In 1307, the Knights Templar in France were being arrested en masse and flung into prisons to be tortured till they confessed to heinous crimes like spitting on the cross and denying Christ. But, some Templars got away. It’s asserted that they fled in two directions: Portugal and Scotland.
Down in Portugal they were given royal protection and morphed into the Order of Christ – playing a leading role in the discovery of the New World. In Scotland, they teamed up with Robert the Bruce to defeat the England at the Battle of Bannockburn.
That’s according to historian Robert Ferguson who says their involvement tipped the balance in favour of the Scots. Now, not only is that a claim that raises the hackles of many Scottish nationalists but it was derided as rubbish by leading Templar historian Helen Nicholson back in 2009.
However, Ferguson is adamant that between 29 and 48 Templars were on the battlefield with the Scottish when they inflicted a historic defeat on the old enemy. Nicholson counters that the only Templars left with real fighting ability in 1307 would have been in their last stronghold of Cyprus.