The Jolly Roger & John the Baptist?

So, yesterday I posted about my interest in pirates, legend and lore so I thought I’d tell you about something I just heard about the origins of the Jolly Roger.


The Jolly Roger is the name given to the pirate flag. It’s the flag with the black field with a white skull and crossbones most often associated with pirates.

So, I was watching “Curse of Oak Island” and an author by the name of Gretchen Cornwall along with a descendant of a Templar Knight suggested that “She believes that some Templar’s became pirates and outlaws, connecting the Jolly Roger symbol of the pirates with the ancient Templar symbol. She says the skull and bones represent Saint John the Baptist, the famous Christian Saint, who was beheaded.” (from She went on to say that the Templar’s had possession of John the Baptist’s skull at some point.

I’m not a historian and I don’t study this topic extensively, but I do keep an ear peeled for this sort of information and this is the first I’ve heard of any connection between the Templars and pirates.

I had always heard that pirates would fly a black flag to indicate that if the ship they were attacking surrendered without a fight they would be allowed to live. If the pirates flew the red flag – “jolie rouge” the “pretty red” flag – then no mercy would be shown.

Well, thank you so much Oak Island and Gretchen, now I have to read up on the Templars.

Well, Santa, you can add Gretchen’s book to my list along with the metal detector. Thanks.

Are you ready for Christmas? I’m going to share with you some treats that I made for the Grandboys!




4 thoughts on “The Jolly Roger & John the Baptist?

  1. Dear Jill,
    I thought I was reading a biography of myself and my thoughts when I read your post! I too am hanging onto the definition as cited on “Oak Island” that it is connected to John the Baptist. I was raised in the Baptist faith and have never seen or heard of that detail for the skull and crossbones. My Dad was a Mason and I was in the Eastern Star, and have never heard or seen anything to support that belief. I wonder how Gretchen came to think of this definition, and where she got her info. I have already run to Barnes and Noble for my paperback, THE TEMPLARS by Dan Jones. I am 75 and hope to finish it before my maker calls me home. I am always in the throws of decluttering and down-sizing and swear my husband is a Hoarder. Do you suppose we are ancestors of the same person?

    1. Hi Connie! Isn’t it fascinating!? Let me know what you think of the book after you read it, I might want to start it. As far as ancestors, we may be! You never know! Thanks for stopping by my blog, I hope we can continue our conversation.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: