Turtle Bunbury

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The Knights Templar of Ireland


6 February 1310, Dublin. It was almost two years to the day since the last of the Knights Templar had been rounded up and placed in custody in Dublin Castle. Across the seas in France and beyond, the Templars were facing violent annihilation – complete dispossession, extreme torture and burning at the stake. Judgment Day had come upon one of Europe’s most powerful military orders, and King Philip of France was on the cusp of a famous and chilling victory. Now, the inquisition of the Irish Templars was about to begin in earnest as the accused men were hauled into St Patrick’s Cathedral to answer eighty-five charges including denying Christ, spitting on the cross, worshipping false idols and homosexuality.

The very concept of the Knights Templar has captivated people ever since the order was founded in 1119. As historian Dan Jones relays in his powerful epic, ‘The Templars’ (Head of Zeus, 2017), the original purpose of this uber-wealthy paramilitary order was to protect pilgrims from being mugged and murdered by brigands on the roads leading into the Holy City of Jerusalem, which was then under Norman control.[i] The order’s official name was the ‘Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon’, a nod to the close proximity of their headquarters to the reputed ruins of the Temple of Solomon. The initial concept was that they would bring Christianity back to basics and champion the ideals of obedience, poverty and chastity.[ii] To this end, the knights were given a form of dispensation - if they killed someone, it was to be described as ‘malicide’, the killing of evil, rather than homicide. As such, these trained killers now had a license to kill.

The order came to prominence during the Second Crusade when they saved the French king’s life in 1148, after which they were involved in every subsequent crusade, either riding rear-guard or vanguard, and participating in most of the major engagements. One of their main enterprises was banking and they became extremely rich very quickly. By the time of the Cambro-Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169, the Templars formed the elite of the crusading armies (which they also funded) and served as both bankers and counsellors to many European monarchs.[iii] They offered a wide range of financial services including large-scale estate management, raising of loans, tax collection, rock-solid security vaults and the safe transportation of vast sums of money. It was possible to deposit money in one Templar preceptory in return for a letter of receipt which could be used to withdraw money from another preceptory. At their peak, the Templars had 4000 people working at their financial headquarters in Paris. Not surprisingly, the Master of the Knights Templar in Ireland was also one of the Auditors of the Irish exchequer.

Among the most powerful Templars in England was Geoffrey FitzStephen, its master from 1180 to 1185. It is tempting to suppose that he was a brother or close kinsman of adventurer Robert FitzStephen who led the vanguard of Strongbow’s mercenary force to Ireland in 1169, thereby precipitating the Cambro-Norman invasion.[iv] FitzStephen was a half-brother of Maurice FitzGerald, founding fathers of that celebrated Irish dynasty, and a cousin of Philip de Barry, Raymond Le Gros and Giraldus Cambrensis.

The first documented evidence of Templars in Ireland is from 1177, less than a decade after the Normans arrived, when "Matthew the Templar" witnessed an Irish charter. In about 1183, Walter de Riddlesford, Lord of Bray, became the first of thirteen Masters of the Knights Templar in Ireland.[v] His wife Amabilis FitzHenry was a granddaughter of King Henry I of England and a niece of Robert FitzStephen. Riddlesford, who had also been part of the initial Normans invasion force, is also said to have founded a Knights Templar base outside the town walls of Castledermot in County Kildare, which later became the Abbey of Crouched Friars.[vi]

The Riddlesfords lived at Kilkea Castle, near Castledermot, which was built for them by Hugh de Lacy, an ally of Strongbow. De Lacy, who was granted the Lordship of Meath in 1171 by Henry II, was a formidable castle builder. He was memorably described by his contemporary Giraldus Cambrensis as 'a swarthy man with small, black deep - set eyes, a flat nose, an ugly scar on his right cheek caused by a burn, a short neck and a hairy sinewy body. He was short and ill made in person, but in character firm and resolute, and of French sobriety. He was very attentive to his private affairs, and in office a most vigilant public administrator. Although much experienced in military matters, he was not fortunate as a general. After his wife's death, he fell into loose moral ways. He was very covetous, and immoderately ambitious of honour and renown.'

