The Britannia Lexicon

the central or top voussoir of an arch, also where ribs of a vault meet and cross each other.

the centre post of a roof standing upon the tie-beam and reaching up to the ridge.

court of record, supreme in common law.

the retainer of a feudal lord who owes military service for his fief, usually the service of one fully equipped, mounted warrior. The ideals to which a knight may aspire are notably prowess, loyalty,
generosity and courtesy.

in theory, a fief which provides sufficient revenue to equip and support one knight, approximately twelve hides or 1500 acre. The terms applies more to the revenue a fief can generate than its size; it requires about thirty marks per year to support a knight.

order of knights known as "The Knights of St. John of the Hospital." They were pledged to minister to the sick and to protect the holy places, similar to their chief rivals, the Templars.

order of warrior/monks officially founded in 1118 by Hugues de Payns after the successful campaign to recapture Jerusalem. They were originally known as the "Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon," and their purpose was to protect Christian travellers to the Holy Land. They were officially sanctioned by the church at the Council of Troyes in 1128 and received the support of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who was commissioned to write their "Rule."

The organization was known for being ferocious in battle and it acquired vast holdings of land all over Europe, particularly in France. It also accumulated enormous wealth during the time of the crusades. On Friday, October 13, 1307, following a series of events, the bailiffs of King Philip IV, the Fair, of France, entered the Templar Commanderies and captured, with a hint of struggle or protest, "all" of the Knights of the Temple. They were imprisoned, tortured, forced to confess to a variety of heresies and perversions and were offered the choice of recantation or death. Jacques de Molay, their Grand Master, chose to burn at the stake and died in 1312, ending the tumultuous, 200 year existence of the Knights Templars.

It is believed by some that a conspiracy between the French crown (particularly Philip and his chancellor, Guillaume de Nogaret) and the Vatican, who feared and envied the power and wealth of the Templars, was responsible for their demise. Perhaps this is so, but there has been no adequate explanation of why the Templars went into captivity so meekly. The only possible clue, an ambiguous one at that, lies in the story of a wagon, believed to be loaded with Templar treasure, that was seen leaving the Paris Commanderie, a week before the mass arrest. Some believe that the ones who were left behind to face torture and death, did so willingly, to protect whatever was carried off in that wagon. Of course that story doesn't really answer any questions, it merely raises more.The wagon must have contained something of inestimable value, though, as it is hard for us to imagine anyone being willing to die horribly by fire and sword to protect a wagon load of gold, that someone else will enjoy. As the flames were doing their worst, Grand Master de Molay is said to have prophesied the imminent deaths of Philip IV and his co-conspirator, Pope Clement V. That prophecy came true as both men died within a year of de Molay.

Most people believe that the Templars went underground, after that time, and were reincarnated as the Freemasons, in the seventeenth century. In recent years, interest in the Templars has increased, with many new books being written about them. Some writers have even connected them with a fanciful, but persistent, theory involving Mary Magdalene and the "bloodline of Jesus Christ."

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