The art of Templar prisoner graffiti.

Graffiti (Domme - Dordogne) - © Jerry Glover - Lost Graffiti of the Templars

Extract from Serge RAMOND's document, "A forgotten cultural heritage: graffiti", published in the archaeological review of Oise (n ° 23) in 1981.

The graffiti listed as due to Templar prisoners, are well known to historians, and the literature which has developed the subject tries to demonstrate it.

We will not systematically give credence to the various analyzes here, for there can only be conjectures here.

It should be noted that these graffiti generally only exist in the dungeons of a castle-type building, and that they would therefore belong

at the very beginning of the 14th century. We are thinking in particular of the bastide town of Domme and the châteaux of Chinon, Gisors and Bourdeilles.

Chinon Graffiti.

Now in Domme, in these 14th century towers, stripped of their roofs

at the end of the 16th century, apart from the presence of crosses including a pattée, no truly convincing trace of a stay of Templar prisoners can confirm the statements interpreted by "certain researcher".

This information, extrapolated from fingerprints to paper and

taken in felt-tip pen, are not stampings, and in no way settle the question of

"La Foi des Templiers".

These apocryphal stampings are detrimental to archaeological truth.

As we know, stones, over the centuries, lose their surface matter or calcify. How can one then imagine re-reading in a set of engravings, exposed to bad weather since the end of the 16th century and still quite legible as in Domme, inscriptions which would only have been rubbed with a flat tool without any hollow bite?

It suffices to observe objectively the graffiti of the towers of the fortified town of Domme to realize the imposture and the surprising influence of the imagination on certain “scientific” minds. We find a similar approach with tiny “ghost” inscriptions on the stones of the prisoner's room at the Tour Ferrée in Gisors: there too, there is a storytelling out of an obstinate desire to prove an idea.

However, these graffiti to which we are referring are not from the 14th century. Fortunately, a few serious observers have seen the fact.

It is not excluded, however, that some very legible figures of the upper floors of this tower of Gisors are the work of the Templars who stayed there, but, again, nothing really proves it, despite the existence of a cross pattée whose dating is quite uncertain is controversial.

At the Château de Bourdeilles, in a bottom pit 7 meters deep, there is a quite surprising engraved ensemble.

According to Mr. and Mrs. DELLUC who made a very objective study of this site, it could be the work of a Templar prisoner, by the subjects represented and because of the historical context of this feudal castle.

As for Chinon, the observations given by a few researchers do not allow us to believe in a message from the Templars: we know that Jacques de Molay, Hugues de Pairaud, Geoffroy de Charnay, Raimbaud de Caron and Godefroy de Gonneville stayed there in the year 1308 However, no signature of these names is present, and the esoteric representations that we have examined could be the work of any prisoner.

Finally, it should be noted that there are no Templar traces in the commanderies that we visited, nor in the churches.

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