Monthly Archives: August 2012

Knights Templar Famous Places

Today we really only know about a few of the most famous of Templar historic locations. At their height of wealth and power the Templar Knights held between 9,000 to 11,000 properties across all of Europe and the Holy Lands including some islands such as Cyprus in the Mediterranean.

Knights Templar Holdings in Christendom

Most of us may know about the top 10-20 places but even that might be aggressive. But there has been little research done to assist those interested in the locations of many linked Templar sites around the world.

Let’s start out our investigation by looking at specific Regions:

Outremer or the Holy Land (the Levant)

Knights Templar Holdings Outremer (Holy Land) the Levant

Jerusalem- Of course the

Templar Quarters under Solomon’s Temple Jerusalem

knights first temporary headquarters was on the Temple Mount the original site of King Solomon’s Temple.  This is where they took of residence in the former Temple Stables and legend says they began their excavations under the Temple almost immediately.

Acre- AKKO in Arabic- was the final stronghold of the Templars in the Levant/Outremer.  Their famous fortress was where they made their last stand against the Saracens before they finally retreated to their fortress on Cyprus to regroup.

The Last Remains of the Templar Towers and Castle at Acre, Israel

Atlit (also known as Pilgrims Castle)- Chateau Pelerin- lost in 1291 to the Mamluks just after the fall of ACRE.  This was the Knights Templar’s strongest fortress and it could host 4,000 knights in siege conditions.  It has a secure water source and deep excavations and a vast tunnel system.  The castle remains still stand today near the Port City of Haifa, Israel.

Atlit Castle- also called Pilgrims Castle- Haifa Israel

Chastel Blanc- Was a fortified keep that had a chapel, garrison and office quarters for the knights in the hills of

Chastel Blanc Keep 1905

Syria.  From the Keep the knights could see the Templar coastal fortresses of Tartus, the Mediterranean Sea, mounts of Lebanon, the Krak des chevalier fortress inland and Akkar to the south.  The keep had a large warning bell tower that could sound the alarm to other Templar warning posts of any invasion or approaching hostiles due to it’s commanding views in all directions.

Ruad Island- This sole island fortress in Syria gave the Knights a bridgehead and staging area to raid into Syria and especially Tortosa now called Tartus on the shore… this was the last piece of land held by the Templars in the holy land.  The knights

Arwad Castle on Ruad Island off of Tartus Syria Coast

maintained a garrison of 120, knights, 400 bowmen and several hundred infantry men on the island up until 1302.  The Muslims laid siege to the island an negotiated a surrender where safe passage was guaranteed for the surrender, but the Muslim’s dishonorably broke that negotiated cease fire by executing all the infantry and bowmen and sending the remaining Knights Templar to Cairo to be imprisoned.

Mediterranean region:

Turkey:

Old Rhodes Harbor Castle

The Templars took part in the raid and conquest of Constantinople.  Many believe to remove key artifacts and safe guard them from the eventual Muslim onslaught… more likely for their own use and knowledge.  The Templars controlled two major castles in the Southern tip of Turkey on the approach to Antioch and Aleppo.  These were Bagras Castle and Trapessac Castles.  Known as the

Grand Master Knights Templar Courtyard Rhodes

Gatehouse to the Knights Castle

Gates to Syria.  After the loss of land by the Knights Templar in the Levant (Holy Land) also known as Outremer the Knights first moved their major forces to Cyprus, but later along with other orders moved a huge contingent of knights to Rhodes in an attempt to keep their staging forces near the Holy Land.  Eventually the Knight of St. John (Hospitallers) moved their HQ to Malta and kept a major presence on Rhodes as well.  The Templars who were very aggressive castle builders fortified Rhodes and Cyprus in their belief that they would soon be reinvading the Holy Land a dream that Jacques de Molay refused to give up on up until his death.  Many of the Templar’s Governing Council had advised Jacques de Molay to establish permanent island bases rather than raise concerns over the return of the Templar forces to Christendom, where the monarchs would see their veteran knights as potential foes or even worse a possible invader trying to carve out their own kingdom from within the monarchs own territory.  The Hospitallers did indeed make their fortifications on islands such as Rhodes and

Guarding the Harbor the Castle of the Knights Templar

Malta, but the Templars remained committed to negotiating for an invasion of the Holy Land and moved many of their troops back to France.  This of course only exasperated their relationship with King Phillip IV and led to the eventual coup within the Vatican that ended with the Templars disbandment by the Church.  The fortifications on Rhodes such as Lindos Castle show the prowess of the Templar Castle schemes and their desire to protect their harbors for commerce and transportation of their knights and logistics similar to their fortifications at La Rochelle France.

Approaching the Grand Masters Castle Rhodes

Trapessac Castle near Kirikhan/Hatay province Turkey

Cyprus-

Kolossi Castle Cyprus near Limasol

Kolossi Castle another heavily fortified Keep with castle curtain walls around it just 9 miles from the Limasol Cyprus.  This served as the operational headquarters for the Knights Templar in the region of the holy land after they were pushed out of the holy land by the muslims.  Jacques de Molay kept his residence here much of the time as he envisioned building support to reinvade the holy land and retake the Holy City and Christian heritage.

Croatia:

Vrana Croatia- Along the Dalmatian coast the Knights Templar and the Benedictine Monks had established a fortified castle high above the village and the Benedictine Monks Chapel in the town to project power into the region.  The Knights Hospitallers were given this property after the betrayal of the Knights Templar by the Catholic Church in 1312.

Vranna Castle Croatia

Italy: Rome the site known as “the hole of Rome” was originally a Knights Templar fortified castle and monastery until 1312 when it was forcibly given to the Knights Hospitaller and then later the Knights of Malta.

The Fortified Village of Castignano is part of the route to Jerusalem by the Crusaders.  The Templars built a commandery here and legend has it they buried part of their treasure somewhere nearby this village or within the old fortified keep and village. The villagers still have a festival of the Templars every year.

The Castello della Magione (also Magione di San Giovanni al Ponte or Spedale di San Giovanni in Gerusalemme alla Magione) is a medieval castle in Poggibonsi (province of Siena, central Italy). It is an example of a medieval “Mansio” (residence) that belonged to the Knights Templar. The castle includes the ancient church and the “spedale” (hotel) for the pilgrims in transit to Rome on the Via Francigena. The complex is near the ancient crossing of the Via Francigena over the Staggia River, near the Bonizio bridge, now destroyed.

Switzerland:

The current Knights Templar Headquarters are in Geneva.  This country befits and holds similar many of the most common and closely guarded values of the original Knights Templar.  The oldest abbey established in Switzerland is Sion, in the Valais Canton.  There is a twin peaks overlooking the town, meaning new Jerusalem or holy place in the Alps.  The twin mountains house the cathedral of Sion and the Castle Tourbillion.  These date back to the beginning times of Swiss Confederation formation around 1291.  A time when the Templars were known to be looking to establish a European mainland stronghold outside of the Holy Land as they were being pushed out of the Levant by the Muslims and the Christians had lost their stomach to fight on any longer.

These are suggestions that certain historians and conspiracists alike deem to be true that suggest that the Knights Templar did in fact form Switzerland.  The evidence and likelihood seem pretty plausible to me.  The county of Valais in the city of Sion has a particular Templar tie in the founding history.

Here in Sion, the Valais Canton of Switzerland there are two massive castles on two twin peaks.  Tourbillion and Valere Castles each tower high above the old city.  Rumors have always floated that this is where the Templars originally set up shop after their flight from France.

Twin Castle Valere and Tourbillion in Sion Switzerland

Castle Chateau Valere Sion Switzerland

– In the history of the first Swiss Cantons there are tales of white coated knights mysteriously appearing and helping the locals to gain their independence against foreign domination.

– The founding of the early Switzerland pinpoints exactly to the period when the Templars were being persecuted in France by King Philip IV of France.

– Switzerland is directly to the east of France and would have been particularly easy for fleeing Templar brothers from the whole region of France to get to.

–The Templars were one of the earliest known banking systems in early day Europe. King Phillip in fact was deeply in debt to the Templars.

–Not only were The Templars were big into banking, but also farming, engineering, and clock making (of an early type). These same aspects can be seen as importance to the commencement and gradual forming of the separate states that would eventually be Switzerland.

– The Swiss don’t really know the ins and outs of their earliest history (or suggest that they don’t.)

– They are famous for being secretive and independent as were the Templars.

–The famous Templar Cross is incorporated into the flags of many of the Swiss Cantons. As are other emblems, such as keys and lambs, that were particularly important to the Knights Templar.

–The Swiss were and are famous for their religious tolerance – and so were the Templars.

Hungary:

The Order of the Knights Templar appeared here, in Hungary in the second half of the XII century. The supposition, that knights settled down in our country in 1147, when the crusaders of Louis VII, French king passed through Hungary , is unproved. The first house of the Templars, which could be proved with sources, was the monastic quarters of Vrána near the coast of the Adriatic . Namely, the Benedictine monastery of Saint Gregory in Vrána belonged to the Templars already in 1169. After that, in the last decades of the XII century, the Templars appeared in Hungary again and again. They got further landed properties, monastic quarters, for example the city of Zengg , with the church of Saint George (between 1172–1185), Boisce (1186), and the list does not end here. From the beginning of the XIII century, the Order started to spread, relatively, rapidly in the Kingdom, which, above all thanks to the donations of our kings – Emery and Andrew II –, who supported the ideal of crusaders. (Both of them declared under oath that they led the crusade, and Andrew kept his promise, he participated in the Fifth Crusade in 1217.)

Typical Templar fortified Commandry tower/Keep

According to the sources, known at present, until the abolition of the order in the XIV century, the Order of Knights Templar owned fourteen monastic quarters (Boisce, Béla, Dubica, Esztergom, Gecske, Glogonca, Gora, Keresztény, Nekcse, Okriszentlo1rinc, Szentmárton, Vrána, Zablata, Zengg) and almost 50 other landed properties (area, temple, castle, city, house, fish pond, etc.) in the Hungarian Kingdom in the Middle Ages. This number is absolute value, of course, so it shows that the Order had gathered this fortune altogether during the one and half century, which they spent in Hungary . In comparison with other areas in Western Europe , this is very little. At the time of the dissolution, for example, the Order had 40-40 monastic quarters in England and in a province of France , Provance, whereas, in Aragon and Catalonia , it had 32 altogether. According to our data, the number of monastic quarters in Hungary is almost one-third of the quarters of the Order in western Europe..

It is evident from the list that the quarters and holdings of the Order in Hungary were, above all, in the southern provinces of the country – in the areas, which were called at that time Slavonia and Croatia .

Vranna Castle Croatia Coast

Poland:

The Templars were given the area now known as Chwarzczany and built a fortified chapel there near the border of Poland and Eastern Germany.  The knights maintained a small garrison to control the agricultural region and the ten villages associated with this commandery.

Czech Republic:

Prague- Celetna Lane- the Royal Way… The house At the Temple (No.27) stands at the place, where used to be a church of Knights Templar in the 13 th century. The street, that goes through the house, is therefore called “Templova”. After the Order of Knights Templar was abolished in 1312, the members used to meet secretly in the basement of the house. A stone altar of the order was discover there later. A hospital with a church was built there instead and the building finally became a dwelling house in 1784.

Just 3 hours southeast of Prague lies the Templar Winery of Templarske sklepy (Templar Wine Cellars) which  is associated with the arrival of a mysterious clan of the Templar Knights which came to the region Cejkovice about 1230 AD. The first written evidence of the clan’s existence has been recorded in 1248. Along with building the Templar Knights’ mansion, huge wine cellars have been built in dimensions unmatched in our region in the 13th century. A new epoch of wine growing has begun in the region and its vicinity thanks to the Templar agricultural knowledge probably being brought by way of their French wine knowledge. The region has been ruled by many different Dynasties and Orders over the past centuries such as the Noblemen of Lipa, the Vickovci Dynasty, the Jesuits, and the Habsburgs.

