Taken from the BBC website; BBC.com, here is an interesting piece by Addison Nugent. She writes this as part of a travelogue and it may be of interest to our members. Other information gleened from Knights Tempar International, UK. Genealogical Archives, electricscotland and the excellant research by AJ Carruthers is included.
She writes: “It was a beautiful spring day in Paris and I was on the terrace of Cafe Carlot in the French capital’s chicest district, the Marais. Sipping an Aperol spritz, I watched the parade of Parisian glitterati sashay past me. (The Cafe Carlot is situated on the Rue de Bretagne, facing Paris’s oldest market dated 1610. It is a place full of history and beutiful architecture, well worth a visit. Ed)
At this time of year, Paris loves to celebrate the end of the dreary winter months, and nowhere can the famous Parisian joie de vivre be felt more strongly than in this Rive Droite centre of frivolity.
On that day, however, I wasn’t interested in the surface-turned-runway of the Marais – but rather what lay below these designer-clad feet. Because, incongruously, under the district’s cobblestoned streets lie the remnants of the mysterious Knights Templar’s mightiest stronghold.
From Indiana Jones to The Da Vinci Code, the legendary figures of the Knights Templar loom large in the modern imagination. Behind the legends, however, is an epic tale, spanning centuries and continents – one that ends in Paris where the traces of the Knights Templar’s final years can still be seen by those who know where to look. And I was in the Marais on that beautiful spring day to find them”.
She contues: “The story of the Knights Templar began in 1099 when Catholic armies from Europe captured Jerusalem from Muslim control during the first Crusade. European pilgrims flooded into the Holy Land as a result, but many were robbed and killed while passing through Muslim-controlled areas during their journey. To combat these attacks, French knight Hugues de Payens created a military order consisting of eight other soldiers called the Poor Knights of Christ of the Temple of Solomon – later known simply as the Knights Templar – around the year 1118. The elite order of knights set up headquarters on Jerusalem’s sacred Temple Mount vowing to protect all Christian pilgrims to the city. The Knights began amassing a great fortune, with grateful pilgrims showering them with riches in exchange for their protection.
The power of the Knights Templar grew exponentially in 1139 and spread well beyond Jerusalem, when Pope Innocent II issued a Papal Bull that gave the order extraordinary protections, including an exemption from paying taxes or tithings anywhere in the world and the retention of all the gifts they received from grateful pilgrims travelling through the Holy Land.
The same year, King Louis VII donated an estate to the Templars on the north-eastern edge of the Parisian city walls where a group of Knights settled. Though non-exclusionary with members and chapters throughout Europe, the Knights Templar was a French organisation with a French founder. (The Knights Templar actually began their Paris life in the 12th century, constructing a fort first (Vieux Temple or Old Temple) in Le Marais. Ed). In the 13th century, a new fortress was built as their European Headquarters.
Furthermore, nearly every Grand Master or supreme leader in Templar history was French, thereby making France the seat of Templar power in Europe. (Louise VII married 3 times: firstly to Eleanor of Aquitaine, secondly to Constance of Castile and thirdly to Adele of Champagne. He died on 18 September 1180 in Paris and was buried the next day at Barbeau Abbey with the remains eventually being moved in 1817 to the Basilica of St Denis.Ed.)
Paris has preserved their memory in its toponymy: Square du Temple, boulevard du Temple, rue du Temple, rue Vieille-du-Temple, rue des Fontaines-du-Temple, carreau du Temple…” said Thierry do Espirito, host of the Knights Tempar in Paris tour (Knights Templar in Paris tour) and author of The Knights Templar for Dummies.
Their original estate has long since succumbed to the great march of history, but you can still visit the site on which it once stood on Rue de Lobau, located just behind the Hôtel de Ville. (The location of the towers is drawn on the floor in front of the town hall, rue Eugene Spuller. The heavy doors of the Grosse Tour still exist and are kept at Château de Vincennes whose great keep, attributed to Raymond du Temple, is speculated to have been inspired by the nearby Templar fortress. Ed)
Back in the day, surrounding the mansion were miles of uncultivated marshland. In order to make the land arable, the Knights Templar set about drying the marsh – a feat that they were able to fully achieve circa 1240. But though the wetlands have long since disappeared, the area is still referred to as ‘le Marais’ or ‘the Marsh’”.
