The Knights Templar was an order set up after the first crusade in 1099, men devoted their lives to protecting pilgrims travelling in the holy land of Jerusalem.
In 1168 the Temple Church in London was built as a British headquarters for the vastly growing order. It is located between Fleet Street and the river Thames. The land between the temple and the river served as a training ground for the knights. The Knights ran an early form of banking system from the Temples across the holy land as protection for the pilgrims.
Every round church the Templar’s built throughout Europe was a recreation of the sanctity of the Holy place found in the original Round Church, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, built upon the death, burial and resurrection place of Jesus Christ. Knights buried in the round were the most powerful of their generation, a burial here was greatly desired as it was a representation of a burial in Holy lands. Within the Naive there are nine life sized effigies made from marble, these effigies are of members of the Templar order.
The Naive stands freely, with Gothic arches which rise to the drum. The Templar’s where the first to engineer such a design. Looking closely we can see that around the Naive the details for every arch has been hand crafted with their own intricate design and between each arch are the heads and gargoyles each with a different face.
The rectangular chancel was added in 1240. The extension was built when the Templar’s expect King Henry III and his wife Eleanor or Provence to be buried at the Church. Henry III was instead buried at Westminster Abby, it was in fact his son that was buried at the Temple Church. Many Kings of England held a close relationship to the Templar order.
On the far western wall we can find a set of aumbries have been carved into the stone, these where used to keep the vessels used at mass. Their shape dates back to the early 17th century, the centre arch was probably created for a mural decoration. Two either side was likely to have been fronted with doors. These aumbries are now hidden behind the Wrenian rerdos.
The Templar order became very wealthy which led to their eventual downfall. King Edward II of England reluctantly seized and handed over the assets of the Templar order, including the Temple Church, to the Knights Hospitaller, who rented the church to law students, which created two of the Inns of Court, it is these inns which is charged with the up keep of the church to this day.
Over the years many restorations have been carried out to preserve and modernize the Temple Church. There have been a number of roofs over the naïve; Anthonis Van Den Wyngaerde in 1544 shows the first to be Cone, which later in reports from 1653 mentions a steeple. in 1680’s Christopher Wren carried out renovations which included the introduction of the churches first organ, a change from the rough Kentish rag stone walls to the smooth Bath stone we see today. The latest restoration came after the Second World War when the Church received heavy bomb damage; the roof was replaced with a design that that stands today, the drum.
(so far without sound, unfortunantly my current recording formats are not working in either premire pro or maya)