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“The Real Da Vinci Code”: The accounts of Templars’ estates in England and Wales during the suppression of the Order

Nicholson, Helen Jane ORCID: and Slavin, Philip 2017. “The Real Da Vinci Code”: The accounts of Templars’ estates in England and Wales during the suppression of the Order. Borchardt, Karl, Döring, Karoline, Josserand, Philippe and Nicholson, Helen Jane, eds. The Templars and their Sources, London: Routledge, pp. 237-247.

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Most readers will be familiar with at least the title of Dan Brown’s 2003 novel, The Da Vinci Code. In the novel, a cryptic code holds the key to valuable knowledge held by the Templars that has been hidden from the world for centuries. Likewise in this paper Nicholson and Slavin discuss valuable information about the Templars that has been effectively concealed within the documents drawn up at the time of the Templars’ arrests in Britain and Ireland and during the proceedings against the Templars. This valuable information comprises data revealing the extent of the Templars’ estates and their moveable and immoveable property at the time of the arrests and at intervals thereafter, and the income and expenditure of those estates during the time that they were administered by the English king’s officials. The data were recorded by royal officials and are preserved in the National Archives of the UK in Kew, but these records’ heavily abbreviated state and sometimes poor state of preservation renders them effectively unintelligible to the majority of readers: hence they are effectively encoded. In this paper, the authors explain how these documents were produced, summarise the information that they contain, and then present a detailed analysis of some of the data within them. This paper is founded in Nicholson and Slavin's planned research project into the Templars’ properties in England and Wales. The goal of this research is to publish the records for England and Wales (the records from Ireland were published in 1967), to make them available to all scholars with an interest in medieval estate records; but with the particular intention of establishing exactly how wealthy or poverty-stricken the Templars in Britain were in 1308, and what property the Hospitallers actually inherited here in 1313.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
Uncontrolled Keywords: Knights Templar
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781138201903
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Last Modified: 02 Nov 2022 11:13

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