Addison continues; “I paid my bill and headed to the stunning Square du Temple, whose sprawling verdant grass shaded by leafy trees form the perfect spot for a Parisian pastime even more beloved than people-watching: the mid-afternoon aperitif al fresco. But I’d come for a different reason: this idyllic park is built smack dab over the ruins of the Knights Templar’s European headquarters: the enclos du Temple.
Surrounded by eight 10m-high crenelated walls reinforced by turrets and buttress, this gargantuan fortress once featured towers, a drawbridge, a gothic church, vast stables and homes for the knights. It was here that the Templars guarded mass portions of their treasure and created a powerful ‘state-within-a-state’ that was entirely sovereign from the kings of France.
While this system of sovereignty worked for a time, everything changed in 1303 when the Knights Templar were forced to move their base of operations from the Temple Mount to their European headquarters – the enclos du Temple – after Jerusalem was recaptured by Muslim armies.
The king of France at the time, Philip the Fair, deeply resented the Knights Templar’s powerful ‘state-within-a-state’ and resolved to bring the order down by any means necessary. King Philip’s reasoning for destroying the order is speculated to this day, though many scholars believe his motivations were financial. “Philip could use the silver coin he acquired from the Templars’ treasury in Paris to improve the quality of the heavily debased French coinage,” explained Dr Helen Nicholson, author of The Knights Templar: A New History and professor of medieval history at Cardiff University.
The truth is, as king, Philip didn’t really need to explain his reasoning. So, on 13 October 1307, he had scores of Knights Templar, including the supreme authority and single most powerful member of the order, Grand Master Jacques de Molay, arrested on charges that included devil worship, blasphemy, idolatry and homosexuality. The final charge is strangely poetic, as today the Marais is a well-known LGBTQ+ district.(It was this date on Friday 13th of October 1307, that the superstition of the day being unlucky, may have had its roots. Ed)
Looking out at the revellers and sunbathers in the Square du Temple, I found it hard to imagine a time when this small oasis just off the raucous Place de la République was walled in and filled with stoic warrior knights – mostly because none of the structures that comprised the enclos du Temple stand today, having been destroyed by Napoleon III in 1853 to make way for Baron Haussmann’s vision for a new Paris.
But if you know where to look, you can still see traces of the knights’ ghostly presence throughout the district. Number 158 on rue du Temple is where the grand entrance to the enclos once stood, and rumour has it that in the basement of 32 rue de Picardie, now the chic restaurant-bar Les Chouettes the remnants of a corner tower can still be seen. True Templar enthusiasts can take a trip to the Château des Vincennes, just outside Paris, where the heavy gates of the Grosse Tour (great tower) from the enclos du Temple are kept.
Bordering the Square du Temple is an enclosed market called the Carreau du Temple. (The Carreau du Temple is a covered market built in 1873, following on from a wooden structure built in 1811. Ed.) In 2007, while the structure was undergoing renovations, the remains of a Templar cemetery were unearthed, along with the skeletons of knights who died in France.
Exiting the church’s ornate doors, I headed deeper into the Marais. Walking up rue Réamur I passed the Musée des Arts et Métiers,, an engineering and science museum, once the Saint-Martin-des-Champs Priory where, according to Do Espirito, some of the imprisoned Templars were held.
With this in mind, I headed towards the spot where the story of the Knights Templar more or less ended – the small verdant tip of Île de la Cité on the River Seine that faces the Marais district, called the Square du Vert-Galant.
Much like the Square du Temple, the Square du Vert-Galant is a peaceful place where Parisians and tourists come to picnic. Although it looked like something out of a Renoir painting today, on 18 March 1314 it looked more like a scene from a horror film. Because it was on that day that after seven years of imprisonment, de Molay was burned alive at the stake.
A small plaque at the entrance of the park reads ‘In this spot, Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Order of the Templars, was burned’. It is said that as he died, de Molay cursed Pope Clement V and King Philip the Fair and all his descendants. He proclaimed that within a year both Philip and Clement would die, and that the king’s bloodline would no longer rule in France.
The two men did, in fact, die that year, and in the 14 years that followed, all King Philip’s heirs perished, effectively destroying the bloodline that had ruled France for three centuries.
