What did the priest find when he opened the tomb?

Now that we have got over the launch of “The Discovery of Franco´s Bankroll” I am returning to the story of what happened at Rennes-le-Chateau in the Languedoc region of France in 1891.

In my news of 5th April I described how the village priest found a small roll of parchment in the support pillar to the pulpit. The next day Saunière told his workmen to lift a large stone slab set in to the floor right in front of the altar. It was hard work but, when it was finally lifted they were fascinated to see the underside had carvings of two knights on horseback. The slab is now in the local museum and on public view. It is known as La Dalle des Chevaliers (The Knights Stone) and has given rise to much speculation about its meaning.

Even more interesting was the fact that the stone was found to have been covering a large tomb which contained the skeletons of several men. The theory is, because of its location, that this is La Tombe des Seigneurs, which is referred to elsewhere in local documents. It is assumed therefore that the baronial lords of the area were buried here.

However Saunière then climbed down into the tomb and searched around and emerged a few minutes later with a pot full to the brim with gold coins and jewels. After that discovery he sent his workers away and continued the exploration on his own, so nobody knows exactly what else he may have found. I will tell you in my next news what it is speculated he may have found.

Attached is the not very good photo I took of the inside of the church with the spectacular blue dome behind the altar, in front of which the tomb was located. There is nothing to see on the floor now because it has been tiled over.

I intend to continue weekly stories of the things I found out on my researches in the region for the Languedoc Trilogy. If you would like to have these emailed to you each week you can visit my website (mikehillier.com) and follow the instructions to leave your email address. In return I would like to give you a free ebook copy of “The Mafia Emblem” which can be read on iPads, laptops or smartphones.