At this website ( there are posted Henry Lincoln's first BBC programmes about the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau. Entitled 'The Lost Treasure of Jerusalem?' I watched the four part postings for the first time a few days ago. I was interested to see what Lincoln had had to say about Rennes-le-Chateau all those years ago. 

In the Part Two posting of the film Lincoln was speculating that Sauniere may have left clues in his church regarding the nature of any 'treasure' he may have found. In fact, Lincoln said, the clues to the treasure were the 'church itself'. 

As part of these studies Lincoln analysed the tableau at the back of the church, the one sometimes called the Fleury tableau and which i have illustrated below:

Lincoln advocated a kind of modern day 'catchphrase' system of analysis  ['Catchphrase' is currently a progamme on TV where popular catchphrases are represented by a piece of animation and from the animation clues the catchphrase is to be identified] - where you simply 'say what you see'. So on this Fleury tableau what is mainly seen is a flower strewn landscape, a Terrain Fleury if you will .... or, if we called it a 'flowery hill' - the colline fleurie. 

Lincoln wondered if Sauniere might have been trying to indicate the Fleury domains via this tableau with this flower strewn hill. 

The Fleury's were important local lords of the area of Rennes-le-Chateau and Rennes-les-Bains. They are widely felt to be involved in the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau. A famous Fleury intimately linked to the 'mystery' for example is one Paul Urbain de Fleury, who is said to have donated a mysterious painting of Christ to the church at Rennes-les-Bains. The Fleury's also married into the Blanchefort/Hautpoul family .... (for example, Paul-François-Vincent de Fleury, co-Sgr de Caux, Sgr de  Rennes-les-Bains, Montferrand, Bézis, marquis de Blanchefort in the diocèse of Alet, married 13 sept. 1767 Marie-Anne-Gabrielle-Élisabeth d’Hautpoul, daughter of François d’Hautpoul,  baron de Rennes-les-Bains, Sgr de Montferrand, Bézis, marquis de Blanchefort). The Blancheforts are central to the Priory of Sion version of the Sauniere story, in particular Marie de Hautpoul Blanchefort and her alleged tombstone - which is where the modern incarnation of the Sauniere 'story' starts. 

Lincoln continues - asking whether this Fleury hill is therefore important because Sauniere has depicted on the hill a purse of gold. Is the purse of gold a subtle hint that a treasure is buried here?

I wasnt quite sure why Lincoln would suggest the hill depicted on the Fleury tableau would be the land of the Fleury literally but all became clearer as the film progressed. 

Lincoln looked at the landscape depicted to the left and right of the Fluery 'hill'  - as pictured below:

To the right Lincoln said, there was depicted castle ruins. To the left a hilltop village. Was the hilltop village on the left Rennes-le-Chateau and the castle ruins to the right those of Coustaussa?

Lincoln suggested that viewed from down in the valley of Rennes the vista and skyline seen is 'one [where we] can see the village of Rennes-le-Chateau [to the left] then on the skyline one can see a 'pointy hill' and to the right [of that] Coustaussa'. Was the 'pointy hill' between Rennes-le-Chateau and Coustaussa in the vista really the 'flowery hill' of the Fleury tableau? For Lincoln, this was all the more convincing because this part of the landscape just happened to be part of the old Fleury Estate. 

Lincoln wonders - 'Does the purse on the fleury hill indicate to us a significant point on this 'pointy hill?' 

As i followed up Lincoln's musings i looked at the video footage in the 'Lost Treasure of Jerusalem' and realised that this 'pointy hill' being shown to us was a very well known landmark in the Rennes area. It was ROQUE FUMADE.

There are two things to note. Firstly, i had always wondered where the Fleury estate was, so its interesting that Lincoln says it was in the vicinity of Roque-Fumade. Secondly Roque Fumade has been the  site of some burial discoveries. 

