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Knights Templar: Temple Church (Cornwall)

As one gazes across Cornwall’s Moors, an ancient land, a desolate land.  England’s Moors, remote outposts of the Templar’s, when the true wilderness still existed.  They made their mark here, though much of their presence has been erased by time, and knights lie in unmarked graves.

Temple Church its proper name is “Church of St. Catherine, built in a valley at the foothills of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall.  This tiny 12th century church, founded by the “Order of the Knights Templar.”  They who offered protection and hospitality to journeying pilgrims on route to Rome and onto the Holy Land.

Pilgrims journeyed from Wales and Ireland, taking the land crossing across Cornwall’s Moors, on route to the port of Fowey, and make their sea crossing to the continent.

Friday the 13th October 1307 was a bad date for the Templars, for King Philip IV of France and the then Pope Clement V ordered mass arrests of the Knights Templars in France and across Europe.  On the 11th May 1310, fifty-four Templars were burnt at the stake near Paris.  In March of 1314, Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Order of the Knights Templar and Geoffrey de Charney were burnt at the stake in Paris.

With the Order of the Knights Templar disbanded and their wealth and property passed to the Knights Hospitallers also known as the Order of St. John.  In 16th century Tudor England, King Henry VIII disbanded all religious houses during the “Dissolution of the Monasteries.”

Temple Church gained a dark reputation in 16th century England, it became known as a place where weddings were performed, without banns being read or marriage licences being granted.  These illicit elopements came to an end in 1744 when Temple Church/Church of St. Catherine came under episcopal jurisdiction.

In 1584, the writer John Norden described it as a lawless church, one with no rules: Suicide victims could be buried on consecrated land, a practice which was not permitted elsewhere in England.  It was not until 1823 a statute was passed making it legal for suicide victims to be buried on consecrated ground.

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