Chronology of the Rennes-le-Chateau Parchments


It was Noël Corbu, circa 1955-56 (after the death of Marié Denarnaud), who first promoted the allegation that Saunière had discovered parchments hidden in the hollow pillars of the village church in 1891 (later exploited by Pierre Plantard).

1956: Albert Salamon, in a series of articles on Rennes-le-Château, claimed that Saunière had in 1891 discovered hidden parchments in the hollow pillars of the village church, containing writings in Latin relating to Blanche of Castille, derived from Noël Corbu's tape- recording made for guests to his newly-opened restaurant, situated in Saunière's Villa Béthanie.

1965: Priory Document attributed to "Madeleine Blancassall" described the appearance of the parchments allegedly discovered by Saunière, later reproduced in the 1967 book, L'Or de Rennes, by Gérard de Sède, Pierre Plantard and Philippe de Chérisey. The book also revealed a deciphered message from one of the parchments that begins "Shepherdess, No Temptation, Poussin, Tenniers holds the key…"

1977: Priory Document entitled L'Cercle d'Ulysse by Jean Delaude alleged that unpublished parchments, discovered by Saunière, were sold by the priest's niece ("Madame James") in 1965 to Captain Roland Stanmore (Nutting) and Sir Thomas Frazer, and deposited in a safe-deposit box of Lloyds Bank Europe Ltd., London.

When asked to comment on this claim, Sir Thomas Frazer's only son replied:-
"After your previous letters, and having the photocopies which you enclosed, I sent these to my solicitor, who was one of my father's executors, to see if he could throw any light on the matter.
He says they ring no bells as far as he is concerned, and he has no recollection of anyone by the name of Captain Roland Stanmore. He has been in touch with Lloyds Bank International (into which I gather Lloyds Bank Europe has now been absorbed) and received the following reply:-
`In accordance with your request we have made a search in our present and past records and regret to advise you that we cannot trace having maintained a dossier in the above name (Sir Thomas Frazer, OBE), or jointly with Captain Roland Stanmore. We are also unable to trace a record of a safe-deposit box or any details in connection with the documents to which you refer' (dated 20th August 1983)".

1979: Philippe de Chérisey's admission, in transcribed interview form, to being the fabricator of the parchments which appeared in Gérard de Sède's (et al) 1967 book, in Jean-Luc Chaumeil's LE TRESOR DU TRIANGLE D'OR. Earlier researchers had suspected this: René Descadeillas in 1974; Franck Marie in 1978.

1984: Pierre Jarnac's HISTOIRE DU TRESOR DE RENNES-LE-CHATEAU, containing a photocopied extract from Philippe de Chérisey's 1974 letter, stating that he had fabricated the parchments in 1965.

1985:RENNES-LE-CHATEAU, LE SECRET DE L'ABBE SAUNIERE, by Antoine and Marcel Captier, with Michel Marrot: a cartoon-strip version of Saunière's activities, claimed that Saunière had discovered a parchment in a glass phial, hidden in a wooden baluster situated next
to the dalle de chevaliers - this being the testimony of Saunière's bellringer. This account was later repeated in the book by Antoine Captier and Claire Corbu, L'HERITAGE DE L'ABBE SAUNIERE (1985).

The parchment discovered in the glass vial could not have been either of the two parchments illustrated in L'Or de Rennes that include the coded messages.

1996: BBC2 TIMEWATCH documentary entitled "The History of a Mystery" featuring Jean-Luc Chaumeil, who revealed a private composition by Philippe de Chérisey entitled PIERRE ET PAPIER (STONE AND PAPER), describing how the parchments were fabricated by him and how the "Shepherdess, No Temptation" decoded message should be interpreted. Chaumeil also showed the original parchments that were reproduced in de Sède's 1967 book.

2007: Jean Luc Chaumeil publishes Pierre et Papier.