclair lost their lives in combat with the Moors. Even given the history of the Heart of the Bruce at Melrose Sir Walter Scott never names Bruce as the source of the heart in question.

After the Battle of Teba the remains of Sir James Douglas and Sir William Sinclair were never seen again by anyone though they were said to have been returned to Scotland and buried along with the Heart of the Bruce. Excavations of both men’s graves revealed no remains being found at that time later in history. Later in history many people insist that a strange enameled lead casket found at Melrose Abbey contains the heart of Robert the Bruce King of Scotland. The casket in question was reinterred at Melrose along with a small memorial to Robert the Bruce after its rediscovery in 1996. It was rediscovered after having been found and then hidden again in a noted 1921 excavation by archaeologists at Melrose Abbey. Given the discovery of the heart no one is sure if  the one found was that of Robert the Bruce as there are records of other hearts being buried there in a similar manner.

The unfolding of this saga in “The Monastery” then includes the Monk even opening the box to prove to his host that it only contains the embalmed remains of a human heart. The Monk then leaves presumably to return to America. This story does indeed have some connections between the Declaration of Independence that even other literary scholars have written of even in comparison to Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence. This story also counters the later narrative of the leaden casket later being found at Melrose Abbey in reality.

Further along in this tale we may see that the embalmed heart in a leaden casket was actually that of a man named Robert Avenel. Robert Avenel is a real historical character whose descendant family are the main characters in Sir Walter Scott’s “The Monastery” being discussed here.

The achievements of Robert the Bruce among many includes the production of a document known of as the Declaration of Arbroath. The Declaration of Arbroath was composed by the Abbot of Arbroath also known of as Bernard of Kilwinning. Bernard of Kilwinning was used to write the Declaration of Arbroath in Latin as it was an appeal on the part of Robert the Bruce and all of the Scottish Earls for help in defending themselves against the intrusion of the English from the south who did not adhere to the Catholic faith at that time. Since Bernard of Kilwinning was adept at writing and speaking Latin he was chosen as scribe for the document.

The Declaration of Arbroath is also said to be one of the historical documents along with the work of Algernon Sidney and John Locke that had inspired Thomas Jefferson in his writing of the Declaration of Independence. Indeed, the Declaration of Arbroath is a statement of Scotland’s independence from England that also includes references to their origins in “Scythian Kings” and from “Queen Scota” who was from Egypt. The Declaration of Arbroath was signed and sealed by all of the Scottish Earls at that time including Earl of Clan Sutherland that my grandmother was a part of.  

There are literary analytical references that note the similarity of the Declaration of Arbroath to the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson. Some of these analyses even compare Jefferson to “the Monk” Bernard of Kilwinning. Both men had penned Declarations of Independence. This in turn infers that Sir Walter Scott was telling us something about American history, Thomas Jefferson, and the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson is “The Monk” from Sir Walter Scott’s “The Monastery.” The references to the “Susquehanna and Potomac rivers” also give this away as well. Eventually the son of Jefferson’s secretary William M. Burwell builds a house named for a family in Scott’s novel “The Monastery” that he is even related to or descendant of.

This is amazing in that Jefferson may have even thought himself descendant of one Thomas Randolph one of the right-hand men of Robert the Bruce himself along with Sir James Douglas and Sir William Sinclair who had perished at the battle of Teba while carrying the Heart of the Bruce into the Battle of Teba in Spain. There are also many curious things about the Battle of Teba and how Sir James Douglas, William Sinclair and others first visited Santiago de Compostela and the crypt of St. James prior the battle. Randolph was of course Jefferson’s Mother’s maiden name.

The name Avenel is a name that originates in the main text of Sir Walter Scott’s book “The Monastery.” Avenel Plantation and House in Bedford, Virginia is named for the “White Lady of Avenel” which is a ghost in Scott’s book. Coincidentally Avenel House in Bedford is today home to many ghost stories and suggestions of paranormal activity. It appears that William M. Burwell the son of Thomas Jefferson’s secretary was telling us secrets simply in the name he chose for his estate house.

