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Knights Templar

The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon known as the Order of Solomon's Temple, the Knights Templar or the Templars, were a Catholic military order founded in 1119 and recognised in 1139 by the papal bull Omne datum optimum. The order was active until 1312 when it was perpetually suppressed by Pope Clement V by the bull Vox in excelso; the Templars became a favoured charity throughout Christendom and grew in membership and power. They were prominent in Christian finance. Templar knights, in their distinctive white mantles with a red cross, were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades. Non-combatant members of the order, who made up as much as 90% of their members, managed a large economic infrastructure throughout Christendom, developing innovative financial techniques that were an early form of banking, building its own network of nearly 1,000 commanderies and fortifications across Europe and the Holy Land, arguably forming the world's first multinational corporation.

The Templars were tied to the Crusades. Rumours about the Templars' secret initiation ceremony created distrust, King Philip IV of France – in debt to the order – took advantage of this distrust to destroy them and erase his debt. In 1307, he had many of the order's members in France arrested, tortured into giving false confessions, burned at the stake. Pope Clement V disbanded the order in 1312 under pressure from King Philip; the abrupt reduction in power of a significant group in European society gave rise to speculation and legacy through the ages. After Europeans in the First Crusade captured Jerusalem from Muslim conquerors in 1099, many Christians made pilgrimages to various sacred sites in the Holy Land. Although the city of Jerusalem was secure under Christians control, the rest of Outremer was not. Bandits and marauding highwaymen preyed upon these Christian pilgrims, who were slaughtered, sometimes by the hundreds, as they attempted to make the journey from the coastline at Jaffa through to the interior of the Holy Land.

In 1119, the French knight Hugues de Payens approached King Baldwin II of Jerusalem and Warmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem, proposed creating a monastic order for the protection of these pilgrims. King Baldwin and Patriarch Warmund agreed to the request at the Council of Nablus in January 1120, the king granted the Templars a headquarters in a wing of the royal palace on the Temple Mount in the captured Al-Aqsa Mosque; the Temple Mount had a mystique because it was above what was believed to be the ruins of the Temple of Solomon. The Crusaders therefore referred to the Al-Aqsa Mosque as Solomon's Temple, from this location the new order took the name of Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, or "Templar" knights; the order, with about nine knights including Godfrey de Saint-Omer and André de Montbard, had few financial resources and relied on donations to survive. Their emblem was of two knights riding on a single horse; the impoverished status of the Templars did not last long. They had a powerful advocate in Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a leading Church figure, the French abbot responsible for the founding of the Cistercian Order of monks and a nephew of André de Montbard, one of the founding knights.

Bernard put his weight behind them and wrote persuasively on their behalf in the letter'In Praise of the New Knighthood', in 1129, at the Council of Troyes, he led a group of leading churchmen to approve and endorse the order on behalf of the church. With this formal blessing, the Templars became a favoured charity throughout Christendom, receiving money, land and noble-born sons from families who were eager to help with the fight in the Holy Land. Another major benefit came in 1139, when Pope Innocent II's papal bull Omne Datum Optimum exempted the order from obedience to local laws; this ruling meant that the Templars could pass through all borders, were not required to pay any taxes, were exempt from all authority except that of the pope. With its clear mission and ample resources, the order grew rapidly. Templars were the advance shock troops in key battles of the Crusades, as the armoured knights on their warhorses would set out to charge at the enemy, ahead of the main army bodies, in an attempt to break opposition lines.

One of their most famous victories was in 1177 during the Battle of Montgisard, where some 500 Templar knights helped several thousand infantry to defeat Saladin's army of more than 26,000 soldiers. Although the primary mission of the order was militaristic few members were combatants; the others acted in support positions to assist the knights and to manage the financial infrastructure. The Templar Order, though its members were sworn to individual poverty, was given control of wealth beyond direct donations. A nobleman, interested in participating in the Crusades might place all his assets under Templar management while he was away. Accumulating wealth in this manner throughout Christendom and the Outremer, the order in 1150 began generating letters of credit for pilgrims journeying to the Holy Land: pilgrims deposited their valuables with a local Templar preceptory before embarking, received a document indicating the value of their deposit used that document upon arrival in the Holy Land to retrieve their funds in an amount of treasure of equal value.

This innovative arrangement was an early form of banking and may have been the first formal system to support the use of cheques.

