Knights Templar: Masonic Funerals

A gesture which is depicted in Knights Templar carvings found on the walls of Royston Cave in England.  The position of the arms, has the left arm bent ninety degrees in a square, and the right arm bent at a lesser angle.

Do these poses suggest some type of connection to the beginnings of a latent Masonic ritual, if so, the question has to be asked… why?  If a secret society did exist in medieval Europe, it would have been far easier to conceal a symbol, within a painting. Tales still exist to this day that the bleeding body of Jesus is laid upon, what would be known as the ‘Shroud of Turin.’

Some historians have put forward the suggestion, that the altar with its Templar Cross, conceals remnant ashes belonging to Jacques de Molay.

Source:

Akhenaten to the Founding Fathers written by Scott F Walter.

Knights Templar Mystery: Mary Magdalene

Many mysteries surround the ‘Order of the Knights Templar,’ including John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene.  These individuals were patronized by the order during its two-hundred-year reign.

Believed by the church; Mary Magdalene was a reformed prostitute.

Located in the small village of Rennes-la-Chateau in southern France, the French believed that Mary came to that part of the world after the death of Christ.  Because of her influence, an order of fighting men was sanctioned by the church in the 12th century.

The legend known as the “Vine of Mary” states that following the crucifixion, Mary Magdalene fled to France, and her off-spring became the Kings of France, known as the Merovingian line.  Shrines that venerate Mary can be found in southern France. 

Her presence, her memory has transformed into the ‘Cult of the Black Madonna.’

The ‘Order of the Knights Templar’ was dismantled by the Catholic Church in 1312 at the Council of Vienne.  The last grand Master of the Knights Templar was burnt at the stake in 1314 ‘Jacques de Molay.’  Many knights of the Order fled to Scotland, Switzerland and sought haven in the ‘Order of the Knights Hospitallers of St.John.

In 1531 Francois Jarradin, Commander of the Hospitallers commissioned a sculpture of the Entombment of Christ.  The sculpture now resides at St.Remi Cathedral.  On the tomb’s façade is the Templar Cross complete with reposed figure of Jesus Christ.  Grieving family members surrounded the body.  Interestingly, blood still flows from the spears wound on the right-hand side of Jesus’ body, which suggested he lived after crucifixion.

If a secret society did exist in medieval Europe, and we believe the tale that Jesus was laid upon a cloth, that which would become the ‘Shroud of Turin’.  One suggestion put forward asks if the altar with the Templar Cross houses the ashes of Jacques de Molay?

Source:

Akhenaten to the Founding Fathers by Scott F Walter

Knights Templar: William Saint Clair

In 1441, King James II appointed William Saint Clair, Earl of Orkney and Caithness, as Patron and Protector of Scotland’s Freemasons, an office which became hereditary one for the family.  With the death of William Saint Clair in 1484, the office of hereditary patron, was passed down to his descendants.

In the year 1446, a founding charter was received from Rome, allowing for the construction of Rosslyn Chapel: Collegiate Church of St. Mathew, the family church of the St.Clairs.

William St.Clair spent four years exploring French Cathedrals and their gothic design, for the design of Rosslyn Chapel.  Then he invited skilled stonemasons from across Europe to come to Scotland, and build the chapel dedicated to the Knights Templar.

According to Scottish tradition, its kings exercised the right in nominating office-bearers to the Freemasons craft.  Only one king neglected to carry out the orders.  First, he be King James VI of Scotland (1567-1603) and carried out his duties, and then as King James I of England (1603-1625), during which time he omitted to carry out his duties.

William St.Clair died in 1484, the office of hereditary Patron was passed down through the family timeline, to the next living descendant.

Around 1600, Freemasons found they were without Protector, and duly appointed William Saint Clair of Roslin, who presided over the order until 1630 when he went to Ireland.  A charter was issued, granting his son Sir William Saint Clair to take over his position in Scotland, and signed off by Masters and Wardens of Scottish Lodges.  Over the next hundred years, the craft continued to flourish, in terms agreed between the Laird of Roslin and Freemasons of Scotland.

The year was 1736 and William Saint Clair to whom the Hereditary Protectorship had descended by right of succession, had no children, and feared the Office of Grand Master, should not become vacant upon his death. 

Accordingly, thirty-two representatives from Edinburgh Lodges assembled, on the 30th November 1736, where their current leader, resigned his post, making way for the election of a new Grand Master.  William Saint Clair was chosen as the new Grand Master in 1737, the last in the line of that noble family, who held the post until January 1778 when he died aged seventy-eight.

The Grand Lodge of Scotland, paid their respects on the announcement of his death, convening a funeral lodge: Four hundred brethren paid tribute to the great man.

Knights Hospitallers: The Maltese Cross

The Maltese Cross was officially adopted by the Order of the Knights Hospitallers of St.John in the year 1126.

It consists of eight points, which denote the eight obligations of the knights:

  • To live in truth.
  • Have faith.
  • Repent one’s sins.
  • Proof of humility.
  • Love justice.
  • Be merciful.
  • Sincere and whole-hearted.
  • Endure persecution.

