Historian Edward Spencer Dyas has made a landmark discovery by unearthing eight graves belonging to members of the Knights Templar at St Mary’s Church in Enville, Staffordshire.
The finds are particularly notable as the oldest Templar Society in Britain, which keeps records of all Templar sites, has confirmed that these graves were previously unrecorded.
Mr. Dyas discovered the graves with the help of his relative Darius Radmanish. They were able to pinpoint the location of the graves thanks to a series of drawings from 1820 by renowned architect John Chessell Buckler, who had documented graves inside Enville church. Without these drawings, the graves could have been lost forever.
The Knights Templar were a Catholic religious military order formed in 1119 to protect pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land during the Crusades. They were named after the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and were known for their role in the Crusades. They became wealthy and powerful by the end of the 13th century before being disbanded amid controversy after the fall of Acre.
Each of the discovered graves features a Templar cross within double circles, a standard Templar design. One of the graves also includes a Crusader cross, indicating the knight was both a Templar and a Crusader.
“This find has been confirmed to me as being a unique discovery,” Mr. Dyas told the Daily Telegraph. “I believe these discoveries make Enville one of the most nationally important churches in the country.”
The church’s connection to William Marshal, considered one of the greatest warriors England ever produced and a member of the Templar Order, adds to its significance.
However, there is still a mystery surrounding the presence of a European Templar in Enville and their prominence there.