According to Louis FEDIE in (1880) - in his article called "RHEDAE - La Cité des Chariots" he refers to the area of Roque-Fumade as the place where burials were discovered. He wrote: "we note the recent discovery at a place called Roquefumade, near Rennes-le-Chateau, singly or in groups -  several tombs at the bottom of a valley and ....  all the same shape as the burials discovered at a place called La Capello. That is to say the burials were composed of large rough slabs juxtaposed, and the walls and lids formed an imitation of Merovingian tombs. These tombs, [although imitating Merovingian tombs] correspond to .... those that exist in the northern and central parts of France which date back to a time that in the Narbonnaise corresponds to the installation of the Visigoths in Narbonne".  

There seems to be some doubt expressed by Fedie - seemingly around how Merovingian looking tombs could be found in an area in the south of France dated to a time that was dominated by the Visigoths. Fedie also refers to a place called La Capello, where other burials had been found which were similar to those at Roque Fumade (i.e. Merovingian). 

And where was this La Capello?  

Again, according to Fedie - "It was on this site that stood the Visigothic camp, the embryo of a powerful city. There is abundant evidence to mark the exact place ................. Scattered remnants of substructures in the soil, brick hooks and shards of ancient pottery that have been exhumed,  the remains of weapons leave no doubt about that. Until recently, two years ago, a resident of the village of Rennes-le-Chateau, making a trench for the construction of a wall, discovered a large slab which was raised and found a host of human bones. It was a pile of debris - skeletons enclosed on four sides by large slabs. The depth of this ossuary could not be verified because we hastened to put in place the slabs that covered the hole, so the bones were treated with great respect. Where the discovery was made, it is called in the patois of the region, La Capello."  

There seems to be some misunderstandings between a La Capello at Roque Fumade and a La Capello near Rennes-le-Chateau. 

According to Gerard de Sede, La Capello was associated with some kind of third church or 'holy place' in Rennes-le-Chateau. 

JP Pourtal says that 'The citadel [ of Rennes] was divided into three neighbourhoods that still exist in the current village and carry the same names translated in the local dialect. The first called Castrum Valens, on the east side, is now called Castel de Balent. The second, located in the south, was called Castrum Salassum, today Salassum. Finally, the third designated by the name of Capella is called the Capello. The first quarter called Castrum Valens, drew its name from a fortified gate at the entrance of the fortress on the east side, ie on the side most exposed to enemy attacks, as it faced the plain. Visiting the places, it is easy to find traces of the fortress Castrum Valens". 

Interestingly this La Capella/Capello [if they are one and the same term] area was mentioned by Noel Corbu in one of his many scripts about the 'treasure of Rennes'. He wrote: 

"Marie herself took a walk in the cemetery and suddenly her attention was drawn by a very old tomb. The stone bore inscriptions, which had always seemed strange to her. The words were cut with no rhyme or reason. Was it that one? She called the priest, who noted down the whole text and during the evening they had a go. Suddenly he found the combination. The treasure was theirs. There were six points of entry, the one in the keep was the easiest, but where was the keep? Everything had been razed to the ground. Yes, but on one side of one of the parchments there were some lines and these lines must start from the main altar. The lines were height measurements and were oriented in relation to the church. Marie and the priest burned with fever. It was two o’clock in the morning. In the village everyone was asleep, so they did not hesitate. They took some ropes, which they measured carefully and spread them as indicated by the lines on the plan. It was very cold, the wind blew, but they did not care. The ropes intersected in the middle of a spot known as la Capella, the Château. It was an empty piece of land, but it was too late to carry on because the peasants were starting to get up. 

The following night the priest and Marie, who had carefully noted where the place was, began to dig. Forty centimetres into the soil they found a stone slab. They got it free. It had a rusty ring at its centre. With the help of crowbars, they managed to raise it. A dark staircase appeared." 

