In the era of Google Earth, everything will get noticed eventually and usually not intentionally. Historian Chris McCauley was using it to do research recently on the Knights Templar and the thousand-year-old English hamlet of Temple Balsall founded by the Knights when he discovered a previously unknown spiral ground carving very close to a much more famous crop circle. Are they related and is it connected to the Knights?
Temple Balsall was once a collection of estates owned by Roger de Mowbray, son of Nigel d'Aubigny, a Norman Knight who received the land and buildings from Henry I. After the Crusades, the land was given to the Knights Templar in gratitude for their contributions. A survey taken in 1185 showed 67 tenants and 640 acres of land divided among them. Temple Balsall eventually became home of the headquarters or Preceptory for Knights in the area and a portion of the original 12th century Old Hall building still exists.
Unfortunately, that’s can’t be said of the Knights, as the fighting ended and resentment of their wealth grew. They lost it when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries and the pope dissolved the order. The property was passed down through various owners and is now a part of Balsall Common, a village with a population of 6,300 in the West Midlands.
The area drew attention in 2011 with the appearance of a crop circle featuring an 8-point star, 16-pointed star, a central sun, pyramids and other shapes. The shape had similarities to the Cross of St John, a Lotus flower and a rose compass. It was closely guarded by local police and Internet references to it were allegedly deleted.
The newly discovered spiral is a half-mile from the site of the 2011 crop circle. Are they related? Chris McCauley hasn’t determined that yet.
Since I was unable to find any record of this marking, and the fact that it hasn’t even been acknowledged or reported as a crop circle, I can only hope that this may be a genuine undiscovered archaeological feature.
So we wait to find out ... is it a prank, an alien message or are the Knights planning a comeback?