We may never know, of course, if de Molay really cursed the king and Pope Clement V. Whatever the truth, it’s buried beneath the cobblestoned streets of the Marais, along with countless other Parisian secrets”.
Carruthers and the Templars
According to family legend and supported by the theories of J.A. Carruthers in his book ‘Carruthers Anthology Genealogy’ printed in 2014, there was a distinct link between our family and the Templars.
In his chapter Traltrow, Hoddom and the Fleur d-lys AJ states “It is accepted the surname of Carruthers, originated within the ancient lordship of Annandale in Scotland, from a parish of the same name, now joined with Middlebie in Dumfriesshire. This is supported by Carruthers & Reid in the Records of the Carruthers Family , in the chapter on Mouswald. In his publication the “Surnames of Scotland” professor George Black provided etymological evidence that the surname derived from the Brythonic Celtic. For example in “The Norse Influence in Celtic Scotland”, Henderson suggested Caer Ryderch, whilst W.J.Watson in the “Celtic Place Names of Scotland” thought the second part was possibly a personal name.
The surviving records indicate that the first person to adopt the place as his personal surname was William de Carruthers who gave a donation to the Abbey of Newbattle during the reign of Alexander II (1215-45). The next generation only identified Simon de Carruthers, Parson of Middlebie, who signed the Ragman Roll in 1296. The given name of his elder brother is unknown. It was not until the charters of 1320 that a clearer picture of the family’s position in Annandale emerged. In that year Thomas, son of John de Carruthers, received the Charter of Mouswald. His younger brother William, later 2nd of Mouswald obtained the Charter of Middlebie in 1349. Other siblings included John, who was confirmed as King’s Chancellor of Annandale and Sir Nigel, identified as Chamberlain to the Regent, killed at the Battle of Neville’s Cross on the 17th October 1346.
In the previous century however, the family had already gained a prominent position in Annandale. For loyal support to Robert the Bruce, the family were confirmed as “Stewards of Annandale”, “Guardians of the Old Kirk Ford at Hoddam” and “Keepers of the Trailtrow Preceptory”. It is ‘perhaps’ the aforementioned local titles that provide clues of the family’s origins
The Templars in Annandale
There is no question that the Knights Templar’s were in Annandale and it is evidenced that Carruthers owned lands on which they lived.
According to the UK Genealogical Archives states “APPLEGARTH and SIBBALDBIE, a united parish, in the district of ANNANDALE, county of DUMFRIES, 2 miles (N. W. by N.) from Lockerbie; containing, with the chapelry of Dinwoodie, 857 inhabitants. The term Applegarth is compounded of the words Apple and Garth; the latter signifies in the Celtic language an “inclosure”, and both conjoined are invariably taken for an “apple inclosure” or “orchard”. Bie, or bye, which terminates the name Sibbaldbie, signifies in the Saxon a “dwelling-place”, and the entire name is thought to have been applied to the district from its having been the residence of Sibbald.
The annexation of Sibbaldbie took place in 1609; and the chapelry of Dinwoodie, which some suppose to have been a distinct parish, was also attached to Applegarth: it is said to have belonged to the Knights Templars, who had large possessions in Annandale. Chalmers, on the authority of the Royal Wardrobe accounts, states that on the 7th July, 1300, Edward I., who was then at Applegarth, on his way to the siege of Caerlaverock, made an oblation of seven shillings at St. Nicholas’ altar, in the parish church here, and another oblation of a like sum at the altar of St. Thomas à Becket. A large chest was found some years ago not very far from the manse, which is conjectured to have been part of the baggage belonging to Edward, who remained for several days at Applegarth, waiting for his equipage. An ancient thorn called the “Albie Thorn”, still standing in a field, within 500 yards of the church, is said to have been planted on the spot where Bell of Albie fell, while in pursuit of the Maxwells, after the battle of Dryfe-sands, in the year 1593.
