The Rennes-le-Chateau church is thought to date from the 8th or 9th century and was re-dedicated to Mary Magdalene after the 14th century, previously being dedicated to Saint Marie. Originally it was never the main church of the village but a private chapel of the nearby chateau Hautpoul, the main village church being St Pierre aux Liens or Saint Peters, until it became a ruin in 1380 when the village was attacked.
A question that many have asked is "is there a crypt beneath the church?"
Although many suspect or believe there is a crypt, no one knows for sure.
What evidence there is comes in the form of documents, or to be more precise, old parish registers, which refer to the crypt as the 'Tomb of the Lords' or 'Tomb of the Seigneurs'.
Parish register covering the years 1694 to 1726 - extracts from the 1985 book L’Héritage de L’Abbé Saunière by - Antoine Captier and Claire Corbu who cite a reference found in the parish register to the death of Dame Anne Delsol, in 1705:
"In the year one thousand seven hundred and five, on the thirtieth day of March, the death occurred, in the castle of Rennes, of Dame Anne Delsol, aged about 75 years, widow of Monsieur Marc Antoine Dupuy, of Pauligne, former treasurer of France ,…by MaÃtre Michel, curé of St. Just in my presence and with my consent she has been buried on the thirty first day of the said month in the church of this place in the Tomb of the Seigneurs which is beside the Baluster in the presence of the said MaÃtre Michel, curé of St. Just and of MaÃtre Delmas, curé of the Bains (Rennes-les-Bains) in witness whereof…”.
The 'Baluster' mentioned is the support post of the steps leading up to the pulpit and is believed to be where a parchment was discovered that set Saunière on his road to riches. Read article here.
A second cited reference from the parish register is to the death of Monsieur Henry du Vernet, in 1724:
‘In the year one thousand seven hundred and twenty-four, on the twenty-fourth day of October, at Rennes, in the diocese of Alet, the death occurred of the noble gentleman Henry de Vernet, lieutenant colonel of cavalry in the regiment of Ruftège, who, having received the last rites, was buried in the village church, in the Tomb of the Lords…’
In the will of Henri d’Hautpoul of 24th April 1695 it is stated “After my death, my body must be laid to rest in the parish church at Rennes, in the tomb of my ancestors".
So with this historical evidence before us, it seems a certainty that a crypt of some description would exist beneath the church. Its size, hinted at by the burials of the Hautpoul family and relatives that took place between the 15th to 18th Century when they inhabited the chateau, must be as large at least as the footprint of the church above.
It's an almost certainty that Saunière rediscovered the entrance to this crypt and when he had finished exploring (or perhaps looting,) the crypt, he had it permanently sealed. If he hadn't, the location of the crypt would be well known by now.
Many people have sought the Crypt under the Mary Magdalene church in the small village of Rennes-le-Chateau, but little physical evidence of its existence has ever been presented. However, with the new scans taken with some of the latest available GPR technology, perhaps evidence of an entrance to the crypt has at last been discovered and we are one step closer to discovering the fabled crypt.
The GPR scans shown on this page were independently verified without any information given about where the scan was taken, including the opinion from the GPR manufacturers that the anomaly was almost certainly steps leading down.
GROUND PENETRATING RADAR (GPR) CRYPT ENTRANCE SCANS
GPR Crypt Entrance Scan 1
GPR Crypt Entrance Scan 2
GPR Crypt Entrance Scan 3
GPR SCAN WITH STONE STEPS OVERLAID
An impression on how the steps leading down to the crypt might look in relation to the GPR scan.
The exact location of the entrance is to remain a secret until it can be properly investigated.
INSIDE THE CRYPT
If someone could gain entrance to the crypt, or feed a remote camera through a small cavity that wound its way awkwardly beneath the church to capture an image of the crypt, they may see something like this.
An impression of what the crypt below the Rennes-le-Chateau church might look like.
In the crypt there may be evidence of broken coffins littering the floor. There might even be stone sarcophagus's or burial niches around the walls.
Related Research Articles
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