Last night I was at a Moot where the speaker gave a Powerpoint presentation on 6-pointed stars found in the landscape around Glastonbury and Stonehenge (Peter Knight, The Wessex Astrum
). I'm not a great believer in these, whether at Glastonbury or at RLC; man is a pattern-making being, and you can find triangles, squares, pentagrams and hexagrams on any map if you use a blunt crayon and you ignore all the hilltops, standing stones and church towers that don't
happen to fall on your lines. In the past I've been critical of books of this type by Chris Street, Paul Broadhurst & Hamish Miller, our own Henry Lincoln, and my old friend Adrian Gilbert, amongst others.
But there was clearly no point in my challenging the speaker on the entirety of his talk. Instead I picked him up on some of his comments about the Knights Templar, which he stated as simple facts: that they were greatly devoted to Mary Magdalene and John the Baptist, and that a round church meant a Templar church. (He even drew a hexagram using the positions of the effigies of the knights in Temple Church, which was just around the corner from his talk -- but they were put in their present positions, if I remember correctly, in a mid-C19 reconstruction!)
I pointed out that there is no historical evidence of a particular Templar devotion to MM or John the Baptist; whether Picknett & Prince invented this, or just popularised it, I'm not sure, but careless "speculative historians" now take it (and much else, equally spurious!) as fact. The Templar knights certainly venerated these saints, along with a few dozen others, but their particular devotion was reserved for the BVM, as was normal for the time.
But I didn't have to hand the evidence I needed on the shape of churches, that (a) not all Templar churches were round, and (b) quite a few non-Templar churches of the period were round. Can anyone help?