Templars take on the Welsh


In the 1180s, the king of England and Anjou – Henry II – was looking to consolidate his hold on Wales, a troublesome western province of his Angevin empire.  Wales would make a renewed bid for independence at the end of the century and only be completely subjugated by Edward I.  But even by the 1180s, its church was being absorbed in to that of England.

When aiming to calm any trouble in the border areas between England and Wales, who better to call on than the Templars?  After all, they had plenty of experience of holding back the Saracen in outremer and also in Al Andalus, they had taken on the Moors.  Where others feared to tread, the Templars could be relied on to doggedly charge in, take control and consolidate rapidly.

So, Henry II gave them a place that had been known as Llangarewi but would now be renamed Temple Garway.  Up went the familiar round church with the Lamb of God symbol carved in to the walls with those other symbols that crop up in Templar churches.  One image that has aroused considerable interest is that of the Green Man, vine-like strands emerging from his mouth.

The preceptory housed the knight, including a lot of disabled and elderly knights.  King Richard and King John, who succeeded the father they so hated, confirmed Templar ownership of the area given by Henry II.

In 1294, Templar Garway had a very important guest.   None other than Jacques de Molay.  Yep, the last Grand Master whose final moments would be spent tied to a stake in front of Notre Dame cathedral as he and the last of the Templars went to their deaths.

Unfortunately, time has not been hugely kind to Temple Garway and farmers have done what farmers over the years are wont to do – incorporated much of the stonework in to their houses and boundary walls.

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