Knights Templar: Grand Masters

 Knights Templar a

1119-1136 Hugh de Payen: One of the nine founding knights of the Order was the first master of the Order of the Temple; Hugh was a vassal of the Count of Champagne from Payns, northwest of Troyes in France. Hugh settled in the kingdom of Jerusalem sometime after 1113, and in 1119, together with Godfrey of Saint-Omer and several other companions, began to patrol the road from Jaffa to Jerusalem in order to protect pilgrims from Muslim attack. The knights were sustained by benefices centred on the Temple complex in Jerusalem. In 1127, Hugh was part of a delegation sent by King Baldwin II of Jerusalem to accompany Fulke V, count of Anjou, to Jerusalem, where he was to marry Melisande, Baldwin’s eldest daughter. While in the West, Hugh travelled extensively in France, Normandy, Flanders, England, and Scotland in order to recruit forces for an attack on Damascus planned for late 1129. In January 1129 the Templars received their rule at the Council of Troyes following an oral explanation of their original customs by Hugh himself. At about the same time, Hugh asked Bernard of Clairvaux to write in their support, a request that resulted in the treatise ‘De laude novae militiae.’

1137-1149 Robert de Craon: Robert, a son of Rainald Burgundio of Craon and Ennoguena of Vitré, belonged to the Angevin high nobility. Robert de Craon was also known as Robert the Burgundian. After several years in the service of the count of Angoulême and at the court of the dukes of Aquitaine, he dissolved his engagement to the heiress of Chabannes and Confolens and traveled to Outremer. By about 1125 he had joined the Templars and became Seneschal of the Order. He travelled to the west, 1132-4, where he received important donations including the castle of Barbera in Spain. Robert became the second grand Master of the Order in 1137 after the death of Hugh de Payen. Robert returned to the West in 1138 and when on 29 March 1139, Pope Innocent II issued the Papal Bull Omne Datum Optimum, the Templars’ most important papal privilege, it named Robert as its recipient. William of Tyre listed Robert among the participants of the Second Crusade’s general curia held in Acre on 24 June 1148 and gave an unusually friendly assessment of him. Robert died on 13 January 1149.

1149-1152 Everard de Barres: Everard de Barres was for a period in charge of receiving donations to the Templars around Barcelona. Everard de Barres was the Master of the Temple in France at the time of the launch of the Second Crusade (1147). He and his fellow knights from Portugal and Spain accompanied King Louis of France on the overland journey to Outremer. The King relied heavily on the diplomatic and military advice of Everard de Barres to get his forces across Byzantine territory to Outremer and then for financial aid when he got there. In return Louis supported Everard’s subsequent election as Grandmaster. In 1152 Everard de Barres resigned his post as Grand Master of the Temple to become a monk at the abbey of Clairvaux.

1152-1153 Bernard de Tremelay: Bernard was a Burgundian from near Dijon. On the 15th August 1153, during the siege of Ascalon, Bernard was killed leading a group of Templars in an unsuccessful assault on a breach in the walls of the city. The chronicler Walter of Tyre in describing this episode used the occasion to attribute the deaths of the attackers to Templar pride and greed, but then he wasn’t much of a fan of the Templars.

1153-1156 Andrew de Montbard: Andrew was one of the original nine members of the Order; born sometime before 1105 in Burgundy, his father was Bernard I of Montbard, his sister Aleth was the mother of Bernard of Clairvaux. Before being elected Grand Master Andrew served as the Seneschal of the Kingdom of Jerusalem for the Order. According to the fake ‘Dossiers Secrets’ of the Priory of Sion Andrew de Montbard was not a Grand Master of the Templars.  between 1130 and 1135 carried out missions between the West and Outremer for Bernard of Clairvaux and the king of Jerusalem (either Baldwin II or Fulk). After the death of Fulk (1143), Bernard recommended Andrew to Queen Melisende, and by 1148 he had been appointed seneschal of the Templars. He was in charge of the central convent of the order while Master Robert Burgundio took part in the Second Crusade (1148) and while Robert’s successor, Everard of Barres, travelled to France (1149–1151). On the death of Master Bernard of Tremelay during the siege of Ascalon (1153), Andrew was elected master. His career illustrates the strong ties between the Templars’ leadership and the royal court of Jerusalem’. –Jochen Burgtorf – The Crusades; An Encyclopedia