There is a fascinating piece from electricscotland.com that covers the Templar activity in Dumfriesshire;
“In addition to the monastic brotherhoods already noticed, two orders of religious knights acquired a settlement in Dumfriesshire – the Templars or Red Friars, and the Knights of St. John. (Interestingly, it wasn’t until second crusade that the Templars, through permission from the Pope at the time, were allowed to wear the recognisable blood Red Cross, signifying the blood of the saviour on the Cross at Calvary.Ed) The former (The Knights Templar’s, Ed), instituted by Baldwin II., King of Jerusalem, took their name from a residence he gave to them near the Temple of that city; the founders of the latter were certain devout Neapolitan merchants, who, trading to the Holy Land, obtained leave to build a church and monastery in Jerusalem, for the reception of pilgrims, to which buildings were added, in 1104, a larger church, with an hospital for the sick, dedicated to St. John: hence the name of the order, and the designation of Knights Hospitallers, by which they are also well known. [When the Templars were formed into an order, the Abbé de Verlot, in his History of the Knights of St. John, states that “St. Bernard ordered them, instead of prayers and offices, to say, every day, a certain number of paternosters, which would make one imagine that those warriors, at that time, knew not how to read.” One of the statutes required that the knights should not eat flesh above three times a week. The holy abbot, with regard to their military service, declared that each Templar might have an esquire, or serving brother-at-arms, and three saddle horses; but he forbade all gilding and superfluous ornaments of their equipage. He ordered that their habits should be white; and, as a mark of their profession, Pope Eugene III. added afterwards a red cross placed over the heart.” (Vol. i., pp. 56-7.)
De Verlot records that the idea of making the monastic inmates of St. John’s Hospital into a military order, was first mooted by Raimond Dupuy, and characterizes it as “the most noble, and withal extraordinary design, that ever entered into the mind of a monk, tied down by his profession to the service of the poor and sick,” They were divided into three classes – 1. Gentlemen used to arms. 2. Priests and chaplains. 3. Men neither of noble families, nor ecclesiastics, who were termed frères servans (“serving brethren.”). The habit consisted of a black robe, with a pointed mantale of the same colour (called a manteau à bec), upon which was sewn a pointed cowl, and the left side of which displayed an eight-pointed cross of white linen. (Vol. i., pp. 43-4-5.)]
Portions of the property that belonged to the Templars in the County bore their name long after they fell into other hands at or before the date of Reformation. Thus we read in old records of the temple-lands of Ingleston in Glencairn; the temple-land in Durisdeer; the five-pound temple-land of Carnsalloch; the temple-land lying beside the Glen of Lag; the temple-lands of Dalgarno; the temple-lands, two in number, near Lochmaben; the temple-lands, also two, beside Lincluden College; the temple-land of Torthorwald; the temple-land of Carruthers, in the old parish so named; the temple-land of Muirfad, near Moffat; and there is a village, in the vicinity of Lochmaben, called Templand, built on ground that was once owned by this opulent fraternity. In the particular register of sasines kept at Dumfries, sasine was registered on the 16th of April, 1636, in favour of Adam Johnstone, brother of Archibald Johnstone of Elshieshields, in the temple-land of Reidhall; and the forty-shilling land called Templands, both in the stewartry of Annandale. The same register contains an entry of sasine, dated 21st May, 1636, in favour of John Johnstone of Vicarland, and Adam, his son, of the temple-land termed the Chapel of Kirkbride, in Kirkpatrick; and an instrument is recorded whereby the five-pound Carnsalloch temple-land, already mentioned, which belonged to William Maxwell of Carnsalloch, was conveyed to Adam Shortrig, eldest son of John Shortrig, the precept being dated at “The End of the Bridge,” [Or Bridge-end, the name borne by Maxwellton before it was erected into a burgh of barony.] 21st of December, 1619. At Becktoun, Dryfesdale, may still be seen the vestiges of a small religious house that belonged to the order, together with the Chapel-lands, by which it was endowed. [Inquisit Speciales, p. 291.]