Denmark:

Bornholm Castle  and churches is Located 40 kilometers southeast of the southern tip of Sweden but territorially part of Denmark, the island of Bornholm is one of the oldest visible rocks in the world. Formed through volcanic activity more than 1700 million years ago, the small granite island has an area of approximately 600 square kilometers (230 square miles). Its rolling hills are covered with a patchwork of farms, pastures and beautiful forests, the coasts are graced by sandy beaches and rocky cliffs and its traditional villages are home to some of the friendliest people in Europe.

Templar Round Church Bornholm Island

Archaeological excavation reveals the island to have been settled since at least 3600 BC, when numerous dolmens and Neolithic mounds began to be constructed. A majority of the mounds show evidence of having been used for burials while others, lacking burial remains, indicate possible astronomical and ceremonial use. Scattered here and there across the island are many boulders and flat, glacier-scoured rock surfaces that are engraved with mysterious symbols and geometric forms, small cup-shaped depressions, and carvings of ships. Conventional archaeological theory, unable to date the engravings or explain their function, attributes them to Bronze Age inhabitants (1800-500 BC). These rock engravings may, however, date from a far earlier age and may have functioned as sea and star maps for ancient mariners.

In medieval times, the island was known as Burgunderland or Burgunderholm, from

Hamershus Castle bornholm Island

which the present name derives (holm is an old Danish word for island). During the transition to Christianity between 1050 and 1150 AD, around 40 runic stones were erected around the island and today most of these are found in the vicinity of churches and old bridges where they have often been reused as building materials.

Clearly the most famous of the ancient constructions of Bornholm Island are its medieval round churches. The current hypothesis among historians is that these structures were not intended solely for religious practices but that they also had a defensive function. Given their assumed construction period in the 12th century, this makes seems to make sense as the Baltic region was then subjected to near continuous raids by Slavonic pirates from the island of Rugen, off the German coast. Originally the four churches had flat roofs so that they could be defended from any angle, and the cone-shaped roofs were not added until several centuries later. Upon deeper consideration, however, the idea that the churches were used for defensive purposes makes little sense when one considers the limited space within the churches. Each of the four round churches, except for Nyker, have three floors but the lower floor has limited space because of the enormous central pillar and the upper two floors are too small and cramped to accommodate more than a few dozen people. Additionally, if places of refuge were needed during times of attack, it would have been far more logical for the population to have gathered within the fortresses of Gamleborg and Lilleborg, which were vastly more secure and defensible during the time of the supposed pirate raids.

There are still more mysteries to these four round churches that cannot be explained by the conventional historical interpretation. What was the purpose of the round shape and from where did it architecturally originate? While there are scores of other churches dating from the same period of time throughout Denmark and other parts of Scandinavia, there are no other churches with the distinctive round shape of the Bornholm buildings. Equally mysterious is the location of the four round churches relative to one another, to the geography of Bornholm and to the nearby islet of Christianso (12.5 miles northeast of Bornholm). In other words, who really built these churches and for what purpose?

To find answers to these questions two researchers looked beyond the conventional historical interpretation and were repeatedly led to the medieval religious order of the Knights Templar. Writing in their book, The Templars’ Secret Island, Erling Haagensen and Henry Lincoln present evidence linking the four round churches of Bornholm with the controversial and much misunderstood religious brotherhood of the Templars. According to these authors the location of the four round churches of Osterlars, Nylars, Olsker and Nyker, indicates a complex but beautiful pattern of landscape geometry incorporating three, four, five, six and seven sided figures. In addition, the round churches reveal the key to further landscape geometry, which is linked to the other medieval churches on Bornholm and nearby Christianso, and is also mirrored in the extraordinary landscape geometry of Rennes le Chateau in southern France.

Historically it is known that the original nine founders of the Templars spent nine years secretly excavating hidden passages beneath the Temple of Solomon on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, after which they unexplainably became immensely wealthy. What did the nine Templar knights find; great wealth, objects of mysterious power, texts of secret esoteric teachings, or all these things? What was the connection between the Templar knights and the explosively rapid development of the Cistercian monastic order that has so many fascinating connections with early Christianity in Scandinavia and Bornholm? And, if vast treasures were discovered beneath the Solomon’s Temple, where were those treasures then hidden away? Geo-radar surveys conducted at the Osterlars church on Bornholm and the church of Rennes le Chateau have revealed what seem to be previously unknown crypts beneath the church floors. Did the Templars store their treasures at these sites?

Haagensen and Lincoln have done pioneering work in the analysis of Bornholm’s sacred geography but the authors believe that deeper and more esoteric secrets remain to be discovered. The celestial alignments of the island’s Neolithic constructions and the round churches need to be studied in more detail (for example the upper windows in the Osterlars church were positioned to be in alignment with the sunrises of the winter and summer solstices). Additionally, ancient pagan symbols encoded in carvings and frescos found in the four round churches and also at Poulsker church in south Bornholm need to be examined with a broader knowledge than that of the conventional historical approach.

France:

Paris Temple- the main strong hold of Templar power and diplomacy in Europe up until the betrayal and capture of their knights by King Phillip IV on October 13, 1307.  Remnants of the temple still lie along the Seine river today.  You can see the Templar plague documenting the burning of the last public grand master Jacques de Molay on the bridge over the Seine that is placed on the Ille de La Cite in view of Notre Dame Cathedral.

Chateau les Rennes Area has the village of La Couvertoirade is located on the Larzac plateau. This well-preserved fortified town was owned by the Knights Templar, under orders from the Commandery ofSainte-Eulalie, from the twelfth century. The Templars built the fortress there during the 12th and 13th centuries; its two upper floors have since been removed. Following their dissolution in 1312, the Templars’ property in the causses was taken by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem who were responsible for building the curtain wall at La Couvertoirade between 1439 and 1450.

