The Knights Templar first appeared in the kingdom of Jerusalem in the 12th century. Shortly after, the Templars arrived in Europe and built headquarters in several countries, including Portugal, France, and England, in which they had a significant influence. The Templars’ history in England began when the founder of the order Hughes de Payens first set foot in the country in 1118 to gather men and money from rich admirers for Crusading.
The order’s gained the admiration of King Henry II, who ruled England back then. He granted them land across the country, as they were the warriors of God.
The Knights Templar took the opportunity to build round-shaped churches as it is the design of their Mount in Jerusalem.
However, they didn’t build their headquarters in London until 1184. The Temple Church was consecrated a year later, and it played a crucial role in granting membership to new followers. Today, the Temple Church is considered one of the gorgeous touristic attractions in the city.
The Templar’s wealth and influence in England grew simultaneously. Over the years, they owned more lands and had a direct connection to the monarch. King Henry was not their only royal supporter. In fact, Queen Matilda, who had a strong attachment to Jerusalem, gave the Templars lands in Essex and Oxfordshire.
The queen’s gift to the Templars contributed to their strong presence in England in the upcoming years. Nonetheless, the Templars also supported the kingdom. When King Richard left England for the Holy Land, the country was under the hand of his brother, whose policies led the country to become excommunicated by the Church. To reverse the decision of the Pope, the Templars paid the envoys.
After the order’s trial in France, the Templars lost their power in England as well. Their lands and assets were passed to another monastic order, known as the Knights Hospitaller, which was founded for the same purpose as the Knights Templar.