The History of the Knights Templar

by Charles G. Addison


This is a mainstream history of the Knights Templars, written in the 19th century.  Addison details the rise of the Templars to become, essentially, the first multinational corporation. The Templars were entrusted by the Church and States of Europe to be the spearhead of the crusades. In the process they gained immense wealth and influence, although individual Templars took a vow of poverty. Jerusalem was won and lost several times by the crusaders through the 12th and 13th centuries. Addison notably cites eye-witness descriptions from both the Crusaders and their Moslem opponents to give a well-rounded picture. After the crusades, and the loss of the Holy Land, the Templars began a quick decline from which they never recovered. Accused of heresy and bizarre secret rituals, the Templars were subjected to torture and the stake.

The second portion of the book focuses on Temple Church in London, the English headquarters of the Templars in their prime. Addison details the architecture and history of this edifice. The Temple Church eventually became the center of the legal profession in the City of London, a hostel and school for lawyers. Addison mentions on the title page that he is a member of the 'Inner Temple,' which doesn't mean that he was part of a secret society, but instead qualified to practice law in England.

Addison quotes liberally from contemporary accounts in Latin, Norman French, and Early Modern English (which he thankfully occasionally translates), and includes extensive citations of source documents. If you want to learn the fascinating history of the Knights Templars without any extraneous theorizing, this is an excellent book to start with.

Title Page

The Knights Templars

Chapter I

Origin of the Templars--The pilgrimages to Jerusalem--The dangers to which pilgrims were exposed--The formation of the brotherhood of the poor fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ to protect them--Their location in the Temple--A description of the Temple--Origin of the name Templars--Hugh de Payens chosen Master of the Temple--Is sent to Europe by King Baldwin--Is introduced to the Pope--The assembling of the Council of Troyes--The formation of a rule for the government of the Templars.

Chapter II

The most curious parts of the rule displayed--The confirmation of the rule by the Pope--The visit of Hugh de Payens, the Master of the Temple, to England--His cordial reception--The foundation of the Order in this country--Lands and money granted to the Templars--Their popularity in Europe--The rapid increase of their fraternity--St. Bernard takes up the pen in their behalf--He displays their valour and piety.

Chapter III

Hugh de Payens returns to Palestine--His death--Robert de Craon made Master--Success of the Infidels--The second Crusade--The Templars assume the Red Cross--Their gallant actions and high discipline--Lands, manors, and churches granted them in England--Bernard de Tremelay made Master--He is slain by the Infidels--Bertrand de Blanquefort made Master--He is taken prisoner, and sent in chains to Aleppo--The Pope writes letters in praise of the Templars--Their religious and military enthusiasm--Their war banner called Beauseant--The rise of the rival relit o-military order of the Hospital of St. John.

Chapter IV

The contests between Saladin and the Templars--The vast privileges of the Templars--The publication of the bull, omne datum optimum--The Pope declares himself the immediate Bishop of the entire Order--The different classes of Templars--The knights--Priests--Serving brethren--The hired soldiers--The great officers of the Temple--Punishment of cowardice--The Master of the Temple is taken prisoner, and dies in a dungeon--Saladin's great successes--The Christians purchase a truce--The Master of the Temple and the Patriarch Heraclius proceed to England for succour--The consecration of the TEMPLE CHURCH at LONDON.

Chapter V

The Temple at London--The vast possessions of the Templars in England--The territorial divisions of the order--The different preceptories in this country--The privileges conferred on the Templars by the kings of England--The Masters of the Temple at London--Their power and importance.

Chapter VI

The Patriarch Heraclius quarrels with the king of England--He returns to Palestine without succour--The disappointments and gloomy forebodings of the Templars--They prepare to resist Saladin--Their defeat and slaughter--The valiant deeds of the Marshal of the Temple--The fatal battle of Tiberias--The captivity of the Grand Master and the true Cross--The captive Templars are offered the Koran or death--They choose the latter, and are beheaded--The fall of Jerusalem--The Moslems take possession of the Temple--They purify it with rose-water, say prayers, and hear a sermon--The Templars retire to Antioch--Their letters to the king of England and the Master of the Temple at London--Their exploits at the siege of Acre.