Commandry at Arville in Central France and today there is a museum on the crusades there.

Commandry at Coulommiers is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France in north-central France. It is also the name of a cheese of the Brie family produced around that city. The Templars controlled this area for the agricultural value it could add to their vast estates.

Chateau de Chinon Castle- is a castle located on the bank of the Vienne river in Chinon, France. It was founded byTheobald I, Count of Blois.  It was here that King Phillip IV imprisoned most of the Templar Knights, including Jacques de Molay until they were tried and sentenced and many executed.Chateau Chinon Tower where Jacques de Molay was imprisoned

La Rochelle-The Knights Templar had a strong presence in La Rochelle since before the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine, who exempted them from duties and gave them mills in her 1139 Charter.[4] La Rochelle was for the Templars their largest base on the Atlantic Ocean,[5]and where they stationed their main fleet.[6] From La Rochelle, they were able to act as intermediaries in trade between England and the Mediterranean.[5] There is a legend that the Templars used the port of La Rochelle to escape from France with the fleet of 18 ships which had brought Jacques de Molay from Cyprus to La Rochelle. The fleet allegedly left laden with knights and treasures just before the issue of the warrant for the arrest of the Order in October 1307,[7][8] and the legend continues that the Templars allegedly even left for America from this port.  The Templars maintained a large fortified castle with port access and their own fortified wharfs here.  This gave them direct access to the Bay of Biscayne and the North Atlantic.

Spain:

Segovia is a city in Spain, the capital of Segovia Province in the autonomous community of Castile and León. It is situated north of Madrid, 30 minutes by high speed train.  The Segovia Cathedral and Templar Castle are major landmarks as well as the Castle of Alacazar perched high above the village.  The ancient Roman Aquaduct system supplied the vast agricultural region with water.  Segovia sits in a deep ravine like a fairy tale village and just appears out of nowhere as you approach on the plateau from Madrid.  The Templars used this as a major power base in this region of Spain.

Ponferrada is also noted for its Castillo de los Templarios, a Templar castle which covers approximately 16,000 square meters. In 1178, Ferdinand II of León donated the city to the Templar order for protecting the pilgrims on theWay of St. James who passed through El Bierzo in their road to Santiago de Compostela.

The castle hosted the Knights Templar’s Grand Master of Castille. However, the Templars were only able to enjoy the use of their fortress for about twenty years before the order was disbanded and its properties confiscated in 1311. Several noble houses fought over the assets until Alfonso XI alloted them to the Count of Lemos in 1340. Finally theCatholic Monarchs incorporated Ponferrada and its castle into the Crown in 1486. As with many other historical sites in Europe, many of the blocks that at one point formed the walls of the castle were removed and used in local construction projects. Extensive restoration works are ongoing.

Peniscola, often called the “Gibraltar of Valencia,” is a fortified seaport, with a lighthouse, built on a rocky headland about 220 feet (67 m) high, and joined to the mainland by only a narrow strip of land (Peníscola is a local evolution of Latin peninsula). The history of the place goes back to the Iberians. Later the town became Phoenician, namedTyreche, then Greek, under the name Chersonesos (meaning “peninsula”). It was next captured by theCarthaginians under Hamilcar Barca; legend has it that this is the place where he made his son Hannibal swear an oath that he would never be a friend of Rome.[1]

The present castle was built by the Knights Templar between 1294 and 1307.[2] In the fourteenth century it was garrisoned by the Knights of Montesa, and in 1420 it reverted to the Crown of Aragon.

Miravet is a municipality in the Comarca of Ribera d’Ebre in the province of Tarragona, in Catalonia, Spain.

The village and the caste was founded by the Moors and rebuilt by the Knights Templar and transformed into a fortress-monastery, after the conquest of 1153. It is considered to be the largest fortified complex in Catalonia, and one of the best examples of Romanesque, religious and military, architecture of the Templar order in the whole Western world.

Portugal:

The town of Tomar was born inside the walls of the Convento de Cristo, constructed under the orders of Gualdim de Pais, the fourth grand master of the Knights Templar in the late 12th century.

Tomar is one of Portugal’s historical jewels and more significantly was the last Templar town to be commissioned for construction. Tomar was especially important in the 15th century when it was a centre of Portuguese overseas expansion under Henry the Navigator, the Grand Master of the Order of Christ, successor organization to the Templars in Portugal.

Tomar Portugal

The Castle of Almourol is medieval castle, located on a small islet in the middle of the Tagus River, in the civil parishof Praia do Ribatejo, 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the municipal seat of Vila Nova da Barquinha, in the Portuguese Centre Region. The castle was part of the defensive line controlled by the Knights Templar, and a stronghold used during the Portuguese Reconquista.

Sweden:

Skara- Home of Arn Magnusson a legendary Knights Templar who returned from the crusades to assist in the formation of the country of Sweden, as depicted in the movie, Arn-The Knights Templar made in Sweden.

Today’s cathedral is a mighty Gothic edifice built with sandstone from the mountains of  Västergötland. One remnant of the eleventh century is the unique crypt that served as the last resting place for the first bishops. Fires and vandalisation have necessitated several renovations of the church. The collection of seals belonging to medieval bishops and the lovely stained glass windows contribute to the church atmosphere. However, the cathedral no longer stands on the city’s highest point. Some 900 years later, the city has ‘caught up’, its streets and squares now resting on an almost three metre thick layer of cultural artefacts and
old trash. It allows us to learn much about how our medieval predecessors lived. Today’s street grid is in much the same as then and street names like Tullportagatan and Gråbrödragatan (Tollgate and Grey Friar streets) reveal something of the city’s past. The early history of Skara is described at the Västergötland Museum exhibition named “Medieval Skara”. The focus is on Skara’s period of greatness when the city was a centre of power during the medieval formation of the Svea Kingdom. There is also an exhibition about Arn.In the early Middle Ages, Skara was a centre for both church and state. It was a ‘metropolis’ by the standards of the day boasting some 700 inhabitants in a city surrounded by a high fence made up of posts, wooden poles and earthen walls. The low slung residences pushed up against workshops, cowstalls and food storage sheds. People lived on top of each other, awash in the stench of dung and waste. The difference between city and country was small – everyone had animals and raised vegetables on small plots. Commerce and trades flourished alongside this cultivation. Skara was both a meeting and a market place. On market days a motley mix of merchants, farmers and craftsmen peopled the square, along with monks, nuns, ecclesiastics, children, jesters and animals. Foreign songs and new instruments penetrated the murmur of the madding crowd providing proof of the international trade and contact with the continent via the port of Lödöse on the Götaälv river.
The Skara cathedral stood on the city’s highest point. Its spires towering over the city marked the city centre and served as landmark for visitors. It is the year of our Lord 1150.While praying in the cathedral Arn’s mother Lady Sigrid has a vision directing her to donate the Varnhem estate to the Cistercian Order.
Norway:
The Knights Templar may have had many connections with their northern allies.  It is apparent that many Templars were involved in this region.  Some of their works could include the Castle  Bergenhus in Norway.

