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Database: Temple Church

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ACS DB Temple Church

The Temple Church was an early place of worship for our favorite people, the Knights Templar. The Round Nave, the trademark of the church, was built in 1185, and was consecrated by Heraclius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem Vault.

The church was originally part of a larger monastic complex that included residences, military training grounds, and places for recreation. The Knights Templar used the church for initiation ceremonies, which would be held in a crypt beneath the nave. No doubt these ceremonies were creepy as hell. The church also served as a bank for the nobility, and this, combined with an influx of gifts from the royal family, made the Knights Templar very wealthy in the tenth and eleventh centuries.

The first known refurbishment of the church took place in the seventeenth century, by English architect Christopher Wren. Wren installed an organ and altar screen in the church, but more notably, he whitewashed the church's paintings and applied plaster to the marble columns in an attempt to fit aesthetic tastes of the time.

Wren's work was largely undone in 1841, when the church was restored by architects Sydney Smirke and Decimus Burton. Don't they sound like a music hall double act? "Please welcome - the comedy songs of Smirke 'n' Burton!!!" Smirke and Burton's work gave the church a Victorian Gothic look that not only fit the tastes of the time but fit closely with the church's original design. It was Smirke's intention to return the church to its "original, ideal [Templar] form."

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