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    MacRob's Avatar
    MacRob is offline Oops, it seems this member needs to update their email address
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    The Knights Templar and Scotland by Robert Ferguson

    In the interest of full disclosure, I should state that the author refers to me and an article I wrote for The Highlander magazine several years ago in his footnotes and later mentions me as having a group of followers who share my opinions on some of the subject matter in his book. I was not aware of that when I bought Mr. Ferguson's book and still do not think I have followers but feel it should be disclosed.

    This book breaks no new ground on the subject it covers. The author repeats but rarely enlarges upon, the known and suspected history of the Knights Templar in Scotland. He spends a large amount of space in mid-book concerning the land holdings of the Order before and after its suppression by the Pope. While this is interesting it does no effectively support one of the author's hypotheses, which is that the Order survived in Scotland from 1307, and perhaps, to the present day. Indeed, Mr. Ferguson seems unsure of that theory as he is concerning a lot of other things such as the presence of the Templars at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. In fact, in the appendix of the book he seems to state that the Templars were not there but in the body of the book he presents arguments that say they were and implies that the Templars were responsible for the organization, training, supplying and equipping the army, footing the bill for all of it. Anyone who has not studied this period of Scottish history prior to reading the book may be a bit confused by the time he/she reaches the last page. I have studied the Templars for over 20 years and have been a member of the modern Order for 19 years. Even so, I scratched my head over a lot of what was in the book.

    There are quite a few editing errors. There are some factual errors. There are some statements in the book which I have never encountered before and will attempt to verify simply because I am curious as to whether they are fact or fantasy. The author, in discussing the Jacobite rebellions in Scotland, goes from the rebellion of 1689 to the rebellion of 1745 without mentioning the rebellions of 1715 and 1719 and the abortive attempt at an invasion of England by French troops supporting the Jacobites in 1708. In fact he says, speaking of the aftermath of the battle of Killiecrankie in 1689, "The next battle of Dunkeld was a standoff, and effectively ended the Jacobite movement until 1745." This statement is incorrect as is his statement that the Jacobites charged with the sun at their backs at Killiecrankie. They were facing west when they attacked which is why the assault was delayed until the sun was just below the horizon. He also states that, had the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 succeeded, Bonnie Prince Charlie would have become King of England when, in fact, Charlie was Prince Regent and his father would have become king, at least at the outset of the victory. He states that Charlie was the Grand Master of the Templars in Scotland at that time but what I have been able to find on that subject indicates that Charlie was involved in Freemasonry. In spite of others’ attempts to combine the two, any speculation that the Masons are the Templars in disguise is just that – speculation.

    Toward the end of the book Mr. Ferguson reports on the modern Templar Orders - there are several - and goes into a very long discussion about the internal politics of the various Orders. Why this is in the book is a mystery and I suspect it would only appeal to someone actively involved in one or more of the organizations and not even then, in most cases. I found it tedious although, being familiar with the situation, I can give him thumbs up for being able to wade through it all and provide an accurate summary.

    Finally, Mr. Ferguson uses a lot of secondary sources which are highly suspect, especially those which read like "The Da Vinci Code" rather than actual works of scholarship.

    I would give the book two stars only because it contains a modicum of information that is helpful but overall it is contradictory, not very interesting and, as said initially, breaks no new ground.

    The book took me about twelve hours to digest, is 192 pages and is available from several sources, including as an "e book." I would recommend the print version as the electronic format makes it a bit difficult to look back when you want to verify or clarify something. An excellent, unadorned history of the Templars is Edward Burman's The Templar's - Knights of God. However, there is almost no mention of Scottish Templars in that book.
    Last edited by MacRob; 16th August 16 at 04:17 AM.

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