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Origins of Freemasonry: The Knights Templar

There has been much discussion and debate with regard to whether the theories and traditions practiced by the Freemasons are indeed linked to the Knights Templar.

One theory suggests that the Freemasons originated in the Holy Land during the period in which the Crusades occurred. As such, it is believed that members of the Knights Templar established the Freemason organization.

This theory was put forth by Chevalier Ramsey, a Freemason born in 1680 who was referred to as the Grand Orator. While his relationship to the Freemasons is obscure, Ramsey espoused the principle of fraternity so central to this secret society. Ramsey’s belief system was based not on the system of architecture that is at the core of the Freemasonry principles, but instead on a thoroughly military power and religious fervor that is considered to be reflective of the values of the Knights Templar.

Some experts believe that there is a strong overlap between the principles of truth, fraternity and relief espoused by the Freemasons and the principles of the Christian military order, and in particular their protection of pilgrims, practiced by the Knights Templar.

In addition, these experts point to the similar oaths and complex rituals practiced by the Freemasons, that were drawn from chivalric brotherhoods, including they believe the Knights Templar, as well as from the Bible.

The settlement of former members of the Knights Templar in rural Scotland might also suggest a link between the two groups, according to some theorists. These former Knights managed to escape arrest and flee to rural Scotland after the termination of the order and after their excommunication by Robert I of Scotland in the early fourteenth century so as to protect themselves from the Inquisition. The former Knights would have brought with them the morals, knowledge, rituals and relics that they had cultivated during their time in the service of the Christian military order. Some theorists suggest that the similarly organized Templar society would have been attracted to the stonemason guilds of Scotland, thereby establishing a connection between the Knights Templar and Freemasonry.

However, other experts conversely state that there is a lack of sufficient historical evidence to prove the theoretical link between the Knights Templar and the Freemasons. These historians also state that Ramsey’s attribution of the origins of Freemasonry to the Knights Templar, and specifically to the Crusades and Knights of Saint John, was an erroneous one, and therefore should be dismissed as evidence of a connection between the two esoteric societies.

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