Knights Templar: Castle of Almourol – Haunting

The Donna Beatriz Legend:

Donna Beatriz, daughter of Dom Romiro, a 9th/10th century Visigoth warrior.  It is said he killed a Moorish woman and her daughter over a cup of water.  He took an eleven-year-old boy prisoner.  Dom Ramiro had no idea who this young boy was; the son of the woman he had murdered.  The boy became page to Dom Ramiro at Almourol, where he lived with his wife and daughter.

The boy wanted revenge for the murder of his mother.  With revenge in his heart, he poisoned Dom Ramiro’s wife, and watched over her, until she was dead.

Dom Ramiro was off fighting, and his daughter Beatrix and his page fell in love, as revenge turned to desire.

However, Dom Ramiro returned, bringing with him a fellow knight, to whom he had promised Beatriz’s hand in marriage.

The Moorish boy told Beatriz of her father’s cruelty, and admitted his murder of her mother.  She was not fazed by the events, and the young couple vanished, destination unknown.

Dom Ramiro died of remorse… It is said, each and every year, on the day of St. John.  Beatriz and the Moorish page would appear on the castle keep, which rises above the river.  It is here, they will renew their curse, which will hang over the castle until Judgement Day!

Knights Templar: Castle of Almourol

The Castle of Amourol; situated on an island in the middle of River Tagus.  Together with the castles of Tomar – Zezere – and Cardiga they formed the so-called Tagus Line.  The defensive line of fortifications along the river, controlled by the Knights Templar.

Little remains of the original structure, which consisted of three levels, which has under gone many alterations over the centuries.

The castle adopted the innovative design of the time; the watchtowers and keep, appearing in the 12th century after the Castle of Tomar, principle defensive redoubt of the Templars of Portugal.  The high walls were protected by nine circular watchtowers.  They have irregular shapes, due to uneven terrain.  Inside stone gates connect to different castle parts.

It is believed the castle was built on the site of a primitive castro lusitamo, and conquered by Romans during the 1st century BC.  Exact construction dates unknown, yet Castle Almourol existed prior to the beginning of the Kingdom of Portugal.  Rebuilt by Alans, Visigoths and Moors.  The castle was seized from the Moors in 1129, by Portuguese forces.  Alfonso Henriques the 1st King of Portugal gifted it to Hualdim Pais, Master of the Templars, and reconstruction commenced in 1171.

The castle lost its role as the “Order of the Knights Templar” was dissolved, and it was abandoned and fell into ruins.

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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