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Stone head is very strange artwork.

One of the strangest archaeological artefacts I ever saw is housed at a secret address in Kilbarchan.

It's the stone head of a pre-Christian goddess which surfaced near the majestic West Church in the picturesque Renfrewshire village.

Although the beautiful red sandstone kirk is just over a century old, it occupies the site of the pre-Reformation St Catherine's Chapel.

Equally enigmatic - and carved on an ancient stone wall surrounding the snowdrop-silvered tombstones in the graveyard - is the sword of a Knight Templar.

It is thought he was a member of the Craufurd family, of nearby Auchenames Castle.

He served in the 12th and 13th century Crusades to regain the Holy City of Jerusalem for Christendom.

The sculpted blade - which signifies a Templar burial sepulchre - and the wizened stone head are inextricably linked.

After 200 years of valiant Christian service, the Templars were brutally suppressed between 1307 and 1314 by an unholy alliance of the Church and French king Philippe IV.

Their political and ecclesiastical masters believed the Knights were too powerful and wealthy.

So they accused the brave brotherhood of heretical religious observances, including the worship of enchanted human heads.

At an Inquisition in 1308, the Knights Templar were accused of 'having idols' - namely heads.

Enemies claimed that they adored these idols, said they could 'save them' and that the heads could create 'riches, make trees, flower and land germinate'.

It was believed the sculpted heads were inspired by the Egyptian Goddess, Isis.

She was consort of Osiris, the dying-andresurrecting vegetational god, and mother of Horus, who was the reborn Osiris and identifiable with the Egyptian Pharaohs.

It was alleged the Templars were introduced to the Isis Earth Mother cult, with its promise of resurrection after death in battle, during the Crusades.

Perhaps the mysterious stone head was brought to Renfrewshire from the Holy Land by a Knight Templar.

Maybe it was a Craufurd of Auchenames, commemorated by the sculpted sword at the village's medieval graveyard.

Today, the fields and woods around the elegant church in Kilbarchan are fragrantlyfloriated by springtime daffodil, crocus, cherry, celandine and coltsfoot blossoms.

It seems the sacred stone head still makes trees flower in the luxuriant land where an entombed Knight Templar awaits the trumpet call of resurrection in the Earth Mother's bosom.

Mine of information Derek Parker knew many of Paisley's secrets - the grimy and the good.

He wandered every corner in search of the clues that would unlock Renfrewshire's rich history.

These tales were shared with readers in his hugely popular Parker'sWay column.

We've opened our vault to handpick our favourites for you.This article was first published on April 5, 2004

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Publication:Paisley Daily Express (Paisley, Scotland)
Article Type:Reprint
Date:Jan 10, 2019
Words:453
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