Wednesday, 5 July 2017

                  THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR. Part 1.

      The religious order of the Knights of the Temple of Solomon, or the Knights Templars was founded in 1118 by Sir Hugh de Payne and eight other knights.  The Crusades had succeeded in capturing the sacred sites of the Holy Land from the Moslems who had denied Christians access.

   St Bernard of Clairvaux drew up monastic rules for them in 1128 and by 1130 the Templars had become the standing army of the Christian States in the Holy Land.  The Princes and Knights of Medieval Europe joined the order in great numbers.  Generous presents of land and money were heaped on the Templars over the 12th and 13th centuries and their foundations spread all over Europe.  Henry 2nd gave them a gift of land on both sides of Waterford Harbour as penance for his part in the murder of St Thomas A’ Beckett.

 In 1172,they established a Perceptory in Crooke and also in Kilbarry as well as in Clonaulty and Kilcloggan in Wexford.  The purpose of the Perceptories was to produce money and horses for the use of the fighting men in the Holy Land and to serve as retirement homes for old and wounded knights.

  In February 1307, Crooke consisted of a large farm of 3000 acres with 350 sheep and an amount of crops including peas.  Sales of wool and corn were the main sources of income.  They were granted the rights to have Mills for making flour.  This was a source of great wealth as they had the monopoly in and around the city of Waterford.  The Waterford merchants tried to build their own mills but were prevented when the Templars objected and Henry 2nd issued a mandate preventing such competition.
The remains of a Templar Mill still stands on the hill over Passage and Crooke.

          A number of disputes arose between the Templars and the Waterford City authorities over Tax avoidance and also between the Templars and the Abbot of the Cistercians of Dunbrody Abbey.  The Cistercians claimed rights to 1500 acres in Crooke.  In the “Dunbrody Case”, which dragged on from 1288 until 1291, it seems that the Cistercians were granted some land in Crooke which overlapped that of the Templars.  Both rightly claimed the 1500 acres but in the end the Templars won as their grant came from King Henry 2nd while Dunbrodys was granted by a lesser noble, Gilbert of Essex.  Generally, the Templars were popular in Ireland.  This was not the case throughout Europe

The Templars had developed into two sections.......The fighting men of the Holy Land and the rich and powerful landowning section.  The latter would supply the knights with men and money.  By the year 1300, they owned 20,000 estates in Europe and this property attracted the notice of greedy and hard-up nobles.  They got their first attack from King Philip 4th of France who was short of money.  

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