Being aired on Syfy is the breathless series Legend Quest where ‘archaeological explorer’ Ashley Cowiecharges round discovering mysteries. In the episode I’ve just watched, he fixed his gaze on the Holy Grail and the Knights Templar.
OK – let’s take his thesis from the top. The Holy Grail, he says, is the cup Jesus drank from at the Last Supper and then his blood was caught in it during the crucifixion and taken to England by Joseph of Arimathea. It’s not, as Dan Brown, said the bloodline of Jesus – no, it’s a real cup. The descendants of Joseph were the Knights Templar who were then suppressed by the Pope because they became too powerful. They fled to places ‘outside papal control’ including Switzerland and Scotland.
The Holy Grail, Cowie says, was taken to Scotland – Rosslyn chapel to be precise and it was looked after by the Sinclair family. Unfortunately when Cowie shows up, Rosslyn is having repairs done and he can’t get in. So he chats to a latter day Scottish Templar, an amiable old chap, who rather amusingly is subtitled! I’m assuming the view was that Americans would find Scots impossible to understand.
In 1446, Sinclair built Rosslyn and the Grail was definitely there says Cowie who has done ‘fifteen years of research’ there. Hidden in a painting of a rather dandified Templar he’s spotted a staircase that gives a clue as to where the Grail was held in the church. He leads the programme producer to the oldest part of the chapel – an eleventh century window. And Cowie has noted a carving there.
The carving, he says, is a section of a medieval map. He sees a cup sitting on top of a tower with a line representing the meridien – the Rose line – and he makes out a short horizontal line that is obviously the equator. Diamond shapes are lozenges representing the Sinclair family. And then Cowie imposes this scribble onto a map of the world and a star shape sits over north east America.
The star is known as La Merica – which was a star to lead Templars to peace and away from their enemies. The star sits over America. It’s called La Merica. And so…guess where the Grail went. Yep – the New World. The United States.
William Brewster, a Pilgrim elder, went to Rosslyn three weeks before the Mayflower set sail in the seventeenth century. A descendant of the original Sinclair gives Brewster the Grail to take to America.
So Cowie flies off to Provincetown. He goes to investigate the Pilgrim Monument which – Cowie finds – bears a close resemblance to the carving on the eleventh century window at Rosslyn. Though the Pilgrim Monument was built in 1910 – centuries later – by Theodore Roosevelt. Aaaah – but Roosevelt was…..a Freemason!!
The Sinclairs of Rosslyn, Cowie points out, founded the Freemasons. So – Cowie believes he must investigate other Freemason structures built in the US . And he’ll get clues to the Grail. Off to Bunker Hill then to look at a big obelisk. Needless to say – it also resembles the Rosslyn carving. But stranger follows – because this obelisk is the second monument built on the site. The first monument built in 1794 – a model of which is located inside the obelisk is…a pillar with a cup on top – that looks even more like the Rosslyn carving. Cowie is aghast.
And he’s convinced that the original monument at Bunker Hill contained the Holy Grail. The more recent monument, completed in the mid-19th century doesn’t house the Holy Grail but – it’s a clue! Why isn’t it at Bunker Hill – because power shifted in the new United States. And so we leave Boston for Washington DC to gawp at the Washington Monument.
Freemason clues are all over Washington DC including the White House. But it’s the obelisk that enthralls Cowie who ‘must get inside’. He can’t get a permit to film but ‘that won’t stop him searching inside’. And he bravely enters. Without the crew. He returns and looks at ‘every stone’ and finds nothing – not a single clue. The Grail isn’t there.
But then Cowie notes something – the coloring of the stone changes half way up. The official reason that construction of the Washington Monument stopped during the American Civil War and then resumed doesn’t convince Cowie. He thinks this points to the possibility that the Grail was there. A local expert agrees. The Grail was whisked away from the capital during the war for its safety.
Clues needed. Map of Washington DC shows a direct line from the Scottish Rite Temple to the monument. Take the Freemason symbol and rotate it a bit and you hit the Capitol building. Cowie stares at the dome and hey presto – there a clue on top. A statue! A female statue! Representing freedom. Built by a freemason, Thomas Crawford. Is she pointing to the Grail?
Now – given that the obelisks in Boston and Washington are actually representations of the pillars that flanked the doors of the temple of Solomon – Cowie says we need to find the mid-point, what lurks in the doorway as it were, which turns out to be New York. And the female statue is actually pointing us at the Statue of Liberty off Manhatten. Freedom – liberty – it makes sense!
There’s a flame of enlightenment on the model of the top of the model of the original monument in Boston and this is mimicked by the torch carried by the Statue of Liberty. Trouble is – this lady was built by the French. Not a problem it turns out when you consider ‘liberte’ is freedom in French!
The original torch apparently came years before the rest of the statue was assembled – giving Freemasons time to instal the Grail within. It’s been replaced but the original is on display in the entrance lobby. Cowie has to get close. He does. Maybe they melted it down into the tip of the flame.
The ‘Grail Trail’ therefore leads us here to this new land of America. From the Templars through the Sinclairs and Brewster and into the torch of the Statue of Liberty. It’s the ‘perfect destination’ Cowie says. Melted down and now in the original torch in the lobby.
