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 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: St.Mary’s Church – Sompting

St.Mary’s Church of Sompting in West Sussex was originally of Saxon origin, and taken over and expanded by Templars.  The last remaining example of ‘Rhinish Helm’ style.  Some Saxon elements have survived, including high windows and stone plaster strips.  Here Saxon meets Norman forces, Templars meet Hospitaller’s.  Each holy order having its own surviving chapel.

The original church dates back to around 960 AD.  The church and land were given to the ‘Order of the Knights Templar in 1154.  The Templars commenced a building program; a new nave and chancel was built, using the original Saxon plan.  They added north and south transepts, which were separate from the main church, and they were designed to function as private chapels, for use by the order.

The south transept was built in 1180, and was built lower than the rest of the building, to accommodate a small chancel and sacristy.  Located on the west wall, one finds an arch of an original Norman window, and an abbot carving on the east wall.  It is believed the south door leading to this chapel was originally higher to admit banners.  The Norman font that stands in this church, stands on a modern-day pillar, and to the right one finds a piscina.

Knights Templar: Balantrodoch Preceptory

The Templars had a large number of estates in Scotland, and the 1185 inventory of Templar properties only applied to England, and the inventory which should have taken 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.

In 1153 King David I of Scotland (1124-1153), granted the knights Templar a parcel of land, to the south of Edinburgh.  Here upon this site, the Order of the Knights Templar established a Preceptory at, and so was born; Temple Church, Temple Mid-Lothian.  This Preceptory became the greatest centre of the Templars in Scotland, where upon they administered their Scottish sites, for the lifetime of the Order, across Scotland.

A gift from a Scottish King carried much weight, as others followed in his footsteps in granting them lands.

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.

Members of Scotland’s nobility, bestowed gifts upon the “Order” which included much lands.

With the Order of the Knights Templar suppressed in 1312, Templars were outlawed, and 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.

The old Templar Church continued to serve the people of the parish for many centuries, until it fell into ruin in the 19th century.

The ruined church is located to the west of the village, in the South Esk valley, which runs alongside the River Esk.  It is believed the church dates back to early 14th century, and still standing within, one can find late gothic tracery, with animal carvings at the end of the mouldings, located above the old 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.  Surprisingly the carved piscina had survived, 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.  Masonic symbols can be found; the trowel denotes the symbol of a builder.  An egg timer = the passing of time, plus the classic compass and set square.

Village Headstone: John Craig Outerston, a farmer who died in 1742 is shown wearing Sunday best clothes with his children.

A solitary preceptory arch stands in a field to the eastern part of the village, once the main entrance to a former   stands 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.

Local legends has it that some of the Templar Treasure from Paris made its way to Scotland, and was hidden by Templar Knights at Balantrodoch.

The saying goes: “Twixt the oak and the elm tree.  You will find buried the millions free.”

Wikipedia Images:
Balantrodoch Chapel
Preceptory Arch

Sources:
In Search of the Knights Templar by Simon Brighton.

Knights Templar and the Scottish Sanctuary

Scotland had always been an important location for the Order of the Knights Templar.  The political landscape in Scotland at that time, made it a particularly suitable sanctuary, following the attack against the Templars by King Philip Of France and the Pope.

With the death of King Alexander III of Scotland in 1286, the ancient line of Celtic kings came to an abrupt end.  For there was no brother, sister or children, and his only heir was Margaret: The Maid of Norway, who died on route to Scotland, leaving Scotland with no King or Queen.

The land of Scotland lay in dispute by possible successors, each prepared to take up arms and fight for Scotland’s crown.  The infighting continued, until it was agreed to ask for help from King Edward I of England in choosing Scotland’s new king and ruler.

