I have been encouraged to create art objects and fun useful items from my photos of which I have thousands. The video is a brief introduction to Temple Balsall, Solihull, England. A preceptory held by the Knights Templar.
Please visit my site for more photos and the story behind the cover of The Secret Dossier of a Knight Templar of the Sangreal: https://gretchencornwall.com/2016/11/…
I’m so pleased that many have commented that the cover is striking and that the image of the Templar Knight is inspiring & compelling. I designed the cover and was happy that so many commented positively on it.
I visited Saint Mary’s Church in Temple Balsall in Solihull England, a few years ago hoping to find the vibrant presence of the Templars still aflame. I have visited many Templar locations in the UK with the prayer that inspiration and discovery will lead me to a higher understanding of who they were during the public historic days of the middle ages. I was not disappointed on this journey to Warwickshire England.
St Mary’s sits within a small grouping of historic buildings which are an ode to the best that is the human heart. There is even a visitor’s car park just in case you plan a trip.
A graceful country manor is across from the ancient Old Hall where the Templars would have held their business activities and also dined.
Lady Katherine Leveson willed that a school and alms-houses were to be established in 1674. The Leveson Foundation still functions today and is a beautiful oasis amidst the green countryside. I highly recommend that you read more about Lady Katherine’s efforts –
Balsall Preceptory as it was technically known by the Templars, was given the property by Roger de Mowbray in 1185. He was described by Horace Round as ‘a great lord with a hundred knight’s fees, was captured with King Stephen at the Battle of Lincoln (1141), joined the rebellion against Henry II (1173), founded abbeys, and went on crusade.
Roger de Mowbray fought with the Templars and also founded the Cistercian Abbey of Fountains in Yorkshire. He participated in three crusades and was finally captured by the Turks at the age of sixty-five. Though the Templars ransomed him, he, unfortunately, died soon after rescue, perhaps due to stress or an injury sustained during his capture.
The Old Hall was officially given to the Hospitallers after 1314 as all properties were meant to pass to their rival St Johns, but it would take many years of legal battles before they were allowed to actually move in and start redecorating.
Prior owners of the gifted Templar lands fought to get them back in order to prevent the Hospitallers from gaining ground in the UK. Eight knights were arrested from Balsall Preceptory; one had been killed during the arrests.
I’ve covered the escape of the Knights Templar on October 13th, 1307 extensively in The Secret Dossier of a Knight Templar of the Sangreal, in chapters 18 & 19.
Saint Mary’s was built by the Templars but was heavily restored by the very busy Victorians, specifically, Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1849.
I can’t verify it at the moment but I believe that the stained glass window was painted by Edward Burne-Jones. He created the Birmingham Cathedral windows and at least 11 churches in Cumbria through the William Morris Company. The ‘Firm’ which was slang for the W.M. Company promoted many Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood painters.
If I am incorrect on Burne-Jones, another member created the gorgeous east window of St. Mary’s Temple Balsall.
I was surprised when I first ‘outed’ the image of the Templar Knight on Facebook; the comments back from my female friends were that the knight looked like a woman! They immediately started to refer to the image as ‘she’ and the resemblance to myself. Perhaps that’s why I chose the photo? A subconscious connection to the image?
I also found it of great interest that in the altar corner stood a modern cast iron tree holding the prayers in tea-lights. Next to this impressive sculpture was an icon of a Black Madonna, also of recent years.
Both are protected by a low barrier. The Templars have a history with the Black Madonna which I’ve also included in my first book.
My next video will be on North Atlantic travel by early medieval, Vikings and the Templars –
All my best! May spring be kind to you and yours,