Chapter VII

Richard Cur de Lion joins, the Templars before Acre--The city surrenders, and the Templars establish the chief house of their order within it--Cur de Lion takes up his abode with them--He sells to them the island of Cyprus--The Templars form the van of his army Their foraging expeditions and great exploits--Cur de Lion quits the Holy Land in the disguise of a Knight Templar--The Templars build the Pilgrim's Castle in Palestine--The state of the order in England--King John resides in the Temple at London--The barons come to him at that place, and demand MAGNA CHARTA--The exploits of the Templars in Egypt--The letters of the Grand Master to the Master of the Temple at London--The Templars reconquer Jerusalem.

Chapter VIII

The conquest of Jerusalem by the Carizmians--The slaughter of the Templars, and the death of the Grand Master--The exploits of the Templars in Egypt--King Louis of France visits the Templars in Palestine--He assists them in putting the country into a defensible state--Henry II., king of England, visits the Temple at Paris--The magnificent hospitality of the Templars in England and France--Benocdar, sultan of Egypt, invades Palestine--He defeats the Templars, takes their strong fortresses, and decapitates six hundred of their brethren--The Grand Master comes to England for succour--The renewal of the war The fall of Acre, and the final extinction of the Templars in Palestine.

Chapter IX

The downfall of the Templars--The cause thereof--The Grand Master comes to Europe at the request of the Pope--He is imprisoned, with all the Templars in France, by command of king Philip--They are put to the torture, and confessions of the guilt of heresy and idolatry are extracted from them--Edward H. king of England stands up in defence of the Templars, but afterwards persecutes them at the instance of the Pope--The imprisonment of the Master of the Temple and all his brethren in England--Their examination upon eighty-seven horrible and ridiculous articles of accusation before foreign inquisitors appointed by the Pope--A council of the church assembles at London to pass sentence upon them--The curious evidence adduced as to the mode of admission into the order, and of the customs and observances of the fraternity.

Chapter X

The Templars in France revoke their rack-extorted confessions--They are tried as relapsed heretics, and burnt at the stake--The progress of the inquiry in England--The curious evidence adduced as to the mode of holding the chapters of the order--As to the penance enjoined therein, and the absolution pronounced by the Master--The Templars draw up a written defence, which they present to the ecclesiastical council--They are placed in separate dungeons, and put to the torture--Two serving brethren and a chaplain of the order then make confessions--Many other Templars acknowledge themselves guilty of heresy in respect of their belief in the religious authority of their Master--They make their recantations, and are reconciled to the church before the south door of Saint Paul's cathedral--The order of the Temple is abolished by the Pope--The last of the Masters of the Temple in England dies in the Tower--The disposal of the property of the order--Observations on the downfall of the Templars.

The Temple Church

Chapter XI

The restoration of the Temple Church--The beauty and magnificence of the venerable building--The various styles of architecture displayed in it--The discoveries made during the recent restoration--The sacrarium--The marble piscina--The sacramental niches--The penitential cell--The ancient Chapel of St. Anne--Historical matters connected with the Temple Church--The holy relics anciently preserved therein--The interesting monumental remains.

Chapter XII

THE MONUMENTS OF THE CRUSADERS--The tomb and effigy of Sir Geoffrey de Magnaville, earl of Essex, and constable of the Tower--His life and death, and famous exploits--Of William Marshall, earl of Pembroke, Protector of England--Of the Lord de Ross--Of William and Gilbert Marshall, earls of Pembroke--Of William Plantagenet, fifth eon of Henry the Third--The anxious desire manifested by king Henry the Third, queen Eleanor, and various persons of rank, to be buried in the Temple Church.

Chapter XIII

Antiquities in the Temple--The history of the place subsequent to the dissolution of the order of the Knights Templars--The establishment of a society of lawyers in the Temple--The antiquity of this society--Its connexion with the antient society of the Knights Templars--An order of knights and serving brethren established in the law--The degree of frere serjen, or frater serviens, borrowed from the antient Templars The modem Templars divide themselves into the two societies of the Inner and Middle Temple.

Chapter XIV

The Temple Garden--The erection of new buildings in the Temple--The dissolution of the order of the Hospital of Saint John--The law societies become lessees of the crown--The erection of the magnificent Middle Temple Hall--The conversion of the old hall into chambers--The grant of the inheritance of the Temple to the two law societies--Their magnificent present to his Majesty--Their antient orders and customs, and antient hospitality--Their grand entertainments--Reader's feasts--Grand Christmasses and Revels--The fox-hunt in the hall--The dispute with the Lord Mayor--The quarrel with the custos of the Temple Church.





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