1156-1169 Bernard de Blanquefort: In 1158 Bernard, accompanied by 87 Brother-Knights and 300 secular knights, was ambushed by a force of Saracens while travelling down the Jordan valley. Bernard was taken captive. He was freed in 1159 as a result of a treaty between Emperor Manuel of Byzantium and Nur ed-Din, ruler of Aleppo. In 1168 Bernard refused to join King Amalric of Jerusalem and the Grand  Master of the Hospitallers, Gilbert of Assailly, in a planned invasion of Egypt.  According to the fake ‘Dossiers Secrets’ of the Priory of Sion Bertrand de Blanquefort is not the sixth Grand Master of the Templars but the fourth.

1169-1171 Philip de Nablus: Philip de Nablus was the Lord of Outrejourdain before he joined the order in 1166, bringing fortresses with him.

1171-1179 Odo de Saint-Amand: Before he joined the Order Odo had been a prisoner of the Moslems between 1157 and 1159. He had also served in several important official posts in the royal service. This did not stop him seriously falling out with King Amalric over the attack by a group of Templars, led by Walter of Mesnil, on an envoy to the King from the Assassins. Odo de Saint-Amand was captured in 1179 by Saladin during an attempt to relieve the Templar fortress at Jacob’s Ford. He refused to be ransomed and subsequently died in captivity.

1180-1184 Arnold de Torroja: Arnold had been the Templar Master of Spain and of Provence before his election as Grand Master. Arnold died in Verona while on an embassy with the Grand Master of the Hospitallers, Rogers de Moulin, and Patriarch of Jerusalem Hericlais seeking for support from Europe.

1185-1189 Gerard de Ridefort: A knight of Flemish or Anglo-Norman origin, Gerard entered the service of Count Raymond III of Tripoli in the early 1170s and had risen to be marshal of the kingdom of Jerusalem by 1179.  However, in 1180 he joined the Templars and rapidly rose within the order. By 1184 Gerard de Ridefort was the Knights Templar Seneschal in the Kingdom of Jerusalem  and master by 1185.

‘Gerard supported the claims of Princess Sibyl and her husband Guy of Lusignan to the throne of Jerusalem after the death of the young Baldwin V in 1186; he was thus in opposition to the party led by Raymond of Tripoli. Gerard facilitated the coronation of Sibyl and Guy by surrendering the Temple’s key to the royal treasury (where the crowns were located) and by collecting the key that the master of the Hospital, Roger of Les Moulins, had discarded. The chronicle known as Eracles ascribes Gerard’s actions to his enmity toward Raymond of Tripoli. Raymond had promised Gerard an advantageous marriage, and around 1180 Gerard had expected to marry the heiress of Botron in the county of Tripoli; however, Raymond had given her to a wealthy Pisan merchant instead. It is possible that this disappointment prompted Gerard to join the Templars.

Faced with the growing threat from Saladin, King Guy selected Gerard as one of a delegation that was intended to make peace with Raymond of Tripoli in April 1187. At the Templar castle of La Fève, he and Roger of Les Moulins learned of a large Muslim force in Nazareth. Accounts vary as to whether both masters decided to attack or whether Gerard persuaded Roger against his better judgment. Roger was killed, along with most of the Christian forces, at the ensuing battle of the Springs of Cresson (1 May 1187); Gerard was one of only three Templar knights who escaped. The defeat reduced Christian forces, and Gerard hired mercenaries with the money that King Henry II of England had deposited with the Templars.  When Saladin mounted his great invasion of Galilee later that year, Gerard advised King Guy to fight Saladin, contrary to Raymond of Tripoli’s counsel. Gerard was the only Templar to survive the defeat at Hattin (4 July 1187), and was apparently ransomed in exchange for the Templar castle at Gaza.