As my partner said – hard to believe the masons would have destroyed the cup held by Jesus – but if Cowie is to be believed…that’s exactly what they did.
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When we want to lead a life under the guidance of the heart, this path may be the answer to you. You will dive into the song of the energy of your inner flame and you will flow through your unfolding life. And you will extend what you want to see in the world. Things you need will have come easily to you because you will be in the flow. This is the work of the holy spirit. This is the practice of this Commandery.
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Knights Templar (or simply Templars), mysteries and warfare – these three avenues had an obscured connection when it came to the mercurial times of the medieval Crusades. In fact, their full name ‘Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon’ (or Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Salomonici in Latin) directly pertains to the enigmatic Temple of Solomon. And while the Templars did exhibit their fanatical martial prowess on the battlefields (a ‘quality’ conducive to Crusades), the moniker of ‘Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ’ didn’t really do the organization any justice. That is because, by 13th century AD, the Order administered an incredibly well-managed economic infrastructure throughout Christendom while also making innovations in early European banking systems. However, there was more to the Knights Templar than deep fortunes and fervent warfare tactics. So without further ado, let us take a gander at ten fascinating facts you should know about the Templars.
1) From praying to fighting –
It is quite a well-known fact that the Templars took a vow to defend their fellow Christians from ‘foreign’ intrusions, especially in the Outremer (the conglomeration of Crusader States in Levant). But interestingly enough, their proclivity towards martial pursuits was only developed as a reactionary measure, rather than a (starting) ideology that dictated religious warfare. To that end, historically, in the aftermath of the First Crusade, some of the Christians warriors actually decided to put away their swords in favor of a monastic lifestyle based around the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
But with the establishment of the Christian entities in the so-called Holy Land, the scenario became a logistical nightmare for the nascent Outremer kingdoms – because a great number of pilgrims flocked to these newly conquered lands. And as more visitors turned up around the confines of Jerusalem, local bandits (that also included Muslims who lost their lands) took advantage of the chaos and attacked these common pilgrims. Afflicted by such unconventional forays, the monastic warriors decided to once again take up their swords. As a result, pertinent military brotherhoods were formed, and they finally coalesced together to form the Templar Order, officially approved by the Church in 1120 AD.
2) Temple of Solomon?
As we mentioned before, the full name of the Knights Templar (‘Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon’) directly linked the order with the Temple of Solomon. Now from the historical perspective, the Temple of Solomon pertains to an enigmatic ancient structure whose existence is still debated among the historians (read this post for more details). But the ‘Temple of Solomon’ referred to in the case of the Templars might not be as sensational as one would be inclined to think. That is because after the Order was ratified by the Church (possibly at the Council of Nablus, circa 1120 AD), the king of Jerusalem, Balwin II, gifted the Templars a wing of his makeshift ‘palace’ inside the Al Aqsa mosque situated on Temple Mount.
3) Commercialism (and banking) beyond the Holy Land –
While the primary goal of the Templars was to defend the pilgrims against ‘foreign’ forays, it was not long before they were involved in political affairs in Outremer, sometimes at the beckoning of the newly established Christian kingdoms in the region. Such overtures translated to defending borders of these realms or mounting skirmishes against local enemy forces, thus allowing the Templars to flex their military muscle. In return, the Order was gifted lands, farms and even castles for management. Similar scenarios were also played out in the west in Iberia (Spain and Portugal), and Christian kingdoms based there valued the military prowess of the Templars – so much so that they were frequently furnished with swathes of lands on the frontiers that separated the Moors. This scope was further complemented by land and monetary endowments that were situated across Europe, far away from the conflict zones. Supported by such large tracts of real estate, the Templars not only managed farms and vineyards, but also engaged in manufacturing, imports, and even ship-building – thus creating a ‘multinational’ commercial empire of sorts that connected Christendom.
Interestingly, in spite of their mercantile acumen, the individual Knights Templar were sworn to poverty (at least in theory). This, in turn, led to the creation of a trustworthy ‘brand value’ that advertised Catholic Christian virtues with a military veneer. Inspired by these supportive measures, and also fearful of their own safety, European pilgrims (circa 1150 AD) frequently deposited their valuables with the local Templar preceptory before embarking on their overseas journey to the Holy Land. The Templars, in turn, prepared letters of credit that indicated the value of these deposits. So once the pilgrim reached the Holy Land, he/she was handed over an amount of treasure of equal value (as written in the document). Simply put, this system alluded to an early form of banking and quite a successful one at that.
4) Alternate feudalism –
With all the talk about lands, it is interesting to know that the Templars managed their assets in a feudalistic manner. In fact, like most kingdoms of the time, the lands of the Order were divided into autonomous provinces that were governed by the ‘provincial’ Grand Master – who usually came from an aristocratic background. The individual provinces were further divided into smaller commanderies (or preceptories in Latin), with each property being administered by a commander, who also hailed from the higher social strata. Now in practical terms, many of these rural commanderies consisted of farmlands that were controlled by a hold. This local stronghold housed the regional brothers, while also comprising a chapel and accommodation for travelers. And mirroring the secular feudal system of Europe, a portion of the annual revenues generated from the lands under the commander – known as responsion, was to be paid to the provincial Grand Master, who in turn transferred the income to the Knights Templar headquarters.
