Some people are well aware
of the idea that Leif Erickson, long before Columbus, visited New
England. Some historians even suspect that the Portuguese were
aware of our coast but kept it a secret. Evidence had been
found to support each of these theories but there are those who
still disagree. The strangest band of men many believed to
have crossed the Atlantic to visit our shores is the Templar
Knights. Though many find this difficult to believe, Westford
Massachusetts may have evidence written in stone to support it.
The Templars were a band of 9 knights, including Saint Clair, who
were organized to protect the Holy Land and those who journeyed to
Jerusalem. In 1370,
King Philippe believed that the Templar Knights were disloyal to god
and the king and began the great Inquisition to prove his point.
According to the history books, some of the Knights fled to Scotland
taking all of the treasures and holy icons with them.
Some time was spent there helping the Scots while trying to
stay unnoticed. In their adventures they meet and teamed up
with a crew of Venetians led by Sir Nicolo Zeno, a famous navigator.
Twenty-eight years later, Marco Barbaro wrote of Zeno's adventures
and a narrative was published in 1558. The Zeno Narrative
claims that Henry Sinclair led an exploration party to the western
Atlantic to find the Promised Land. Some think this may be
Nova Scotia (New Scotland). The narrative also mentions of a
conflict with an enemy that fought with bows and arrows. It
goes on to say that some of these
men were spared when they began to teach these people their advance
fishing skills. It is believed that the narrative was speaking
of a visit to New England. Indian legends seem to support this.
According to the Algonquians, bearded men in 4 canoes with white
wings came to their shores. Since the Indians could not
grow beards these men were considered evil so they attacked them.
One of the men that was captured, began to teach the natives how to
fish with nets and his life was spared.
A more convincing discovery took place in 1954. Dr. T. C.
Lethbridge, of Cambridge England, believed that there had been
many voyages from Europe to America far before Leif Erickson.
Frank Glynn, an amateur archeologist from Clinton, Connecticut took
an interest in some of Dr. Lethbridges works. Soon Glynn
became pen pals with Dr. Lethbridge and sent him many local
publications on the subject. One of these books was 'Greater
Ireland in America' by W. G. Goodman. Inside was a drawing of
an image found on a ledge in Massachusetts. Goodman
interpreted it as a represention of an 11th century Norse
sword. Seeing this image, Dr. Lethbridge immediately concluded
that Goodman was wrong and it actually was a pommel sword from
Medieval Europe. He wrote to Gylnn and encouraged him to
locate this rock. He believed that if Glynn cleared away more
dirt that he would discover an image of a 14th century Knight.
After 2 years of searching Glynn found the image on a bedrock in
Westford Massachusetts. The locals had always assumed that it
was a drawing made by the Indians. When the dirt was clear
Glynn was surprised to find a life size image of a Knight with sword
and shield. On the shield was a coat-of-arms later
identified as that of the Gunn family. Sir James Gunn was a good
friend and lieutenant of Henry Sinclair.
The Knight was not the only
carving to be discover in Westford. Discovered a few miles
away was a rock with an image of a one-masted ship along with an
arrow and the number 184. It was suggested that image had been
created using the same style and method as was the Knight. The
ship was the same type used in the 14th century. Dr.
Lethbridge suggested that the arrow and number pertained to the
direction and distance to the knight's headquarters. In 1966
Glynn located a stone enclosure and former spring 184 paces from the
stone. Unfortunately, before he could excavate the area,
a developer destroyed the structure.
Though there are many experts who believe that the engraving is not
a knight and dismiss the ideas drawn from the Zeno narrative, there
are those, local and abroad, who embrace these beliefs with great
enthusiasm. Descendants of the Sinclairs and Gunns proudly
boast of these western adventures of their ancestor. Templar
enthusiasts also believe that Sinclair may have not only visited
America but also transported the holy treasures to Nova Scotia or
Massachusetts for safe keeping.
There are many archeological mysteries scattered across New England.
Though there isn't any that could definitively prove that knights
from the 14th century visited our shore, they do open the idea of
early visitor from Europe. Whether these travelers were
adventurers searching for the promised land or just lost sailors
washed onto a foreign shore we may never know.