Gerard de Ridefort died in battle outside Acre on October 4th 1189.

1191-1193 Robert de Sable: Robert de Sable was both a vassal of and a trusted friend of King Richard the Lionheart. He joined the Templars and was elected Grand Master under the sponsorship of Richard. On behalf of the Templars, Robert de Sable bought the island of Cyprus from King Richard.

1194-1200 Gilbert Erail.

1201-1209 Philip de Plessiez.

1210-1219 William de Chartres: William died of fever outside Damietta during a crusade against Egypt.

1219-1232 Peter de Montaigu.

1232-1244 Armand de Perigord: In 1242 Armand led the Templars in breaking the treaty with Egypt when they attacked Hebron and sacked Nablus. Armand was captured and subsequently died in prison after leading his Templars at the disastrous, for the crusaders, Battle of La Forbie against the Egyptians from which only thirty-three Templars survived from a force of hundreds.

1244-1247 Richard de Burres.

1247-1250 William (Guillaume) de Sonnac: William lost an eye at the ill-fated Battle of Mansurah. He was said to have been one of only two Templar survivors out of 280. William lost his other eye and died on a further day of battle.

1250-1256 Reginald (Renaud) de Vichiers: At the time, 1248, when King Louis IX of France was preparing his Crusade, Reginald de Vichiers was the Temple Preceptor of France. He had arranged the shipping of the troops, was Louis’ Marshal in Cyprus and a friend to the king. Reginald was Marshal of the Templars when King Louis IX of France supported his election as Templar Grand Master. Reginald and the King quarrelled soon after.

1256-1273 Thomas Berard.

1273-1291 William (Guillaume) de Beaujeu: William was born around 1230, the fourth son of Guichard of Beaujeu, lord of Montpensier, and had joined the Templar Order by 1253. William was a career Templar with considerable experience of fighting in Palestine and administering the Order. In 1261 he had been captured in a raid and he was subsequently ransomed becoming the Templar Preceptor in the County of Tripoli in 1271 and was Master of the Province of Apulia in southern Italy / preceptor of the Kingdom of Sicily at the time of his election. However, his elevation almost certainly came about because of his links with the French Crown. His uncle had fought with Louis XI on the Nile, and through his paternal grandmother, Sybil of Hainault, he was related to the Capetian royal family. He retained close ties with Charles I of Anjou, king of Sicily, to whom he was related, until Charles’s death in 1285. William was elected master in 1273 and spent nearly two years travelling through France, England, and Spain, recruiting men and collecting funds, before speaking at Pope Gregory Xs Second Council of Lyons in 1274.

 ‘He returned to the Holy Land in September 1275, and from that time on he was identified with the claim of Charles of Anjou to the kingship of Jerusalem in opposition to Hugh III of Cyprus. This stance contributed significantly to the political divisions within Outremer but also ensured Charles’s continued material support, much needed at this time. William’s partisan role certainly contributed to his lack of credibility in the years 1289 to 1291, when his warnings of impending Mameluke attacks, derived from spies in the Egyptian army, were ignored. William was killed during the siege of Acre by the Mamelukes on 18 May 1291’.

1291-1293 Theobald (Thibaud) Gaudin: Thibaud belonged to a family from the Ile-de-France which had supplied several members of the order in the thirteenth century. His early career as a Templar is unknown but in 1260 he and several other Templars (including the future Master William of Beaujeu, who probably supported his career) were captured by the Muslims during an ill-planned raid in northern Galilee and released upon payment of ransom. Thibaud subsequently served as Commander of Acre. After a spell in France (1279) Thibaud became Commander of Outremer (1283–1291). Thibaud embarked from Acre with the surviving Templars in 1291 and went to the fortress of Sayette in Cyprus where he was elected Grand Master, allegedly having managed to rescue the order’s treasure and relics.

