Inside the Knights Templar whose Indiana Jones-style treasures could be in UK

Indiana Jones-style treasures could be hidden underneath a house in Burton-on-Trent.

As we reported yesterday, historian David Adkins claims the Holy Grail and the lost Ark of the Covenant could be sat beneath Sinai Park after he discovered a link between the property and the Knights Templar.

1. The medieval Christian fighters are thought to have had these artifacts in their possession but their location has been unknown. But if you don’t know much about the Knights Templar, NADINE LINGE fills you in with 10 facts.

The Order of the Knights Templar was founded in the 12th century to protect Christian pilgrims travelling to the Holy Land during the Crusades. It was Europe’s biggest standing army since the Roman Empire but within 200 years it had disappeared.

2. The knights pretty much invented banks when they went from safeguarding people to safeguarding valuables. Pilgrims would deposit the money at the start of their journey, and withdraw it once they reached Jerusalem using a Templar letter of credit, avoiding carrying large amounts of cash.

3. Before the order came into existence, knights of the Middle Ages were seen as thugs who lined their own pockets. But the Knights Templar were devout Christian monks, sworn to poverty, chastity, obedience, and committed to fighting "infidels" in the Holy Land.

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4. Among their strict rules for living was a ban on kissing any woman, even their own mothers, eating meat just three times a week, and not wearing any kind of fancy clothing including pointy shoes. They wore a white garment that represented their vow of chastity, short hair for practical reasons in battle, and a beard.

5. While they were individually poor, as a unit they were extremely wealthy. Pope Innocent II made them exempt from paying taxes and they collected donations from all over Europe, including from royalty. The knights ended up owning a whole fleet of ships and the entire island of Cyprus.

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6. They were incredibly fierce warriors who refused to surrender or retreat. It stemmed from their religious devotion which allowed them to see breaking their vows as a fate worse than death.

7. During the 13th century, the Crusader forces were driven from the Middle East and the knights established a new base in Paris, where they lent vast quantities of money to the French king Philip IV.

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8. But when he ended up deeply in debt and they refused to cough up any more, he took revenge and on Friday, October 13, 1307, had them all arrested.

9. The king used starvation, sleep deprivation, foot burning, and the rack to torture the knights, who eventually confessed to sins including spitting on the cross, sex with each other, and devil worship. Many were burned at the stake and the order was formally dissolved in 1312.

10. The Knights Templar inspired George Lucas when he was making Star Wars – he even named the good guys Jedi-Templars in the original script. They also appear in the computer game Assassin’s Creed and in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, made into a 2006 film starring Tom Hanks.

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