Cities feature walking tours of the sights he has written about in Paris, London, ParisRome and Washington.
I had been on a mission to get into the Templar church in London which is highlighted at the end of Da Vinci Code. In 2005 it was closed the day we arrived, in 2009 I didn't get time to go. so it was definitely on the list for next trip.
The Temple Church is hidden in plain sight as it lies ‘off street’ between Fleet Street and the River Thames, in an ‘oasis’ of ancient buildings, courtyards and gardens.
It is famous for its effigy tombs and for being a round church. It was heavily damaged during the Second World War but has been largely restored. The area around the Temple Church is known as the Temple and nearby is Temple Bar and Temple tube station.
The church's website provides an excellent history timeline.
It wasn't opened when we arrived around 11:30 but the sign said it would open between 1 and 4 that day. So we had lunch and then had our visit.
There are eight hundred years of history: from the Crusaders in the 12th century, through the turmoil of the Reformation and the founding father of Anglican theology.
The Knights Templar order was very powerful in England, with the Master of the Temple sitting in parliament as primus baro (the firs tbaron of the realm). The compound was regularly used as a residence by kings and by legates of the Pope. The Temple also served as an early depository bank, sometimes in defiance of the Crown's wishes to seize the funds of nobles who had entrusted their wealth there. The independence and wealth of the order throughout Europe is considered by most historians to have been the primary cause of its eventual downfall.
In January 1215 William Marshall (who is buried in the nave next to his sons, under one of the 9 marble effigies of medieval knights there) served as a negotiator during a meeting in the Temple between King John and the barons, who demanded that John uphold the rights enshrined in the Coronation Charter of his predecessor Richard I. William swore on behalf of the king that the grievances of the barons would be addressed in the summer, leading to John's signing of Magna Carta in June.
There are grotesques on the walls of the round portion of Temple Church, overlooking the effigies.