The name “Avenel” inevitably leads one to Sir Walter Scott’s “The Monastery.” This may be the reason that Jefferson’s Poplar Forest “points to” Avenel House in Bedford. The entire story includes the origins of the Declaration of Independence that also serves as the only solved cipher key in the Beale Treasure story to date. It may be that William M. Burwell had situated the location of his house to reflect that fact that the opposite direction pointed to William Randolph II’s home Wilton whose name also includes the same hidden overtones and other links to people and writing that had also been associated with Jefferson’s inspiration in penning the Declaration of Independence. It is possible Mr. Burwell built his house at a specific point on earth in association with Poplar Forest. Was Sir Walter Scott attempting to relate the Declaration of Independence to Scottish culture?

It appears that President Jefferson had designed his summer home as a template in which the octagonal plan of the structure could indicate up to sixteen directions on the globe using the building as a center or Axis Mundi in the Greek tradition. It appears that the President may have oriented his home to point to Wilton Plantation of his ancestor William Randolph II. But is that the only “targets” that had been envisioned by the President himself? It does appear that the Burwell family may have arranged the position of Avenal House to fit into the templum or template defined by Poplar Forest but had Jefferson intended any other places in his scheme himself?

In fact Poplar Forest points the way to Wilton House and Avenel House in opposite directions creating a single arc on the globe that links all three places together via Jefferson’s home. If this is true then as this story unfolds it may be obvious that the Burwell family and their associates in the Beale and Lee families were also aware of what the President had done in building Poplar Forest.

One of the octagonal divisions of Poplar Forest points an arc on the globe to Jefferson’s other estate Monticello. As this arc on the globe continues it transects the northeastern United States and continues across the North Atlantic reaching Melrose Abbey in Scotland. Another grand coincidence. Melrose is of course the place featured in the Sir Walter Scott’s book “The Monastery” that includes the name Avenel as well as plot elements that seem to refer to Thomas Jefferson. It does appear also as if Jefferson had intended Poplar Forest and Monticello’s octagon’s to “point to” each other as Monticello also seems to “point back” to Poplar Forest. So the fact that Monticello and Melrose Abbey are included in Jefferson’s Templum as defined by Poplar Forest is simply amazing given what we have learned about how all of this may apply to the Beale Treasure. Thomas Jefferson was still alive when Sir Walter Scott published “The Monastery.” 

Is it possible that Jefferson is showing us along with his friends and family the Burwell’s that specific pieces of literature here being referred to may also be used as cipher keys to solve the Beale Ciphers? This could be true whether Jefferson or later people who were aware of what he had originally done had used this concept to hide something. The Knights of the Golden Circle of the Confederacy were known to use such techniques to hide things. This may also indicate that the same technique had been used earlier in history to do the same thing.

None of this really supplies a smoking gun saying Thomas Jefferson planned or even knew of a scheme to hide something in Central Virginia that was later defined as the “Beale Treasure.” What we do know is that the later Burwell family of William M. Burwell the son of the Presidents secretary had built Avenel House as a kind of homage to his heritage and possibly Jefferson at a time that indicates it could very well be either a clue or hiding place with regard to the Beale Treasure or the “treasure” that Sir Walter Scott had referred to. Who better to suspect of possibly having owned a collection of President Jefferson’s personal effects or papers than his own secretary? It is clear that William A. Burwell and Thomas Jefferson were also close friends in addition to Burwell’s duties as secretary. 

Given this information it is entirely possible that all of this has absolutely nothing to do with the Beale Treasure or Bruton Vault mysteries. Given the surrounding information and other clues it does seem that all of these “mysteries” used a similar template to manifest themselves. This tradition could be a form of memento mori that leads the seeker through a path of places and information that expose intimate details about Jefferson, the Burwell’s, Robert E. Lee and many other people subsequent researchers have associated with the Beale Treasure and Bruton Vault conundrums. William M. Burwell was also telling us about Scottish history by naming his house Avenel.

More research is ongoing to discern whether any of the literature or documents inferred by this possible geographic scheme are intended to have been used as cipher keys in solving the remaining unbroken ciphers in this story. Beale treasure researchers have always complained that almost anything could be the cipher key and many different documents and other books and writing have been tested to see if they work in tandem with the remaining codes associated. Here we may have real clues as to the which specific pieces of writing may be used to accomplish this. Barring that Avenel House itself could be a place of repository as it is now owned by the City of Bedford, Virginia and is maintained as a public building of historical note. Public meetings, weddings, and other events are held at Avenel House.

