THE AUTONOMOUS GRAND PRIORY OF SCOTLAND
SCOTTISH KNIGHTS TEMPLAR
THE PISAN BANK
(i) In 1185, following the successful Pisan campaign to capture major Greek Island from the Byzantines using Basque, Sicilian, Gascon and English mercenaries, the Pisans agreed to establish a branch of their banking empire known as the Ordo Pauperes Templum or “Order of the Poor of the (Money) Temple” in London. King Henry II Plantagenet (1154-1189) of England granted the “Knights Templar” the former grounds of Southampton House and surrounds west from Arundel St and the boundaries of the Thames and Fleet St east to the boundary of Bouverie St and Temple Ave.
(ii) Similar to all banking compounds of the Pisan banking order, the Knights Templar commissioned significant and imposing stone defenses and walls to be erected around its London land holding, completed by 1194, with two (2) minor entrances to the east and west, one (1) major entrance from the docks and area onto the Thames (now known as the Middle Temple Gatehouse) and the primary land gate located at the beginning of Fleet st near St Clement Danes known as Bar Gate, or simply the Bar.
(iii) Within the walled compound known collectively as “The Temple”, the Pisan banking order created a massive wall following the path of Essex St dividing the western compound and the “Bar Gate” from the eastern remainder of the compound. This became known as the Outer Temple and was the walled compound in which banking, money changing, conveyances, loans and credit were conducted via entrance from the north or “Bar Gate”. By tradition, a merchant or trader had to be “admitted to the Bar” in order to engage in commerce within the walled compound known as the “Outer Temple”.
(iv) A second internal wall was also constructed dividing the Outer Temple to the west from the north eastern part of the Temple compound following the Middle Temple Lane. This internal divide separated the Outer Temple from the Middle Temple area and the “Inner Temple” to the north east corner. The Middle Temple area then housed warehouses, markets were erected connected from the south gate (Middle Temple Gate) and the warehouses and docks for merchants. The Middle Temple was therefore for wholesale trade and business between merchants of the sea and the bank.
(v) The Inner Temple to the North East corner was only accessible by an internal gate from the Middle Temple and the East Gate and was the main treasure vaults, chancery of documents and accommodation for banking staff, mercenaries and visiting Pisan nobles. This is the site of what is known as the Temple Church.
(vi) In 1284, Pisa under Doxi (Doge) Albertino Morosini (1279 - 1290) suffered a massive defeat against the Genoese. However, it was not until 1312 that the Pisan banking empire and facilities were finally attacked in a coordinated campaign organized by Philip IV (1285-1314) of France, the Genoese and their Spanish allies.
(vii) While the Pisan banking empire was destroyed in Europe, King Edward II Plantagenet (1307-1327) of England refused to attack and confiscate the banking compound or “Temple” to then hand it to the King of France on behalf of the Pope, despite being married to Isabella the daughter of the King of France. This enabled the Pisans to ship vast amounts of gold and treasure away secretly via the Thames before the Temple was finally lost. Following increased internal unrest, Isabella and her love Roger Mortimer captured and then killed the King in 1327 and the Temple compound was attacked, partially destroyed and the little remaining gold and valuables taken by Isabella.
(viii) The absence of the former treasure of the Pisan bank known as the Temple on the Thames gave rise to the legend of the Templar Treasure in England. In 1328, the abandoned and partially destroyed site of The Temple was turned over to the French controlled Bank known as the Ordo Hospitallier as the new bankers.
(ix) In 1381, the Temple site was a major focus of the Peasants Revolt, spurred on by mythical stories of buried Templar Treasure. The complete Knights Hospitallier compound was breached, buildings were burned and walls and defenses systematically dismantled by the army of peasants in search of the buried Templar treasure.
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