De Lacy's other legacies include Trim Castle in County Meath and Clontarf Castle, which became the headquarters of the Knights Templar in Ireland. It is perhaps thus not surprising to learn that Hugh was a son of Gilbert de Lacy, the ‘crafty and sharp’ precentor of the Knights Templars in Tripoli (Libya) who was deemed one of the most influential of the early Templars. In 1163, Gilbert won a rare victory over Nur ad-Din, ruler of the Syrian province of the Seljuk Empire.[vii] In 1301, Hugh’s daughter Matilda De Lacy (widow of David, Baron of Naas, a grandson of Maurice FitzGerald) gifted the Templars a considerable estate (Templetown) near Carlingford on the Cooley Peninsula, County Louth, which is said to have been their wealthiest manor.[viii]

Riddlesford’s appointment coincides with a grant of land in about 1180 when Henry II gave the Templars the "vills" (or taxable settlements) of Clontarf and Crook, County Waterford, along with ten carucates of land (circa 1200 acres).[ix] The Templars owned at least eleven preceptories and manors, as well as extensive monastic estates in Munster and Leinster. Among the earliest estates granted to them was Kilcloggan (also Templetown) in County Wexford (which included the Tower of Hook and may have been a gift of the O’More family). Kilcloggan was not far from another Templars stronghold, namely the stone keep at Ballyhack near New Ross. Ballyhack derives its name from ‘Baile Hac’ in Irish, which apparently means either ‘the place of the stable’ or, more intriguingly, Hack or Hackett’s Homestead. Could this be a reference to Sir Hackett de Riddlesford, son of Sir Walter? Either way, Ballyhack afforded them a perfect, deep, natural harbour to land their ships along this otherwise wild stretch of coastline.

Aside from Clontarf Castle and Baldungan Castle at Skerries, they also had property in Counties Louth (Kilsaran and Templetown), Carlow (Killerig, Ballintemple, Castledermot and, though its precise locations is unknown, Athkiltan), Kilkenny (Gowran), Waterford (Bewley, Rincrew, Killure and Kilbarry), Tipperary (Rathronan and Clonaul or Clonoulty, near Cashel) and Sligo (where Temple House, their most westerly stronghold, was constructed under the patronage of the Bourke family).

It appears that the order’s role in Ireland was primarily to generate income to support the ongoing campaigns in the Holy Land, by dint of agricultural and rental income from the land. Indeed, the men who ran these estates and collected the rents may well have been ‘retired’ Templars whose fighting days were behind them. They converted pasture into profitable cornfields, and may also have bred horses.[x] Another industry they encouraged was Irish cloth; an inventory for the preceptory at Kilsaran included six ells [cubit] of white cloth, as well as robes of coloured wool.[xi] By 1308, the Templar’s Irish holdings were worth £400 per annum.

In 1219 the Templars achieved a major PR coup when William Marshal, the richest knight in Britain or Ireland, was buried in the Temple Church, London, where his tomb can still be seen today. Marshal’s wife Isobel de Clare was the daughter and sole heiress of that famous marriage between Strongbow and Aoife, the daughter of Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster. As such, Marshal was the Lord of Leinster who built the castles at Kilkenny, Carlow, Ferns and Enniscorthy, as well as the Cistercian abbeys at Tintern in County Wexford and Duiske by Graiguenamanagh, County Kilkenny. Like Henry II, Marshal had appointed a Templar as his almoner, the man responsible for ensuring charity was distributed to the poor on his behalf. He was also a close friend of Eymeric [Americ] de St. Maur, the order’s Grand Master who oversaw the building and consecration of the New Temple church when it moved to its present site from Holborn.[xii]

The Templars continued to be a powerhouse for the remainder of the 13th century, serving as advisors to popes and kings, but their immense wealth had somewhat diluted their original brief to promote obedience, poverty and chastity. Moreover, the waning influence of the Christian kingdoms in the Middle East reached a new nadir in 1291 when the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt under Saladin captured the city of Acre, thus removing the last traces of a Crusader state.[xiii] The Templars were now effectively devoid of a purpose.