If true this entire scheme may narrow the field of possible cipher keys related to the Beale Treasure to works by Philip Sidney, Algernon Sidney, as well as Sir Walter Scott’s “The Monastery” or “The Abbot.” It may not also be out of the realm of possibility that the Declaration of Arbroath serves as one of the remaining cipher keys. And finally, it would be simply amazing if Philip Sidney’s “Arcadia” was the cipher key for the Beale Treasure. This would make two legendary treasures that had possibly been associated with the work of Philip Sidney. This association may also infer that the work of Algeron Sidney is where we are supposed to be looking as well. 

At this point we see that Jefferson and the Burwell’s were telling us about a specific work by Philip Sidney and another by Sir Walter Scott. This is being told to you in the names of these people’s homes. Whether something is hidden at Avenel House is one thing. Avenel exists in its original form where it was originally built. Amazingly Wilton House was disassembled and moved to Richmond Virginia where it still stands today as a museum. The original site of Wilton House is of course adjacent to the original Curles Neck Plantation of Nathaniel Bacon the Colonial Rebel and member of the same Bacon family that Sir Francis was related to.

What of Avenel House? It is clear that we are being told that this home is central to whatever “mystery” had been developed. Had the entire scheme been devised by the Burwell family or had President Jefferson himself been involved in planning all this? Had Edgar Allan Poe been involved? What if anything was hidden? Was something hidden there valued by “people along the Susquehanna and Potomac Rivers” in Scott’s words? Here we are starting to see some similarities between the famous Oak Island treasure and happenings in Virginia that indeed may have all been planned by the same people.

What is clear is that the Burwell family was also closely related to the Lee family of Virginia. Robert E. Lee even made a strange visit to Avenel House after the war. Some aspects of his visit also infer that he was attempting to keep this visit to Bedford, Virginia a secret. Included in Burwell’s correspondence with Jefferson is a plea to make sure that Lighthorse Harry Lee received his commemorative Society of the Cincinnati medallions and sword. The Lee’s were known to be proud members of the Society and after the Civil War they demanded and received their coveted Society of the Cincinnati dinnerware from Arlington after it was confiscated by the Federal Government after the war. 

In fact Robert E. Lee had built the hexagonal shaped Ft. Carroll in Baltimore Harbor during the 1850’s when he was still a part of the American Army. Lee was of course a West Point graduate that had learned engineering skills while attending that storied institution. The hexagonal form of Ft. Carroll may have been intended to function much in the way Poplar Forest’s octagon had as described above. The hexagon of Ft. Carroll may be used to infer an arc on the globe that extends to the southwest first to Lee’s Arlington estate near Washington D.C. Ft. Carroll points to Lee’s home! As this arc on the globe continues to the southwest it then “points to” Avenel House in Bedford Virginia which had been built by his direct kin the Burwell family. This may in part explain why Lee was known to have visited there several times after the Civil War. Or is there more to that story as well?

Interestingly there are also a few other interesting associations in what Lee may have accomplished by establishing Ft. Carroll in the tradition of the Axis Mundi. The opposite direction on the globe from Ft. Caroll to Avenel House extends to the northeast crossing the Atlantic Ocean to the site of Omaha Beach in Normandy. Omaha Beach was one of the deadliest landing sites of D-day during WWII. As this arc extends further across the globe it reaches the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem! The Temple Mount of course was the home to the Knights Templar and Knights of St. John during the early phases of the Crusades.

Amazingly Bedford, Virginia is home to the National D-day memorial. Several young men from Bedford Virginia lost their lives as part of the D-day invasion. So not only does Ft. Carroll point to Omaha Beach and the Dome of the rock in its northeasterly trending azimuth but in the opposite direction Ft. Carroll “points to” both Avenel House and the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford Virginia! Could this all be a coincidence or are we being told something in the architecture that Robert E. Lee, Thomas Jefferson, William Randolph II, and William M. Burwell had created?

