Book Review: In Search of the Knights Templar

I was lucky enough to be given, as a present from my wife, a copy of Simon Brighton’s recently published “In Search of the Knights Templars: A Guide to the Sites in Britain”. In the synopsis on it claims to be “the first comprehensive survey of all the Templar sites in Britain.” While I can’t say whether this is true or not, it would certainly seem to be a fantastic addition to the library of any UK-based Templar aficionado. In Search of the Knights TemplarThe book consists of several introductory essays which tackle the fundamentals (“The Templars in History”, “The Templars in Imagination”, “Templar Architecture and Symbolism”) in a clear, concise and balanced way. While much of this material may not be new to readers familiar with the subject, it is still a good recapitulation and the lucid style makes the reading enjoyable.

However, it is the section after these essays that makes this book so useful (and so appropriate for this psychic questing website). For what Brighton does next is to take 42 Templar sites around Britain and focus on each one in turn. He provides background historical information and then highlights the items most of interest at each site. He supplements the excellent text with his own equally high quality photographs (for example the photograph of the painted head at Templecombe is that clearest I’ve seen anywhere).

If I had a single criticism it would be that the amount of information on each site is quite limited being no more than a taster really. I appreciate that, as he’s covering 42 sites in what is essentially an introductionary guide, this is a necessary limitation but having read each entry I yearned for more information. Maybe in the future, there might be a case for an expanded “expert level” tome.

I’ve only been to 2 of the 42 sites listed (Shipley and the Temple Church, London) but, being able to see other nearby sites at a glance, I certainly now intend to visit some more and I’ll definitely be taking this book with me.

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