Turning the corner, I see this map of The Temple. It shows all the major inn’s, legal offices and roads in this legal heartland.
And then the Temple Church comes into view as I step out of the little alley way. This is the church which the Templars used for their headquarters and where Dan Brown situated his Da Vinci Code in. Unfortunately, I was a bit early. The church opens for visiting at 2pm, I was about 30 minutes early so I decided to do a walk around the church.
This is the entrance to the Nave of the church, but its closed. This is the entrance to the Round Church. The shape of the church is actually like the small “i”, in two parts. the top round dot part is the Round Church, and the rectangular part at the bottom is the Chancel, which was actually constructed 1/2 a century after the Round Church.
A very well architected entrance, looks beautiful. Check out the door. This is the door by which the new templar novices would enter and then take vows of chastity, piety, poverty and obedience. And there would be other ceremonies which would be kept very secret.
The arched ceiling is beautiful. The church goes back to late 12th century. You might see that quite a lot of the exterior and interior is new, as it was quite heavily damaged during the WW2 due to bombing.
The round structure of the Round Church is supposed to be based on the Church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The stained glass windows look a bit narrow to me, but I dont think that construction methods were so advanced at that time to provide wide windows. You can see the supporting buttresses.
There are few graves scattered around, almost at random. I found this very sad. They are abandoned, no signs on the top to indicate who they belonged to, nothing to show who was buried under that slap. Warrior monks/priests…
Another view of one of the old sad grave. I had to stand there and gaze at the grave. Nobody knows who is buried there. The sides show that the grave is very very old, with no markings. Was this a pauper? Or was this a knight? What dreams did he have? Where did he go and fight? Was he a crusader? Or did he die of more prosaic causes such as the black death? Or was it a servant girl? May your soul rest in peace.
The sign on the entrance railing of the round church.
The courtyard is paved with stone and surrounded by these brick buildings. The brick building in the centre is the Inner Temple Hall.
Decorations on the Inner Temple Hall.
The sculpture on top of the monument. Two knights on a charger. Hmmm, this is dated to 2000 AD. Not new at all. This is the Templar’s seal and the moth eaten flag and poor quality armour was supposed to signify the poverty of the templars. Ironic that it was their great wealth which was the cause of their downfall. Another interesting factoid, this marks the spot where the great fire of 1666 was stopped thereby saving the church from burning down. So why two templars to one horse? Well, they were so poor that they had to share one horse. The full name of the order was…The Order of Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon.
The gate was open but I didn't have the courage to pop in, lol. Some rose plants are scattered around the garden and guess this? In Part I of the 16th century play Henry VI, by William Shakespeare, the Temple Church is the scene of the start of the 15th century Wars of the Roses. In the play, the war was sparked by the plucking of two roses in the Temple garden. Curious, eh?
Couple of views of the stark chestnut tree in the middle of the courtyard.
I am now queuing up to go into the church, getting quite excited by it all when I notice this carved flower on the side. Pretty interesting, eh?
the entire areas is drenched with history over the past hundreds of years, if you sit quietly, you can listen to the susurration of noises, voices and yells. You can smell horses, you can smell the armour and can hear the clink of swords. You can hear rustling of paper and the voices of penitents down the centuries. Wonderful place. Loved it.