The amounts and requirements of responsion were frequently discussed in the ‘chapter’ meetings that were organized intermittently at a gap of few years. These meetings also doubled as general assemblies that appointed officials and passed newer rules and amendments. Furthermore, the chapter conclaves practically maintained the (much needed) communications between the Templar brothers who were usually stationed in various parts of Europe and the Outremer.
5) Knights of the Templar Order –
Often times the Templars were considered synonymous with the Knights Templar; though in a practical scenario that was not the case. In fact, knights formed a small percentage in a chapter, and they usually headed the other warrior-brothers from the Order. Now it should be interesting to know that the statuses of these Knights Templar also mirrored the evolution of the knightly class as the political elite in the European societies. So as we discussed at length in one of our articles concerning the medieval knights – “the first medieval knight was not really the lord who dabbled in opulent affairs. On the contrary, he was of ‘relatively’ lower social status (though always a free man) who was brought forth to the political world because of his military prowess.” Similarly, in the case of the Templars, the knights who were inducted into the Order in 1120 AD were possibly of lower (or mixed) social status. However after a century later, most European knights acquired their higher social standing, and thus by late 13th century, a brother whose family belonged to the knightly class was only allowed to enter the Order as a knight (and thus was accorded the status of Knights Templar).
The other non-knightly warriors in the Templar Order mainly consisted of the so-called sergents (in French) or servientes in Latin, which can be either translated as ‘sergeants’ or ‘servants’. Most of these warriors played a supporting role in the battlefield, by forming solid infantry lines or at times doubling up as screening medium cavalry. However, there were also many sergents who played non-combative roles by taking up ‘commercial’ professions like builders and craftsmen.
6) Yes, there were female members of the Templar Order –
In the earlier entry, we talked about the knights and the sergeants. Other than those ‘fighting’ members, the Templars also inducted priest-brothers for spiritual support of their communities. These ‘chaplains’ performed the various religious functions within the order, including the conducting of prayers, the celebration of masses and even hearing confessions. And quite intriguingly, some Templar chapters present in Europe also included female members among the ranks. These ‘sisters’ were housed in facilities that were segregated from the main chapter house. And while they were obviously not expected to fight in battles, many of the nuns actively took part in the spiritual side of affairs – by helping the priest-brothers in their praying tasks and even offering psychological counseling to warriors. Furthermore, there were associate female members (along with males) who made donations and other contributions to the Order, in spite of not taking the full monastic vow required from regular members.
7) Varying motivations for joining the Templars –
It naturally begs the question – why did knights leave the apparent opulence of their ‘lordly’ lives to join an austere order that advocated simple living and sexual abstinence? Well, the reasons were many, with some joining the ranks of the Knights Templar to escape their personal tragedies over at home, like the death of their loved ones. Others joined the Order as penance for their presumed sins, while some of the knights also seriously believed in the ‘core’ cause of the Templars – to protect Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land from the ‘non-believers’. Relating to an odd parcel of Templar history, there were also instances when criminal (or excommunicated) knights were enlisted into the order as punishment for their deeds; though in a practical scenario this method also served as an effective conscription technique for bolstering the Templar ranks with experienced warriors. In that regard, we can comprehend the inspiration behind the Night’s Watch featured in The Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) novel series by G.R.R. Martin.
The non-knightly members of the Templar Order had more varying reasons to join the reclusive ranks. Usually hailing from poorer sections of the society, many joined to simply provide themselves with timely meals on a daily basis, while others desperate (and illiterate) folks took the gamble to be ‘martyrs’ – pertaining to a glorious death on the battlefield against the ‘infidels’. According to their beliefs, aided by propaganda, this would release them from their uncertain lives (that in middle ages were usually cut short by diseases or starvation), and gain them ‘direct access’ to heaven. Intriguingly enough, in spite of such fanatical belief systems, the Templars were renowned in contemporary times for their apparent long lives when compared to the average medieval life expectancy (25 – 40 years). A recent research into this seemingly paradoxical scope provided a hypothesis that the Templars on an average lived longer due to their controlled diets and better hygiene. In any case, reverting to the motivations, one shouldn’t also overlook the significant percentage of people who simply joined the Order to justify their belief in the core principle of the Templars – defending the pilgrims and other Christians in the Holy Land (unfortunately, such values later morphed into bloodthirsty punitive actions). Many of the brothers were probably pilgrims themselves and were later inspired by the fighting prowess (or at least the ‘advertised’ prowess) of the Templars in Outremer.
8) The tight-packed charge –
The ‘tour de force’ of the Templars arguably related to their capacity for fighting and organizational skills during the early medieval Crusades. But oddly enough, there were no specific instructions dedicated to martial training and pursuits in the Templars’ Rule (a codified statute approved by the Pope himself). This was probably because the warrior-brothers who joined the Knights Templar ranks were already expected to have some experience in fighting and tactics – be it in horse-riding or wielding swords, couched lances and spears from horseback (or dismounted positions). Interestingly, some regulations also allude to the use of rather ‘exotic’ non-knightly weapons such as crossbows – that were fired from both horseback and on foot. Furthermore, the Templars also employed mercenaries like the famed Turcopoles (derived from the Greek: τουρκόπουλοι, meaning ‘sons of Turks’), who were mainly lightly armed cavalry and horse-archers usually comprising the local forces of Levant, like the Christianized Seljuqs and the Syrian Eastern Orthodox Christians.