The Templar’s foremost enemy was Philip the Fair, the ironically named king of France, who had borrowed a good deal of money from the order.[xiv] Having already expelled 100,000 Jews from France, the psychotic monarch now turned his eyes on eliminating his own bankers.

On Friday 13 October 1307, the purge began with mass arrests of Templars across France. Less than four months later, Edward II, King of England and Lord of Ireland, followed suit. John de Wogan, Justiciar of Ireland, was instructed to place fourteen of Ireland’s twenty of so Templar knights in custody and to make an inventory of their possessions in Ireland.

The inquisition of these Irish Templars was presided over by a troika of papal delegates from England – Thomas de Chaddesworth (a tax collector and dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral), Buidum de Bandmell and Johannem Balla. Over the course of the four-month trial, they heard the testimonies of 41 witnesses, including three prominent Dominican friars (Richard Balybyn, a minister, who was later made constable of Drogheda castle; Philip de Slane, a lecturer and future Bishop of Cork; and Hugh St. Leger), two Franciscans (Roger de Heton, the order’s warden, and Walter de Prendergast, a lecturer) and two Augustinians (Simon, prior of the now vanished abbey of St. Thomas the Martyr, just off of modern-day Thomas Street, and Brother Roger, Prior of the Augustinian friary on Crow Street in Dublin’s Temple Bar).[xv] Neither the Dominicans nor the Franciscans owed the Templars any favours; the Templars were perceived as an English order and Irish friars had plenty of cause to be chary of their wealth and privileges.[xvi] There was also still the shadow of Walter le Bachelor, Master of the Irish Templars from 1295-1301, who had been found guilty of financial malpractice and died under dubious circumstances in a Templar penitentiary at the New Temple in London.

The most controversial aspect of the trial concerned Henry Danet who had taken office as (the last) Master of the Templars in Ireland just two days before the arrests began. Danet, a veteran of both Cyprus and Syria, had been a favourite of Jacques de Molay, the order’s disgraced Grand Master. Subjected to vicious torture, de Molay had already confessed to various heresies. Richard Balybyn and Brother Roger both suggested that Danet and de Molay had engaged in sodomy.[xvii] Danet’s cryptic defence comprised of damning the order’s practices in faraway lands but insisting there was no untoward behaviour in Ireland. One can but imagine the tittle-tattle going through the streets of Dublin as these monks assembled day after day for the trial in St. Patrick’s Cathedral which then lay just outside the city walls.

Also in the firing line was Robert de Pourbrigge (Porbryg, reputed head of the Carlow preceptories) and Richard de Burchesham (Burthesham, Bustleham, Bostelesham) who had been in Tripoli, which was apparently a hotbed of Templar heresy. Another man subject to interrogation was Henry de la Forde; it is plausible that he was an ancestor of the Fordes of Fordeston (sometimes, Fordestone), now spelt Fordstown, near Kells, in County Meath, and, by extension, the Fordes of Seaforde in County Down. It is certainly notable that Kells was reputedly one location where the Templars owned land until it was confiscated after the purge of 1307. The Fordes of Fordeston are mentioned in Carew’s 'Perambulation of Leinster, Meath, and Louth, &c.' of 1595, while early Meath records in Trinity College Dublin show that the manorial village of Fordestone existed under that name in the early 1300’s, so it is not beyond the realms of possibility that there is a connection to a Templar ancestor.