1293-1314 Jacques de Molay: Jacques de Molay was received into the order at Beaune in Burgundy in 1265 by Amaury de la Roche, Master of France, and Humbert de Pairaud, Visitor General of Templar Houses in France, England, France and Provence. Jacques de Molay’s uncle, Guillaume de Molay, was Marshal of the Templars at the time. From around 1275, Jacques served in the East, and in 1292 he was elected Grand Master at the new headquarters in Cyprus from where he organized naval raids against the Palestinian coast. In October 1307, in Paris, Jacques was among the Templars arrested by officials of King Philip IV for a range of heretical crimes. Jacques de Molay after years of imprisonment and torture was finally burned as a relapsed heretic on 18 March 1314.

At the same time, he obtained privileges and material help from the papacy and leading secular rulers.  James twice visited the West for these purposes, in 1293–1296 and in 1306–1307. On the second occasion, he was responding to a request from Pope Clement V for advice on two controversial issues: the union of the military orders and the organization of a new crusade. James wrote short reports on both of these subjects. In October 1307, in Paris, James was among the Templars arrested by officials of King Philip IV for a range of heretical crimes. He confessed to the denial of Christ and to spitting on a crucifix, a confession he repeated before an assembly of university masters. However, at Christmas, in the presence of papal representatives, he recanted, leading Clement to suspend the whole trial. Nevertheless, when the proceedings were restarted in August 1308, James apparently returned to his original confession, and in November 1309, in three appearances before the papal commission appointed to investigate the order as a whole, he failed to offer any convincing defense, instead relying on a personal hearing. It was not until March 1314, when he was brought before three cardinals representing the pope, that he was condemned to life imprisonment. He then denied the charges again, asserting that the order was pure and holy. Handed over to the secular authorities at Paris, he was burned as a relapsed heretic on 18 March 1314…According to The History of the Crusades

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Chartres Cathedral: The Last Judgement

Chartres Cathedral

Chartres Cathedral

The Gothic styled cathedral’s originated in 12th century France, during the Knights Templar era.  The Knights Templar, God’s warriors, were formed to protect pilgrims on route to Jerusalem.

This order was formed in 1118, and consisted of nine knights, and became one of the richest and most powerful orders, with the backing of the Pope.  They would build hundreds of Gothic Cathedral’s across Europe, and many still stand to this very day.  These cathedrals with their twin towers faced towards the west, resembling the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem with its two pillars of Jachin and Boaz.

The Last Judgement

The Last Judgement

When a visitor steps across the threshold and enters the cathedral he would be confronted by “The Last Judgement” displayed at the tympanum.  Here, Jesus is surrounded by four beasts of the Apocalypse, the same beasts as mentioned in John’s Revelations, equated with the four apostles; Mathew, Mark, Luke and John.

The four beasts of the Apocalypse have astrological significance:

  • The beast, with human face is Aquarius (Mathew).
  • The lion is Leo (Mark).
  • The ox is Taurus (Luke).
  • The eagle is Aquila (John).

The zodiac sign Aquila is often replaced with Scorpio.

According to Christian art expressions, Christ is portrayed inside a Vesica Pisces along with four zodiac signs, and his head surrounded by a halo depicting the Sun.  As for the image of Jesus inside the Vesica Pisces, contains at each corner one of the signs of the Apocalypse: Aquarius – Scorpio – Taurus – Leo.

The French Gothic Cathedral of Chartres is one of the oldest Cathedral’s and is aligned to the summer solstice.  At the time of the summer solstice, the sun would shine through the “Saint Apollinaire” window, depicting the Roman sun god; Apollo.

Located within the cathedral, one can find a zodiac, but the practice of astrology is regarded as an act of paganism.  The zodiac connects the signs of Aquarius, Scorpio, Taurus and Leo.

It is believed the four signs of the Apocalypse rise before the sun during the Great Celestial Conjunction at the time of the solstices or equinoxes.  They be the symbols of the true Galactic Cross, determined where the ecliptic and Milky Way cross.

