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Knights Templar in Scotland

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Cross of the Knights Templar

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In 1128 the cousin of St Bernard of Clairvaux, Hugues de Payens, who served on the First Crusade with Henri St Clair, 2nd Baron of Roslin,[1][2][3][4], and is sometimes connected to Catherine St Clair, met King David I in Scotland[5]. The Order established a seat at Balantrodoch, now Temple, Midlothian on the South Esk (River Esk, Lothian). In 1189 Alan FitzWalter, the 2nd Lord High Steward of Scotland was a benefactor of The Order.

In about the year 1187, William the Lion granted part of the Culter lands on the south bank of the River Dee, Aberdeenshire, to the Knights Templar and between 1221 and 1236 Walter Bisset of Aboyne founded a Preceptory for the Knights Templar. In 1287 and 1288 they built a Chapel dedicated to Mary the Mother of Christ, known as St Mary's Chapel and in November 1309, the names of a William Middleton of the “Tempill House of Culter” was recorded[6][7][8].

It has been claimed that in 1309 during the trial of the Templars in Scotland[9] Bishop Lamberton of St Andrews, Guardian of Scotland 1299-1301 gave the Templars his protection, though there is no evidence to support this. [10][11][12][13]. It should also be recorded that John of Fordun's Chronicle of the Scottish Nation [14] a major Scottish mediaeval source makes no mention of the Templars at all.

The Knight Templars had considerable possessions in the County of Nairn, or Moray, in 1296. The following extract is taken from The History of Nairn:

...There is a writ extant granted in their [the Knight Templars] favour at Berwick, addressed to the Sheriff of Invernairn to put them in possession of their lands, they having made submission to Edward I. This was no doubt done. From the deed of conveyance of the Temple lands in the North from Lord Torpichen, the last Master of the Order, it appears that the following were the lands held here "Those two roods of arable land lying within the territory of the Burgh of Nairn, in that part thereof called [blank] possessed by John Rose, burgess of Nairn, and his sub-tenants; those two roods of arable temple land and house lying within the said territory of Nairn, possessed by Hew Rose of Kilravock and his sub-tenants; all and haill those our temple lands called the lands of Pitfundie lying in the said Sheriffdom of Nairn, betwixt the strype that conies from the lands of Brodie on the east, the fludder or myre upon the south side of the common muir called the Hardmuir [Map] on the south side, the lands of Penick [Map] and wood of Lochloy [Map] on the west, and the Euchcarse of Culbyn on the north, for the most part possessed by the lairds of Brodie, and their sub-tenants." They had also lands at Ardersier [Map], which are designated in old charters as Temple Land, Temple Cruik, Temple Bank, Bogschand. They lay partly in the vicinity of the town of Ardersier, between Connage [Map] and the sea, and between Flemington and the sea. A charter granted at Nairn refers to the locus trialis at Ardersier, doubtless an ancient place of trial by "wager of battle." The Temple lands of Ardersier were held by Davidsons and Mackays as portioners. They were acquired by Cawdor in 1626. The Temple lands at Brodie and elsewhere appear to have been disposed of about the same time, as in a Brodie, charter of date 1626 the lands of Pitfundie are included in the Brodie estate. The Templars were a religious and military order of Knights who escorted pilgrims to Jerusalem at a time when such pilgrimages were attended by dangers from robbers. They wore a white robe with a red Maltese cross on the breast, and at first were all of noble birth, The Knights of St. John of Jerusalem also had lands in Nairnshire. It is impossible now to identify them. When the Knights Templars were suppressed by Edward II. their property was given to the Knights of St. John.[15]

In 1312 by the Papal Bull "Ad Providam" all assets of the Order of the Temple were given to Knights Hospitaller or Order of St. John except for Spain where they were succeeded by the Order of Montesa the Order of Calatrava, from which its first recruits were drawn, and Portugal where they became the Order of Christ and it has been claimed that in Scotland the Order combined with the Hospitallers and continued as The Order of St John and the Temple until the reformation, though there is no evidence to that effect. When Sir James Sandilands, Preceptor of the Order converted to Protestantism in 1553, the Order is thought to have ceased. [16].

See also


  2. Sketch of the civil and traditional history of Caithness, from the tenth century by James Traill p.89
  3. Templars in America by Tim Wallace Murphy and Marilyn Hopkins p.13 ISBN 1-571863-317-6
  4. The Shadow of Solomon by Laurence Gardner p.159-161 Harper Element ISBN 0-00-720760-3
  5. The Stone Puzzle of Rosslyn Chapel
  6. History of Maryculter House Hotel
  7. Chapter VII. Religious Houses
  8. Scottish Knights Templar
  9. The Trial of the Templars by Malcolm Barber p 227 ISBN 0521856396
  10. Home Page
  12. The Shadow of Solomon by Laurence Gardner p.116 Harper Element ISBN 0-00-720760-3
  13. Bruce's Secret Weapon by Archie McKerracher The Scots Magazine June 1991
  14. John of Fordun's Chronicle of the Scottish Nation edited by W F Skene ISBN 978-1897853054
  15. History of Nairnshire (1893) p.134-135, by Bain, George, F.S.A., Scotland[1] and also [2]
  16. Knights Templar: Their Rise and Fall, G.A. Campbell ISBN 0-7661-5658-3 page 335

External links