It appears that the all may have been aware of the directional qualities of Jefferson’s Poplar Forest in turn indicating they were also aware of the tradition of ancient cartography utilizing a copy of the Tower of the Winds of Athens to create a temple that was the center of a templum of a kind of crude map projection. Remember that the Powder Magazine in Williamsburg appears to have been built in the same tradition and we do know Jefferson attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg Virginia where the Powder Magazine is located. 

 What may be revealed by Avenel House?

So far we may be able to discern that William M. Burwell had been exposed to these concepts via he and his father’s association with Thomas Jefferson. As the story continues to unfold it may be obvious that the Burwell’s were working in league with something the President had designed but had also encompassed some of their own amazing family history.

There are indications that Jefferson had been aware of the original version of the “Bruton Vault” treasure or mystery in Williamsburg. The original mystery may have been a kind of quest or initiation set up by any one of the secret clubs at the College of William and Mary. It was only later people like Marie Bauer Hall who suggested the New Age overtones of this concept. Jefferson may have chosen to extend this type of quest mystery in association with his octagonal country estate Poplar Forest. It may also be speculated that Burwell and Lee had known of this and had chosen to add to the templum of Poplar Forest with additions to the mystery of their own. Given the associations seen with Ft. Carroll it may even be that Lee had made his own axis and templum using its hexagonal plan.

Does Lee’s visits to Avenel House indicate more than him simply visiting his close kin there? It may be that Lee knew something was hidden in or near Avenel House that was of great symbolic or monetary value. Avenel House’s proximity the region that has traditionally been associated as the resting place of the Beale Treasure may come into play in this story. As we may discern Burwell and Lee had a similar pedigree and standing to that of Thomas Jefferson and that they had been taught all of these concepts as young men just as Jefferson had.

It is also clear that early twentieth century wife of Masonic Mystic Manly P. Hall, Marie Bauer Hall had made many mistakes in her original analysis of the Bruton Vault in Williamsburg in the 1930’s. Ms. Hall’s erroneous thoughts with regard to the Bruton Vault have left kind of a New Age pall of misinformation over the entire phenomenon in which acolytes of her ideas have even attempted at various times to dig up the Bruton Parish Churchyard in search of Bacon’s Vault.

Ms. Hall’s version of the story dictates that the vault contains a collection of Sir Francis Bacon’s papers they insist were brought to Jamestown originally by the famous Colonial Rebel Nathaniel Bacon (the younger). These types of faiths as associated with the character of Sir Francis Bacon also promote the fact that Bacon was an “Ascended Master” or a kind of Christ like figure that was worthy of their veneration. In the end the story of the Bruton Vault sometimes referred to as “Bacon’s Vault” is just a Rosicrucian tale meant to convey the fact that the missing remains of Nathaniel Bacon the Rebel had been secretly buried in the Bruton Parish Churchyard.

(Hint: If one wishes an easy solution to the mystery of “Bacon’s Vault” go sit on the south side of the Bruton Parish Church belltower and look at what you see just across the room from you to the north)

If one takes a practical and research based view of such things it is clear that Sir Francis Bacon was a champion of rational thought who would not consider any spiritual movements that did not include that point of view. It is clear that Thomas Jefferson viewed Bacon as a practical and rational individual whom he admired while still promoting ideas that urged people to reject all the fairytale like qualities of the world’s religions.

With this in mind it is easy to see the mistakes or misconceptions that led Ms. Hall astray in her analysis of the Bruton Vault. In fact Hall was given the straight information or clues about the vault from a mysterious Mr. Cunningham who did seem to have the correct approach to solving any historical mystery. Perhaps it was the Hall’s misconceptions about what they were being presented with that eventually led to Mr. Cunningham not having anything further to do with the Bruton Vault.

Amazingly we may be led to some startling similarities and even family connections between the Burwell, Lee, and Randolph families and the famous Oak Island Money Pit. This author’s analysis of Oak Island, The Bruton, Vault and Beale treasure did not include any thoughts as to these places being connected together somehow. As time went on similar names and associations began to manifest themselves including a value of Philip Sidney and Sir Walter Scott. In addition as we may see all of these sagas may reach back in time to tell us something about the Latin Kings of Jerusalem, Armenia, and Cyprus while at the same time associating the entire scheme of lost treasure sagas with the legendary Knights Templar of the age of the Crusades. There are also some strange correlations between a medieval piece of literature entitled “Amdis de Gaula.” Cervantes’ famous work “Don Quixote” is said to be a parody of “Amadis de Gaula.”

