Knights Templar: Temple Bruer

Temple Bruer

Temple Bruer Church and Buildings

Temple Bruer emerged in the middle of the vast Lincoln Heath, which spread out southwards from the city of Lincoln.  The heath sparsely populated, and during the Templar times, would have been desolate and forbidding.

The Order of the Knights Templar, were bequeathed the land by William of Ashby in the mid 12th century.  The Templar’s with their renowned vigour and enterprise built a great preceptor and established a productive estate.

As the Templar’s built their property, rumours spoke of a tunnel running under the heath, from the preceptor to the village of Wellingmore, some two miles away.  Templar properties were often associated with such clandestine features.

Temple Bruer Church Plan

Church Plan

The Temple Bruer estate would have been some 4,000 acres in size, featuring a round church, with a number of smaller buildings huddled around it, complete with a defensive wall and gatehouse.   The people living within would fall into four categories: Knights – Sergeants – Servants – Chaplains.

The village of Temple Bruer did not exist before the Templar’s arrived; it was built to house the workforce needed by the Order; labourers, builders along with their families, who would become the Templar’s tenants.  In 1259, the village was granted a charter to have its very own market.

The original Templar estate extended to the west, to an area known as Lincoln Cliff, where the knights typically exploited the climate and built a windmill.  They were in fact the first recorded users of windmills in Europe.

Ermine Street, the old Roman road, runs along the top of the cliff and would have been used by the Templar’s as they travelled up from London, and onto Lincoln and York.  It also follows the same route they would have taken to and from their training grounds at Byard’s Leap, which marks the southernmost limit of their property.

Lincolnshire Longwool Sheep

Lincolnshire Longwool Sheep

Temple Bruer made the change from arable farming to sheep farming, with the breeding of Lincolnshire Longwool sheep.  All wool produced on Templar farms in the immediate area, was collected at Temple Bruer, shipped in Templar vessels, from eastern ports, bound for the continent.  An extremely efficient system had been created, and Temple Bruer evolved into a wealthy preceptor in England.

Byard’s Leap, located to the south of Bruer’s estate, with sizeable stretches of level heath land, provided the Templar’s with tournament areas.  It was here they held war games… engaging forces would take part in simulated battles.

When the Knights Templar were dissolved, Temple Bruer passed to the Hospitaller’s who retained it until the Dissolution of the Monasteries, by King Henry VIII, who then sold the estate to the Duke of Suffolk.

Temple Bruer Tower

Temple Bruer Tower

Temple Bruer remains consist of a square, three-storey tower with a spiral staircase, constructed out of Lincolnshire oolitic limestone.  The tower underwent partial restoration in the early 20th century.  Interior walls consist of inscriptions, believed to be associated with the Templar’s.

(Image) Temple Bruer Church: Papa Donkey
(Image) Temple Bruer Tower: Papa Donkey
(Image) Temple Bruer Chauch Plan: Papa Donkey
(Image) Longwool Sheep: Wikipedia

 

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Templar Trials

Justice

The Templar’s had defended Christendom against Islam in the Holy Land, protected pilgrims on route to Jerusalem and other holy sites.

In October of 1307, Templar’s in France were arrested on mass, and charged with acts of heresy.

French Templar’s, admitted charges of heresy under torture.  Pope Clement V, is said to have tried to block said trials, but was outmanoeuvred by King Philip IV of France, who stated if they admitted their guilt, they were guilty.  Any Templar who recounted his confession, claiming they gave a false statement under torture, found it mattered not, as they were still burned at the stake as relapsed heretics.

For British Templar’s they had King Edward II on their side, he being reluctant to arrest these individuals, questioning the legality of being told by France, what to do.

Edward found himself in a difficult position, his father Edward I had left him a kingdom in debt, he could not oppose his French counterpart.

Edward needed all the support he could muster, and as such had to comply by Pope Clement’s decree, if he wanted papal support.

Edward instructed his sheriffs in England, and officials in Scotland, Wales and Ireland, to arrest Templar’s on site, but made it known, that they were to be treated well, and comfortably housed, not imprisoned as urged by Pope Clement V.

