By John J. Robinson
The Books starts with an account of England’s Peasant’s Revolt of 1381. In this account Robinson gives some background of the medieval way of life. These conditions serve as bases for the social-economical uprising. While detailing events, Robinson notes that the crowds made special effort to destroy some Knights Hospitaller buildings while completely spearing or by-passing buildings that have links to the Knights Templar.
The seemingly selective destruction of buildings brings him to wonder if the organizers of the revolt may have had some political statement to make in addition to the obvious freedom from a system of socio-economical binds. Was the Peasant’s Revolt organized and directed by surviving Knights Templar in England?
The book now turns its focus on the history of the Knights Templar. Robinson gives a historical account of the order from their humble beginnings in 1119 to the demise at the stake of the last Templar Grand Master. Robinson notes that the Templars, while enjoying Papal protection for years, fell victim due to their raise in power and riches. Here Robinson’s book takes a third turn and directs our attention to Modern Freemasonry and its possible origins.
Robinson takes great detail in linking Templar rites, customs and organization with Freemasonry. Robinson groups these links very well and presents a convincing argument for the Templar origin of some of Modern Freemasonry fundamental principles, ceremonies and titles. He even attempts to link the origin of Masonically exclusive terms like Tyler and cable tow to the Templars.
In ”Born in Blood” Robinson methodically presents the reader with historical evidence that shows links between the Knights Templar and modern Freemasonry. Robinson at times makes logical conclusions which make these connections very credible. But one must keep in mind that all the connections are based on logical conclusion and not in historically based facts.
Does “Born in Blood” present definite proof of the Templar origins of Freemasonry? Hundreds of historians have attempted to find definitive, historical proof of the true origins of Freemasonry, no one has been able to done so, one way or another. In his book, Robinson does a good job in attempting to link Modern Freemasonry with the Knights Templar. He presents excellent, rational and convincing arguments which lead one to strongly consider that possibility.
About the Author
John J. Robinson (1918 – 1996) was an American author and historian. While researching the English Peasant’s Revolt of 1381, he discovered some interesting details about the way the revolt was conducted. This led him to re-direct his research to the Knights Templar and the link between the Templars and Freemasonry. In 1989 we wrote “Born in Blood” based on this research. In the book he links the origins of Freemasonry to the disbanded Knights Templar.
One must remember two things while reading this excellent book. One, Robinson was not a Mason at the time he wrote the book. He later became a Mason and regretted some of the things he included in the book. Number two, even though Robinson is considered a historian and the book is based on historical facts, the actual link between the Knights Templar and Freemasonry is not directly, historically made. Robinson makes several logical connections, or leads the reader to make those connections but these connections are not based on historically based facts. Furthermore Robinson muddies the waters by not footnoting his book. This regrettable decision opens his book to the criticism by other historians, specially those who disagree with the argument for a templar origin of Freemasonry. Still the book is factual, interesting and a must read for those looking to expand their knowledge in Templar history or who seek the historical origin of Freemasonry.
Review by Companion Gil Villanueva