Chronology of the Rennes-le-Chateau Mythology

Constructing the myth of Rennes-le-Chateau –  Verifiable Chronology


1937: Pierre Plantard (born 18th March 1920) attempted to form a mildly anti-Semitic and anti-Masonic organisation with the aim of "purifying and renewing" France, which was denied by the French authorities. Plantard used the pseudonym "Varans Vincent" or "Varrans de Verrestra".

1942- 1943: Series of Vichyite  newsletters entitled VAINCRE edited by "Pierre de France" (Pierre Plantard). These were allegedly publications of an organisation entitled, L'Alpha Galates ("The First Gauls").

1946:  Corbu family bought and moved into Sauniere’s domain with Marie Denarnaud


1947: LATIN ACADEMY formed by Pierre Plantard and his mother, its declared aim being undefined "scientific research".

1953:  Marie Denarnaud dies


1955:Noel Corbu opens the domain as an hotel-restaurant and entertains the guests with a history of the Abbe Sauniere compiled from villager’s recollections and from Sauniere’s papers.

1955-1956:According to Claire Corbu, her father recorded a version of the history of Rennes-le-Chateau and Sauniere. Key features on the tape included:-

Ancient history of Rennes; name of Rhaede; Visigoths; Cathar wars

Renovation of church – replacement of main altar; discovery of some parchments (*no description of number or contents)

Alleged trip to Paris (*no detail or outcome);

Pillaging of Marie de Negre’s tomb and the defacing of her tombstone inscription (*no reason given for this)

Details of the spending on the domain and the Abbe’s expensive lifestyle

Bishops Billard and Beausejour; alleged trafficking in Masses

Possible source of treasure – Blanche of Castille etc; treasure legends

Sauniere’s battles with his bishop and ill health

**Note: there is no mention in this account of Merovingian kings; Sigibert IV and the Comtes de Razes; Marie Magdalene; Priory of Sion or other secret societies


1956:(January) articles published in the Depeche du Midi concerning the extraordinary wealth of the Abbe Sauniere. Interview with Corbu

Versions of these articles were published in Parisian revues and foreign publications. This led to a large increase in visitors to the hotel-restaurant, including celebrities and treasure hunters, of which one was Robert Charroux (published treasure book in 1962)

Discovery of skeletons in the domain garden and other artefacts

TV programme on the Sauniere story

1956: Statutes of the PRIORY OF SION deposited at the Sub-Prefecture in Saint-Julien-en-Genevoise. Plantard employed as a draughtsman for Ets Chanovin, living at Bâtiment B, Sous-Cassan, 74100 Annemasse, Haute-Savoie.

1956: The journal CIRCUIT, devoted to the "Defence and Rights of Liberty for Low-Cost Housing".

1956: Official announcement of the formation of the PRIORY OF SION on 25th June 1956, in the Journal Officiel de la Rèpublique Française..

1957: PRIORY OF SION dissolves: André Bonhomme (President), Jean Deleaval (Vice-President) and Armand Defago (Treasurer) go their separate ways - but Pierre Plantard was to resurrect the organisation. (There is no independent evidence of this.)

1958: LE MONDE: 6th June, 8th-9th July, 29th July. Plantard's involvement with one of the Committees of Public Safety - known as the "Central Committee of Public Safety", using the pseudonym of `Captain Way'. The only evidence of this is from articles submitted anonymously to the newspaper, but most probably by Pierre Plantard himself.

1959: Second series of the journal CIRCUIT, subtitled "The Cultural Periodical of the French Forces' Federation". Content of the journal was devoted to the restoration of the French Monarchy.

1961: Pierre Plantard, "Tableaux Comparatifs des Charges Sociales dans les pays du: `Marché Commun'." The style of lettering on its cover was identical to that found in the Priory Documents ascribed to "Henri Lobineau".

1961: Pierre Plantard, "Gisors et son secret", which contained a genealogy and claimed that the PRIORY OF SION had existed in Jerusalem during the Crusades. Plantard at this time was living at 35 Avenue Victor Hugo, Paris.

