READERSHIP: Interested general reader, local historians, medieval historians, archaeologists.
The Knights Templar were one of the most significant institutions of Medieval England. A powerful band of warrior-knights who owned vast tracts of land and were instrumental in the Crusades. Their rise to power and wealth was followed by ruthless suppression, amidst allegations of heresy and black magic; their lands were sequestered and their buildings were demolished, leaving only traces of their former presence in the English Landscape today. Author George Tull has produced the first full examination of all the actual remains today of the various properties established by the Knights Templar in England. Armed with this guide to their whereabouts, the general researcher can see exactly what remains on the ground today and relate it to its place in the history of the order. It may be said of the Knights Templar that they were founded at a critical time for the history of Western civilisation - truly an idea whose time had come. Few historians today would argue with the premise that had there not been the Crusades, there might never have been an Order of the Temple. St Bernard of Clairvaux, in his own inimitable style, admitted that he did not know whether to call the Templars monks or knights. The same question has puzzled subsequent writers, though it need not worry the modern reader, whose sensibility can perhaps more readily accept an order which comprises sacred warriors or warrior monks.
Although it contains a great deal of information and speculation about the Order of the Temple in general (because where certainty is not possible, a reasonable theory is always better than leaving a blank) the main object of the book is simply to present, in readable form, as much information as can be found about the Templars in England, and what remains today, from Templecombe in Somerset to Temple Newsam in Yorkshire, even if only in the "Temple" element of English place names.