Templar land became Edward’s lands.  He granted Templar’s a daily allowance of four pence, and two shillings for William de la More, chief official in Britain.  Allowances came from Templar revenue, and any surplus found its way to the royal treasury.  Edward used his windfall, paying off his father’s debts, rewarding his followers, with gifts to his supporters.

In September of 1309, two inquisitors appointed by the Pope; Abbot Dieudonne and Sicard of Vaur arrived in England, to carry out interrogations on the Templar’s.

On the 23rd October 1309, interrogations started in London.  What had been clear cut cases in France, proved anything but in England?  The Templar’s in London denied all charges of heresy.  The inquisitors wanted to use torture as they had done in France, but English common law did not allow the use of torture.

Procedures against possible heretics, allowed for church officials, to seek out those who were employed by the Templar’s.  Some seventeen non-Templar witnesses in November 1309 through to January 1310, came forward, and spoke in their support.

Robert the Dorturer, notary public figure of London, showed hostility towards the Templar’s accusing a former grand commander of sodomy… he was unable to produce any proof of his so called charges.

On the 23rd October 1309, the trial of the Templar’s commenced in London.

The initial interrogations by inquisitors taking place in London revealed some Templar’s had limited understanding.  They were unable to understand the differences; sins against God and infringement of rules as laid down by the order.  Only a priest could absolve a Templar of Sin.  Only a Grand Master could absolve one of infringing regulations.

On the 17th November 1309, Templar interrogations commenced in Scotland, but were cut short by the Anglo-Scottish war.  Those Templar’s who resided in Scotland, were of English origin, and confessed to nothing of a heretical nature.

Lord Henry Sinclair and Lord Hugh of Rydale, whose lands bordered the Templar estates of Midlothian, stated they believed the Scottish Templar’s were good Christians.  However, they could not speak for European Templar’s.

Irish Friar’s believed their Templar’s could be guilty of acts of heresy, but they had no proof to the fact.  It was based on here say.

Lincoln Castle

Lincoln Castle

When inquisitors reached Lincoln in March of 1310, they found similar confusion as in London, limited understanding of the order’s beliefs.  Similar confusion existed in York as well.

Templar Yorkshire priest; Ralph of Ruston declared to all those present, an Abbot can absolve persons of their convent, because he is a priest.

By June of 1310, papal inquisitors were becoming frustrated; for they had found no evidence of heresy among British Templar’s.  They believed torture was the only way, to get answers.

The papal inquisitors contacted Robert Winchelsey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, asking for assistance.  They complained King’s ministers were bribing the King, not to assist inquisitors.  Even to the point of buying off officials, who would be called upon to carry out acts of torture.

Tower of London.jpg

Tower of London

In the August of 1310, King Edward II agreed that all Templar’s held in Lincoln Castle, would be moved to London, arriving in the March of 1311, for imprisonment and torture.

In the July of 1311, Church Councils of London and York absolved Templar’s who agreed to swear off all heresy… any who refused, would remain in prison.

In the October of 1311, the Pope summoned a Church Council at Vienne in the south of France, to discuss British Templar’s.  Papal inquisitors only evidence was based on gear say evidence, second or third hand stories.

Only three British Templar’s were ever tortured; Stephen of Stapelbrugge, who had fled to Ireland during the troubles and returned home in June 1311, Thomas Totty who had infuriated Abbot Dieudonne and John of Stoke a priest.  They confessed to some charges, and it was enough to bring the work of the inquisitors to an end.  The Templar’s claim of innocence and evidence in their favour was ignored.  So it was in July of 1311 the Church Council in London, agreed to dissolve the Order of the Temple.

Not a single Templar in Britain was condemned on charges of heresy; no one was burnt at the stake.

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Knights Templar: Portugal

Tomar - Portugal

Scotland appears to have been Freemasonic homeland; Portugal on the other hand represented the Templar’s commercial base, a source of revenue and headquarters.  Portugal is a country that had been founded by the Templar’s.