Many people have speculated that the Knights Templar had made their way to North America at a date during their original existence between the 12th and 14th centuries. Some speculate the order had continued past the early fourteenth century date of their dissolution at the hands of Pope Clement IV and Philip le Bel King of France These theories range from the possible to the idiotic in many ways. None of these ideas are backed up with enough rational information or sources to compel this author to believe any of them. Rather; Did the Knights Templar have the maritime technology or capability to have come to the East Coast of America? The answer to that question is of course yes but did they actually do this as evidence that may be considered legitimate is sorely lacking. Somewhere in this labyrinth of clues given in literature and family history may exist the key to the truth of this concept either true or false.

In many ways the theories that involve Templars could be true. In the mid nineteenth century many people believed Vikings had come to America in antiquity with nothing but the Norse Sagas to back up their beliefs. This in an era of history prior to the discovery of L’ Anse Aux Meadows Viking site in Newfoundland. Some people’s desire to detract from the so called accomplishments of Columbus unfortunately led them to concoct wild theories backed up by shaky evidence. Many times these anti Columbus arguments became lost in a maze of nationalistic and culturally specific ideas meant to bolster one countries accomplishments over another. A kind of silent war if you will.

Unfortunately, in 2019 many of these bizarre theories have again manifested themselves in relation to places like Oak Island where there is absolutely no evidence at all that the original Knights Templar were ever involved in anything there at all. That is to say much of what is being discovered here may indicate it is possible the Knights Templar or Latin Kings mounted an expedition to the New World but no evidence of this has surfaced as of yet.

It is clear that many of the existing stories such as that of Henry Sinclair having come to Nova Scotia were concocted for Nationalistic reasons having nothing to do with the truth. What is true and may be proven is the involvement of descendants of the original Knights Templar and Latin Kings in these odd treasure quests. In addition it is clear that the first encampment of Masonic Knights Templar in North America was held in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1784.

What may become obvious is that a sort of family tradition that descendants of original Knights Templar and Latin Kings had used this secret information and symbology to craft mysteries that only their initiates could have understood. This in an era long before modern scholarship and the internet both of which have made these mysteries easier to understand in their correct context. In other words, there is a great deal of evidence in several “man in the mountain” mysteries that suggest families or individuals that held a unique lineage similar to royalty had crafted these stories and in some cases, had attempted to change the standard cannon of history in the minds of the public to benefit themselves and the legacies of their families in the new land. This is especially evident in the epistle introduction of Sir Walter Scott’s “The Monastery.”

The original reason for Charlemagne using a technique of an intentionally contrived mystery may have had more to do with him assuring that subsequent Holy Roman Emperors that were his progeny fully understood what he had done and for them to emulate the template he had established. Along the way Charlemagne had left clues as to his influences that included similar activity on the part of specific Byzantine rulers who had also crafted octagonal structures as he had done in the form of Aachen Cathedral.

Later in more recent times we have seen a cadre of idealistic authors and pundits distort and profit from these ideas to the point it is difficult to change the mind of the public with regard to historical oddities such as Oak Island and its famous Money Pit. Here we may find some “clewes” left for us at places like Avenel House that may lead us to the truth. In the process, we may discover certain historical attributes and trends that may be applied to many different historical questions such as the true origins of the Newport Tower and fabled Kensington Rune.

In order to fully understand what is going on we will go back into to history to attempt to understand any family legacies that may be involved in these fabled treasure stories. The legacy or family relations of the Avenel family is very revealing. The Burwell family was related in antiquity to this specific group of families that included the de Saye Avenel family sometimes referred to as the Avenel family. This may suggest that Burwell’s naming of his home may have included the fact that he was aware that he was related to the Avenel family of old England and Normandy.