At least five Templars in Ireland were not interrogated, including William de Warren, the former Master of the order, who was by then commander of the preceptory at Clonoulty.[xviii] It is assumed he was spared as he was a kinsman of Edmond Butler (Le Botiler), first Earl of Carrick, who succeeded Wogan as Justiciar of Ireland in 1312.

Meanwhile, the situation for the Templars in Europe had gone from bad to worse when Pope Clement V, a puppet of the French king, dissolved the entire order in July 1311. Tortured for their ‘abominations’, the order had by now been thoroughly shamed and discredited. Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master, was among nearly a hundred Templars burned at the stake.[xix]

The Irish Templars strongly denied all charges and, unlike their French Brethren, they were not subjected to torture in order to extricate a confession. Moreover, it transpired that few witnesses were able to provide any real evidence of heretical wrongdoing. The most damning statement they could muster was from Friar Hugo de Lummour who claimed he had once been at the Templar preceptory in Clontarf when he witnessed William de Warren “bend his head at the elevation of the sacrament, not caring to look at the host”.[xx] Nobody could construe this as evidence that the spirit of Beelzebub had taken root and, as such, the Irish Templars fared considerably better than their European brethren.

When the trial concluded on 6 June 1310, the sturdiest penalty imposed was that the accused should do penance and, once absolved, they were pensioned off and appear to gone into monastic retirement ever after. Danet was released on bail. The Templars estates were nonetheless seized and ultimately handed over to their rivals, the Knights Hospitaller.[xxi]

One notable legacy of the Templar trials concerns a Francisan friar called Richard Ledrede who was at the papal court in France when the Templars were being suppressed. In 1317 he was made Bishop of Ossory in Ireland. Seven years later, he oversaw the celebrated trial in Kilkenny of Dame Alice Kyteler and various others for witchcraft; the suspects were subjected to similar torture the Templars had suffered and one woman, Petronella di Midia, was burned at the stake with Ledrede watching through the roaring flames.

With thanks to Dan Jones and Mathew Forde.


'The Templars' by Dan Jones (Head of Zeus, 2017)

The rise and fall of the Knights Templar in Ireland’ by Findwyer | Aug 10, 2011

'The Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon: The Knights Templar and Ireland' via Irish Masonic History and the Jewels of Irish Freemasonry @

The Testimony of Brother Henry Danet and the Trial of the Templars in Ireland’ by Helen J. Nicholason, ‘In Laudem Hierosolymitani: Studies in Crusades and Medieval Culture in Honour of Benjamin Z. Kedar’, Ronnie Ellenblum (Routledge, 2016).

The Trial of the Templars in Ireland’ by Helen J. Nicholson, Ch. 18, in ‘The Debate on the Trial of the Templars, 1307-1314’, edited by Jochen Burgtorf, Paul Crawford, Helen Nicholson (Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2010).

'Knights Templar in Britain' by Evelyn Lord (Routledge, 2013).

Finding the Holy Grail’ by Sean Mac Aodhagain (AuthorHouse, 2009)


[i] Their brief had quickly expanded ‘mission creep’ style to include protection of all the roads leading into the city, and the wayside castles and then to embrace the defence of Jerusalem itself, arguably the most important city on Earth at the time.

[ii] Under St Bernard and the Cistercians, there had been a major clamp down on the Benedictine’s luxurious existence and a new age of austerity began. Although Bernard liked the Templars, he created new rules insisting that they live away from women, in poverty, away from other society. [Avoid at all costs the embraces of women, by which many a man has perished. Some became gay instead] Nor were they allowed to wear pointy shoes, which were deemed to be pagan, and rightly so. Also gone were ornate bridles and lances. Bernard wanted to create a new form of knighthood, away from the arrogant, rich knights of old. Hence, they had to wear shoddy robes and reject the earthly trappings of life, so that they were more like the High Sparrow’s horrible entourage in ‘Game of Thrones’ who Circe blows up. Why would somebody be tempted by such an austere order? In part because they were killers anyway and this order offered them a chance to redeem their sins, to find salvation through killing itself.

