We all have secrets!

Having written two books and filmed several documentaries on the history of the Knights Templar, readers and viewers often ask me where I get my original information? I usually side step the question but on the run up to the Spanish publication of my best selling  book The Rosslyn Templar, and the launch of this Templar photography exhibition, I felt it was only fair to illustrate my personal relationship with the mysterious Knights Templar.

Over the past 21 years I have been deeply involved with several Orders of Knights Templar. When I was 19 began reading about these legendary warrior monks and their lost treasure hoard and my weekends were spent hunting for evidence of the Templars in the historic landscapes of Britain. By the age of 22, without the internet, I had travelled across Scotland and had unearth evidence of several modern Orders who maintained the traditions and secrets of the original 12th century Knights Templar who had been persecuted and driven underground 1307.

Over the next decade I made several significant discoveries which lifted me to the highest ranks within MTS 'Militi Temple Scotia' the oldest Order of Scottish Knights Templar. In 2002 the Grand Priory of Knights Templar elected and ritually installed me as a Knight Officer - the youngest in the Orders History. Managing a successful research branch of Knights in the north of Scotland, in 2003 I was appointed 'Media Officer' to the Order and in 2004 I became 'Preceptor of the Commanderie of St. Magnus' - answerable only to the Orders Grand Commander. 

 Scottish Knights Templar, 2002. I'm the tall guy on the right with the flag behind me.

Scottish Knights Templar, 2002. I'm the tall guy on the right with the flag behind me.

By 30 years old I had climbed the ranks of Scotland's oldest Order of Knights Templar and then became invested in a European Order recognised in Special Consultative Status by the United Nations. I served as Chief Editor of the Templar Times monthly publication and in 2006 I was a founder member of The Order of Jaques de Molay 1314, a new research based organisation which conducted large-scale, well-funded, treasure hunting missions with various historical organisations, clan societies and private artefact collectors. 

 Ashley exploring the Ostuni Templar caves in Italy.

Ashley exploring the Ostuni Templar caves in Italy.


I became involved with Templarism right at the time everyone on the Templar scene truly believed they were but a page turn away from locating the legendary Treasure hoard hidden somewhere in Ireland or Scotland and we explored, excavated and examined historic Templar churches, abbeys, farms and castles right across Europe and the Middle-East. 

In 2002 I followed a series of clues in local history books which led me to discover a hidden tunnel running beneath the Gardens of the Castle of May in Caithness. The castle was built by the Grandson of William St Clair, the builder of Rosslyn Chapel, on the north coast of Scotland where legends say the treasure was hidden. We were 100% convinced the lost Templar Treasure was located in that tunnel.

It was a dark day when we found newspaper cuttings from 1947 telling the story of a military vehicle that while placing anti-tank defences along the coastline to defend the castle from a coast Nazi attack in WWII, had fallen through the castle gardens into "a massive medieval tunnel." Records recount the military digging out the tunnel but no inventory of what they discovered has ever surfaced.

If nothing else, the whole affair established my abilities to find hidden tunnels. Since, I have discovered and explored Templar tunnels beneath the City of David in Jerusalem. A Templar crypt located under Chartres Cathedral and wading through Temple River in Scotland I discovered a 12th century pewter rose beside the first Templar Church in Scotland.

Ashley beneath Chartres Cathedral.

Lost treasure and pop-cultrual mysteries aside, the Scottish Knights Templar are all about protecting the Templar's heritage, rituals and their buildings.

We were a bunch of guys with similar interests and had good times, and as a side, I got access to some pretty special places, for example, in 2007 I became the last photographer permitted to conduct a shoot inside Rosslyn Chapel and recently shot an exhibition in Temple Church in London, the Original Orders European headquarters. In 2012, the highest ranking Templar Commander in the Vatican's Private Templar Order permitted me to film inside a modern Templar camp in France and to fly over the Vatican, filming my observations of the Vatican architecture and sacred geometry from a helicopter. I remain, the last person ever to have flown and filmed over the Vatican.



Knights Templar Architecture and Iconography. Ultra HD - watch in 2160p.

Temple Church in London is arguably the most important 12th century church in England. Its history ranges from the Crusaders in the 12th century, through the turmoil of the Reformation and the founding father of Anglican theology. Originally built by the Knights Templar, the order of warrior monks founded to protect pilgrims on their way to and from Jerusalem in the 12th century, the church is built in two parts: the Round and the Chancel. The Round Church was consecrated in 1185 by the patriarch of Jerusalem and it was designed to replicate the holiest place in the Crusaders’ world: the circular Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

This photography project highlights architectural features, religious iconography and symbolic tile work. We find Christian mythology, theology and sacred geometry blended with winged horses, skulls, grotesque faces, battle-ready mounted knights, saints and angels, apostles and dragons depicting stories of chivalry,  bravery, sacrifice, faith and honour.

This collection of photographs was shot in ultra-high resolution. commercial quality still images can be obtained upon request using the Contact page, HERE...


Knights Templar Architecture and Iconography by Ashley Cowie. Music by Francesco Lettera, The Deadly Poppy Field.