“Avenel, a surname scarcely known, except in the pages of romance. Like Umfraville, de orville, and others, it was once borne by high and powerful barons, whose descendants, if any now exist, have long ceased to be called by the name of their progenitors. Among the Anglo-Norman knights introduced into Scotland by David I, was Robert Avenel, who in reward of military services, received Upper and Lower Eskdale, and flourished during the reigns of Malcolm the IV and William the Lion of Scotland whose charters he witnessed………His later years were spent in the Abbey of Melrose, to which he granted a large portion of his estates, and where he died in 1185.” (https://www.electricscotland.com/history/nation/avenel.htm)

The above is very interesting in relation to what Sir Walter Scott wrote about “The White Lady of Avenel” in his book “The Monastery.” Of course, four members of the Avenel family are also characters in the book. Here we have Sir Walter Scott relating a story that many scholars insist is referring to Thomas Jefferson and the relationship between the Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of Arbroath of Robert the Bruce whose heart is apparently recovered in the book by a character that seems to be a metaphor for Thomas Jefferson! In the story and in reality, Scott is telling us that the Heart of Robert the Bruce had been hidden at Melrose Abbey years before any such thing was said to have been discovered in the remains of Melrose Abbey! Scott’s fiction had predicted reality in many ways all using the imagery of Avenel to tell this story. Of course as a premier antiquarian of the day Scott was likely privy to real history that stated Bruce’s heart had been buried at Melrose so long prior to its actual discovery.

Amazingly we see that even a U.S. Senate Bill was presented: “US Senate Resolution 155 of 10 November 1997 states that the Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of Independence [sic], was signed on 6 April 1320 and the American Declaration of Independence was modelled on that inspirational document.”

It appears that others have noted the similarities here that lend to an air of credibility to the theory about Avenel House being presented here also in tandem with the theme of Sir Walter Scott’s “The Monastery” which had been first published in 1820.


The fact that Robert the Bruce’s heart was buried at Melrose Abbey may have been known to Sir Walter Scott as part of a legend or myth that this was true. In reality in 1921 a heart in a conical lead casket was recovered from beneath the Chapter House floor of Melrose Abbey. At that time the casket was reburied where it had been found. The casket had been rediscovered in a 1996 excavation of the Chapter House by professional archaeologists. At that time, they noted that it was unusual for such a thing to have been recovered from the Chapter House as a high status person like Bruce and his heart would have been interred next to the altar of the Church.

Interestingly the scene in Scott’s “The Monastery” that has the character representative of Thomas Jefferson recovering the heart finds it next to the altar of the main church and not in the Chapter House. Is it possible that the conical casket found in 1921 held the heart of someone else like Robert Avenel for instance? Robert Avenel in his old age had entered the monastery as a brother and the burial of his heart in the Chapter House of the monastery may make more sense in this context.

Is it possible that the heart of Robert Avenel had been recovered and brought to Avenel House in Bedford Virginia by his descendants? Or possibly Sir James Douglas? Did Sir Walter Scott have some inside information as to the true location of this storied artifact long before it was discovered? Or was the heart discovered in the Chapter House of Melrose that of Avenel and we are being told it is the Heart of the Bruce? This would mean the Heart of Robert the Bruce is still missing…………

Either way it is amazing that Sir Walter knew of this over one hundred years prior to the casket’s discovery in the Chapter House of the Monastery. Some people speculate that the heart found in the Chapter House was not that of Robert the Bruce due to the location where it was found though many scholars accept that this was indeed the Heart of the Bruce that had been found. In allegory, the only doubts cast here are that Sir Walter Scott had told us in the same story where he deftly predicted the discovery of the heart that someone had come to Scotland and had recovered the heart and taken it back to the United States! “Along the Susquehanna and Potomac Rivers….”

Sir Walter Scott also refers to Philip Sidney several times in the book and the character of Sir Piercy Shafton may have even been meant as a metaphor for Philip Sidney as Shafton was a courtier of Queen Elizabeth who had fled in exile to Scotland in part due to his Catholic faith. Though Sidney was not Catholic that we know of the parallels are obvious. These references to Sidney are also of importance when we see how much William Randolph II had valued Sidney in naming his home “Wilton House.” Two subsequent members of the Randolph family were later named Philip Sidney Randolph and Algernon Sidney Randolph thus displaying their respect for the Sidney family and the concept of “Arcadia.” In the book it is also clear that Scott is poking fun at Sidney and the romantic lifestyle of the court of Elizabeth I compared to the culture of the Scottish Borders.