The key to their longevity was donations, generous donations. At one level, people left them jackets, horses, shares in vineyards; at the other, Alphonso, King of Aragorn, left the order one third of his kingdom! A series of papal bulls also granted the Templars freedom from being bossed about by local bishops and freedom from taxation or tithes.

[iii] Saint Louis (Louis IX) commissioned the Templar's to buy him a fleet and to advise on strategy during the Seventh Crusade (1248-1254). They also paid his ransom of 800,000 bezants when he was captured… they had the money stashed on boats nearby! As well as heavily funding the Crusades, they (and the Hospitallers) were collecting crusading taxes in countries as far apart as England, France and Hungary, and then transporting those taxes straight to where it was needed in Egypt rather than going via Rome. They were more than bankers, operating on a vast scale. Tax collection was a very complicated business at that time, but they looked after the tax of Paris (check). They did take deposits, such as the Crown Jewels from King John when he lost control of the Tower of London at one point… people also deposited valuable charters with them for safekeeping… When Henry II tried to pay off his guilt for killing Thomas Becket, the money he put towards a crusade was kept with the Templars, while the king of France had a bank account with them, as did his mother-in law!

[iv] Robert FitzStephen was a son of Stephen, Constable of Cardigan Castle, by the famous Nest, daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr, the last king of Deheubarth (South Wales). Maurice FitzGerald was a son of Nesta by her first husband, Gerald de Windsor. The initial Cambro-Norman force that landed at Bannow Island, County Wexford, consisted of 30 knights, 60 men-at-arms and 300 archers. Another ten knights and 60 archers arrived the next day, and united with 500 soldiers commanded by Diarmait Mac Murchada, King of Leinster. Robert duly led the conquest of Wexford.

[v] Masters were generally appointed from the General Chapter in England. Although geneally known as ‘Walter the Templar’, Riddlesford’s surname is given by Sean Mac Aodhagain, ‘Finding the Holy Grail’ (AuthorHouse, 2009), p. 92, via … and this does make sense to me, although I’d love to have proper evidence of this.

Masters of the Templars in Ireland
Walter de Riddlesford - c.1180
Guarnerus -
Hugh de Gundeveille - c.1200 - 10
Henry Foliot - c.1210
Ralph de Southwark - 1234
Roger le Waleis - 1235 - 50
Herbert de Manchester - 1257 - 73
Roger de Glastonbury - 1278 - 88
Thomas de Toulouse - 1288
Walter le Bachelor* - 1295 - 1301
Peter de Malvern - 1300
William de Warren (Waryne) - 1302 - 06
Henry Danet (Tanet) - 1307 - 08

In the 1160s and 1170s, the Muslim forces in the Middle East start to consolidate under Saladin and his successors, uniting Egypt and Syria. Given that the Normans were not having it so easy down that direction, is that another reason why they looked west to Ireland?