Now beyond training and mercenaries, it was the devastating charge of the Templars that brought them renown throughout the Holy Land. Many then-contemporary literary sources write about how the Knights Templar were masters of forming the tight-packed eschielle (squadron) and charging into their enemies in wedged formations. Now while this maneuver seems simple in theory, the scope must have required expert levels of discipline and organizational skill to actually make it work on a battlefield against a formidable foe. In fact, such degrees of discipline contrast with their secular Western European counterparts, who were more prone to individualistic glory on the battlefield as opposed to dedicated team-work. To that end, it can be hypothesized that the Templars were more organized simply because of their reactionary measure to counter the superior mobility (and tactics) of the Muslim armies. Moreover, it should also be noted that many of the knights who joined the Order were already experienced veterans when it came to military careers.
9) The ‘downside’ of fanaticism –
Unfortunately for the Templars, a ‘right’ charge was not always conducive to winning the battle, especially since this aggressive battle tactic required other Christian forces to exploit the gaps in the enemy ranks brought on by the heavy cavalry assault. So in many practical scenarios, these supporting forces (derived from the Frankish kingdoms of Outremer) were not sufficiently drilled to take the dynamic advantage in the battlefield, thus leaving the Templars stranded and surrounded by the agile Muslim foes. These baleful situations were even more exacerbated for the Templars in the earlier Crusades because most of them were executed on being captured without mercy – as was the bloody scenario after the Battle of Hattin. Such extreme actions on the part of the Muslims were probably instigated by bouts of savagery displayed by the Templar Order itself in various battles. Sometimes the Muslims were even portrayed as soldiers of Antichrist, and as such many (illiterate) brothers believed in the ethnic or religious cleansing of the adherents of Islamic faith – so as to prepare the Holy Land for the advent of Christ’s kingdom.
Beyond just delusions, their uncompromising principles, like not surrendering until the red cross of ‘martyrdom’ had fallen in battle, also added to unwarranted afflictions on the battlefield. In that regard, many contemporary works allude to the fanaticism displayed by the Templars, like in the case of a few knights who were imprisoned until their ransom demands were met. But instead of paying ransoms, the Order just sent knives and belts to the captors – thus symbolizing how fighting was their ransom, and on being captured the knights would rather die than be paid for. However as time went on, the practicality of military requirement triumphed over blind zealotry, and thus by late 13th century, some high-ranking Knights Templar were indeed ransomed successfully.
10) The enigmatic symbol –
The mystery had always played a part in the cryptic aura of the Templars, so much so that one of the charges made against them in 1307 AD entailed ‘secrecy’. Now a later analysis of the events have revealed that the Templars were probably innocent of most of the charges, and thus were just victims of monarchical politics in the early 14th century. But on the ‘puzzling’ side of affairs, there was (and still is) some degree of mystery pertaining to the third Templar seal, which depicted two knights sitting on a single horse. Now the most common (though possibly incorrect) explanation relates how two knights on a single horse symbolized the state of poverty advocated by individual Templars. Another explanation talks about the representation of ‘true’ brotherhood, wherein one knight rescues the other knight whose horse is probably injured. Intriguingly enough, there is a plausible commentary regarding two soldiers on a single horse, written by Saladin’s chronicler Bahaed-Din Ibn Shaddad –
On June 7, 1192, the Crusader army marched to attack the Holy City, (then occupied by Saladin). Richard’s spies reported a long-awaited supply train coming from Egypt to relieve Saladin’s army…when Richard received information that the caravan was close at hand…a thousand horseman set out, each of whom took a foot soldier (on his horse) in front of him…At daybreak, he took the caravan unawares. Islam had suffered a serious disaster…The spoils were three thousand camels, three thousand horses, five hundred prisoners and a mountain of military supplies. Never was Saladin more grieved, or more anxious.
Book References: Knight Templar 1120 – 1312 (By Helen Nicholson) / God’s Warriors: Crusaders, Saracens and the Battle for Jerusalem (By Helen Nicholson and David Nicolle) / Knights Templar Encyclopedia (By Karen Ralls)
Sir Knight David P. McCash
One of the fascinating periods of
Templar history is the order’s
legacy in Scotland. The persecutions
that took place between 1307
and 1314 left surviving groups of Knights
Templar removing themselves from the
hands of their persecutors. One place
of refuge was to be found in Scotland.
Even though historians agree that the
supporting documentation is miniscule,
the “legends and traditions” are there.
What about physical evidence, the empirical
witness that would substantiate
the “legends and traditions?”