However, King Edward I had other ideas, he took advantage of the situation by lending support to John de Balliol, one of the contenders for the Scottish throne and kingdom.  In return Edward demanded of Balliol his support, thus he became a vassal of the English King and paid homage for his Scottish Kingdom.  The Scots were not fooled, and he was unpopular and gained the title “Toom Tabard.”  The translated version being “Empty Gown” for he had become the puppet of King Edward I.  Edward had no respect for Balliol, and often publicly humiliated him.

In 1296, John de Balliol refused King Edward’s call for Scottish warriors to fight side by side with English forces against France.  Edward responded the only way he knew, by marching on Berwick, deposing Balliol and exiled him to France.

So, it came to pass, King Edward I of England claimed direct rule over Scotland, without the spilling of any English blood.

Edward ordered that the “Stone of Scone,” a symbol of Scotland’s Independence, that which Scottish Kings were crowned upon was moved to Westminster Abbey.

In the May of 1297, William Wallace killed the Sheriff of Lanark, for the murder of his wife.  This was an affront to the English King; Edward I and punishment was demanded.

William Wallace received much support from rebel Scottish forces, leading to the Battle of Stirling Bridge on the 11th September 1297, where battle hardened English forces were defeated by the Scots.

Edward made peace with the French, leaving him free to sort out William Wallace, whom he defeated at the Battle of Linlithgow in 1298.  Wallace evaded capture and fled to France seeking military support from Edward’s old enemies.  King Philip the Fair, commended Wallace in his cause, in letters sent to Pope Clement V, and support came from the Moray family, they who were linked to Templars and Freemasons.  In 1303 Scots and English clashed at Roslin, which led to Scottish victory thanks to the Templar Knights led by a St.Clair.  William Wallace an outlaw against the English crown created hell for seven years before being betrayed by one of his own.  He was arrested, found guilty, hung, drawn and quartered in London of 1305.  Wallace’s body parts were hung in; Newcastle -On-Tyne, Berwick, Sterling and Perth.

Only two Scots had an undisputable claim upon the Scottish throne; Robert the Bruce the 8th Earl of Carrick and John Comyn.  Robert worked with Edward I, but it wasn’t long before John Comyn informed Edward, that Robert the Bruce was scheming against him.  News reached Robert, that his life was in danger, forcing him to take direct action.

With John Comyn a favourite of the Pope and Edward I, he rose the Battle Standard for the growing Celtic revival which existed in his own ranks.  It was a calculated gamble.  Comyn had been lured to Dumfries Franciscan church, and Robert attacked him on the altar steps and Robert refused aid to a dying man.  Edward and the Pope condemned such an act on holy ground, and Scottish patriots read it as a defiance of the English.  On the 10th February 1305 Robert the Bruce was excommunicated by the Pope.  In 1306 Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scotland by Countess Buchan at Scone.

King Edward I of England died in 1307 and succeeded by his weak and homosexual son Edward II and crowned on the 28th February 1308.  King Philip sprung his trap on the 13th October 1307, arresting Templars across France and seizing their treasures.  He had been foiled, much of the Templar treasure had disappeared, as a Templar fleet slipped anchor the previous night laden with treasures.

Part of the Templar fleet is said to have headed to Argyll and the Firth of Forth in Scotland, where they sought sanctuary.

In March of 1314, Jacques de Molay last Grand Master of the Knights Templar and Geoffrey de Charney were burned at the stake in Paris.

On the 6th November 1314, the Scots greatest victory over the English took place at the “Battle of Bannockburn.”  English forces were over powering the Scots until the intervention of warriors carrying the battle flag of the Templars, ensuring victory for the Scots, led by Sir William St.Clair, Grand Master of the Scottish Templars.

This great victory was the stepping stone to Scotland’s Independence.  For the next fourteen years the Scots fought the English, when in 1328 England formally recognised Scotland as a free nation… Scotland had gained their Independence, and much blood had been spilt.

