The signing of Magna Carta in 1215, the battle of Crécy in the Hundred Years War, the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, and the battle of Tewkesbury in the Wars of the Roses. The Knights Templar or Knights Hospitaller were part of each of these key events in the history of medieval Britain. Soldier-monks who fought in the Crusades, these military orders were international military and charitable organisations, a sort of medieval NATO and Red Cross combined. But in Britain, far away from the Holy Land, they instead became royal commanders, administrators, and politicians. Templar knights were diplomats and tax collectors, whilst Hospitallers led English armies and became important barons in the English and Scottish Parliaments. These orders were part of the most famous episodes of medieval British history, but their side of the story has not been told before, until now.
Traces of these orders can be found throughout Britain today, whether in placenames like St John’s Wood or the Temple churches of Bristol and London. Their descendants are also still with us. St John’s Ambulance and the group behind it, the Venerable Order of St John, trace their heritage back to the medieval Knights Hospitaller. Yet there has never been a book dedicated to the history of all the military orders that operated in Britain and Ireland. Drawing upon the latest research, and written by an expert historian of the military orders, Britain’s Warrior Monks reveals the fascinating untold story of the military orders in these islands.
Rory MacLellan grew up in Wiltshire before studying ancient and medieval history at the University of Winchester, which was soon followed by an MLitt in medieval history at the University of St Andrews. He remained in St Andrews for a PhD in the same subject with a thesis on the Knights Hospitaller in Britain and Ireland, graduating in 2019.
Rory now works for Historic Royal Palaces as a postdoctoral researcher based at the Tower of London, researching the site’s medieval Jewish history for a project supported by the Rothschild Trust. He specialises in medieval religion and t...
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