1962:Rene Descadeillas investigates the alleged Rennes mystery and publishes “Notice sur Rennes-le-Chateau”


1962: Gérard de Sède, LES TEMPLIERS SONT PARMI NOUS: Plantard's breakthrough into the big-time, weaving the Gisors mystery into the historical fiction of the PRIORY OF SION, presenting himself as an "expert" authority. Plantard referred to as a hermetist: theme Gisors treasure and astrology

1962: Robert Charroux, TREASURES OF THE WORLD, containing chapters devoted to Bérenger Saunière and the Order of Knights' Templar - the latter chapter referring to a painting by Saint Celestine in adoration before a luminous apparition at the centre of which was
inscribed the word "Veritas" (Plantard was to associate the Priory of Sion with the Rosicrucians and the word Veritas).

1964: 17thJanuary Conference at Rennes-le-Chateau, (Corbu’s hotel) at which Plantard speaks, theme: - decline in rule of law; moral decline; French government dictatorial; call for new people’s democracy

           June Conference at Rennes, Plantard’s theme:- symbolism of the chess board; number symbolism; Octopus as an ancient symbol; Pole star and the French 0 meridian line; Marie de Negre tombstone; Pegase and the knight’s move

1964: "Henri Lobineu", "Genealogie des rois mérovingiens." First Priory Document containing references to Saunière's activities, with the string of unsubstantiated allegations relating to his interests.
The PRIORY OF SION according to this version was founded by Godfrey of Bouillon in Jerusalem. The Document also contained genealogies detailing the survival of the line of King Dagobert II ("Giselle de Razès", etc).

1965:17th January, conference at Rennes, Plantard’s theme:- meaning of life, life after death?; success of Christianity; hypocrisy of Catholic Church

1965:Noel Corbu and family sell the domain and leave Rennes

Sauniere’s Domain bought by Henri Buthion


1965: Madeleine Blancassall, "Les Descendants Mérovingiens.."
Described the appearance of the parchments allegedly discovered by Saunière, strongly resembling the Masonic lore of knowledge being preserved in two pillars (originally promoted by Noël Corbu, and exploited by Plantard). The Document also referred to the St Anthony
connection, and to the "Et In Arcadia Ego / Reddis Cellis" tombstone of Marie de Nègri d'Ables.

1966:Le Tresor Cathare, by Gerard de Sede, published


1966: Lionel Burrus, "Faisons le point": first reference to `Château de Barberie' as the ruined ancestral home of the Plantard family. The Plantard family were not aristocratic and actually came from Brittany.

1967: DOSSIERS SECRETS D'HENRI LOBINEAU: providing the List of the Grand Masters of the Priory of Sion.

1967: Gérard de Sède, L'OR DE RENNES - establishes the connection between the PRIORY OF SION and Bérenger Saunière, reproducing the parchments allegedly discovered by Saunière, and claiming that he was interested in paintings by Poussin and Teniers. Also reproduced a drawing of an "artefact" entitled the Coume-Sourde stone, allegedly discovered by Ernest Cros.

1968:Noel Corbu killed in car crash

1973: André Bonhomme, former President of the PRIORY OF SION, officially announced his resignation to the Sub-Prefecture of Saint-Julien-en-Genevoise, having discovered, through the media, Plantard's activities from 1957.

1978: Pierre Plantard's Preface to the facsimile edition of Henri Boudet's LA VRAIE LANGUE CELTIQUE, stating that Boudet was the source of inspiration behind Saunière's activities.

1979: Pierre Plantard's guest appearance on the BBC2 CHRONICLE television documentary, "The Shadow of the Templars" (27th November) presented by Henry Lincoln.

1982: Pierre Plantard's response to the publication of THE HOLY BLOOD AND THE HOLY GRAIL, on the "Françes-Inter" radio-programme interview.

1982: Formation of OCCITANIE RADIO AND TELEVISION, devoted to the  defence of the distinctive culture of South-West France. At this time Pierre Plantard was living at 110 Rue Henri Dunant, Colombes, Hauts-de-Seine, France.

1982: Pierre Plantard, "L'Horloge Sacrée qui permet décoder les quatrains" (in NOSTRA, Special-Issue Nr1). His 1956 choice of pseudonym, "Chyren", was derived from NOSTRADAMUS VI:70: "The great Chyren will be chief of the world, after `Plus oultre' loved, feared and dreaded. His Fame and praise go beyond the heavens and he will be greatly satisfied with the sole title of victor".

1984: Pierre Plantard's resignation from the PRIORY OF SION (on 10th July).