The state of play in Ireland in the 1170s and 1180s should be measured against what was happening in the Middle East. For instance, it may be relevant that a small force of Templar knights inflicted a massive defeat on Saladin’s army at the battle of Montgisard in 1177 …. but the Christians soon suffered a series of catastrophic defeats, not least with the most important battle of the age, fought at Hattin in Lower Galilee (now Israel) on 4 July 1187, between the Crusader states of the Levant and the forces of Saladin. The kings of Jerusalem at this time were not the finest – Baldwyn IV was a leper, then came a child King, and then a divisive woman. Dan Jones reckons if you are invited to join a big battle in the 12th century, don't! But King Guy decided war was for him and allowed himself to be thrown into a big battle with Saladin. It took place in the height of a hot summer and the 20,000 Christians were lured forward and then surrounded; the Muslims cut off from their water supply & set fire to all the surrounding scrub, so the smoke further parched their throats. The Christian army was utterly depleted by the following morning when it advanced forward and Saladin’s army attacked. It was a complete annihilation and one of the most pivotal events of that time so relate that to Ireland! The Muslim armies under Saladin captured or killed the vast majority of the Crusader forces, removing their capability to wage war. The Templars lost around 150 knights and 300 foot-soldiers. Most of the Templar's and Hospitallers were captured after the battle along with King Guy. Saladin decided not to sell them into slavery or to ransom them. He lined them up and had them beheaded one by one by whoever happened to be nearby, not professionals. Here, have a hack! Pure butchery of the military orders in order to destroy them …. As a direct result of the battle of Hattin, the Muslims once again became the eminent military power in the Holy Land, re-conquering Jerusalem (after circa 100 years) and several other Crusader-held cities, leaving the Crusaders with no option but to launch a Third Crusade, which began two years after the Battle of Hattin, when Richard the Lionheart teamed up with Philip of France to take the city back. They did pretty well but they did not get Jerusalem back. Richard reinvigorated his army with new leadership for the Templars (not long after Saladin had beheaded them all) but the Templars were also strong enough to rebuild because their brand had so much kudos by that time and they quickly regenerated.

[vi] Thomas Walsh, ‘History of the Irish Hierarchy: With the Monasteries of Each County, Biographical Notices of the Irish Saints, Prelates, and Religious’ (D. & J. Sadlier & Company, 1854), p. 479.

[vii] Dan Jones, The Templars (Head of Zeus, 2017), p. 136. It’s possible he was the same Gilbert the Templar who was given overall command of the French army during the Second Crusade, following their slaughter at Mount Cadmus in 1148. (p. 91) The 1160s was also the peak hour of the Assassin’s, a warrior caste, who specialised in public executions of famous leaders. They didn't bother killing Templars because they realise that if you killed one, another one would simply pop up and take his place!

[viii] Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Volume 26 (1907), p. 311. De Lacy was murdered in 1186 when his head was chopped off by an assassin in Durrow. In 1195, his severed head was interred in St Thomas’ abbey, Dublin. A dispute arose between St Thomas’ abbey and Bective abbey over where de Lacy’s body should be interred. It was settled on 14 February 1205, in St Thomas’ abbey’s favour. It is also to be noted that Hugh’s son, Hugh de Lacy, 1st Earl of Ulster, married Emmeline de Riddlesford, a granddaughter of Walter de Riddlesford, the Templar Master.

[ix] Evelyn Lord, 'Knights Templar in Britain' (Routledge, 2013), p. 179. A marsh at Waterford and a Church dedicated to St. Barry (Kilbarry) were later added to this grant.

[x] Evelyn Lord, 'Knights Templar in Britain' (Routledge, 2013), p. 183.

[xi] Evelyn Lord, 'Knights Templar in Britain' (Routledge, 2013), p. 184.

[xii] An Irish axe was found in the armoury of the New Temple.

[xiii] Saladin was protected by a bodyguard of Mamluks, slave warriors, akin to the Unsullied from Game of Thrones, many of whom had been kidnapped as children and trained up there after. They were the Muslim equivalent of the Templars and proved to be the most effective guys to reunite the Middle East in the 13th century and ruled over Egypt and Syria.

[xiv] There was a general shortage of silver in Europe at this time.

[xv] It is notable that so most of the churches associated with these people were destroyed when Edward the Bruce’s army attacked Dublin in 1316.

[xvi] The Franciscans were one of many orders born during another revival in the idea that the church should promote obedience, poverty and chastity; ideals which the Templars had become far removed from. Saint Francis of Assisi (a champion of the barefoot, sackcloth approach) coincided with the 5th Crusade… he even secured an audience with the Sultan and tried to persuade him to become a Christian! All the young fellows thought St Francis was deadly buzz, most inspiring, and wanted to join the Franciscans which caused a bit of consternation down at the Templar recruiting offices. The Templars by now an extremely organised and very wealthy paramilitary financial service so the contrast is immense; they had moved on considerably from the initial idea, encapsulated on their seal, of two brothers sitting on the same horse!