Later, Corbu suggests Sauniere bought land around the place of this La Capella writing: The priest bought some pieces of land around the presbytery including the one on which he found the slab

Fédié continues: "What we now call the Salasso is an esplanade, a threshing floor for threshing grain, a platform that communicates on the south side by a steep escarpment, with the plain where the town was built. There are layers of masonry indicating that at that point there was another fortress - whose presence is confirmed by a local legend - that connected the city with the stronghold.This legend adds that after the destruction of the city, the stronghold, which was well defended, survived several centuries, and that the fortress .... used as a powder magazine, caught fire during a siege and exploded causing the destruction of an entire district and a part of the ramparts. Finally, you can see in the third quarter - that of Capello called the vestiges of an ancient church....."  

One wonders then if the Plantard/Cherisey team were aware of this - because later, in a publication by Louis Vazart (Vazart was part of the Plantard/Cherisey team for a few years) the area of Roque Fumade becomes the place where the tombs of BERA V and HILDERIC I were found. This Bera and Hilderic were alleged to be descendants of Sigebert IV and his wife 'Magdala'. For the Vazart team also, earlier descendants Sigebert IV, Sigebert V and Bera III were interred in the church at Rennes-le-Chateau.  

This is important in the Priory of Sion mythology about the survival of the Merovingian line via Dagobert II. One wonders if the Fedie article detailing some Merovingian type tombs found in the vicinity of Rennes-le-Chateau was enough to spur them on to the idea of Merovingian descendants in Septimania? All pretty fascinating considering Lincoln identifies this Roque Fumade as the pointy hill which was part of the Fleury estate and an area that might be being suggested by the Fleury tableau in the church at Rennes-le-Chateau!

Update added 30th May 2013: 

At the following website the authors make some interesting observations detailed below: 

"In all our deliberations we came across the following strange phenomenon; When considering the altarpiece in the church of Rennes-le-Château [we decided] that "Roque Fumade"  was directly depicted in that same altar - that is the acute mountain behind Mary Magdalene in her cave, painted pretty much exactly the same as the form of the "Roque Fumade" ..... a view from the east or northeast".

"Different research teams discovered recently that in the area under the "Roque Fumade" a system of tunnels stretch, which begins near the area "Encantado"1 and probably once led up to Rennes-le-Château. However, it is elsewhere written that in these underground caverns in ancient times also gold or other precious metals may have been degraded. Through this activity, of course smoke had arisen, which spread throughout the tunnel system and also used as a correspondingly "air channels" crevices and was ultimately came to light at the "Roque Fumade".  Also a plausible explanation for the name of Roque Fumade as the "smoking rock!"  

Another theory states that the "Roque Fumade" was a sacred place. The smoke came from a cavern beneath the rock, in which Mary Magdalene lived with their children!"

1) Louis Fédié in his "Etude historique sur le Haut-Razès" pages 45-47-48 refers to this Encantado area. He writes:

Finally, in Claire Corbu and Antoine Captier's  "L'héritage de l'abbé Saunière" they write: "L'Encantado fait parti du ruisseau des couleurs où Bérenger Saunière allait  jouer enfant et où plus tard il allait chercher des pierres sur une parcelle achetée au nom de Marie Denarnaud" ("L'Encantado is part of the stream of couleurs where Saunière would play as a child and later where he went to look for stones on land purchased on behalf of Mary Denarnaud.")

All of this may be relevant in a quote made by Chantal BUTHION (daughter of Henri Buthion) in an interview she gave. She said: 

"Indeed, he [Sauniere] was a native of Espéraza and had been aware of the mystery of Rennes-Le-Chateau. Villagers told me, 'Bérenger Saunière and a friend, burrowed a tunnel, which led them from Espéraza to RLC, are these statements true? There is no smoke without fire! What is certain is that Berenger Saunière had been, since childhood, also attracted by this riddle...." (Chantal Buthion, 

Perhaps Saunière and his friend did not dig the tunnel from Esperaza to Rennes-le-Chateau (patently impossible) but were investigating Encantado and Roque Fumade? (folk memory by locals who observed the activity of our famous priest? After all Corbu and Captier had referred to Saunière playing as a child at Encantado). Who knows?