Arise Knight of La Grange
Sometimes it’s the location, sometimes it’s the product and sometimes it’s the commitment of the owners that makes a business different and successful. In this instance it’s all three.
Kate Webber tells us how a Knights Templar ruin has become the home of many Knights of La Grange.
Kate and her partner, Chris Barton moved to the Gers for an easier life almost three years ago and bought a pile of beautiful, forgotten old stones and dust. There’s nothing new in that, except that the house they bought has an ancient tower which, it seems, had been keeping some secrets.
Christ Barton and Kate Webber
This was no ordinary house. It had been gifted to the Knights Templar in 1250, with Knights leaving their marks in the form of several carvings hidden in the walls.
“The main tower, with its crumbling fireplace and old stone sink, had remained empty for hundreds of years”, Kate explains. “Scorch marks left by lighting, and a visit to the Mairie, explained why there were so many heavy beams in the ceiling; it had originally had two more floors.
“The Mairie came to see how the renovations were going and mentioned another fascinating piece of history. Apparently our tower in Castelnau d’ Angles is connected to the chapel of Bretous in St Arailles”.
Chris adds, “Apparently each order of Knights Templar had an overall specialist skill and The Knights at La Grange were Knights of the Cavaliers. This meant that they probably bred and trained the horses used for battle and transport. It also meant that they had grazing with some sort of fencing. The monks of Mirande wanted somewhere to graze their cattle, along with a water source, and there is a spring fed lake at La Grange. The Knights wanted a meeting place. The monks owned the Chapel Bretouse in St Arailles so they traded. We were fascinated and went to the chapel where we found a Knight scratched into the floor.”
When Tim Wallace Murphy, a well-known, published historian and author asked to see the building he was overwhelmed, declaring it to be “Of great esoteric importance”. His thoughts were that it was probably used for initiation purposes for the Knights Templar.
From left to right:
A photo of a painting the Mairie has in his office. It shows La Grange as it was before being hit by lightning and losing its top two floors.
La Grange as it is now.
The engraved tablets are mde from one of the Grange’s old tower beams. Arising Knight of La Grange!
Arise Knight of La Grange
With such an historic link, it seemed only fitting that their new business should reflect the past and, in a way, become part of the legend. Whilst working on the renovations, Chris came up with the idea of Knights of La Grange.
Determined to make something of this new life despite a serious fall from a horse that had left her partially sighted, paralysed down her right side and with a loss of memory, Kate began work, pulling the idea together. Today, two years later, she is almost completely recovered and the business, which they run together, is flourishing.
Delivering worldwide, the company offers Knighthoods via an array of different packages. These might include a Coat of Arms, the Knights Oath, a time capsule within the tower walls, an engraved tablet crafted from one of the old tower beams and, of course, the title of Sir or Lady. Depending on the option selected, recipients can also receive a ready prepared deed of intention to change a person’s title.
Obviously, this is a fun gift and the Title is not inheritable but, if you wish, you can use it on bank cards, reservations, tickets, membership cards and other non-governmental documentation. Equally, the Coat of Arms and the Flower of Life logo can be used on letterheads and business cards, etc.
That’s the fun part, the serious aspect is that by becoming a Knight of La Grange, recipients are helping to maintain the ancient past and preserve the building.
Kate concludes, “We are only just discovering the worldwide interest in the Knights Templar who were noted for their integrity, loyalty and protection of those in need whilst relinquishing their own right for material wealth. We have a passion for the building as well as the history and are intent on finding out more.”
First published in the September.October 2019 issue of The Local Buzz
Images: Shutterstock and La Grange