Here is yet another similarity between what Scott wrote in his book and the actual values of Thomas Jefferson via Philip Sidney and Sir Francis Bacon. Note that Sidney was directly descendant of what would become two important Virginia families in the form of the Wingfield and West families. The West’s are also known as the titled name of de La Waar of Lord de La Waar (West) an early important resident of Jamestown that was known for his exploration of what would become the great State of Delaware which is named for him. Given these relations it is possible that even the Randolph family, President Jefferson, and the Burwell family were somehow related to Philip Sidney.

How did Sir Walter Scott know all of this? Are we really being told that somehow that the Heart of the Bruce had been hidden somewhere in Virginia? At Avenel House perhaps? Had it actually been returned to Scotland or was the heart discovered at Melrose in 1921 that of someone else? Had the Heart of the Bruce been a real part of what the Bruton Vault was supposed to have been?  Or was this all simply a story meant to draw us to Avenel House for some reason having more to do with American history and Thomas Jefferson? There are many possibilities. Either way it is interesting and intriguing that Sir Walter Scott seems to have been aware of what was going on.

It is interesting again that a ghost story exists today at Avenel House that matches the story of the “White Lady of Avenel” ghost from Sir Walter Scott’s novel which involves members of the Avenel family. Then we find that in real history Robert Avenel became a monk at Melrose Abbey in his final years as many prominent Scottish men had done in that era. Incidentally the era of the Crusades, Latin Kingdoms, and the original Knights Templar. This also infers that it is possible Robert Avenel became a Knights Templar later in life as some other Scots nobles like William Marshal had done though there is no record of this being true.

There were family relations between the Avenel family of Scotland and some Knights Templar of note. Isabel Avenel for instance was married to Robert de Ros who was said to have been an actual Knights Templar. Of interest is the fact that Robert de Ros is also one of the Knights represented in effigy at the Temple Church of London that was built by the original Knights Templar. De Ros and other de Avenel and de Clare family relations also include the famous right-hand man of Robert the Bruce William Marshall who is the forebear of Thomas Jefferson’s cousin Chief Justice John Marshal of Virginia!

William Marshall was also represented in effigy at the Temple Church of London. Here we are seeing direct connections between original Knights Templar and the Avenel family also known of as the de Saye Avenel’s. If perhaps Jefferson’s Randolph family is the same as the Scottish Randolph’s we may see that Thomas Randolph still another close friend and ally of Robert the Bruce may be Thomas Jefferson’s forebear.

This study of the relations of the original Avenel family may also link us to some of the families that may have been involved in the Oak Island legend as well. Joan de Clare was the daughter of Gilbert de Clare the 7th Earl of Gloucester and his wife Alix Lusignan also known as Alice de Valence. She married Gervaise Avenel in 1299 thus linking to the Burwell family who held several family relations with the de Clare family as well as other powerful Norman and Scottish families. In reality the de Clare’s owned and lived in Burwell Castle in Burwell, Lincolnshire England for many generations.

Our cartographer Joseph Wallet des Barres of Nova Scotia discussed earlier had been the first person to name Oak Island. He dubbed it Gloucester Island as part of the maps he had produced for his famous pilot’s guide to east coast ports entitled “Atlantic Neptune.” Des Barres was related to third Knights Templar Grand Master Everard de Barres who in turn was directly related to the de Saye Avenel family as well as the very same de Clare family of Gilbert de Clare the 7th Earl of Gloucester. All of the people potentially involved here have direct links to the Knights Templar or Latin Kings of Jerusalem, Armenia, and Cyprus. Still further they also have extended family members that were part of the Latin Kingdoms that existed in Greece including the de La Roche family that included members of the Knights Templar. This in turn links us to the de La Tour and Rochefoucauld families who hold prominent places in Nova Scotia history.

Here we may also note the direct family relations between the Berkeley family of Virginia to this family group. There are at least three significant intermarriages between the Berkeley family of England who begat the Berkeley family of Virginia and the de Clare family of Gilbert de Clare the 7th Earl of Gloucester. The Berkeley’s family seat in Somerset is the Bruton Priory which was given to them after the dissolution of the monasteries in England.

