Writer Lays Welsh Claim to the Origins of the Holy Grail Mystery; Academic Says Our Links to the Relic Are Stronger Than Scotland's

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), July 12, 2008 | Go to article overview

Writer Lays Welsh Claim to the Origins of the Holy Grail Mystery; Academic Says Our Links to the Relic Are Stronger Than Scotland's


Byline: Robin Turner

THE allure of the Holy Grail has fascinated writers and ensnared knights for more than 1,000 years.

From Malory to Monty Python, the eternal chalice-said to be the very cup from which Jesus drank at the last supper - has become enshrined as one of popular culture's most spiritual icons.

But while Scotland has been given the credit for being the Grail's final resting place - thanks largely to Dan Brown's hugely-successful novel The Da Vinci Code - a new book by a Welsh academic says Wales' claim to the relic is stronger.

Since The Da Vinci Code was published in 2003 it has sold more than 60 million copies and been made into a blockbuster movie.

It has also led to hundreds of thousands of visitors making a pilgrimage to Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh, which the book claims is the Grail's final resting place.

But Grail expert Dr Juliette Wood of Cardiff University, a New York-born Welsh convert, said theories linking the Grail to Scotland were relatively new.

"Wales' associations with the Grail stretch back to the 14th century," she said.

Dr Wood, who specialises in Welsh folklore and Celtic literature, dismisses Brown's assertion that the Grail was discovered by the Knights Templar who buried it beneath one of the pillars of Rosslyn Chapel.

"Stories in the past century have tended to romanticise the Knights Templar as some kind of special forces of Christianity but in reality they were simple soldiers, admittedly brave, but ultimately they followed orders," Said Dr Wood, who is also secretary of the Folklore Society in London.

"Dan Brown's book has certainly revived interest in the Grail but when it talks about masonic involvement and the Knights Templar, it goes too far.

"The story about Rosslyn Chapel's links with the Grail is only about 20 years old.

"Wales' link is much stronger. Wales has Arthurian romances which refer to the Grail, but Scotland doesn't have that. There are an umber of Holy Grail romances written in Scotland but there has not been anything found in Gaelic."

Dr Wood said possibly the strongest association Wales had with the Grail came from the story of Peredur the Son of Evrawc, which appears in the Mabinogion. …

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