It is important to know there were Templars in Scotland since David I,  who granted the Order lands. The Temple in Midlothian was the main Scottish House of the Templars (lying where the airport is now). Let’s go to the Bruce for a while; Robert de Brus, 1st Lord of Annandale, the first of the Bruce, or de Brus line arrived in Scotland with David I in 1124 and was given the lands of Annandale in Dumfries and Galloway. The Bruces held substantial estates in Aberdeenshire, County Antrim Northern Ireland, at that time Ulster, County Durham, Essex, Middlesex and Yorkshire south of the border. The family came from France, was it with Willy the Conqueror? The excommunication of Robert the Bruce was the result of him murdering inside a church (Kirk).  We now move to France; King Phillip IV of France set his jealous sights on the riches of the Knights Templar. His aim was to destroy the Templar Order and confiscate all their treasuries and properties in France as he owed them so much money by the way, dozens of Templars were burned at the stake in Paris for their confessions. Under pressure from King Philip, Pope Clement V reluctantly dissolved the Knights Templar in 1312. On Friday October 13, 1307, (which is where the bad luck omen started) scores of French Templars were arrested, including Jacques de Molay, who was executed in 1314 (a notable date). Many of the knights were brutally tortured until they confessed to false charges, which included heresy, homosexuality, financial corruption, devil worshipping, spitting on the cross and more. Many Templars survived, escaped and fled to Scotland, as Bruce and themselves were both excomunicate. In Scotland their only possible battles – we think – were at Bannockburn and the battles that led up to it. The Knights Templar presence in Scotland began after King Henry I of England arranged and introduction of the Templar founder Hugh de Payens to King David I of Scotland. The meeting was a success and the Templars were given land south of Edinburgh that became known as ‘Balantrodoch’. The Knights Templar were not only fierce warriors, but they were landlords and businessmen who owned over 500 sites in Scotland. Because of this, they became advisors to King David I and his successors.

Rosslyn Chapel founded in 1446 by Sir William St Clair.  Although the original plans for Rosslyn have not been found, it is thought that the chapel was originally intended to be part of a larger building. The Chapel is famous for its striking and unusual carvings, which depict Christian imagery such as angels and devils along with icons associated with the pre Christian era, such as the Green Man. The carvings add to the mystery of Rosslyn, but how did the church become associated with the Knights Templar? The legend of the lost treasure of the Templars has its origins from the trial of amongst others John of Châlons, a Templar sergeant, said that Gérard of Villiers had been tipped off about arrests and managed to escape with eighteen galleys filled with Templar treasure. Did the Templar fleet sail to Scotland?, a Scottish exile in Germany George Frederick Johnson said the Templars had sailed to Scotland. Later, one of his followers said that they landed on the Isle of Mull. Others have suggested that Dalmally or Ayrshire was another location. These fugitive Templars are said to have aided the Scots at Bannockburn and found refuge at Rosslyn, where they hid their treasure, maybe? The legend the Templars fought at Bannockburn arises from a source coming from reports from the English who think were winning until an unknown force joined the Scottish side and forced the English to retreat. The unknown force is said to have been made up of the exiled Templars. Who knows the truth? Will we ever know? Does it really matter, Bruce won!  It is agreed by historians that the Templars WERE IN SCOTLAND, so I leave you to your own thoughts. The mysteries of Oak Island have nothing on this! Knightfall tv series; While Knightfall is not 100 % accurate on the organization’s fall from grace, it does however combine the real story of the Knights Templar with fiction surrounding them. The Knights Templar have become as important to their legacy as the reality of their existence as a powerful military and financial force.

Wee story written by Chev. Paul McLean, Bannockburn June 2006.