The zodiac within Chartres Cathedral consists of two semi-circles, that intersect forming a Vesica Pisces, an ancient symbol to represent Christ.  Vertically depicted, represents fertility and birth.  Symbolism refers to rebirth.

When Vesica Pisces aligns with Pisces-Virgo axis within the zodiac, Vesica Pisces appears to be associated with Pisces (Christ – the fisherman) and Virgo (Mary – the virgin mother).

The symbolism found within Chartres Cathedral, puts forward the Christian doctrine of End Times, and is not the rebirth of Christ, but rebirth of the Sun!

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.

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Knights Templar: St.Mary’s Church – Templecombe

St.Marys Church Templecombe

St.Mary’s Church – Templecombe

The 12th century St.Mary’s Church was part of the Abbas Combe Manor along with the Benedictine Nunnery of Shaftesbury, founded in 888 AD by Alfred the Great, whose second daughter Ethelgeda was its Abbess.

The stone church of St.Mary’s in Templecombe, dressed with Hamstone and a roof consisting of 500 year old clay tiles.  It contains a two-bay chancel with northern chapel and vestries.  A four bay nave with a northern aisle, a south chapel, a southern tower over the porch, and south transept.

St.Marys Church Nave Templecombe

Church Interior

Located at the churches southern end stands a two-stage 13th century tower, which stands upon Saxon foundations.  In the 15th century, when upper sections of the tower were re-built, buttresses were added.

The Church Bells:  The oldest bell dates back to 1420, and cast by the Salisbury foundry.  Two further bells were added in 1656, cast by Robert Purdue, and in 1736 two donated by Thomas Bilbie, with the last bell in 1891, making a peel of six bells.  What a wondrous sound to behold.

The church contains a 12th century Purbeck Marble Font, with a 19th century cover.

The Church plate includes a cup and cover dating back to 1628, two square salvers of 1725 by Anthony Nelson, and a flagon of 1845.

In 1721 a west gallery was added, renovated in 1846, and removed in 1864.

In 1834 the north aisle was added.  In 1864, the chancel was rebuilt, vestries added, new windows installed in the nave and south chapel.

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Knights Templar: Templecombe

Templecombe

The village of Templecombe according to the Domesday Book consisted of two estates:

  • Abbas Combe Manor: The Benedictine Nunnery of Shaftesbury, founded in 888 AD by Alfred the Great, whose second daughter Ethelgeda was its Abbess.
  • Abbas Combe included the 12th century St.Mary’s Church, which extended northwards, along the north-south route through the parish. The Abbey at Shaftesbury was its parent house, the major convent in England at the time.  Temple Combe included the Templar preceptory buildings, laying along the same route.  By the 1830’s the two settlements were linked by buildings along the main road.
  • Temple Combe Manor: This estate was originally held by the Earl Leofwine then passed to Bishop Odo of Bayeux and confiscated in 1088.
  • In 1185 the manor was held by Serlo Fitz Odo, who passed it to the Knights Templar. In 1307 the Templar Order was suppressed, and the estate passed to the Crown.  Templar lands and property passed to the Knights Hospitaller in 1332, and retained by them until the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
  • Following the “Dissolution of the Monasteries” ordered by King Henry VIII, the Manor passed to William Sherrington, and later purchased by Richard Duke around 1563. Much of the Templar Preceptory building was demolished, providing stone for a new Manor house.

The Preceptory served as an administrative centre for Templar lands in the south-western parts of England and Cornwall.  History tells us, that men and horses were trained in the area, before heading off on Crusades in the Holy Land.

In 1338, an inventory was taken of the Manor, showing it consisted of 368 acres, used for supporting cattle and sheep.

By 1700, it had become the seat of Sir William Wogan, who sold it to Peter Walter of Stalbridge Park, and in the early part of the 19th century passed to the Marquess of Anglesey.

In 1942, during the Second World War, the Templecombe railway line was bombed, and on that day thirteen people lost their lives, and others were injured.  The Parish Church, Congregational Church, two hotels and sixty houses were damaged.

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