There is little doubt that the Templars had a large number of estates in Scotland. The 1185 inventory of Templar properties only applied to England, and an inventory which took place after their arrest, never took place in Scotland. In 1312, the Pope decreed the suppression of the Templars, but King Edward II locked in conflict with Scotland had no intention of enforcing it.
King David I of Scotland (1124-1153), granted the manor and chapel of Balantrodoch to the Order of the Knights Templar in 1153, which became their headquarters on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
King Malcolm IV of Scotland (1153-1165) donated a complete homestead within every burgh throughout his kingdom of Scotland.
William the Lion (1165-1214) gave to the Knights Templar, the barony of Maryculter which comprised of 8,000 acres.
It is said Alexander I – II & III along with Robert I & II, James I – III & IV went on to increase Templar Estates from the Royal Exchequer.
When the Templars were outlawed, their lands and buildings were supposed to pass into Hospitalliers hands, whose Scottish seat was at Torphichen in West Lothian. The Pope’s orders were seldom followed, as was the case here, and it continued to be the parish church for local inhabitants. As the years and centuries passed by the ‘Chapel of Balantrodoch,’ fell into dis-repair.
To the west of the village, in the valley of South Esk by the River Esk stands the ruined church of Balantrodoch with remnants of Gothic tracery and animals above the windows. The original church had a round nave, like many Templar churches, a look alike of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The church roof has long since gone… with some walls still remaining. The west end was the entrance to the church, with the altar at the east end, with old niches carved into the walls, where once would have housed tombs, but these are long gone now. Gravestones in the old graveyard bearing the symbols of carved skull and crossbones, one associated with death and the Knights Templar. Others like the trowel and egg timer, we associate with the Freemasons along with the classic symbol of the compass and set square.
To the east of the village, stands the remains of the preceptory arch, out amongst the fields. This being the original entrance to the Templars Manor House.
One event which involved William a preceptor and Templar of Ballentrodoch and his wife Christiane of Esperston.
William gifted the family home to the Templar Order in return for renting the said property, thus creating a life without financial hardships.
William suddenly died, his wife Christiane was penniless, and now the family home belonged to the Templar Order. Which led to a Templar preceptor casting poor Christiane and her children from the former family home. As she clutched at the door, her fingers were cut off by a sword at the hands of a Templar.
A distraught and homeless Christiane went to Newbattle Abbey where Edward I was staying and pleaded her case to him, and he so ordered her property be returned to her. Not long after, war broke out and she found herself evicted once again. Richard her son, pleaded her case to Brian de Jay of the Templar Order. Her property was once again returned to her, in return for her son acting as a guide for Welsh troops under the command of Brian de Jay. It was nothing more than a trap, for Richard was murdered by Welsh troops by order of Brian de Jay.
At the Templar Trials, Brian de Jay was accused of acts of heresy, even though he could not answer the charges, having been killed at the ‘Battle of Falkirk.’ One Thomas Tocci de Thoroldeby claimed he had referred to Christ as being a mere man, and not a God.
In Search of the Knights Templar by Simon Brighton.