Knights Templar land charters to headline London auction on July 17-18

A collection of 28 deeds and charters gifting land to the Knights Templar in the 13th century will headline a sale at Dreweatts and Bloomsbury in London.

The lot is expected to make £40,000-60,000 ($68,580-102,870) in the Printed Books and Manuscripts auction on July 17-18.

Knights Templar documents
The Knights Templar emerged in 1119 and grew immensely powerful

The lot relates to property in West Yorkshire, traditionally the stronghold of the organisation - although they built up a large estate across Europe and the Middle East.

The Knights Templar (circa 1119-1312) first emerged as a religious order of knights tasked with protecting pilgrims travelling to the Holy Lands following the capture of Jerusalem in the first crusade of 1099.

They became immensely powerful, setting up one of the first banking systems in Europe and building forts and outposts throughout the 12th and 13th centuries.

After the Holy Land was lost to Europe, those nobles in debt to the order put pressure on Pope Clement V to disband the Templars. Many were burned at the stake in the early 1300s.

The lot also grants land to the Knights Hospitallers or the Order of St John.

The order dates to 1099, when the Knights Hospitallers was set up to provide medical attention to pilgrims en route to Jerusalem, and is best known today in its incarnation as the St John's Ambulance.

Simon Luterbacher, director of manuscripts and English literature at Dreweatts, commented: "Documents relating to the Knights Templar are extremely rare and highly sought after; an archive of this size and quality has not been seen in auction for over 50 years, and likely won't be again."

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