Some years later, the eight points of the cross, came to represent national groupings, of the noblemen who were admitted into the brotherhood.

  • Auvergne
  • Provence
  • France
  • Aragon
  • Castille and Portugal
  • Italy
  • Baviere (Germany)
  • England, Scotland and Ireland

The current symbol of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta is the Maltese Cross.

Knights Templar: All Hallows by the Tower

One of the oldest churches in the city of London, has to be “All Hallows” which stands on Tower Hill, to the west of the Tower of London.  This fine old church which dates back to the seventh century, has had a bloody history, it is where the bodies of those who were executed as enemies of the state were received.

All Hallows Church was founded in the late seventh century by the Abbey of Barking, and was known as “All Hallows Barking.  Traces still exist of the first church that stood on that site, in the under croft with its three subterranean chapels.

According to Celtic legend, “Bran the Blessed” an ancient warrior, who lost his life on the battlefield, had his severed head brought from the Irish battlefield, and buried facing France, to ward off French invasion.

Brian the Blessed is believed to have links to Arthurian legend and the Holy Grail, and to this day is revered by modern-day Druids.

Following the arrest of the “Order of the Knights Templar, a relationship between the Templars and All Hallows existed, and they were brought to London and imprisoned in The Tower of London.

William de la More, the Master of the Temple on English lands, accompanied by members of the Order, were marched from Tower of London to All Hallows Church on the 29th April 1311.  William read out a pre-written statement, to those present:

We believe all that the holy church believes and teaches us, we declare that our religion is founded on the vows of obedience, poverty, chastity and the aiding in the conquest of the holy land of Jerusalem… And we firmly deny and contradict one and all of us, all many of heresy and evil doings, contrary to the faith of the holy church.

William pleaded with those present, that he and his fellow brethren, be treated like the true children of the church that they be… and called upon other Christians at attest to their Christian beliefs and acts.

And if in our examinations we have said or done anything wrong through ignorance of a word, since we are unlettered men, we are ready to suffer for the holy church like him who died for us on the blessed cross… we pray that our examination maybe read and heard before ourselves and all the people.  In the very language and words in which it was given to you and written down on paper.

Finally, an agreement could be reached which was acceptable to both parties, which allowed the remaining Knights Templar to leave prison, and King Edward II, to have played a part in the final outcome.

The Templars agreed to admit to some minor irregularities, for which they could do penance for.  The physically fit made a statement of guilt and appealed for re-admission to the church of St. Pauls, whilst those less able were heard at All Hallows.

The Order of the Knights Templar, brought back to England, altar stones from Athlit Castle in Acre, their last commanding position in the Holy Land, before being pushed out by Saracen Forces.  The stones are now located under the present high altar at All Hallows.  A monument to the Knights Templar…

All Hallows Church is where the bodies of executed traitors, taken from the Tower of London, would rest awaiting burial.  Many a powerful figure who had fallen from grace could end up here, like: Sir Thomas More.

William Penn, he who founded Pennsylvania in the U.S. was baptised at All Hallows in 1644.  In 1797 John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the U.S. was married here.

Admiral Penn, father of William Penn, saved the church in 1666, during the Great Fire of London.

All Hallows Church suffered immense damage during World War Two, most of the wooden sections destroyed.  All that survived being Tower – Walls – Grinling Gibbons carved font cover.

The under croft was rebuilt as a museum for curiosities; containing a Saxon Cross – Crow’s Nest from Ernest Shackleton’s ship that took them to the Antarctic.  A stone altar, linked to the Knights Templar.

Knights Templar: St.Mary’s at Shipley

It is said Hugh de Payens, founder and Grand Master of the Knights Templar, visited West Sussex in the late 1120’s.

St.Mary’s Church at Shipley in West Sussex has to be one of the oldest Templar Churches still standing to this day.  The nave – tower and chancel are believed to date back to 1140.

What we here is a tall yet roomy church with a central tower with two supporting arches.  The size reflects the growing power and prestige associated with the Order of the Knights Templar, a symbol of its enduring faith.  This plain design seems very appropriate for this monastic order, which prides itself with simplicity and integrity.

The original manor and land was given to the ‘Order of the Knights Templar’ in 1139 by Philip de Braose, gifted in words:

I give and grant unto God and to the blessed Mary and the soldiers of the Temple of Solomon.  For ever in perpetual alms a certain portion of earthly lands which God has granted me to possess in this world namely the land of HERSCHAPELIA (Shipley) and the church…

Shipley in the main was an agricultural preceptor, and its name comes from the Old English ‘sceapleah’ which means a place where sheep are kept.  The village of Shipley still exists to this day, along with St.Mary’s Parish Church.

The Church of St.Mary’s is known for its Romanesque features; the arch of the west door, corbels located on the supporting arches of the tower.

A Templar mooring on the River Adur, or smaller tributaries which flows through the village.

Templar trace evidence in the form of a moat to the north and east of the church, and fishponds to the southeast.

A 13th century reliquary, made of Limoges in the form of a casket, with a pitched roof in copper and enamelled with Saints and the Crucifixion in gold and blue.  Sadly, all that remains is a replica, for the original was stolen in 1976.

