"A look at the origins of Freemasonry and its positive influence on society with a particular focus on Freemasonry’s contribution to the American War of Independence.
One of my daughters, when she was very young, was asked by a teacher at her school to describe what her father did for a living. She replied that she wasn’t sure but that “it had something to do with graves”. She was quite right; I had recently taken her on one of my Scottish research trips. And, it was true, I mostly looked at graves. Ancient carved stone slabs secluded in remote misty graveyards or hidden beneath long grass and wild shrubs on small islands in Scottish lochs. For the Scots knew well how to carve a bit of sacred mystery out of their often violent and unjust world.
The Temple and The Lodge began with ancient graves. And the arguments over their implications still rage on. Even in 2003, fourteen years later, there is a new book being planned addressing some of the enigmas we raised in this book.
It had really begun some years earlier: during the writing of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail I had visited a number of sites in the United Kingdom formerly owned by the Knights Templar. One of these, a mysterious site at Garway, had, after the dissolution of the Templar Order in 1312, passed to the Knights of St John. The latter had made a number of changes to the buildings, the major one being to tear down the circular church and to rebuild it as a normal rectangular structure. In the rebuilding they had used a number of ancient grave-slabs – which must have been Templar - as door-steps or window lintels. One thing struck me: the slabs were anonymous. One had just a sword down the centre and no other markings. This, of course, made a certain sense, since once a man joined the Templars he gave up all his family allegiances.
A few years later I was in Argyll, on the west coast of Scotland and stumbled upon a graveyard with over eighty ancient weathered grave-slabs. Anonymous grave-slabs, many of which bore a simple sword down the middle Were they from the Knights Templar? And if so, what were Templars doing in Argyll?
These two questions led to a search which radiated out into the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of the Knights Templar and the possible kernel of truth underlying the legends of Templars aiding king Robert Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn.
But this story proved to have far wider implications and complications. As my colleague, Richard Leigh, and I traced the surviving curiosities through the centuries, we came across Freemasonry and its apparent absorption of certain Templar residues. Residues which were important to those Scots who rebelled against the English in 1715 and 1745. Residues which turned up in their particular style of chivalric Freemasonry which they followed while in exile in France.
We also stumbled across extensive masonic involvement in the American War of Independence linked with what seems to have been a deliberate decision to ‘throw’ the war on the part of the British Commanders. For them, this was a civil war and they were deeply unhappy about it. The first English general asked to lead the army, refused the command. The general who did take the task, seems to have acted to a very individual agenda. In particular he contrived to abandon the only British commander who actually wanted to fight. And through the armies of the American War of Independence, on both sides of the lines, ran Freemasonry. For example, of the thirty-three regiments serving under English command, twenty-nine had active masonic Lodges, some more than one.
How much was Freemasonry involved in the formation of the United States and incorporated in its structures such as the Constitution? We concluded that, “There is no question that Freemasonry contributed something to the structures and machinery of the new American government.”"
THE TEMPLE AND THE LODGE
In this enthralling historical detective story, the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grailtrace the flight after 1309 of the Knights Templar from Europe to Scotland, where the Templar heritage was to take root, and would be perpetuated by a network of noble families. That heritage, and the Freemasonry that arose from it, became inseparable from the Stuart cause. The Temple and the Lodge charts the birth of Freemasonry through the survival of Templar traditions, through currents of European thought, through the mystery surrounding Rosslyn chapel, and through an elite cadre of aristocrats attached as personal bodyguards to the French king. Pursuing Freemasonry through the 17th and 18th Centuries, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh reveal its contribution to the fostering of tolerance, progressive values, and cohesion in English society, which helped to pre-empt a French-style revolution. Even more dramatically, the influence of Freemasonry emerges as key facto in the formation of the United States of America as an embodiment of the ideal 'Masonic Republic'.
"Meticulously researched and annotated and well worth reading"
THE TEMPLE AND THE LODGE
The Temple and the Lodge charts the birth of Freemasonry through the survival of Templar traditions, through currents of European thought, through the mystery surrounding Rosslyn chapel, and through an elite cadre of aristocrats attached as personal bodyguards to the French king. Pursuing Freemasonry through the 17th & 18th centuries, Baigent and Leigh reveal its contribution to the fostering of tolerance, progressive values, and cohesion in English society, which helped to pre-empt a French-style revolution. Even more dramatically, the influence of Freemasonry emerges as a key factor in the formation of the United States of America as an embodiment of the ideal 'Masonic Republic'.