Bergenhus Castle Norway

England:

London Temple Church-The Temple Church is a late-12th-century church in London located between Fleet Street and the River Thames, built for and by the Knights Templar as their English headquarters. In modern times, two Inns of Court (Inner Temple and Middle Temple) both use the church. It is famous for its effigy tombs and for being a round church. It was heavily damaged during the Second World War but has been largely restored. The area around the Temple Church is known as the Temple and nearby is Temple Bar and Temple tube station.

Garway Temple in Herefordshire-The earliest record of a monastery on the site is in the seventh century, but it is with the arrival of the Knights Templar in 1180 that the history of the church at Garway becomes clearer. The Knights Templar built a stone hut in honour of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem Garway Church

The excavated foundations of part of the round church can be seen clearly on the north side of the present church, and the original carved chancel arch survives. Most of the current church, which is no longer round, is probably 13th century including the massive defensible tower which was once separate from the main church building. There are numerous carvings both inside and outside the building including a green man, a sword believed to be Templar, a fish and a snake.

Royston Cave Herefordshire- This was believed to have been a secret Templar meeting place after the Templars were placed on the most wanted list by the English and French Crowns.  The cave decorations are believed to have been created by the Templars to tell a tale of their history and knowledge of the ancient mysteries.

The carvings in the Cave include four saints. Below the original entrance is St. Christopher, patron saint of travellers, with the child Jesus on his shoulder and staff in hand. Moving to the left high up on the west part of the wall is St. Katherine. Farther to the left is St. Lawrence who was martyred on a gridiron. Next is the figure with drawn sword which might be St. Michael or possibly St. George, patron saint of England who in symbolic terms saved the lady (the church) from the dragon (the devil or the oppressor). St George’s sword points to what might be the twelve apostles with Judas the small figure at the back towards the right-hand end of the row.

The large panel on the left of St. Christopher represents the Holy Sepulchre having a damaged figure of Christ awaiting the resurrection above the large niche on the left. Mary Magdalene, or an angel on the right-hand side sits on the stone rolled away from the entrance. The dove and the hand above represent the Holy Spirit. The niche below probably held a lamp.

The long row of figures below includes both men and women and although none can be identified those marked with crosses are possibly saints and those with hearts are martyrs. The two small figures below St. Katherine may be (although this is by no means certain) Richard I (Lion Heart) and his Queen Berengaria whose crown is shown floating above her head as she was never actually crowned Queen. The long vertical cross on their left is a branched or floriate cross and represents the high altar. Although currently identified as a cross there is a possibility that it represents a sword.

Beneath St. Lawrence is a figure with upraised arms that has been variously identified as King William of Scotland and King David. Interestingly, a similar figure appears at the head of a 13th century illuminated manuscript of Psalm 69, now in Trinity College Library, Cambridge, where King David is shown rising from the water. Psalm 69 is a plea for help and a lament about being misunderstood.

Elsewhere in the Cave are Calvary scenes with Mary and John and a group believed to show the Holy Family but uncertainty surrounds the remaining figures in the Cave. There are several large niches among the carvings, which may have been for relics or lights.

Glastonbury Abbey- Somerset County-

The Kolbrin Bible is truly special it is a copy of the Kolbrin from the version from India, where Christ is believed to have traveled and preached during his 18 years not mentioned in the bible. It was originally called the Bronze Book which survived the burning of the Glastonbury Abbey in 1184 AD. That is critical, because the Glastonbury Abbey is located squarely on the ground that was gifted to Joseph of Arimathea and the Virgin Mary by Christian King Avaragus after the crucifixion of Christ. The family of Avaragus launched all our western versions of Christianity, from Catholicism to Protestant churches.  The Templars gave special credence to the importance of this Abbey.

The Glastonbury Abbey site became a sovereign nation almost until the time of the burning of the Abbey. This is where Joseph of Arimathea began building a library which eventually survives in the form of Cambridge and Oxford to this day. Edward the First of England tried to destroy this document for several reasons.

Though no one can really know his mind set, we can presume that this version of the Bible challenged the Catholic Bible as being the only word of God. It also told a much broader story of the creation of the earth and Adam and Eve than the Bible and therefore was considered blasphemy.

The Kolbrin may not mimic our versions of the Bible, but it is the farthest thing from blasphemy. This is the surviving document taken from the original tales told by the Virgin Mary and Joseph of Arimathea. The story of the creation of the world and the people who were here when Adam and Eve came to the earth is vindicated by modern geology, astronomy, scientific theory and other surviving manuscripts from all four corners of the world.

Some believe the lost Bible of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel who were captured by the Assyrians in the 8th Century BC and taken all along the length of Europe into Britain before Joseph of Arimathea returned with the Virgin Mary. Their story is clear in this document and extends backwards in time to the exodus from Egypt before the tribes were lost. That perspective is priceless beyond measure. The moral codes of this book are worth the effort.