[xvii] ‘The Testimony of Brother Henry Danet and the Trial of the Templars in Ireland’ by Helen J. Nicholason, ‘In Laudem Hierosolymitani: Studies in Crusades and Medieval Culture in Honour of Benjamin Z. Kedar’, Ronnie Ellenblum (Routledge, 2016)

[xviii] It is notable that William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey, was killed at the Battle of Mount Cadmus in 1148 while serving as a Knights Templars bodyguard to the French king Louis VII (one of Eleanor of Aquitaine’s ex-husbands). This was at the height of the Second Crusade (1147-1149), so twenty years before the invasion of Ireland and fifty years before another William Warren became Master of the Irish Templars. One wonders how many fathers of those Normans who came to Ireland circa 1169-1180 took part in that Second Crusade? It was an ill-advised overland march to Edessa in Greater Syria, as it was then, as the crusaders sought to emulate the success of their forefathers on 1st Crusade. However, the long march through Asia Minor took its toll on the French army, which comprised of tens of thousands of people, which was constantly being harassed by Turks on its flanks. There were just 50 Templar Knights to protect them! When Louis was almost captured and killed at Mount Cadmus, he panicked and handed command of his troops over to the Templar commander called Gilbert. Gilbert reorganised the Crusaders into structured format, each unit commanded by a Templar. They successfully escorted the crusaders all the way to a point where they could take a ship to Syria and the Holy Land. This was just 30 or so years after the order had been established so an extraordinary achievement… they also managed to bail out the bankrupt French king! [It would be fun if Gilbert transpired to be Gilbert de Lacy or an ancestor of the Butlers; Gilbert de Clare (father of Strongbow) died in 1148 but this was apparently at home. https://fabpedigree.com/s026/f018130.htm]

[xix] While it seems amazing how dramatically they crashed out, Dan Jones likened it to the fall of an institution like the Lehman Bros in the present age. Contrary to wishful legends, the Templars did not ride to the rescue at the Battle of Bannockburn. One of the Templars mistakes was not to have a stronghold somewhere. The closest they came was with Cyprus. In contrast, by the 14th century the Hospitallers were ruling the island of Rhodes (and, much later, Malta) while the Teutonic Knights were set up in Acre in 1191 and also had land in Prussia. But the Templars never really have land, aside from when Richard the Lionheart arrived in the Middle East on the Third Crusade in the 1190s (to take on Saladin), conquered Cyprus, didn't want it and sold it to the Templars. After a year or so, the Templars decided Cyprus was too much hassle and sold it to King Guy’s family (Lusignan) as a consolation for his loss of Jerusalem. Cyprus later became the heart of the Christian kingdom in the Middle East but not on the Templar’s watch! They should have kept the island and made it a secure base and that might have saved their bacon.

[xx] Friar Walter Waspayl added that he had heard Friar W. de Denedale, O.F.M., who was present in Paris, say that he had heard a Knight Templar ''confess in the presence of the King of France and the whole clergy that his profession was evil"
A remarkable sepulchral slab in Ardfert Friary was identified by Miss Hickson as the monument of Sir Gerald Fitzmaurice, Grand Prior of the Knights Templars in Ireland at the time of the suppression of the Order (J.A.L XXV, pp. 330-6).
Extracts from Materials for the history of the Franciscan province of Ireland, A.D. 1230-1450, VOL. IX, British Society of Franciscan Studies. Collected and edited by the late Rev. Father E. B. Fitzmaurice, O.F.M. and A. G. Little (Manchester: The University Press, 1920)

[xxi] The Hospitallers contributed several public officials to Ireland, including a chancellor and chief governor but I am not yet sure who these were … please let me know if you do!