DEBATE is raging over whether Hertford should cash in on its links to the Holy Grail to draw tourists to the town. Mercury stories about the town’s links to the Knights Templar, who are said to be the keepers of the Cup of Christ, have made international headlines and featured on several TV programmes.
But the town council has failed to use the publicity to boost Hertford’s economy, offering little help to a number of TV stations and other media organisations that were seeking access to the castle.
It was in the stronghold that four knights are said to have been jailed when King Edward II was hunting their “lost treasure” 700 years ago.
This week, town mayor Cllr Sally Newton declared that Hertford should seek to attract tourists with tales of its Templar heritage.
She said: “It’s a shame that we didn’t have the TV stations visit the castle.
“If we have another TV company wanting to film in the castle, I’ll take them there myself.
“It’s all good publicity and if it brings people to Hertford and they spend their money here, that can only be a good thing.
“Hertford is a fascinating place with a wealth of history which we should share with the rest of the world. I’m very proud of our town and want to show it off.”
She said the town’s new deputy clerk, Peter Butcher, was also keen to promote the town.
Australia’s 60 Minutes, a current affairs show with an audience of six million, and Germany’s public broadcaster ZDF both sought access to the castle following our stories.
Last week the Mercury reported that Channel 4 Radio and the BBC had also been given short shrift when they sought further information.
The town council said there was no official information to supply to the broadcasters as “nothing has been identified at the c.astle which can be linked to the Templars”.
Towns and cities on the Holy Grail trail have witnessed a growth in interest since the release of Dan Brown’s best-selling novel, The Da Vinci Code.