New light shed on London Templar church

Today’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reviews a new book on the London Templar church:

As I pointed out in a previous post, the church you see today is the ‘new’ Temple church built in the late 12th century, preceded by one further away from the river Thames in Holborn.  One of the reasons for moving closer to the river was probably the building of water mills, which were very lucrative.

I hadn’t realised that king Henry III, a keen supporter of the Temple wanted to be buried in the Order’s church but then opted for the huge abbey he was building at Westminster.  There’s also interesting detail in the book about the church being handed over to the rival Hospitalers who had no particular use for it.  The building was already being used by lawyers nearby to store their documents so the Hospitalers invited them to carry on.  Today, the Inns of Temple remains a hotbed of legal activity but both the Hospitalers and the Templars have ridden off in to the mists of history (barring those organisations that claim a direct link to the Orders and we can talk about them another time).

The Temple Church in London – published by Boydel Press – retails at the princely sum of £40.  It’s been well received and I see a Christmas stocking filler for all Templar enthusiasts.


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