In 1128, the order of the Knights Templar settled in Portugal, and gradually took over the country’s military and commercial strength.

In that same year Teresa of Portugal endowed upon the knights, the region of Fonte Arcada, granting them many privileges.  In return the Templar’s supported her expansion of her then weak country.

In 1160, a Knights Templar castle was constructed in Tomar, and became the orders headquarters in Portugal.

King Alfonso of Portugal corresponded with Saint Bernard, welcoming his monastic order with open arms.  Monasteries and churches sprung up across the land, along with estates under Cistercian control.

In 1294, the initiative of the Templar’s, led to the signing of the “Treaty of Windsor,” between England and Portugal, and aimed at bestowing military power on both countries.

The anti-Templar movement which had grown in France had little effect in Portugal.

The order of the Knights Templar had been officially dissolved by Pope Clement V in 1312, and its knights, servants and monks considered outlaws.

King Denis of Portugal exonerated the Templar’s and with pressure and opposition to the order from France, came up with a plan which would be of benefit to both parties; King and Templar’s.

A plan was conceived; the order of the Knights Templar would disappear and be re-established under a new name affiliated to the Portuguese monarchy.  Templar assets could not fall into church hands, and they could continue to exist.

So it was the order of the “Knights Templar” faded into the distant past, and rose again as the “Order of Christ.”

The former Knights Templar now known as the Order of Christ could continue carrying out their illegal activities under the protection of the King of Portugal, no longer abiding by church rules.

Templar’s found a more liberal environment in Spain and Portugal under the Order of Christ, and the order received its official recognition in 1319 by Pope John XII, out of his desire to win the Templar’s back to the church.

The church was unwilling to lose the Templar’s who represented a major military, financial and logistical power.

In 1415, Prince Henry the navigator led his forces, in the conquest of Ceuta, in a creation of a Portuguese empire, which stretched out far beyond their coastline.  In 1417 he became Grand Master of the Order of Christ until 1460, undertaking works of evangelism for the Pope and Church.  Henry went on to colonise the Azores and Madeira islands, building two gothic cloisters in the Convent of Tomar during his time as grand master.

By 1492, the order was suffering from declining membership, based on its rules of poverty – chastity – obedience, and things had to change for survival.  Pope Alexander VI commuted vows of celibacy to conjugal chastity, and was withdrawn in 1496.  Poverty was withdrawn in 1505 by order of Pope Julius II.

The order was showing signs of becoming less monastic and more secular.  Brother Antonius of Lisbon, attempted a reform, which brought an end to a religious life among its knights.  Under these changes, the order became an organisation.  Its aim was to achieve commercial and political success, and to redraft the laws of the church in a manner compatible with capitalism.

It was about this time, a new society without religious image, but serving the same function was created.  This new organization had its roots in England, and had taken the name; Freemasonry.  Freemasons represented a most influential power which would survive to the present day.

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Knights Templar: Rise and Defeat

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On the 4th July 1187, Saladin defeated Christian forces at the “Battle of Hattin.”  Many Christian crusaders were slain, many wounded, many thrown into chains.

Guy of Lusignan, the King of Jerusalem, witnessed the fall of the “Cross of Salvation”, he was overcome with pity, rushing forward without thought, as he flung his arms around the cross.

Guy of Lusignan, along with fellow warriors, were taken prisoner, to await the victor’s will, as to their fate.

Saladin so ordered, that all Templar’s with the exception of their master, were to be beheaded.

Guy de Lusignan, became the prisoner of Saladin, and one year later on the anniversary of that battle, was freed after swearing an oath, never to attack Muslims.

England, France and Germany, made the joint decision, that Jerusalem had to be re-taken, and so the Third Crusade was launched.

It was essential they had a base of operations, which to land troops and supplies.  Acre was its harbour, proved to be the best option, and so it was, ships of King Philip of France and King Richard of England, set forth on their journey.