The Astronomy is worth the effort. The anthropology and science are worth the effort. As an added treat the Kolbrin gives us more about the life of Jesus himself. We must be careful to understand that over a thousand years of copying a document that the manuscript was influenced by various groups of people, not the least of which were the original Knights Templar, who believed that Jesus was wonderful, but some speculate that they did not believe he was the Messiah.

Remember that the burning of the Glastonbury Abbey came at a particularly interesting time. This was the time of Robin Hood and the Knights Templar at their best. The abbey is said to be the burial place for Joseph of Arimathea, the Virgin Mary and King Arthur.

Templecombe- A painting discovered in 1945 by Mrs Molly Drew in the roof of an outhouse of a cottage in Templecombe, England, has been the subject of various speculations. It has been on display in St Mary’s Church in the village since 1956 (the only Templar-related site to have survived there), and has been carbon-dated to 1280 AD.Some people believe that it is a Templar-commissioned image of either Jesus Christ or the decapitated head of John the Baptist,although it is without a Halo. The painting is best known as possibly being a copy of the image on the Turin Shroud, and therefore evidence of the Turin Shroud being in the possession of the Knights Templar during its “hidden years”.

Wales:

The village of Templeton may derive from “The Templar’s Farm” or (“Tun”). It is possible that the Knights Templar had some form of religious house and small fortification here before their possessions were taken over by the Knights Hospitallers at the direction of the Catholic Church. In 1282 Templeton was referred to as “Villa temparil” which means the “Vil” or settlement of the Templars and “Villa Templarorium Campestris” – the vil of the Templars in the fields. In 1283 there was also a reference to “Burgesses”. These burgesses were “de vento” – “of the wind” meaning they were not property owners within the settlement but were permitted to come in and out of trade on a regular basis.  Templeton is in the region of Pembrooke, which William Marshall, a known Templar supporter was the Earl of Pembrooke and has a major castle at Pembrooke to project power in his realm.  He of course was the founder and promoter of democracy in England with his support for the Magna Carte.  It was this idea that many believe inspired the Templars to establish similar concepts in Switzerland and the America’s.

Cornwall:

St. Catherine’s Church is located in the tiny hamlet of Temple, on Bodmin Moor, and stands on the site of what was the earlier Templar chapel. It formed part of the medieval Preceptory of Trebeigh and was a lonely, remote church on desolate Bodmin Moor, far away from other Templar Preceptories. It was not known to be particularily prosperous; it most likely was a key training centre for Cornish knights.

Scotland:

Temple at Midlothian was a small area in the region of Edinburgh.  The Templars had land holdings here established by Hugh de Payens himself around 1127 AD.

In 1127, Hugues de Payens, the first Grand Master met with David I in Scotland, and was granted the lands of Balantrodach. In 1129, the Council of Troyes formally recognized the Order. Balantrodach became their principal Templar seat and Preceptory in Scotland until the suppression of the order between 1307 and 1312.

As Temple, being just to the South of the Firth of Forth, was an area of the country occupied by England at this time, Knights were prosecuted, but not all were found guilty. Nearby to the North, politics was even more on their side — Robert the Bruce had been excommunicated, and so was not required to follow papal commands, and at war with England, it has been suggested he may have been welcoming to powerful and desperate allies.

Following 1312 and the Papal Bull (edict) entitled Ad providam, King Edward II of England abolished the Templars in both England and Scotland. According to the edict, all Knight Templar property was to be seized and handed over to the control of the Knights Hospitaller, who had a preceptory at Torphichen, although North of the Firth of ForthRobert the Bruce, being under interdict at the time, was reluctant to do so.

Many Templar Knights may have assimilated within the Hospitallers. But it’s not necessarily the case that the Templars everywhere, immediately ceased to be. Indeed, North of the Firth, in Scotland the Order combined with the Hospitallers and continued as The Order of St John and the Temple until the reformation.

“Legend has it that treasure of the Knights Templar was removed secretly from Paris, to be hidden in Temple. A local legend states: ‘Twixt the oak and the elmtree/You will find buried the millions free.’ French legends about the Templar treasure apparently also state that the treasure was taken to Scotland, with the knights landing on the Isle of May, the first island they would encounter in the Firth of Forth. Geographically, this would take them to the mouth of the river Esk, which could take them on to Rosslyn…”

Rosslin Chapel and Castle-Roslin Castle (sometimes spelt Rosslyn) is a partially ruined castle near the village of Roslin in Midlothian,Scotland. It is located around 9 miles south of Edinburgh, on the north bank of the North Esk, only a few hundred metres from the famous Rosslyn Chapel. This is where the Sinclair family is believed to have commissioned the Templar history in symbolism within the ornate carvings in the Chapel.

Roslin Castle as it looked originally

There has been a castle on the site since the early 14th century, when the Sinclair family, Earls of Caithness and Barons of Roslin, fortified the site, although the present ruins are of slightly later date. Following destruction during the War of the Rough Wooing of 1544, the castle was rebuilt. This structure, built into the cliffs of Roslin Glen, has remained at least partially habitable ever since. The castle is accessed via a high bridge, which replaced an earlier drawbridge. Roslin was renovated in the 1980s and now serves as holiday accommodation.  Legend has it that the Sinclairs were direct relatives of the Templar founder Hugh de Payens.

Ireland:

Clontarf Castle, Dublin-The first castle on the grounds, of which no trace remains, was built in 1172 by either Hugh de Lacy, Lord of Meath, or his tenant Adam de Phepoe. Clontarf was subsequently held by the Knights Templar and, after their suppression in 1308, passed to the Knights Hospitaller, until they were in turn deprived of it at theDissolution of the Monasteries. The last prior, John Rawson was created Viscount Clontarf in 1541 in return for surrendering the castle and its lands to the crown.

Iceland:

The theory is that the Knights Templar came to Iceland in 1217 to find a
hiding place for their treasure and that Snorri Sturluson, the author of
Prose Edda and other mediaeval scripts, helped them create the underground
dome in Iceland’s central highlands.  A group of scientists believe the Holy Grail and other lost Templar objects, which according to Christian mythology were guarded by the Knights Templar, may
be located in the rural district Hrunamannahreppur in southwest Iceland.  This could also have been a stop over on their route around to North America, following the trail of the Vikings.

