Situated on the wild Hook Peninsula in an area known as Templetown, The Templar Church stands as testimony to an era in history that has thrilled and excited our imaginations for centuries. Although now a ruin of its former glory, it is not hard to imagine what this Church would have looked like during its use and days of former glory. This site is very special, with the ruins we see today delighting us with an unwritten history carved in stone, with a combination of masonry from several historical ages, coming to life within its multiphase architectural drama. After the Norman Invasion of Ireland in 1169, Henry II granted large sections of land on the Hook Peninsula to The Knights Templar.
This area of Templetown was the Headquarters of The Knights Templar in this area of Ireland, they lived here until the aftermath of Friday 13th. In 1309 the Knights Templar of Templetown were arrested and imprisoned. The members of the Knights Templar from this area were imprisoned in Dublin Castle. The historical records of the time do not show any evidence of the use of torture on the Knights Templar in Ireland.
The Knight Templar were put on trial in 1310 in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. The Tower that we see today at the Templar Church was probably constructed by the Knights as a defensive structure designed and used to defend against the Native Irish of this area. As I explored this magnificent ruin, I found myself transported back in time, imagining The Templar Knights that resided here and the secrets they held and took with them to their graves.
The Holy Order of The Knights Templar, an order of fearless warrior monks that have intrigued the brightest minds and imaginations of the masses for centuries. The name of The Knights Templar stirs up images of loyal warriors draped in heavy chain mail, identified by their infamous white mantles emblazed with a red cross. Known as guardians of the faith, the Holy Land and protectors of pilgrims.
They were the keepers of secrets, writers and breakers of codes. An order that amassed wealth and riches that would rival that of any King, in fact they were the bankers of Kings, with many Kings of the time owing massive financial debts to The Templars. Their wealth, power and influence put fear into the hearts of the most powerful rulers of that period in history.
The Order of The Knights Templar was created in 1119, by a French Knight Hugues de Pagens. The Templars rose to prominence during The Crusades and their Headquarters was on the Temple Mount in the Al Asya Moseque in the old City of Jerusalem. With time they became obscenely wealthy and amassed great treasures, which enabled them to become heavily involved in European Finances.
They were highly thought of by the Holy Sea, a Papal Bull of Pope Innocent II in 1139 made the Templar Knights exempt from obeying local laws, which excluded them from paying taxes as well as given them Free Passage throughout Europe. The only authority they were bound to was to that of The Pope.
The mid 12th Century saw the tides turn in The Crusades and Jerusalem fell to Saladin in 1189. This was the start of the decline of The Knights Templar. King Philip IV of France feared The Knights Templar, he was heavily in-debt to the Templars and decided to destroy them and take their wealth for himself.
He ordered all Templar Knights to be rounded up and arrested. This horrific day came in 1307, a date that still strikes fear into our hearts, Friday 13th 1307. Templars across Europe were rounded up and put in Prisons.
The Templar Knights were accused of several crimes such as spitting on the cross, worshipping idols, sexual vices, fraud and secret rituals to name but a few. Many confessed to these crimes under vicious and cruel torture. The last Grand Master of The Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay was burnt at the stake in 1314, he was executed on an island in the River Seine, in front of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. While burning at the stake Jacques de Molay spoke out a curse that shook the Medieval World and and struck fear into every Royal Court and Ruler within it. His curse stated that Pope Clement V and Philip IV would die within a year and a day and that the descendants of Philip would lose the throne of France.
Philip IV and Pope Clement V were dead within the year and within 14 years Philip’s House of Capet, which had reigned for 300 years, was no more! Was The Last Grand Master’s curse real, a reflection of the supernatural power held by The Templars or did the surviving eternally loyal and unwavering Knights insure that their tortured and dead Brothers in arms were avenged! All the land and property of The Knights Templar that was known of, was given to a rival organisation The Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, also known as The Hospitallers, now known as Order of Malta or Knights of Malta.
According to legend their major treasure was never found and is still out there somewhere. The Templar Knights are still famous for their association with the Legend of the Holy Grail, famous for guarding the most sacred objects in Christendom, with countless books written on the subject. The Templar Knights are also the subject of countless major film productions.
The Knights Templar in its original form may have been disbanded but they have lived on as the most infamous and feared Order of Medieval Knights in History. The legend’s and histories of the infamous Templar Knights, and the fate of those who survived Friday 13th and the legendary Templar Treasure, live on in our imaginations and for me always will.