Following King Richard’s capture of Cyprus by his naval forces, the Knights Templar Grand Master; Robert de Sable made a proposal purchase of Cyprus from King Richard I (Richard – the – Lionheart).  The price was agreed, of 100,000 bezants (gold currency of Byzantium), commencing with a 40,000 deposit.

It proved that the Templar’s financial status was strong, being able to raise that amount, shortly after the “Battle of Hattin.”

Acre fell to the Muslims in 1291, bringing the Christian presence in Palestine to an end.

The Knights Templar, robbed of their role as defenders of the Holy Land, saw many take up residence in Cyprus, in the Mediterranean.  The Templar’s had sought their own Kingdom, but been pushed out by Muslim forces.

The Grand Master of the Knights Templar, located in France, had a status on par with European Kings.  These Templar’s owned much land across Christendom, with a warrior army to back their political position.  Europe’s ruling houses, found themselves indebted to these Templar’s, fearing their future was under threat.

The English throne was indebted to the Templar order, for King John had emptied the coffers of the treasury during his reign, to finance military operations.  King Henry III, was faced with similar financial problems, and had no option, but to take out loans with the Knights Templar.

The Knights Templar offices in Paris held the treasury of Templar’s and French government.  The Templar treasurer and the French King’s finance officer were one and the same.  France found itself under Templar control.

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Knights Templar: The Occult

Baphomet

The Order of the Knights Templar was originally a Gnostic based order that maintained a secrecy of its occult collaboration.  These Templar’s weren’t your average Christians, who obeyed and were loyal to the Pope and Church.

The Templar’s practiced many of their occult practices underground, to avoid interference from the Church.  Saying that they were charged with the act of pagan worship at their trials in the 1300’s which led to thousands being executed, and some burnt at the stake.

As Templar’s became aware of their impending death sentence, some planned their escape, making their departure from the order, and becoming Masons.

Some charges brought forward at the trials of the Knights Templar were false whilst others were accurate.  Evidence was provided of idol worshipping.

Charges against the Order of the Knights Templar:

  • When a new Templar was received into the order, he denied Christ, the Holy Virgin and the saints, an act instigated by those receiving him. He was told Christ was not the true God, that he was a false prophet who had not been crucified for the redemption of the human race, but on account of his sins.  There was therefore no hope of receiving salvation through Christ.  The new member was then made to spit on the crucifix or image of Christ.

 

  • The Templar’s adored idols, with specific mention of a cat and a head of three faces. The head was worshipped as a saviour and venerated as a giver of plenty that could make trees flower and land germinate.  They touched or encircled it with small cords which they wore around their waists.

 

  • That they did not believe in the sacraments and that the Templar priests omitted the words of consecration during mass.

 

  • That they believed that the Grand Master and other leaders could hear their confessions and absolve them from sin, despite the fact that many of the leaders were laymen.

 

  • The Order’s receptors kissed new entrants on the mouth, navel, stomach, buttocks and spine, and acts of homosexuality were encouraged.

 

  • Templar’s sought gain for the Order; lawful or not. Donations to the Order were not used in approved ways, nor were they apportioned to hospitals.

 

  • Chapter meetings and receptions were held in secret at night under heavy guard, and only Templar’s could be present. Brother’s who revealed to an outsider what had occurred were punished by imprisonment or death.

 From “The Trial of the Templar’s” by Malcolm Barber (2006)

 During their time in the Middle-East the Order of the Knights Templar established and maintained contact with mystic sects of different religions and denominations, including sorcerers.

The orders higher echelons acquainted themselves and incorporated into the order beliefs based on mystic teaching of the Cabala, Bogomils and Luciferians, leaving Christianity behind.

In their eyes, Jesus ruled another world, with limited power in this one and Satan was the lord of our world.

The Templar’s revered the idol of Baphomet; a demon with the head of a goat, the symbol of “The Church of Satan.”

Baphomet, the deity worshipped by the Knights Templar, and in Black Magic, the source and creator of evil; the Satanic goat of the witches Sabbath.

During the trials of the Knights Templar, most mentioned worshipping Baphomet.  The idol with a scary looking human head and a long beard with shinning eyes.  Some mentioned human skulls, cat idols and objects of satanic worship.