Grade II listed buildings in Liverpool-L13

Liverpool is a city and port in Merseyside, which contains many listed buildings. A listed building is a structure designated by English Heritage of being of architectural and/or of historical importance and, as such, is included in the National Heritage List for England. There are three grades of listing, according to the degree of importance of the structure. Grade I includes those buildings that are of "exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important". Few buildings are included in Grade I — only 2.5% of the total. Grade II* buildings represent 5.5% of the total, while the great majority, 92%, are included in Grade II. Liverpool contains more than 1,550 listed buildings, of which 28 are in Grade I, 109 in Grade II*, the rest in Grade II; this list contains. The district is residential, containing suburbs of the city, including parts of Old Swan and Stoneycroft; the listed buildings include houses, banks and associated structures, a drinking fountain, a library. Grade II listed buildings from other areas in the city can be found through the box on the right, along with the lists of the Grade I and Grade II* buildings in the city

San Fernando Building

The San Fernando Building is an Italian Renaissance Revival style building built in 1906 in downtown Los Angeles, California. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, converted into lofts in 2000, declared a Historic-Cultural Monument in 2002. James Boone Lankershim, a wealthy wheat farmer and miller whose father owned much of the San Fernando Valley in the late 19th century, hired architect John F. Blee to design the building. Constructed at a reported cost of $200,000, the building opened in 1907 and was considered one of the finest office buildings in the city; the lobby has a 22-foot ceiling, the exterior is decorated with elaborate cornice work and spandrel panels with an incised diamond motif. A six-story structure, two additional stories designed by Robert Brown Young & Son were added in 1911; the building's history includes multiple reports of illegal gambling. The current building web site notes that the building was the site of gambling activities around 1910, resulting in several raids by the police.

In each case, the gamblers were tipped off to the impending raids and no evidence of gambling was discovered. In 1930 police raided the San Fernando Building again, arrested eleven men for conducting illegal lottery operations at the building; the Los Angeles Times described the building as "local headquarters for various well-known lotteries." Police said they found thousands of tickets for the "Army and Navy Veterans of Canada Sweepstakes," the "Cuban Sweepstakes," and other chance-taking ventures, including baseball pools and "bank-clearings guessing ventures." Police said one of the gamblers had robbed a Los Angeles bank, had hidden the money somewhere in the building. The money has never been found. In addition to its association with gambling and lotteries, the San Fernando Building was known for the many legitimate businesses operating there. Other highlights from the building's early history include: In 1907 the Los Angeles Realty Board and the California State Realty Federation, responsible for investigating real estate fraud and other "queer deals," moved into the building.

In 1913 physicians and surgeons formed the city's first cooperative telephone exchange at the San Fernando Building. The system was intended to provide 24-hour communication between doctors and patients, freeing doctors to attend the theater or make an out-of-town trip; the California Film Exchange, housing film stock from Hollywood's early motion pictures, was located in Unit 110 of the building. In October 1913 a fire broke out destroying some 150 motion pictures; the fire was caused by an overheated motor, leading to two explosions when the flames reached chemicals stored at the exchange. Three individuals, including a fireman, were hospitalized; the fire led to calls to prohibit the storage of flammable films in downtown office buildings. In 1917 the "Half Century Association" was founded, establishing its headquarters on the seventh floor of the San Fernando Building; the association was organized for the purpose of "breaking down the unjust age limit" set by government and private business for civil and private service and "to do for the man who has passed the half-century mark what the Y.

M. C. A. does for the young men of the country." The U. S. Army operated its Los Angeles recruiting station at the corner of Fourth and Main in the San Fernando Building during World War I; when the United States entered the war in the spring of 1917, the Los Angeles Times reported that "the offices in the San Fernando Building were crowded during the day with applicants for enlistment in the National Guard and Reserve Corps." The building served as the Army's recruiting center again during World War II, as the Times reported on Hollywood actors joining in "the long service induction line in the San Fernando Building." The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986 and was designated a Historic-Cultural Monument by the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission in 2002. In the 1980s and 1990s, the area surrounding the San Fernando Building had become part of skid row. In 1998, Gilmore Associates announced plans to convert the San Fernando Building and two other early 20th-century buildings located nearby into 230 lofts.

Gilmore's plan to convert a block of skid row into upscale lofts was met with skepticism. However, the Los Angeles Times saw the project as having the potential to change the downtown area: "That distant sound of hammers you hear is coming from the corner of Spring and 4th, where developer Tom Gilmore has initiated an amazing project... Gilmore has assembled an entire block of buildings extending along 4th Street, from Spring to Main, it includes the 12-story Continental Building regarded as the city's first skyscraper. Lankershim."The San Fernando Building was the first of the three buildings to reopen in August 2000, by March 2001, the building was 93% leased to tenants paying rents between $790 and $6,000 per month. The converted buildings consisted of large, open lofts with high ceilings and no interior walls except for the bathrooms; the conversion was designed by architect Wade Killefer, who noted, "What lends these buildings to residential use is lots of windows and high ceilings, offering wonderful light."

The combined project became known as the Old Bank Distri