North America:

Trinity Church, New York.  Long believed to have been built using Templar funds and hiding clues to Templar investments in the new country and the support of a Republic built on democracy and freedom from religious and monarch persecutions.

Kensington Rune stone- in Minnesota is fabled to have been a Templar marker left on one of their early journeys from the north of Canada and the Hudson bay region.

Oak Island in Nova Scotia rumored to have been a Templar hiding spot for centuries now.

Touro Tower in Rhode Island is thought by some have been a templar shore based marker for early explorations of the new America region by Templar explorers.

Now once we have built this proper very high level listing you can begin to see just how much influence these knights and their collaborative collective of wealth truly had in those nearly two centuries of power and sway.

What could have been the Secret the Knights Templar Discovered?

Have you ever wondered what would or could have been so profound that it set the Knights following Sir Hugh de Payens on a different and vastly different course than all the orders created during and around the Crusades during the Medieval Ages?

It has fascinated me for years… I have read the books that speculate on all kinds of things from the Holy Grail to the Ark of the Covenant.  Maybe the lost writings of either Jesus or others that lived with him or were around him during those times over 2,000 years ago.  Something that would or might take the Church scholars by surprise maybe even fly in the face of the current Church dogma?

I think whatever it was it was more than something that could make them materially rich…. that just does not make sense to me.  Some think that this was all profit driven and that the Templars were actually just in the pursuit of cash and riches… not me.

That theory plays well with those that think they may have found some relic or mystical formula for alchemy to help them make non-precious metals into GOLD.  Some have speculated that Hugh found the elixir or ultimate holy grail… the Fountain of eternal Youth…. something that everyone would want….  Again, I doubt it.

Whatever it was it was so powerful that his own Liege Lord the Count of Champagne joined the order and truly the Servant became the Master.  This was just unheard of during those days of aristocracy, title and position.  No, it had to be something fantastic but profound and life changing.

I also think it directly tied them to the Call of Service by Christ.  They felt they were the agents of Christ himself on a mission to bring peace and christianity to the region and all others.

The banking and commerce activities of the Knights Templar were the methods by which they raised the monies to conduct their mission not just build their wealth for the sake of stockpiling funds… they saw this banking and commerce system as an infrastructure to bring about profitable peaceful travel and trade in a safer environment and with middle managers that could be trusted for the utmost confidence in getting your funds back and in not betraying you in order to take your possessions.

Whatever they discovered the world has been curious for the past 900 years.  Discovering that secret has become a quest of enlightenment for many of us.  Personally I believe the answer may lie in something that is a hybrid of all these theories.

Whatever it has it caused Abbott Bernard de Clairvaux to champion this order for the rest of his life and call upon the Church of Rome and the Vatican to give them special powers that no other order was given… their own clergy, they paid no taxes or tithes to the Church or any other ruler.  They traveled across boundaries and borders at their will… and only answered to their Grand Master and he to the Pope himself.  They invested in the most formidable fighting force of the day… the Special Forces, SEALs and Rangers rolled into one unit with the power of a heavy M1 Abrams Tank Unit crashing into a ill-prepared enemy.  They’re appearance alone on the battlefield scared their opponents.  They fought in the toughest situations to the last man in many cases and did not retreat unless they were ordered to do so.  They were many times the point of the spear, the flanking and rear guards of the crusader armies.  They invented the term Shock and AWE.

All this because they found something that caused men to know they were special.  So what was it?  We may never know or we may come to know about this yet.  Let’s be hopeful.  Cheers!

 

 

Could You Be a Knight Today?

In this hectic world we live in how many of you have thought about the virtues and convictions of being a Knight?  It would mean looking at all situations from a different perspective.  A perspective of service to others, intolerance for injustice and standing against inequities even if the crowd doesn’t.  How many of you could make such a living conviction today I wonder?  How you handle adversity is the mark of your character.  Some place great verbal strength in their convictions but when challenged to live those conviction and stand for their stated values and live within their moral compass, they shirk their duties and hide in the shadows hoping others did not see them in the crowd.  This is not the mark of a true Knight.  Yet, I believe that we can and should live our lives with the conviction of being a Knight.  Someone others look to for strength and resolve and confidence that they will do what is right even at their own peril.  Most cannot live up to that standard when their valor and honor is put to the true test of unintended consequences and unforeseen problems that might cause them economic or social status harm.  It would be a far better place if we could find a few Knights and Dames that would lead us during these troublesome times.  Do the things required to fix some of the wrongs and short circuited decisions that have been made that have created an oppressive economic and socially stranded future for some many.  Knights are not about hand outs they are about empowering others to do for themselves and know that those that oppress us will be met on the field by those that will not tolerate such tyrants.  Today our social and government system has created an environment that has lawfully allowed our capabilities to be diminished and our voice to be squelched.  It is time for a few Knights and Dames to stand up for chivalric based values.  I am so tired of our moral compass being whatever is best for someone rather than giving them the advice to live by their decisions and stand for their convictions and commitments.  Knights were taught to be selfless in their stand against injustice and oppression to the point of their own peril and many times death in battle.  How many of us would take such stands today if our own lives lay in the balance?  I am not talking about being a soldier but rather standing for something that may isolate or make you unpopular.  I hope you will at least consider this topic and decide to take action and stand for chivalric values and get a moral backbone instead of going along with whatever is popular.

Veristas vos Liberabit (The Truth Shall Set You Free)

Knights Templar Tour Interest?

For some time now I have been debating on whether or not to put together a tour of the significant historical places that I find have a Templar history either direct or indirect to the past and possibly even present day Templar influences.  This would be a tour of Europe and the Holy Land for the most part.

