Archive for June, 2017

A Brief History of the Knights Templar

Posted on: June 9th, 2017 by c4c-admin-account No Comments

And London’s First bank…

Our knowledge of currency stems from the invention of trade between merchants. This was often trade between workmen, trading their services, goods or cattle.  However, the concept behind storing currency to those who could be trusted with others money was one that came about in the 1100’s. It was established by a group of men called the Knights Templar.


Who are the Knights Templar?

These groups of men were thought to be warrior monks that were highly faithful to their religion and the holy war and fancied themselves as loyal to their hierarchy. Their home was situation on Fleet Street in London, a place called Temple Church. This church still exists today and is not just known as the residency of the Knights Templar, but home to London’s first bank.

 The Knights Templar

Why and how did they come to create London’s first bank?

The thought behind this idea came from the pilgrimage that the Knights were dedicated to: a voyage that took them thousands of miles from London to Jerusalem. They needed somewhere to store and exchange their money safely and trustfully and avoid taking large sums of cash from one end of Europe to the other. The idea was that they could store their money in London and withdraw it in Jerusalem, saving them from being burgled when carrying large amounts of cash and still being able to afford food ad resources for their journey.

Temple Church

How did it work?

Though not the same of banks today, which are typically ran by the government, these banks were thought to be ran privately, owned by the Pope and connected through Kings and Queens across Europe. This allowed some sense of security for the Knights. However, this was not just a typical exchange and transfer of money for its users, the bank provided financial services. The Templars acted as brokers, providing Kings and Queens with land through the means of loans and yearly payments. It is known that the Crown Jewels were kept there as a security loan for payments of small islands across Europe, similar to the pawn-brokers of today, although on a much larger scale (I have a feeling that the Queen has never popped down to her local pawn shop with the Crown Jewels for a house in the countryside!) Though this did not last forever and eventually the European order of this bank and others broke down by the 1300’s after the European Christians lost control of Jerusalem.


New Ventures

However, all is not lost. Though the Templar disbanded, an Italian merchant placed in Lyon, France, decided to buy and sell debt, becoming very rich. While the other merchants around him were laboring, trading their goods, this Italian merchant simply sat and waited for money to come to him. He would sell something called a ‘bill of exchange’ that could be recognised, not as money, but as a means of exchange for money in the Italian province of Florence – Many miles away from the small town in France where he resided. It eventually become a large network and as this network of bankers grew, they would meet every year at fairs in places such as Lyon to go through their books and settle any unwanted debts. From this model comes the credit card, a system that allows a simple piece of paper (or in today’s technology, a chip and pin card) to exchange credit for goods: a radical new system that was worth investing in.

Bill of Exchange


This system did not come without mistrust and a band of hierarchy that became corrupt with power. Much like events we saw on Wall Street in the 80’s, banks and organisations alike across the world would come together in an effort to avoid paying tax and creating private money between the hierarchies that were untouchable by the government. The regulations of these banks have been tested time over by governments across the world, yet it seems that those holding the most power (and coincidently, the most debt) will always prevail. Even back in the 1300’s the Templars saw their fate as one of torture by the King, who had outstanding debts he couldn’t pay off. Instead of simply working with these men to sought restoration, he used his hierarchy to have them tortured and burned to death in order to claim back what he believed to be his.


Great minds think alike

This may have been a great new way to share and exchange money but back in China, several centuries earlier; the Tang dynasty used a similar format called “feiquan”. This can be translated to ‘flying money’. It was a system that allowed merchants to deposit their profits into a central office and then withdraw it in cash in the capital.

Flying Money

Although this is a great piece of British and European history, we won’t let you go through the hassle of long voyages or trading cattle for a simple credit exchange! At Cash4Coins we exchange your foreign currency… for cash! We can’t accept your Crown Jewels, but give us a call today if you would like to know more about how we can help you.