News

What is in the secret room at Rennes-le-Chateau church?

The photo I attached to my news last week showed an odd little, quadrant-shaped secret room which had been tagged on to a corner of the church. Nobody seems to know when it was built or its purpose or how to get into it. The room is built against the main church wall on one side and the wall to the sacristy on the other.

In case anyone doesn´t understand the purpose of a sacristy, it is the room where the small valuable items in the church are stored away between services. This includes the cup and the dish used to hold the bread and the wine taken in communion. It is also the place where the priest keeps his vestments, the robes which he puts on for conducting the service. The sacristy in Rennes church is kept locked, as one would expect, and is not open to the public.

However, as far as one can see, it has only one entrance which is from the main church to the right of the altar. It is also believed to have a range of full-height cupboard and wardrobes along the left side where the valuables and vestments are kept. That is the wall on which the secret room abuts. The most likely access to the secret room is therefore through a door hidden in the back of the wardrobes which would be masked by any robes hanging in those cupboards.

You can see from the photo that the secret room is quite low, scarcely high enough for an adult to stand up in, unless he was to step down to a floor at a lower level. This adds credence to the belief that it may house a curved staircase leading down into a basement beneath the church. I suggest that this is the logical reason for attaching this secret room to the church. It would seem to be the only purpose for such a room. Of course this cannot be proved without the permission of the church authorities to explore this possibility.

The photo attached shows the blown up view of the secret room which should give you an idea of its proportion in relation to the sacristy which is the building to the left of it. My novel “The Legacy of the Templars” (the second volume of the Languedoc

trilogy) describes the imagined discovery of the staircase in the secret room. Next week I will discuss what might be contained in the crypt, if it exists.