The Hospitallers had not so much landed property in the Shire as their fellow knights, but they seem to have possessed a large number of foundations. One of their principal houses was a preceptory, at Kirkstyle, about ten miles from Dumfries, in the parish of Ruthwell, the ancient burial-ground of which exhibited, up till a recent period, several memorials of their presence, in the shape of sculptured stones, each containing an ornamented cross, having a sword on the right, a figure resembling the coulter and sock of a plough on the left; but no names of the knights “long gone to dust, and whose swords are rust,” over whom the stones were originally laid. [“These memorials of the dead,” says Dr. Henry Duncan, in his Account of the Parish of Ruthwell, written in 1834, “were found by the present incumbent [himself] lying in the parish burying-ground, whence he removed them; and they now form part of the wall of a summer house attached to the front wall which separates the garden from the churchyard.” In the same garden is placed the celebrated Runie Cross, for the preservation of which memorable monument of Anglo-Saxon times we are also indebted to Dr. Duncan.] One of their establishments stood rather more than a mile southeast of Dumfries, on an estate which bore, in consequence, the name of Spitalfield, till it was bought by the late Mr. John Brown, merchant, Liverpool, who called it Brownhill. On the opposite side of the Kelton Road lies Ladyfield, with its ancient orchard and well, which may have been a pendicle of the Hospital; and we are inclined to think that “Our Lady’s Chapel,” at which King James IV. paid his devotions when visiting Dumfries, was situated on Ladyfield. Above the town of Annan, on the west bank of the river, there was another hospital belonging to the knights of St. John; from which two adjacent hamlets, Howspital and Spitalridding, acquired their designation; and they had a second one in Annandale, at Trailtrow, the cure of which was granted by James IV. to Edward Maxwell, with the land revenues of the same, vacant by the decease of Sir Robert M’Gilhance, the last master of the Hospital. [Privy Seal Register, vol. iv., p. 211.] Their largest hospital in the County, however, grew up under the shadow of Sanquhar Castle, on the northern bank of the Nith. Many ages after all traces of it disappeared, the plough turned up numerous relics of its inmates, the mouldering memorials of a brotherhood who were men of note in their day, though they are now all but forgotten throughout the district – a fate which they share in common with their more distinguished fraters, the military monks of the Temple. [The masters of both orders in Dumfriesshire having submitted to Edward I. in 1296, were confirmed in their possessions by precepts addressed to the Sheriff by the King. – RYMER, pp. 724 – 5.]
Both orders fell into decay long before the Papal establishment, of which they formed a singular feature, ceased to flourish; and when abolished at the Reformation, they remaining property was secularized: Ross of Rosile obtaining a considerable share of it; Murray of Cockpool getting what belonged to the Hospitallers in the parish of Ruthwell; Lord Herries their house and lands at Trailtrow [Inquisit, Speciales, p. 291; and Caledonia, vol. iii., p. 154.]; while, as already mentioned, the Spitalfield of Dumfries was acquired before 1666 by the M’Brairs of Almagill”.
Our involvement in Trailtrow and Hoddom is historical fact but sadly the connection between us and the Templars less so. However there are some possible clues in our armorial with regards our use of the fleur d-lys, accepting that the Knights Templar were a French Order. There is also the argument that historically, at least from 1672 and probably before, our family crest has always been an angelic figure of the higher orders of angels, suggesting or offering a religeous link. However, our ancient arms did not have fleur d-lys on the shield but only black engrailed chevrons on a gold background, in one case blue. They were changed as the could so easily have been confused with the McLellans in battle. The McClellens had two black chevrons on a gold shield.
It isn’t until the 1500’s and Sir Simon of Mouswald, that the fleur d-lys appeared on our chief’s shield, at which point the engrailed chevrons were replaced with a single chevron. Again this mirrored another local family, that of the Brouns, who had three gold fleur de lis with a single chevron on a red shield.
The arms of Carruthers of Holmains and in fact of Isle in 1672, reflect the chiefly arms as we recognise them today, where John the 9th of Holmains combined the ancient Carruthers arms with Sir Simon’s to produce and register our current Chiefs arms, that we all know and most respect. The crest was blazoned a Serephim Proper vole, and is used on our clan badge
Hoddom and Trailtrow
Hoddom is a small settlement and parish in Dumfriesshire, Scotland. The earliest reference to Hoddom is in a copy of an eighth-century letter sent from Alcuin to Wulfhard, ‘abbot of Hodda Helm’ (abbatem Hodda Helmi). It is in this parish that the ruins of the ancient Celtic chapel of St Kentigern lie.
