TQ3181 : Temple Church from Inner Temple Lane

taken 5 years ago, near to London, City of London, Great Britain

Temple Church from Inner Temple Lane
Temple Church from Inner Temple Lane
A view of this mediŠval church taken from Inner Temple Lane. See shared description below:
Temple Church
Temple Church in the heart of London is one of the very few mediŠval churches - or mediŠval building of any kind - to survive both the Great Fire of London (1666) and the Blitz (1940-41)
Built originally by the Knights Templar in their characteristic circular style it is also one of the very few surviving Templar churches in Britain. Adjoined to the circular nave is a rectangular chancel.
The Temple was first consecrated in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary on 10 February 1185 by Heraclius, Patriarch of Jerusalem.
As Henry III had indicated that he wished to be buried in this church, the original chancel was much enlarged and this new part of the church was consecrated on Ascension Day 1240 in the presence of Henry. In the end the monarch changed his mind, and he was buried in Westminster Abbey.
In 1307 after mounting tensions between the Templars, various European rulers jealous of their wealth, and the Vatican, they were excommunicated en masse by the Pope and bloodily disbanded. King Edward II of England gave the Temple Church to the Knights Hospitallers who held it until Henry VIII's reign and the turbulence of the Reformation.
The church remained in Royal hands until 1608 when King James I granted the whole area around and including the church to the two societies of lawyers - the Inner Temple and the Middle Temple. These societies have maintained the church to a high standard ever since; and it is referred to as the "Mother Church of the Common Law".
For a much fuller history see LinkExternal link
The church was much restored during the Victorian era - see an interesting and informative article here LinkExternal link
The Temple suffered extensive damage during WWII, most particularly on the night of 10th May 1941 when incendiary bombs set fire to the roof. The fire spread to the organ and thence to the wooden fittings within the church. The heat was so intense that the columns of the chancel split, but the vault survived. In the round, the wooden roof collapsed onto the effigies of the knights below.
It was not until 1958, some seventeen years later, that the church was fully restored. The Round Church was rededicated on 7th November of that year by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the presence of Queens Elizabeth II and Elizabeth the Queen Mother and Prince Philip - the chancel having been rededicated four years earlier on 23rd March 1954.
Knights Templar
The Knights Templar were an order of military-religious monk-warriors of mediŠval Europe. Along with the Knights Hospitaller they were the most powerful and wealthy orders of their time. The Templars rise to eminence was rapid, but nowhere near as swift as their catastrophic collapse and destruction. The Hospitallers avoided such a disastrous fate, and survive to this day - in much changed form - most conspicuously in the guise of St John's Ambulance.
The Templars arose as a result of Pope Urban II's call at the end of the C11th for Christians to reclaim the Holy Land. The resulting First Crusade was largely successful and crusading knights captured Jerusalem in July 1099.
About 1120 a select group of these crusader knights took the monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Their intention was to protect pilgrims to the Holy Land from attack on the route of their pilgrimage. The knights were given land on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem by the king of the city and province - and so took their name "The Templars" from this their power-base.
The brotherhood of the Templars consisted of those of high birth and wealth: the "Knight-Brothers" and the more lowly-born and less affluent: the "Sergeant-Brothers" - the former were each entitled to three horses, the latter to just one. Unusually for the time however, a man could rise in rank from sergeant to knight, and from knight to commander - in charge of a house or "Temple". Head of the entire order was the Grand Master who was elected by a council of 13 knights and sergeants. They were all bound by the Templars' Rule - that of Bernard of Clairvaux established in 1129 - written originally in Latin but with additions in French. This Rule laid out what was expected, what was permitted and what was deprecated or forbidden. All members of the brotherhood had to keep to this monastic-style chivalric code.
The Templars soon gained a reputation for valour and bravery - and also for business accumen. By acting as bankers to the travelling pilgrims, they amassed huge sums of money, such that although each member of the brotherhood was (theoretically at least) impoverished, the Order became fabulously wealthy.
With this wealth came increasing influence and power - but with the concomitant negatives of suspicion and jealousy.
They acted as both money-brokers and power-brokers, and were for example involved in the signing of Magna Carta in 1215, after King John had sought sanctuary from the barons in Temple Church. One of the witnesses to this great bill-of-rights was Aymeric de St Maur, who was master of the Temple in England.
However, since the initial successes of the First Crusade, the Christians' hold on Jerusalem and the Holy Lands had been tenuous, and battles against the great - and chivalric - Muslim leader, Saladin had resulted in reverses of fortune. By the late C13th little of the Holy Lands remained in Christian hands. There was infighting between different sections of the Christian kingdoms and armies and the Vatican, and suspicion and mistrust festered between competing factions. The Templars were caught up in this, and their wealth and prestige led many to believe that they were driven by motives of self-interest and greed to make pragmatic decisions which best suited them, rather than the wishes of, for example the Pope and of the kings of the various European states - many of which the Templars helped finance.
In 1291 a disastrous attack by the Mamluk forces on Acre resulted in the population (of about 7000) abandoning the city and seeking refuge with the Templars in their castle. After 12 days of siege, with supplies dwindling and no hope of rescue the populace and all the Templars rushed out of their stronghold and were mown down and slaughtered. This marked the end of the Templars in the Holy Land, but not as an order, for they were dispersed across the whole of Europe - and their main financial assets were held well away from the troubled areas of the Holy Lands.
They set up a new headquarters in Cyprus, but their days were numbered as their old allies - many of whom they had financially assisted now started to turn on them, envious of their continuing wealth and power. Philip IV of France initiated their final destruction in 1307. On Friday October 13th 1307 every Templar in Philip's domain was arrested. Accused of Heresy, they had the choice of "admitting" this and being pardoned, or refuting it and being burnt at the stake. Not surprisingly, most "confessed". Pope Clement V was outraged at Philip's high-handedness, but in the face of these "confessions" could do nothing to support them, and in Novemebr 1307 ordered the arrest of all Templars throughout Europe.
The purge against the Templars in France reached a murderous height on 12th May 1310 when 54 recusants were burnt at the stake outside Paris.
On the 22nd March 1312, Pope Clement V dissolved the order of the Templars - not saying that they were guilty - but that their name was too tarnished for the brotherhood to continue. Probably the last Templars to die were the Grand Master, Jacques de Molay and his fellow Templar Geoffrey de Charney who recanted their confessions and declared their innocence. They were burnt at the stake on an island in the River Seine in 1314.
The Templars had been destroyed, but their legacy remains to this day throughout Europe in their former churches - such as The Temple in London - and in the crusader castles dotted throughout the Holy Land; in Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan.
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Rob Farrow and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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TQ3181, 3630 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Saturday, 2 March, 2013   (more nearby)
Submitted
Thursday, 7 March, 2013
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Religious sites  City, Town centre 
Place (from Tags)
Temple 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TQ 3121 8106 [10m precision]
WGS84: 51:30.7942N 0:6.6322W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TQ 3119 8107
View Direction
East-southeast (about 112 degrees)
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Other Tags
Church  Temple  Knights Templar 

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