While I did the research on the Knights Templars for my two fictional books, “The Theoretical History of the Knights Templar Post 1307″ due out later this year and the fiction thriller adventure novel, “The 9th Templar,” I found so many interesting facts and legends woven into the fabric of the Templar lore.  It made me start to wonder if setting up a series of at least   planned tour circuit to explore these possibilities would be of interest to others?  I began to explore where I would start the tour and where we would end the tour.

I believe the Tour should start in Jerusalem because that is where the Templars were given their birthright by King Baldwin and later the Pope to commence their mission.  It would of course include the Battle of Hattin and the major citidals of Acre and other Templar strongholds in the region.  Next it would hop to Cyprus, where the Templars were gifted the island from King Richard and it was later their base of operations when they were driven from the holy land by the Saracens.  From here we would stop in Turkey to visit Constantinople and the ancient city where some believe the Templars acquired some of their additional secrets when the Crusaders sacked it during the 4th Crusade.

Next we go to Venice, the home of many of the Templar trading, commerce and shipping interests.  From here we travel to  Switzerland to see where some believe the Templars went to form their new community and then a country based on their own belief systems and things they held important such as secrecy and banking.  We will travel by train through Austria and the Swiss mountain passes to the oldest democracy on the earth, Switzerland. Many believe it was the Templar influence that created the idea for a mandatory army of everyone to be well-trained to defend against invaders.  This led to the defeat of the Austrian King Leopold in 1314 by peasants against his well-organized and heavily armed army of professional soldiers at the battle of Mortgarten.  We will visit Sion to see where many think much Templar influence may have settled.  Then onto Geneva to see the Templar influence on banking.

From here we travel to the South of France. Then on around to the Cathar region where the Templars had strongholds surrounding Chateau Rennes les Chateau the village of many mysteries. Then to Avignon where the French Pope sold out the Templars (Clement V).  We will depart France and cross the Pyrenees Mountains to Spain and Portugal to see where the Templars took refuge and reformed after the 1307 arrests.  This calls for visits around Segovia Spain, Almoural Castle, and other Templar castles and then on to Portugal to see Tomar and the bustling City of Lisbon.  From here we would head North again to France to the birthplace of many of the Templar founders.

We would visit several Templar strongholds and cathedrals near Paris, including Notre Dame, the original site of the Temple of Paris and the site of the burning of Jacques de Molay in Paris and then onto La Rochelle, where the Templar Fleet was said to have sailed from with the treasury, secret relics, and ancient mysteries.   From here we travel to Mont St. Michel the monastery that some believe the Templar fleet stopped and took refuge at while preparing for the remainder of their trips north to Scotland and the Baltic regions.   We will turn and cross to Champagne to see the region where Sir Hugh de Payens was from and the Count of Champagne, who it is believed financed the original expedition to the Holy Land under the guise of the first crusade to discover great secrets, knowledge and wealth, which he intended to use to build his power base.  But as we know the laws of unintended consequences could have played a major role in changing the course of the Count’s original plan for Sir Hugh and his men in his service.  From here we will travel to London to see the English influence at the Temple Church and other castles around the region known to be related to the Templars.  We travel north to Herefordshire to see the Royston Cave and onto Scotland to tour Edinburgh and Rosslyn Chapel and the original Rosslyn Castle ruins.  From here we jump over to Denmark and take a ferry out to Bornholm island, where the Templars had a major fortification in the Baltic to protect their northern interests and act as a secure staging area.   We return to Holland to discover the interests in Amsterdam that the Templars had on the concept of the stock market and concept of corporations.  From here we return to Paris for food and fun and a jet ride back to the States.

Now if this type of tour sounds of interest to you.  Then let me know and we will begin to include you in further communications about forming this tour and getting group costs at as deep of discounts as possible.  We will begin to plan and formulate ideas of other places we should visit as part of this tour.  If you have ideas please let me know.

I hope taking a historical tour like this is as exciting to you as it is to me.  It could be the trip of a lifetime.

Post if you are interested with your ideas and also send me a personal email of your interest in further information at Economicdeveloper@gmail.com

 

Knights Templar and the 9th Templar Story Reach 71 Countries and Growing!

Welcome to any of you that are new to this blog.  I wanted to take just a moment to make sure that many of you from around the world know about why I started this blog and the basis behind the stories that get posted.  Another reason is I am so proud of the blogs tremendous outreach!  As of today this blog which is approximately four months old has reached 71 different countries around the world.  I am amazed at just how popular the story of the Knights Templar has become so many years after the public closure and disbanding of the order by the ordered by the Catholic Church in 1312.  My interest in the Knights Templar was to look at their historical facts and then create a fictional novel about their demise and the background around it and then bring their secret forward to today.  This great conspiracy theory material makes for a great backdrop to what has remained a mystery and secret of great speculation surrounding this order since their last public grand master, Jacques de Molay was burned at the stake in 1314.

My story is about the 9th Templar.  It is based on real facts surrounding one of the earliest mysteries around the Knights Templar Order, the names of the nine founding knights, including Hugh de Payens.  Most agree that the name of the 9th member of the founders was kept a secret and not recorded.  Some confuse latter members as potential members of the order then, but history does not confirm that timing to be correct.  So, my fictional novel is the story of why Sir Hugh de Payens kept that name in secrecy and what great secret that 9th founding Templar was charged to keep at the request of Hugh de Payens and Bernard Clairvaux the great religious leader that was surely in on this secret plan and more than likely helped greatly in the design of this secrecy and plan to protect the Knights Templars discovery from under the Temple of Solomon.

Most of the posts in this blog are points that I researched or found interesting when I was writing the fictional adventure thriller manuscript named the 9th Templar.  It is my intent to build your fascination and enjoyment of this subject for any of you out there that have an interest in this marvelous period of time and the Great Legacy of the Most Powerful Religious, Economic and Military Order in the Medieval ages, the Knights Templar.  These men were unique and their secrets are still mostly unknown to mankind.

It is for this reason that so much media, movies and books have been written and recorded around this subject.  I hope you enjoy the blog as much as  I enjoy sharing it will all of you!

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