Thursday, May 15, 2008
THE BRUCE FAMILY
Chapter 3 of WHEN SCOTLAND WAS JEWISH by Hirschman and Yates discusses the genealogies of what they call the "first wave" of Jewish families. Included in this group are Bruce, Campbell, Forbes, Leslie, Douglas, Gordon and Steward. The chapter presents "the genealogical and historical evidence to document the Jewish ancestry of these families."
Bruce is important because of its relationship to the Templars. The authors write:
The de Brusse family of Flanders and Normandy entered England in 1050 as part of the entourage of Duke Richard I...in 1066 Robert de Bruce...married a Norman woman, Agnes St. Clair...Some members of this family were and are practicing Jews....(p. 44
...several Hebrew and Mediterranean given names are found among the early Bruces; among these are Adam, Emma, Isabel, Agnes, Agatha, Euphemia, David, Matilda, and Eleanor. By the early 1300s, the Bruce family in Scotland had produced Robert I (the Bruce), King of Scotland, who reigned from 1306 to 1329.
It is Robert the Bruce who looms largely in any story about the Templars as this Templar website demonstrates:
When Philip the Fair arrested the Knights Templar in France on 13th October 1307 some had a little advance warning and managed to escape using some of their ships which were docked at La Rochelle...So where did the Templars go? In 1306 Robert the Bruce had murdered John 'the Red' Comyn in Dumfries church and for that crime had been excommunicated....Bruce's offer of sanctuary made Scotland an ideal place for the fugitive KT to hide. They went to Argyle because it was sparsely populated and difficult to reach. After seven years the Templars re-paid Bruce's generosity by assisting him at the battle of Bannockburn (24th June 1314) the winning of which gained Scotland's independence. This left Robert the Bruce with a problem. No that Scotland was independence he wanted the excommunication lifted as this was necessary before the country could be re-admitted to western Christendom. The existence a heretic Knight Templar in Scotland would jeopardise the recognition of Bruce and Scotland so he decided on a subterfuge. Bruce created the Order of Freemasonry into which the remaining Templars quietly integrated. Bruce could claim that the KT no longer existed in Scotland simply allowing them to exist under another name.
Returning to Hirschman and Yates I find:
The lineage, together with the DNA evidence of a Southern French or Spanish Jewish origin for the Bruces...strongly suggests that this family was aware of its Judaic heritage and chose marital partners and given names designed to perpetuate this heritage. When Bruces from Scotland arrived in the American colonies during the 1600s and 1700s, the marital pattern of at least some members suggest that the Crypto-Judaic practice had been carried forward to the New World.(p. 45)
If Robert the Bruce, who founded Freemasonry in Scotland, was a Crypto-Jew, there might be sufficient reason to conclude that Freemasonry, in its infancy stage, was Judaism in disguise.
The Templars are closely associated with Rosslyn Chapel. Hirschman and Yates discuss Rosslyn:
...Bruce was very likely a Templar, through his marriage to a St. Clair, Freemason symbols are present on some stones at Dunfermline Abbey churchyard. The Templars were largely transmuted into the Freemason order after 1306.(p. 47)
The Royal Bruce coat of arms depicts a central lion rampant (lion of Judah), a widely recognized symbol of the Judaic royal line of David. The arms of Robert I's brother, Edward, not only shows a lion rampant, but also places an Islamic crescent over the lion's heart, suggesting perhaps Muslim or Arab ancestry in addition to Jewish. Notably, the arms of the de Mowbray, Plantagenet, Bohun and Beaumont families also prominently carry the Lion of Judah symbol. All these families originated in France and (we propose) believed themselves to be of Davidic descent.
It is noteworthy that the name St. Clair has already surfaced early in the history of Scotland. It is the St. Clairs or Sinclairs who own Rosslyn Chapel. It was a Sinclair who built it.
Another name, Leslie, plays into the Rosslyn/Freemasonry idea:
...Scottish-originating Leslies exhibited Judaic naming practices in the American colonies, and members of the Scottish-based family group openly practiced Judaism in Charleston, S.C. and Savannah, Ga., where males were also leading figures in the Freemasons' temples.(p. 33)
Interestingly, Wikipedia tells us that the Scottish Rite was born in South Carolina. The article also indicates that a Jew, Moses Michael Hays, was influential in the early days of the Scottish Rite in South Carolina. Hirschman and Yates list Hays as a Jewish surname on p. 30.
Another name mentioned is Cowan:
It remains to examine the Cowan data. Here we are confronted with a Scottish "clan", some members of which carried knowledge of their Jewishness from Scotland and Ireland to the Appalachians where they dwelled among the Melungeons.(p. 41)
Cowan is a term used in Freemasonry to designate an outsider. Read the finer points of the term here. It is interesting to note that:
Cowan is an essentially Scottish trade term, and it belongs to the time when lodges, as trade-controlling bodies, put restrictions against the employment of cowans, in order to protect the fully-trained men of the Craft from competition by unskilled labour. The earliest official ban against cowans appeared in the Schaw Statutes in 1598.(p. 41)
In their conclusion for this chapter Hirschman and Yates link Cowan with Coen, the Jewish priestly class.