In the western part of Scotland, in
the heart of Argyll is a small village
named Kilmartin. Within and immediately
around the Kilmartin area there
are “eight hundred historic monuments.”1
The parish church at Kilmartin
has an adjacent graveyard that contains
a collection of early Christian and medieval
carved stones. In the graveyard,
there are row after row, close to eighty,
weathered flatstones or grave-slabs that
are used for covering
a gravesite. Some
of these grave-slabs
motifs, clan devices,
and Masonic symbols.
The most telling
of the grave-slabs are
the ones that contain
no markings or names except an incised
imprint of a real, life size, straight sword.
A plaque at the church indicates that
the earliest flatstones or slabs at Kilmartin
date to around 1300. It was a custom
of the time to take the deceased man’s
sword and lay it upon a flatstone and
outline the sword and chisel the outline
into the stone. The plaque also indicates
that “most” of these grave-slabs were
the work of sculptors from the 14th and
early 15th centuries.
The “Bailie” of Kilmartin and Loch
Awe from the year 1296 on, was Sir Neil
Campbell, an ally and brother-in-law of
Robert the Bruce. It is assumed that the
earliest graves at Kilmartin were the men
that served under Sir Neil’s command. It
is the belief of Michael Baigent and Richard
Leigh, the authors and researchers
of the book, The Temple and The Lodge,
that these grave-slabs at Kilmartin that
contain only a straight sword likeness on
the stone are those of Templar knights.
They are familiar with known Templar
sites that are found in
England, France, Spain,
and the Middle East
along with burial sites
that are accepted to be
those of Knights Templar.
They write, “those
graves displayed the
same characteristics as
knight templar 11
the graves in Kilmartin. They were invariably
simple, austere, devoid of decoration.
Frequently, though not always,
they were marked by the simple straight
sword. They were always anonymous.”2
After the fall of Acre in 1292, Robert
the Bruce became Earl of Carrick. Robert
the Bruce wielded power in
Scotland during the period that
the order of the Temple was being
suppressed elsewhere. Robert
the Bruce’s career extended
through the period of Philippe
IV’s orders in 1307 to have all Templar
knights arrested in his domain in France
to the period of the battle of Bannockburn
in 1314, just after Jacques de Molay’s
It needs to be remembered that outside
of papal power and authority itself
over Christian monarchs, “the most
powerful, most prestigious, most apparently
unshakable institution of its age”
was the order of the Temple. At the time
of King Philippe of France, the order was
already two hundred years old and one
of the pillars of Christendom in the West.
It wasn’t until 1312 that the order of the
Temple was officially dissolved by papal
decree. It can be shown that Philippe’s
power subverted the papacy at that time,
and it must be considered that Philippe
wanted all Templar knights arrested because
of his fear of military retaliation
against him for his arresting and torturing
of the leading knights of the order.
For the purpose of this article, it isn’t my
intent to list reasons why Philippe and
papacy moved against the order. What
is important is the effect that Philippe’s
power and the papacy had upon the order
and where it sought refuge.
When Philippe sent an envoy to King
Edward II of England, soliciting his help to
seek out, arrest, interrogate, and imprison
Templar knights within his dominion,
Edward sent a letter to the kings of Portugal,
Castile, Aragon, and Sicily stating
that Philippe’s envoy, “dared to publish
before us…certain horrible and detestable
enormities repugnant to the Catholic
faith, to the prejudice of the
aforesaid brothers, endeavoring
to persuade us…to imprison all
the brethren…” Edward then instructed
them to, “…turn a deaf
ear to the slanders of ill-natured
men, who are animated, as we believe,
not with the zeal of rectitude, but with a
spirit of cupidity and envy…” 3
Shortly after this, Edward received a
papal bull sanctioning and justifying the
arrests. It will be shown later why Edward
was under obligation to obey papal edicts.
Edward then reluctantly ordered all sheriff’s
to arrest Templar knights within their
respective domains. As key members were
arrested, many others took the opportunity
to mix into the English population or to
leave the country. Even though Edward arrested
some members of the order, it took
papal inquisitors arriving in England for
Edward to issue another order to officials
in Ireland and Scotland to arrest the Templar
knights within their dominions. This
indicates that Edward had knowledge that
more Templar knights existed who had
not been arrested as of 1309 when these
papal representatives arrived in England.
There are letters sent by Edward to his
sheriffs indicating that after some of the
Templar knights were placed under arrest
within corresponding castles, they were
allowed to freely walk about. Even though
Edward formally rebuked the sheriffs for
allowing them to do so, it was the papal
inquisitors who wanted to torture them
to extract confessions of wrong doing that
12 january 2015
they asserted was unwarranted.
Interestingly, Robert the Bruce in
1306, before the persecution of the Templar
knights began, was excommunicated
from the church of the Holy Roman Empire
and would remain so for the next
twelve years. In 1304, Bruce’s father died,
leaving Robert with a direct claim to the
throne. John Comyn, Bruce’s rival, was under
English control and thus papal edict.
Bishop Lamberton in 1299 returned from
Rome and was appointed as third guardian
over Scotland. Lamberton supported
Robert the Bruce in becoming king and
on 10 February 1306, at the church of
the Grey Friars in Dumfries, Robert the
Bruce stabbed John Comyn with a dagger
before the high altar and left Comyn
on the stone floor of the
church to bleed to death.