In turn, it was Virginia Governor William Berkeley who had named the home of the Bruton Vault mystery or the Bruton Parish Church. Later Norborne Berkeley Lord Botetourt was also the governor of Virginia. Norborne owned a large estate in what is now Botetourt County Virginia that includes some of the region where the Beale Treasure is supposed to be hidden adjacent to Bedford Virginia where Avenel House is located. It is interesting that the armorial bearings of the Berkeley family include an array of ten Cross Pattee similar to that used by the Knights Templar. Note also that Lewis Burwell I and Lewis Burwell II were also crown governors of Virginia at various times.

The Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg is named for the Bruton Priory in England that was the estate of the Berkeley family. Historical records indicate that a Knights Templar infirmary for elderly members of the order was once located at the Bruton Priory. There are also the graves of several Knights Templar at the Bruton Priory in England. This may also make sense including the Berkeley family relations to the de Clare and Lusignan families. The Berkeley family does hold a direct relation to the fabled Knights Templar.

This fact and all the Knights Templar relations may be the real reason people seem to sense or want to believe the Knights Templar were involved in the history of Oak Island. What we may be seeing here is the real reason des Barres chose to name what would later be known of as Oak Island as “Gloucester Island.” Here we have a family group that includes the Burwell’s, Berkeley’s, Jefferson’s, Randolph’s, Marshall’s, de Clare’s, de Ros’, Avenel’s, Lusignan, Rochefoucauld, de La Tour and others whose descendants seem to be involved in some of these lost treasure legends. This value may have also contributed to the naming of Gloucester County Virginia where the Burwell family began their legacy in colonial Virginia. Was des Barre’s naming of Gloucester Island a clue that may indicate the era of the true origins of the Money Pit folklore or reality?

This connection between the Burwell, Avenel, and Lusignan family is very interesting when one considers the French involvement in the Oak Island Money Pit Story. As part of the development of French Acadia i.e. Nova Scotia the Rochefoucauld and de La Tour families seemed to have had some involvement via the d’Anville expedition of Jean Baptiste Rochefoucauld and the fact that Charles de La Tour was the first Acadian Governor who later switched sides and became a Baronet of Nova Scotia. Both the de La Tour and Rochefoucauld families are septs or associated to the Lusignan family via many direct family relations. This line of reasoning may dictate that it was no accident that Charles de La Tour and his father Claude became original Baronets of Nova Scotia as they were related to all the French and Scottish families mentioned in this history.

This in turn may link to our story in Virginia due to a direct descendant of Charles de La Tour, Louis de La Tour being present in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1885 the same year the Beale Ciphers or Papers were released to the public. Though Louis is documented as being present in the same town where this occurred there is no evidence to date he was involved beyond the inference that his family had a tradition of being involved in such things.

It may also be of value to note again that Thomas Jefferson had a close association and correspondence with two members of the Rochefoucauld family of France. While Minister to France Jefferson had attended a literary salon and other social gatherings with Louis Alexandre Rochfoucauld who had been the first to reproduce the Declaration of Independence in French. Jefferson would often attend literary salons with the elite of France along with Benjamin Franklin and the Marquis de Lafayette. A later descendant family member of Louis Alexandre, Fran├žois Rochefoucauld actually visited Jefferson at Monticello. The Rochefoucauld and de La Tour family names also surface in various aspects of a famous treasure story in France known of as Rennes le Chateau. The Marquis de Lafayette also holds close family relations to the Rochefoucauld family.

Here in the Piedmont region of Virginia where Bedford and Lynchburg are located we have members of two storied Scottish and French families whose members were Knights Templar or Latin Kings. The Lusignan family had been at various times the Latin Kings of Jerusalem, Armenia, and Cyprus. In turn, all of these same family names have surfaced in relation to the Bruton Vault, Beale Treasure, and Oak Island treasure stories. Is this a coincidence or could it really be that all these storied treasure legends are indeed one? Or had they all been perpetrated by the same family group using the “man in the mountain” legends of Charlemagne and the concept of the Axis Mundi as a way to conceal things that were important to them? Is this simply a memento mori or way of preserving the memory of fallen kings and Knights Templar that would have otherwise been forgotten? Or is there a real treasure afoot?

One thing is for sure. The curious are forced to learn all of this in order to understand it fully.

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