Temple Church – London

The Church of the Knights Templars in London

A description of the fabric and its contents with a short history of the Order

By George Worley. Edited by Robert L D CooperHardback. 101 pages. 192 mm x 124 mm. ISBN 0-9544268-3-5.
Illustrated in black and white
£12.50 per copy

There has long been interest in the Knights Templar church in London because it remains one the few complete properties of the Order still in existence. It is the only complete Templar Church in Britain.

The Da Vinci Code made the places mentioned in the novel world famous. Rosslyn Chapel is one and the Louvre Museum (Paris) is another but the only Knight Templar site mentioned in the novel is the Temple Church which is located a little off Fleet Street, London. All of the sites mentioned in the book have experienced a dramatic increase in visitor numbers and this has had a knock on effect for us, the Rosslyn Templars. We have begun to received a number of enquiries about the Templar Church in London but as this site is devoted to describing and analysing Rosslyn Chapel in its Scottish context it has not been possible to answer these enquiries in any comprehensive manner. We were delighted, therefore, to learn that this guide book to the church has been reprinted as a second edition.

This guide to the Temple Church was originally published in 1907 and was sold at the church for many years. This is similar to the situation at Rosslyn Chapel where a guide book (The Illustrated Guide to Rosslyn Chapel) was first published in 1892 and was sold at the chapel until about 1980. In both cases the original guidebooks provided a substantial history which has never been surpassed by subsequent publications for their descriptive content.

This guide to the only remaining, complete, Knight Templar Church in Britain is invaluable for a number of reasons not least of which is that it contains a full description of the church before it was very badly damaged in 1941 on the very last night of the Blitz

This is a very interesting little book (which is also available as a paperback for £8.50 – good for using and scribbling in like I do – Ed!) and is an ideal companion to the The Illustrated Guide to Rosslyn Chapel from the same publisher. For devotees of The Da Vinci Code novel and the movie based on it these guide books provide a large amount of background detail that should answer most questions about both buildings.

This guide, the original guide, to the Templar Church is not available at the church as this has been replaced by a very well illustrated, colour, booklet of 14 pages (see below) and which is available at the church. The details are:

Temple Church

By Joseph Robinson
ISBN: 0853728526
Price: £2.25
Published: 1 Aug 1997
Format: Paperback/14pp

The modern guide book is most attractive and contains some useful information but it cannot compete with the original guide book in terms of the amount of information and detail. The contents are as follows:

Forward by Robert L D Cooper, Curator, the Grand Lodge of Scotland Museum and Library

Preface by George Worley (1907)

List of works of reference

Chapter 1 – The Knights Templar (a History of the Order)

Chapter 2 – Exterior of the Church

Chapter 3 – Interior of the Round (the Nave)

Chapter 4 – Interior of the Choir

Chapter 5 – The Clergy, Choristers, Services and Organ

Appendix I – Seals of the Templars

Appendix II – The Temple Organ

Appendix III – The other English Round Churches


Ground Plan of the Church

Engravings of the tombstones of Knights Templar within the church

All-in-all this guide book comes highly recommended as a source of information about the church and to a lesser extent the Knights Templar themselves. We cannot but wonder how this lovely wee hardback book can be sold for a mere £12.50!

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