The demon Baphomet, an object of satanic veneration; having a goat’s head with two faces, a winged body which is female above the waist and male below the waist.

After the confessions in the French Courts, the Pope interrogated seventy-two Templar’s.  They then knelt down before the Pope and asked for forgiveness.

The interrogation of the Templar’s culminated in their dissolution in 1312, and Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Order, was burned at the stake in 1314 on charges of heresy.

Templar’s fled for their lives throughout Christendom, some were captured crossing France, Germany and Italy, and others were more fortunate, reaching countries who offered refuge.

Baphomet Image: Grasshopper

Structure of the Knights Templar

knights-templar-2a

One of the interesting features of the Templar’s was their emphasis on discretion.  From their founding to liquidation, they never compromised on their need for secrecy.  If they were truly devoted to the Catholic Church, there was no need for secrecy, as all of Europe came under the sovereignty of the Papacy.

If they were merely following the true Christian teaching, then they had nothing to hide, and no need for secrecy.

Then why did they adopt secrecy as a fundamental principle of the order, unless they were engaged in activities which were alien to the beliefs of the Church?

Discipline within the order, was based on a chain of command.  If anything be commanded by a Master, it should be done without question, as if it were a command from God.

The Templar’s were not allowed personal possessions, and all property belonged to the order, upon their acceptance as a member of the order.  They had their own dress code; a white mantle emblazoned with a red cross, over their armour.  The symbol of the Red Cross was assigned to the order by Pope Eugene III, he who had been tutored by St.Bernard of Clairvaux.

Three classes of Templars existed: Knights – Warriors – Servants

  • Marriage was prohibited.
  • Correspondence with relatives forbidden.
  • No private life.

According to the Knights Templar seal, it depicts two knights on a single horse.  They travelled in pairs, sharing everything even to the point of eating from the same bowl, and addressed each other as “my brother.”

On one hand they were there to offer protection to pilgrims in the Holy Land, and some of their number, learnt much from the Jews and Arabs; sciences of geometry and mathematics, which can be seen in their buildings.  They learnt about navigation and were given maps enabling them to navigate European and African coastlines.

Knights Templar and Paris

Ancient Paris

Paris of the Past

Following the historical account of the Knights Templar, it was here on the French soil of Marais, much of their story was played out.

In 1137, King Louis VII of France gave the “Order of the Knights Templar” a house, in the swamp marshland area, in the northern parts of Paris, just outside the city walls.

Large stretches of marshland, remnants of the ancient branch of the River Seine, which once flowed down from Belleville, east of Paris.

Enclos du Temple

Enclos du Temple

In less than a century, these hardy knights had dried out the marshlands, and moved to its north-eastern edge, upon which they built, the “Enclos du Temple,” a fortified compound, consisting of crenellated walls, buttresses, watch towers and a drawbridge.  To accompany the tower, a gothic styled round chapel was built in stages, granted by a papal bull of Pope Honorius in 1217.  The church was consecrated to the Holy Mary, the burial place for Templar high dignitaries who died in Paris.

The church was aligned from west to east, comprising of three parts:

  • The gothic nave was characterised by a clerestory located on the ground floor.
  • The round was built on two floors, encompassed by a circular gallery. The round vault, leant on six pillars, laid out in a circle.
  • The chancel consisted of five bays with tall windows. Access to the bell tower was by way of the south-wall bay.

In the latter part of the 12th century and early 13th century, the preceptor grew larger, and additional buildings were erected, on the six acres of land set aside for the preceptor.  The area was protected by an eight – ten metre high crenellated wall, equipped with buttresses, and flanked by turrets and stone shelters.

The Knights Templar created an International Banking System, which contributed to their increasing wealth.  The Enclos du Temple, became home to their bank, and the European headquarters of the Templar’s.

It is said Philip Augustus made use of their services, by depositing much of his treasures with them in 1190, before departing on the Third Crusade to the Holy Land.

