Unravelling the mystery of the Tucker Cross
Where is the Tucker Cross?
The emerald-studded 22-carat gold cross was discovered by the late diver Teddy Tucker in 1955.
He found it at the site of what is thought to be the Spanish galleon San Pedro, wrecked off Bermuda in 1594. It was originally housed at the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo and later transferred to the Bermuda Maritime Museum.
Shortly before Queen Elizabeth’s visit in 1975, it was discovered that the cross had been stolen and replaced with a replica.
There’s more than one fascinating mystery surrounding the missing Tucker Cross.
BR Bentley was intrigued the first time he learnt about the gold and emerald-encrusted artefact discovered by treasure hunter Teddy Tucker in 1955.
The cross was found to have been stolen 20 years after it was placed in a museum in Bermuda, and has never been recovered.
“Not only is there the question of where it is, there is also an empty cavity in the back of the cross,” Mr Bentley said. “No one knows what it once housed.”
His second novel, The Bermuda Key, attempts to answer this question. His first novel, The Cross, was published in 2014 and was also about the Tucker Cross.
“In my book it was a special key that fit back there, of significance to the Catholic religion,” he said.
The Bermuda Key takes readers all the way to the Vatican City in Italy.
“I did some pretty extensive research for the novels,” Mr Bentley said.
“For the first book, most of my research was in Bermuda, but this one has taken me much further afield in my travels.
“It was great fun visiting the Vatican last year. The Vatican is incredible. The affluence, history and aura of power there is incredible.”
He admitted there was no real known connection between the Tucker Cross and the Vatican.
“When I first became interested I was puzzled because the location of the Tucker Cross is considered one of the greatest mysteries in the world, and many Bermudians I talked to hadn’t heard about it.
“Then when I published The Cross there was a great outpouring from people [wondering why] they didn’t know about it and advancing different theories.”
Mr Bentley is Canadian. He worked in Bermuda’s finance industry between 2007 and 2011 before retiring to Vancouver.
His novels are fictional, although he has tried to incorporate facts to make the story interesting.
Many people have commented that the story of the Tucker Cross would make a good movie, he said, adding: “I have to agree. Maybe one day that will happen.”
He has always been a writer, saying: “These are my first novels, but I have written ever since I can remember. In my early days I wrote poetry.”
Retirement afforded him the opportunity to “really indulge [his] passion”.
“When I wrote The Cross, never having done it before, I didn’t know how it would be received by the public or critics,” he said. “It was well received. The research was fun. Sometimes it is frustrating when you can’t get what you want but it is certainly interesting.”
Mr Bentley said one of his greatest disappointments was that he never got to meet Mr Tucker.
“I finished the book in March of 2014,” he said.
“I was hoping to get back to Bermuda to talk with him but he died in November.”