According to legend, on his return from Wales, appreciating the area had strong Welsh/Brythonic links, St Kentigern established a church. It is suggested that he did this on the place, after meeting the King Of Strathclyde, Rhydderch Havel.
It is from the castle or Caer of Rydderich that the Scots historian Black suggested our name was derived. Accepting the importance of river crossings in those days, it is from the ford at Hoddom and the old ‘Kirk’ that AJ suggests the title of ‘keeper, came from. The main road from Ecclefechan to Annan is bridges the ford at this point.
The lands of Hoddom or Hoddam were originally owned by the Herries family, also allies of Bruce. The lands passed to Carruthers in the 1400’s and remained with Holmains until the mid 17th century, after which they were owned by the Maxwells. After the battle of Durisdeer, where Maxwell, initially fighting on the side of the English, turned on them mid battle to fight for the Scots. He was rewarded after marriage to Agnes Herries with the title and lands of Lord Herries. This ties nicely in with Trailtrow as it was therefore a Maxwell who took the stones from the old Trailtrow chapel to build his tower, over which was engraved the word ‘Repentance’.
The information regarding Trailtow Preceptory is taken directly from AJ Carruthers research; There can be little doubt that the site had previous religious significance as a graveyard exists within the boundary wall. This would indicate consecrated ground. Most of the existing monuments date no earlier that the 18th century. The most prominent of these are graves to the family of Murray of Murraythwaite.There is however, evidence of much earlier burials.
In the “Place names of Scotland”, (p. 359) Watson suggested that Trailtrow was in fact Trevertrold, the site of King David’s’ inquisition of circa 1124AD. This would infer a place of established religious community even prior to that date. A brief examination of the site confirms the foundations of a small number of buildings out with the cemetery wall. Of more interest is evidence of a circular stone enclosure, of undetermined date, surrounding a great proportion of the hilltop. There can be no doubt Trailtrow was a one time a considerable religious site in mediaeval Annandale. There is however, only limited evidence of a Preceptory. He goes on to say ; With limited written evidence of a Templar preceptory and no recent archaeological excavation at Trailtrow, any further opinion would be speculative. There is however another avenue open to research and that is the heraldic achievement of the mediaeval family.
It is also fair to state that according to the ‘Repentance Tower and its tradition; Amongst the offices held by the successive Lords Maxwell, our , that of Bailie of the Preceptory of Traihrow was one. Jurisdictions like that, the management of the temporalities of ecclesiastical bodies, furnished the nobility with many opportunities by which at the Reformation the Church lands fell naturally enough into their clutch. This was done usually by the instrumentality of a real documentary title, as appears to have been the case with the passage of the lands of Trailtrow from the Preceptory to the acting representative of its Bailie. This may suggest that the Preceptory existed, but not evidenced as Templar.
Did we or didn’t we?
The arguments put forward regarding Carruthers and the Templar’s, would suggest there is evidence that prior to having lands being chartered to us, that under Bruce we were made Stewards of Annandale, guardians of the old Kirk ford at Hoddom and Keepers of the Trailtrow Preceptory. According to AJ’s research, this was given for support of Robert the Bruce.
The titles were obviously given prior to 1314, so not for our support if any, at Bannockburn. This is easy to see as it is clearly stated above ‘in the previous century’. This would suggest that these honours occurred before Bannockburn and prior to the attack on the Paris Templar headquarters in 1307. However it is historically accurate to suggest that in Scotland at the time, the Templars had a fair presence, and according to ongoing archeological research, a presence in Annandale.
Along with the legends of a squadron of Knights Templar fighting on the side of Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn and Carruthers being in the ranks of the battle on the day, our relationship with the Templars may be just that.
However, accepting the evidence of their activity on the lands of our forebears and the connection suggested by AJ Carruthers, it may be reasonable or alternatively romantic to suggest that there was some interaction between our family and the mysterious order of the Knights Templar’s. But like all claims or hypothesis, further robust and transparent research from a reputable source would be necessary for any future clarification and appeciation.
The Clan Carruthers Society (International) was founded in January 2017 and is officially recognised by the Chief of Carruthers as representing the worldwide Carruthers family. It is non-commercial, apolitical and non-partisan and is open to any member of the international Carruthers family and derivatives of that name. The Society is based in the United Kingdom, but is represented by an international Executive Council.