King Henry III

King Henry III

In 1254, King Henry III of England chose to stay at the Knights Templar temple on his visit to France and Paris, instead of the Royal Palace.  One has to ask, how the French King would have felt about that.

The war in the Holy Land had stretched France’s finance’s to breaking point, and the Templar’s had taken control of France’s finances.  In short France was under the control of the Knights Templar, with King Philip IV, nothing more than a puppet king to his people.

The Templar’s had created their own state in France, located within King Philip IV’s own borders.  Philip could no longer stand by watching these Templar’s wealth grow day by day.

During a mass uprising in 1306, King Philip IV accepted the offer of shelter, from the Templar’s.  What he was to discover were rooms full of treasures?  The King became so envious of their wealth; he devised a plan, spreading false rumours, which would lead to their downfall.

On the 12th October 1307, Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was one of the guests at the funeral of Catherine de Courtenay, the wife of Charles de Valois and sister-in-law of Philippe IV.

On the 13th October 1307, the King’s men sent forth to arrest all members of the Knights Templar and seize their assets.

Captured knights were tortured, and brought to trial on false accusations, rumours and slander, and those found guilty were burnt at the stake.

On the 22nd March 1312, the Papal Bull ‘Vox In Excelso’ issued by Pope Clement V, dissolved the Order of the Knights Templar.

On the 2nd May, the Papal Bull ‘Ad Providam’ issued by Pope Clement V, ordered that all assets, property and land to be turned over to the Hospitallers.

Over the next two centuries, the Hospitallers enlarged the church, filled in the ditch around the fortress, and replaced the drawbridge with a stone bridge.

Knights Templar Burnings

Burnt at Stake

On the 18th March 1314, Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was burnt at the stake, on false charges of heresy.

Jacques de Molay’s last words were to his God, claiming Pope Clement V and King Philip IV, his accusers should join him… thirteen months later, his accusers had died.

The Order of the Hospitallers stayed in the ‘Enclos du Temple’ until the days of the French Revolution, and were eventually disbanded by Napoleon in the 19th century.

By the early years of the 17th century, the area known as Marais, had become an aristocratic neighbourhood of Paris.  The Palace of the Grand Prior of the Temple had become the court of the illegitimate sons of royalty.  Philip the Duke of Vendome, grandson of Henri IV and mistress Gabrielle d’Estree, led a life of debauchery, along with literary and artistic brilliance.

The Comtesse de Boufflers mistress of Horace Walpole, reigned supreme over the court.  It was here the ten-year-old Mozart performed in the drawing room, playing the harpsichord.

On the 13th August 1792, the drawing room played host to a dinner where all the guests were the Royal family and their retinue.  They were the prisoners of the Commune of Paris.  Following the meal, the royal couple, two children and King’s sister were locked up in the Tower of the Temple, and the other women transferred to the Prison of La Force.

Execution of Louis XVI

Execution of King Louis XVI

King Louis XVI and his Queen; Marie Antoinette were imprisoned at the Temple, awaiting their execution at ‘Place de la Revolution;’ King Louis XVI on the 21st January 1793 – Queen Marie Antoinette on the 16th October 1793.

Exécution of Marie Antoinette

Execution of Queen Marie Antoinette

The seven-year-old Dauphin, was taken from his parents, and locked in a cell, until his presumed death in June of 1795.  His body was buried at Sainte Marguerite Cemetery.  As far as anyone was concerned, the body in the grave should have been King Louis XVII (1785-1795), the body of the ten-year-old boy.  In 1894 his remains were dug up, and examination of the body, proved without doubt, the remains were those of an eighteen-year-old boy.  So what happened to the young King, the last of an ancient regime?

French and Austrian authorities did an exchange, the French Princess Royal for five Republican prisoners.

In 1796, the Temple became a state prison, and in 1805 was bought by royalists.  On the 16th March 1808, Napoleon ordered its destruction.

In 1823, the Palace of the Grand Prior became the Benedictine Church of the Perpetual Adoration of the Holy Sacrament.  In 1853, Napoleon III ordered its destruction, and with it, the last remnant of Knights Templar died…

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