The world’s oldest Rosicrucian Temple in St Mary’s
11 February 2010
"In an echo of the themes in Dan Brown's blockbuster book and film, The Da Vinci Code ... Fulke Greville's monument in St Mary's, Warwick, is suddenly causing such a stir ... Again we are drawn to this astonishing monument. There is also a strong body of evidence to suggest that Fulke was a leading Rosicrucian - a member of an esoteric society of mystics whose symbol is a cross of roses. Many tens of thousands of Masons hold the sincere belief that Fulke was the first Grand Master of the Rosicrucian order - and a sword placed on the monument appears to bear its Rose Cross symbol."
13 AUG 2009
"In an echo of the million-selling book, The Da Vinci Code, the search was triggered by historian AWL Saunders who says there are clues in Greville’s writings which suggest he’d stashed a number of drafts there ... If experts are proved right it would send shockwaves through the literary world and help save the 12th-century establishment from bankruptcy ... The Alcester-born courtier is himself buried in the crypt below the monument."
The nine-hundred year old Collegiate Church of St. Mary’s, Warwick, is the only Christian church in the world which contains a Rosicrucian temple (most unusually aligned North/South). It was built in 1618 by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Fulke Greville (later Lord Brooke 1554-1628).
To build it Greville took over the entire Chapter House. The Temple has its own gated entrance and on entering one is met with two pillars with obelisks above them.
Leading experts have identified the Chapter House and its monument as some sort of ‘temple’, probably Rosicrucian. In Professor Joscelyn Godwin’s opinion: ‘it is obviously a symbolic construction of proto-Masonic and probably Rosicrucian inspiration … This is part of the history of the Church, both the physical church of St. Mary’s and the Anglican Church itself’.
St. Mary’s also has the extraordinary distinction of being, the only Christian church in the world which contains both a Masonic pulpit and a Masonic Temple, built by a man widely believed to have been the first English grand master of the Rosicrucians. The pulpit is heavily carved with many Masonic symbols and a carved dedication:
To the Glory of the Great Architect of the Universe
The Rosicrucian rose and rose-vine on "Christian's Sword"
St. Mary’s Church, Warwick,
The Freemason's"Mother Church"
St. Mary’s Church, Warwick, is the "Mother Church" of all Freemasons worldwide. It is a Mecca for Freemasons and the strong links between them and the ancient church is commemorated by the pulpit which the Warwickshire Lodges presented to the church in 1897. The Masonic links with St. Mary’s Church go back to the early part of the 18th century. In 1728, a Masonic lodge was constituted in Warwick and the first Master was the Reverend Greenwood, the Vicar of the Church.
Warwickshire Freemasons have a fine reputation in the County for their stalwart charitable works (all self funded). They have a long history of processing through the streets of Warwick to St. Mary’s wearing full regalia. They march in procession to the Church from Alderson House in the High Street.
Fulke Greville's Rosicrucian Temple, completed in 1618, has also attracted interest from readers of The Da Vinci Code.
On the 14th of June 2009, in St. Mary’s Church, the Revd. Vaughn Roberts (not a Freemason) preached a special sermon to the assembled Freemasons of Warwickshire. In his sermon Revd. Roberts acknowledged the Freemasons' ‘long associations with this church’, and he told the congregation:
‘As Vicar of St Mary’s, naturally I’m interested in an organisation that has long associations with this church, associations which include the fact that in 1728 a lodge was formed in Warwick and the then Vicar of St Mary's, the Revd Greenwood, was master and that the pulpit from which I’m speaking was given to the church by the Freemasons of Warwickshire’.
However, Revd. Roberts had no choice but to mention the sudden "outing" of St Mary's, Warwick, as the "Mother Church" of the Freemasons and the sudden fame of a four hundred year old Rosicrucian Temple INSIDE his church (see "In the Press"') and he described the problems this was causing:
"Fulke Greville's monument ... such things are never straightforward because novels such as The Da Vinci Code have transformed how many people perceive the nature of the Church".
His reference to The Da Vinci Code was prompted by press interest in Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke’s, Rosicrucian Temple, built in 1618 in the Chapter House of St. Mary’s.
The architectural historian, architect, and author, Professor James Stevens-Curl, described by the Daily Mail as ‘our nation's leading expert on this period of British architecture’, has written that Greville’s monument: ‘may represent a Temple, a reference to the Temple of Solomon’ or ‘it may incorporate other ideas from esoteric movements on the Continent, not least Rosicrucianism’.
In Professor Stevens-Curl’s Opinion: ‘There can be no other explanation for the sheer grandeur of the monument other than that there is something very special there. What is absolutely certain is that the size, cost and magnificence of the monument are intended to speak to us. There are plenty of clues about what it might be, and they suggest this is an incredibly exciting find’.
It seems fitting that the Rosicrucians and the Freemasons should share a common church in St. Mary’s, Warwick, because the Rosicrucians have long claimed to have been a source of Modern Freemasonry and in the 18th century, ‘many Freemasons became Rosicrucians and Rosicrucianism was established in many lodges’. Wikipedia.
St. Mary’s is an historic landmark and tourist attraction and people have worshipped on this site for over 900 years.
It is one of the largest and most interesting churches in Britain and the Beauchamp Chantry is recognised as the finest medieval chapel in England.
Taken all together it can be said that St Mary’s Church, Warwick, is a very fascinating religious building; unique in all the world - three churches in one.
Well worth a visit.
Boaz and Jachin
The entrance to Fulke Greville's "Temple" in St Mary's Church, Warwick.
Fulke Greville's Rosicrucian "Temple" in St Mary's Church, Warwick.
Heavily carved Freemason's Pulpit St Mary's Church, Warwick.
"To the Glory of the
Great Architect of
Fulke Greville, 1st Lord Brooke's late 15th century Robe Sword, believed to have once been the property of Christian Rosenkreuz, d. 1484. and which lay (1628-1971), on the sarcophagus of Fulke's monument in his temple in the Chapter House of St Mary's Church, Warwick .
The sword is presently kept at Warwick Castle the subject of a long-running court case: Rene Greville v Merlin Entertainments Limited.
The Rosicrucian roses and vines on Fulke Greville's "Christian's Sword", which was previously known as "Solomon's Sword", and described in church records as "an early 17th century robe-sword".
It is now believed that the sword was made before 1484, and thankfully, in a world of "iffy" provenances and attributions, the matter can be resolved for good through state-of-the-art metallurgical tests which can show:
(i) when and where the metal/s was mined;
(ii) where it was smelted;
(iii) when it was forged.
The Claimant in Greville v Merlin will seek an Order from the court for the testing of the sword, through the good auspices of the Warwick Museum, the University of Warwick and the Victoria and Albert Museum.