The Templars of Nieuwpoort (Flanders, Belgium)

Only few things remain of the Templar presence in Nieuwpoort, a coastal city of the Belgian province of West Flanders.

In 1239, a lady Ogilve, widow of Gilles Quathar (which makes one think of the French Cathars), bequeathed to Molensteen Willard, Commander of the Temple House of Yper, some property situated in the territory of Nieuwpoort.

At the time the Templar tower of Nieuwpoort, also known as Devil's Tower (or Tour Saint-Laurent), was attached to the church of St Lawrence. The church, a possession of the Templars, was destroyed by fire in 1913. The tower also served as a beacon to indicate the port entrance to the sailors. She was also one of the most important astronomical stations in Belgium.

The Templar Tower was destroyed in 1941 by the four giant guns of the battle ship Tirpitz of the German army. The ruins of the tower are visible at the Willem de Roolaan (lane), a few tens of meters from the Nijverheidstraat.

Demolition in 1819 of a staircase inside the tower revealed ancient murals. A paper entitled "Notes on an ancient painting discovered at Newport" by J.L. Kesteloot noted the historical ties between Nieuwpoort and the Templars. It also referred to the animosity between the Templars and the King of France, Philip the Fair. These lead to the Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302, during which the Flemish militia, supported by contingents of Wallonia and the Templars themselves, defeated one of the most powerful armies in Europe.

Illustration and translated text from this source. A list of Flemisch Templar sites can be found here and here..  

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