These Templars who had fled France had been granted sanctuary in Scotland.  This land whose king, Robert the Bruce had been excommunicated by the Pope, had turned Scotland into pagan lands, thus any Christian ruler could mount a crusade against these heathens.  In 1317 Pope John XXII tried to impose a truce between the English and Scots, Robert the Bruce responded by capturing Berwick.  Papal Scottish relations reached an all-time low, when the English lied to the papal court, by claiming Scottish forces were attacking English forces.  In 1320, the Popes response was to send two papal legates to serve further notices of excommunication against Robert the Bruce.  On the 6th April 1320, the Declaration of Arbroath was published by Scottish Barons in reply to these charges.

Based on the words written in the Declaration of Arbroath, the senior Lords of Scotland were Templars.  They would act more like a president than a king.  One of the Templars who signed this document, was one Lord Henry St.Clair of Rosslyn.

An interesting thought, some hundred years before the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath, the Magna Carta was signed by King John under persuasion by a group of armed lords which included Templar Knights.  To this day, it be the only document of the English constitution that can be compared with the Bill of Rights of the United States, that which was inspired by the Masons.

In the October of 1328, Pope John XXII released Robert the Bruce from a ban of excommunication, and on the 3rd June 1329, aged fifty-five; Robert died.  Robert was succeeded by his son King David II aged five, and Lord Randolph of the Moray family was appointed as Regent until the boy came of age.  Before Robert the Bruce died, he had vowed to return to Jerusalem and fight the mighty Saracen, and as a mark of respect, his embalmed heart was taken by Sir William de St.Clair and Sir James Douglas on a final crusade to Jerusalem, they lost their lives on route at the Battle of Andalusia.  Bruce’s heart failed to reach the city of Jerusalem, and was returned for burial at Melrose Abbey.  Sir William de St.Clair was buried at Rosslyn.

Once Scotland was recognised as part of Christendom, the Templar’s chose to disappear from sight, becoming a member of the secret society, now that the Vatican had the power to prosecute its enemies.

A new secret Order of the Templars was created.  So it was, by the time Scotland had reached agreement to pay homage to the Pope, Templars of Scotland had become invisible.  Of course they still existed if you knew where to seek them out… one place being the St.Clair family.

Knights Templar: Saddlescombe Farm and Preceptory

Knights Templar: Saddlescombe Farm & Preceptory

The Order of the Knights Templar were originally founded with the express purpose of protecting Christian pilgrims on route to the Holy Land, following the capture of Jerusalem by the Crusaders.  A Christian Army in the employ of the Pope, doing God’s work.

Saddlescombe Farm, some four miles north-west of Brighton was given to the Templars in the 1220’s by Geoffrey de Say, the 5th Earl of Warenne.  William de Warenne, the Earl of Surrey added a grant of forty shillings rent from Lewes.  Around that time Simon le Counte gave them the churches of Southwick and Woodmancote along with its tithes.

The Order of the Templars turned it into a Preceptory, it was here where profits from farm and other Templar properties in the area would be collected and used for the knight’s adventures overseas.

The Order of the Knights Templar, were a religious order, and Saddlescombe Preceptory would have been run by monks, for no knights would have lived here at that time.

Alan Trenchmere granted them land in Shoreham, upon which the Templars built a chapel which passed to the Carmelite Friars of Shoreham.  One Theobald de Englescheville granted them the Manor of Compton in Berwick.  In return all that was asked of them was to provide a chaplain to celebrate the souls of their donor: King Henry III and Queen Eleanor.

The 1308 survey of the Templars Preceptory consisted of much property bestowed upon them by those believing in the Order, was passed to the Order of the Hospitallers.  The Earl of Surrey was granted permission to use land and buildings for himself and his illegitimate son Sir Thomas Nerford up until 1397, when Saddlescombe was restored to the Hospitallers.

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.

William Saint Clair

The Saint Clairs of Roslin, often spelt Rosslyn held a connection which lasted for some 300 years, with the Freemasons of Scotland.

King James II

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.

Rosslyn Chapel

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.