Comyn’s death was not
immediate, and monks
who hoped to save the
life of Comyn carried
his bleeding body off to
safety. When Robert the
Bruce learned of this,
he “returned to the church, dragged him
back to the altar, and there slaughtered
Historians believe that Robert
the Bruce’s act was in defiance not only
against English influence and power in
Scotland but against the church in Rome
itself. The papacy reacted swiftly and excommunicated
Bruce from the church.
The two greatest ecclesiastical authorities
in Scotland, Bishop Lamberton and
Bishop Wishart of Glasgow, supported
Bruce when he then laid claim to the
throne. Six weeks after Comyn’s death,
at Scone, Bishop Lamberton crowned
Robert the Bruce king, performed a mass
for the new monarch, paid homage, and
pledged fealty to the new king.
Because the papacy ceased to recognize
Robert the Bruce, it was impossible
for the pope to exercise his will over
Robert the Bruce’s dominion in Scotland.
As the suppression of the order of the
Temple spread from France to the rest
of Europe, Scotland became a place of
refuge for Templar knights under Bruce’s
protection from the edicts of the pope
and Catholic monarchs.
One historian records these events in
this way, “The Templars…found a refuge
in the little army of the excommunicated
King Robert, whose fear of offending the
French monarch would doubtless be
vanquished by his desire to secure a few
capable men-at-arms as recruits.”5
The geopolitics of the time put pressure
on the King of England
to gain control over
Scotland, and the persecution
of Templar knights
coerced the surviving
remnants to seek refuge
from their inquisitors.
Robert the Bruce in Scotland
needed soldiers and
supplies to help in resisting the power of
the papacy as manifested through Edward’s
vassalage in England and would
welcome such refugees as the Templar
knights. The events in history that gave
the papacy in Rome so much power in
England arose from the embroilment between
King John and Pope Innocent III a
hundred years earlier.
During King John’s reign in England
from 1199 to 1216, a power-play between
Rome and the English throne led
King John to issue a letter of concession
to Pope Innocent III. When it came to
the election and installation of Stephen
Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury,
the pope accused King John of “impi-
knight templar 13
ous persecution” and trying to “enslave”
the entire English church. From 1208
to 1214, the pope imposed an interdict
wherein no religious services were to be
performed in England. When this didn’t
have the desired effect, the pope then
excommunicated King John. In 1213 King
John gave in to the pressure of Rome
and issued his concession, essentially
making England a fiefdom of Rome. In
this concession, King John writes that he
does, “offer and freely concede to God…
and to…the holy Roman church,
and to our lord Pope Innocent
and to his Catholic successors, the
whole kingdom of England and the
whole kingdom of Ireland, with all
their rights and appurtenances, for
the remission of our own sins and
of those of our whole race…receiving
and holding them, as it were a
vassal,” and that England will “perform
and swear fealty for them to
him our aforesaid lord Pope Innocent,
and his Catholic successors
and the Roman church.” This concession
would then put succeeding kings of England
like Edward I and Edward II under
obligation to do the bidding of Rome
when it came to persecuting the knights
of the Temple.
When King Edward I died in 1307, Robert
the Bruce continued his operations
against the English. In fact, for the following
seven years after Edward I’s death, the
Knights Templar were being sought after
on the mainland of Europe and in England.
In 1309, the parliament at St. Andrew’s
officially recognized Robert the Bruce
“King of the Scots,” sovereign over all of
Scotland. Only the pope in Rome and Edward
II in England refused to recognize it.
In fact, it was Edward II’s intent to bring
Scotland under his dominion. Another
historian records, “In 1309 when persecutions
began, an inquisition was held
at Holyrood, only two knights appeared,
the others were legitimately occupied in
the fighting, having joined Bruce’s army,
which was marching against the English.”6
In 1314, Edward II was determined to
subdue Scotland and place the Scots under
his dominion. Edward led his forces
to an area about two and half miles from
Stirling Castle to engage the Scottish
forces in what ultimately would win the
Scots their independence. This conflict
is known in history as the Battle
of Bannockburn. This battle fully
engaged the Scottish forces against
the English. When both forces were
weakened and exhausted, English
chroniclers record that a “fresh
force” appeared, lined up behind
the engaged Scottish forces with
banners waving in the air.
After a full day of fighting, the
combat left the English and Scottish
forces battered. This “fresh
force” of mounted Knights Templar,
dressed in their white mantles with a
red blazoned Templar passion cross
on their chest and their black & white
Beauseant banner waving overhead,
must have been an unwanted sight for
the English forces to see. As it has been
shown, King Edward II was reluctant to
pursue and persecute these Christian
soldiers that were known as Knights
Templar. Because of necessity, these
Templar knights sought refuge in Scotland,
and it became the last place for
them to make their final stand against
the Holy Roman Empire that was now
engaged against them. Perhaps King
Edward’s conscience got the best of
him, and he decided not to participate
in slaughtering soldiers of Christ. King
14 january 2015
Edward and about five hundred of his
knights retreated off the field, leaving
the king’s foot soldiers to follow suit. In
doing so, the English left their belongings,
supplies, money, and equipment.