At the time of the Templars arrest, the manor was valued at £8, church at £13 and goods at £73.

Following the suppression of the Knights Templar, trouble emerged, who might use the Order’s property, before it was seized by the ‘Order of the hospitallers, and held until the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Located to the west of the church, stood a modern structure, an 1879 windmill, once home to the writer; Hilaire Belloc and later the fictional home of Jonathan Creek.

Knights Templar: Strood Temple Manor

One of the oldest churches in the city of London, has to be “All Hallows” which stands on Tower Hill, to the west of the Tower of London.  This fine old church which dates back to the seventh century, has had a bloody history, it is where the bodies of those who were executed as enemies of the state were received.

All Hallows Church was founded in the late seventh century by the Abbey of Barking, and was known as “All Hallows Barking.  Traces still exist of the first church that stood on that site, in the under croft with its three subterranean chapels.

According to Celtic legend, “Bran the Blessed” an ancient warrior, who lost his life on the battlefield, had his severed head brought from the Irish battlefield, and buried facing France, to ward off French invasion.

Brian the Blessed is believed to have links to Arthurian legend and the Holy Grail, and to this day is revered by modern-day Druids.

Following the arrest of the “Order of the Knights Templar, a relationship between the Templars and All Hallows existed, and they were brought to London and imprisoned in The Tower of London.

Knights Templar: Temple Ewell

In the mid 1100’s, the Templar’s tore down a former wooden Saxon Church, and replaced it with the Church of SS Peter and Paul, whereupon they founded the preceptory at Ewell in Kent.

King John the Plantagenet King had attended Ewell, a few years prior to signing the Magna Carta.  It is said John disagreed with the then Pope, as to who had the right to appoint the Archbishop of Canterbury; Pope or an English King.  In 1207 the Pope proclaimed an interdict against England, which meant England had no church or lifeline to Rome.  John retaliated by seizing church property.  In 1209 John was excommunicated, and in 1213 was told to submit himself to the Vatican or face stern consequences.

John’s actions led to his excommunication from the church, leaving him open to attack by ambitious barons.  John had no choice, he had to make his submission to the papal legate, which he did so on the 15th May 1213.

According to Mathew Paris, renowned historian of St. Albans, King John and the legate met in a Templar House near Dover, but which house is unclear.  Temple Ewell or Western Heights?

Following the suppression of the Knights Templar in 1314, “The Order of the Knights Hospitaller” took over Temple Ewell as ordered by the Pope.   

In 1864 the Reverend Hales undertook a survey of Temple Ewell preceptory, upon which he discovered remains of several buildings and a tiny chapel, measuring 15 feet x 15 feet.  Evidence indicated buildings had been enlarged and extensions built.

Knights Templar: Western Heights Ruins

The ruins of a small Templar flint chapel stands on high ground to the west of Dover, on a site named; Western Heights, consisting of a round nave and rectangular chancel.  In its hey day it would have stood alone on top of a cliff, possibly with stone or white washed walls, with a timber or thatched roof.  It would have been a place for worship for Templars embarking to the Holy Land, and a known landmark to welcome them.

The circular nave would measure thirty-two feet in diameter, with a channel of twenty-six foot long and twenty feet wide.

It is believed the small Dover Chapel was the site of Plantagenet King John’s humiliating submission to the papal legate which ended his dispute with the pope.  Like many other round churches, fell into disuse and ruin over the years,

Dover Chapel’s use was required in the early 19th century as a lookout point, against the expected French invasion by Napoleon.

Knights Templar: Bisham Abbey

Bisham Abbey in Buckinghamshire is not an Abbey in the true sense of the word, but a manor house built by the Templars, as part of a preceptory on the banks of the River Thames.

Robert de Ferres, Earl of Derby who lived during the reign of King Stephen (1135-1154), a Norman King, gave the land and manor to the Templars.

Templar remains consist of; porch – hall – undercroft – offices – upper chamber of medieval house.

At the Templar trials, one John de Donyngton reported that the Templars had four heads. 1) London  2) Temple Bruer  3) Bisham Abbey 4) North of the Humber, and all these were rumoured to have magical properties.

In 1320, following the suppression of the ‘Order of the Knights Templar’ the ‘Order of the Hospitaller’s were supposed to take over the property.  However, King Edward II had other ideas, becoming a gift for his lover; Hugh Despenser, who was lated beheaded.

Located on the first floor of Bisham Abbey, one finds a room dedicated to King Henry VIII, where he stayed during the plague, as it swept across London.

King Henry VIII handed over Bisham Abbey as part of his divorce settlement with Anne of Cleves.

King Edward VI had her moved to similar properties, and in 1552 Sir Philip Hoby moved in.

Queen Elizabeth II was known to have spent much time at Bisham Abbey, as a guest of the Hoby’s whilst under house arrest by order of her sister ‘Mary Tudor.’

Margaret Hoby’s ghost was often seen washing her hands in shame in the upper rooms, for beating her son to death.

Located at the north-eastern end of the great hall, a restored painting of SS Peter and John the Evangelist can be found.