Could a cache of relics, kept in England, really have belonged to the Knights Templar?

Could a cache of relics, kept in England, really have belonged to the Knights Templar?

Partway through the first episode of History channel’s new five-part series Lost Relics Of The Knights Templar, Dan Jones finds himself taken to a secret location in the British countryside.

There he’s shown precious items, including a beautiful sword with ornate crosses on either side of the blade, that have apparently been hidden from public view for nearly 800 years. Their owners say they once belonged to the Knights Templar.

The items form part of a collection of up to 60 Knights Templar artefacts bought and stored over the past ten years by English millionaires Carl Cookson and Hamilton White, friends since they met as tax exiles in Monaco. 

But are they real? Were they owned by an organisation that became the biggest standing army in Europe since the Roman Empire, enjoying immense power and wealth before vanishing, along with their possessions (though not their properties)?

Yes, insists Hamilton White. ‘I’d be happy to go to court and fight the first clown who says these items are not real,’ he says.

 ‘And we want to know more about them before revealing the hoard to the world.’

Dan suggests two options.

‘The scholar in me says take them to the British Museum and ask the curators there to verify them,’ he says. 

‘The rebellious streak in me says go and find all about them yourselves.’ Carl and Hamilton choose the latter.

Initially at least, viewers will see only a small part of the cache – a carved libation vessel (a cup used to offer a drink to a deity), a reliquary box to house sacred relics, a black chalice and that sword with crosses on the blade. 

The Cookson/White cache was stumbled upon by two treasure hunters in the 1960s, a time when precious antiquities could still be offered on the open market. 

Carl and Hamilton are cagey about where they procured them, but are in no doubt about their authenticity. 

‘You can feel the energy coming out of the items,’ says Carl. ‘It’s the most significant find since the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb.’