As a Christian Monarch, King Edward
II nobly retreated as a true guardian of
As another historian has written,
Templar knights indeed did ally themselves
with Robert the Bruce, specifically
at the battle of Bannockburn, “we
are told…they ranged themselves under
the banners of Robert the Bruce and
fought with him at Bannockburn…Legend
states that after the decisive battle
of Bannockburn…Bruce, in return for
their eminent services, formed these
Templars into a new body.”7
would determine Scottish independence
for almost two hundred ninety years.
After the official dissolution of the
Temple by papal decree in 1312, the
lands owned by Templar knights, along
with their preceptories, were given to
the Knights Hospitaller of St. John. Half
a year after the battle of Bannockburn,
King Robert the Bruce “issued a charter”
to the Knights Hospitaller, “confirming
all their possessions in the kingdom.”8
It wasn’t until ten years after the battle
of Bannockburn that Pope John XXII
finally acknowledged Robert the Bruce
as monarch over Scotland. Before Robert
the Bruce’s death in 1329, he requested
that after his death, his heart be removed,
placed in a small casket, then taken to Jerusalem
and buried in the Church of the
Holy Sepulchre. Sir James Douglas and
four other knights embarked for Jerusalem
for that purpose. Sir James Douglas
carried the small casket of Robert the
Bruce’s heart around his neck as he and
his small contingent travelled to Jerusalem.
In Spain these knights joined with
King Alfonso XI of Castile and assisted
him in a campaign against the Moors of
Granada. During this campaign, these
knights were surrounded, and the chronicles
record that Sir Douglas took the casket
with Bruce’s heart and flung it into
the attacking hordes and shouted: “Brave
heart, that ever foremost led, Forward!
as thou wast wont. And I shall follow thee,
or else shall die!”9
All the knights died in
this conflict except for Sir William Keith
who couldn’t participate in the battle
because of a broken arm. After the battle,
he was able to retrieve the casket containing
Bruce’s heart from off the battle
field and to return to Scotland.
Robert the Bruce’s heart was brought
back to Scotland and buried in Melrose
Abbey. Robert the Bruce himself was
buried at Dunfermline Abbey where, according
to tradition, his leg-bones were
crossed just under where his skull rests,
which indicates that Scots want the life
of Robert the Bruce to be linked to those
that hold such symbolism important.
It is said that stones cannot speak.
In Kilmartin, Scotland, are flatstones or
grave-slabs from the 1300s that date to
the events described in this paper and
those stones speak volumes.
knight templar 15
Sir Knight David P. McCash is a member of Prather Commandery No. 62 in
Indianapolis, Indiana and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or
The original Templar Order was never intended to be a “secret society,” but rather a very public institution of popular prestige. Even while surviving as an underground network during the 700 years of abeyance of its Grand Mastery, individual Knights and Dames of the Order were generally not “secret” about their beliefs, nor their affinity for cultural Templarism, only exercising the basic human right to privacy when necessary to avoid persecution.
Popularized ideas that the Templar Knighting Ceremony and Vow were “secret”, are proven false by the historical record. Even the Saracen leader Saladin himself received the Ceremony and swore the Vow ca. 1190 AD. This was also shared with enough other people, that it was eventually published by circulating manuscripts ca. 1250 AD . These facts prove that the Templar initiation was not really a “secret” at all.
The literary genre of Arthurian Tales was created and promoted by the 12th century Knights Templar, purposely to widely share the esoteric knowledge, ancient mythology and sacred wisdom of the Templar Priesthood. The first Arthurian Grail story was written by the Templar Chretien de Troyes ca. 1188 AD. The Holy Grail themes were a metaphor for Templar Gnosticism and spiritual alchemy, given a Celtic theme to connect them to ancient priestly civilizations . Proving that these Gnostic teachings were not “secret”, the Templars made these educational Arthurian Legends widely available to the general public .
The Templar Order does not believe in “secret knowledge” nor “secret agendas”. Sacred knowledge is not sparingly trickled down from “higher” to “lower” members, but instead is actively taught to all members, as much and as fast as they desire to study and learn. All Templars should be masters of the ancient wisdom, and all Knights and Dames should share full and unlimited knowledge of the collective Templar heritage. This leaves no possibility for any “secret agenda” of the Grand Mastery that would not be fully known by all members.
The ancient sacred knowledge is inherently the collective heritage of humanity, and was never supposed to be “secret.” The only reason such information has been “secret,” is simply because it was suppressed or overlooked as “lost history,” and not because it was ever meant to be hidden from the shared consciousness of mankind. It is the primary mission and strict policy of the Knights Templar to ensure that all “secrets” of humanity are reassembled, restored, and published for the world, to the fullest extent of our institutional capabilities.
The Knight`s path is easy. It consists of two steps. The first I can reveal here and I can give you a hint of the second. For the rest, you have to ask… This moment is the only time there is. It´s always only this one moment. And therefore this moment is all that is real of the whole world. The things you see, you have put there. God did not. There is no outside world. Everything is within. Can you feel it? You made this in order to have a physical experience. How happy are you with it? Do you want to stay or do you want to go?
The “Knighting Ceremony” of the Knights Templar is the subject of much speculation, fueled by diverse revivalist fantasies. The many various ceremonies with “Templar” styled themes, which were invented and widely popularized by 15th-19th century private fraternities, in fact were never used by the original 12th century Order of the Temple of Solomon. Such ceremonies are typically relied upon for “bragging rights” of who are “Real Templars” more than and superior to others, apparently based upon which group has more elaborate practices.
Grandiose and elaborate ceremonies, relying on multiple “props” of ceremonial objects, long incantations, and sometimes showy displays of artificial humility such as “vigils” and “fasting” and prolonged “prostrating”, are all anathema to the authentic doctrines and medieval monastic simplicity of the genuine Orders of Chivalry.
Indeed, the Temple Rule of 1129 AD required all Templars to live with “restraint” and “moderation” (Rule 15), “without any arrogance and without any show of pride” (Rules 18-19), and commanded to “not become proud” even in one’s expressions of apparent humility (Rule 34) .
Authoritative experts in Chivalry confirm that elaborate ceremonies were never required, and could never substitute for full chivalric legitimacy under customary law: “In the Middle Ages knighthoods were frequently conferred on the battlefield. The knight elect knelt before the commander of the army, who struck him with the sword… whilst uttering words such as ‘Avancez Chevalier au nom de Dieu’ [‘Rise Knight in the name of God’].”  This highlights, as a historical fact, that it was the strength of legitimacy of a chivalric Order which allowed it to use cursory and informal investiture ceremonies.
In traditional British Royal Chivalry, as practiced in Buckingham Palace to this day, the Investiture Ceremony for Knighthood and Damehood is simple and direct, following the “short form” used in medieval battlefield conditions: A new Knight “kneels with his right knee upon the investiture stool”, receives the accolade of dubbing “with the investiture sword… then stands to the left of the stool and is invested with the insignia”. A new Dame does not kneel and is not dubbed with a sword, but is “presented” with Damehood by “placing the correct decoration [insignia] on a cushion”. 
Scholars of canon law documented that in most medieval chivalric Orders, the “investiture… took place under a severe and solemn ceremony in Church, in the presence of a Bishop or the Grand Master”. If a Bishop was not available, he could be substituted with an Abbot or Prelate. “After taking the Vows and completion of other formalities the [new] Knight was given the… military [regalia]”. 
However, the Ecclesiastical Dubbing of Knighthood was only performed by Clergy for the Vatican’s own in-house chivalric Orders under dependent Patronage of the Church, and was essentially in the form of a Blessing . In Sovereign Orders for which the Vatican had recognized independence, such as the Order of the Temple of Solomon (by the Papal Bull Omne Datum Optimum of 1139 AD), the Church did not conduct the Investiture Ceremony, but only provided supplemental Blessing by the 13th century liturgy Benedictio Novi Militis (“Blessing of New Knights”) .
The Investiture Ceremony of the Order of the Temple of Solomon is usually held in a cooperating Church or private Chapel affiliated with a Templar Commandery, at a Templar Pilgrimage site, or in other sacred spaces attended by Knights and Dames who are Crown Officers of the Order authorized to give Investiture. The ceremony can be given at a convocation event for large or small groups, or for individuals as needed.
The authentic Templar Investiture Ceremony includes the traditional Blessing of Chivalry, which is compatible with interfaith and non-denominational practice, administered by canonical Templar Clergy, who can also be Apostolic Bishops (upon request, subject to availability).
As in the British tradition, the Templar Investiture is simple and direct, meaningful, brief and convenient. Reflecting true monastic simplicity, it is spiritually pure. While differing versions may be used as appropriate for various situations, the Templar Ceremony is always carefully reconstructed from the original 12th century practices, as evidenced by the historical record.
Accordingly, the authentic Templar Investiture Ceremony is always comfortable, respectful, dignified and suitable for “VIP” figures and people of all ages, and is compatible with all denominations and even with other religions outside Christianity.
For those reasons, the original Templar knighting ceremony was requested and given to the honoured and feared Muslim Sultan General Salahadin ca. 1190 AD , which served as the key step in establishing the peace treaty between the Templars and the Saracens, the Treaty of Ramla of 1192 AD  .
The modern version of the traditional “battlefield conditions” can be medical, political or economic restrictions preventing travel to a location or event to receive Investiture, or can be some urgency during the course of active cooperation on a Templar humanitarian mission, by which making the nobiliary Knighthood or Damehood official without delay is expected to substantially help to achieve successful results of the mission.
The modern equivalent of the traditional “short form” Investiture under “battlefield conditions” is actually the full Templar Investiture Ceremony, administered by live interaction through telecommunications (preferably video conference, or by telephone) with a Crown Officer from the Grand Mastery of the Order. This practice as an exception is authentic to the historical principles, canonically valid, and also scripturally sound, as the Templar Vow of Chivalry is sworn (affirmed) directly to God, and not merely to the Order. This allows for the official certificate to be issued and delivered without delay. In such cases, it is expected that the new Knight or Dame will receive Investiture personally at a Templar event or site, at the first available opportunity. Read more: