AN INCREDIBLE discovery linked to a mysterious holy militia featured in The Da Vinci Code has been made in the UK.
The find was described as "one of the most nationally important" of its kind after the tombs of five Knights Templar were uncovered in Enville, Staffordshire.
The Knights Templar were a medieval order closely linked to the Crusades in the Middle Ages.
Known for their distinct red cross on white uniforms, they have been the subject of intense speculation as a mystique has grown around the wealthy religious organisation.
The order was devoted to the will of the Pope and revered the Virgin Mary.
At its height, it boasted 20,000 members, with around 90 per cent not actually being involved in combat.
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In fact, the order's main role was the protection of pilgrims to Jerusalem and other holy sites and the financing of vast numbers of Christian projects, from charity work to church building.
Templars were a key theme of the hit film The Da Vinci Code, based on Dan Brown's bestselling book of the same name, through their ties to the legend of the Holy Grail.
The myth has long held that they sought the source of eternal life, which was believed to be the cup Jesus drank from at the Last Supper.
This has played into other theories about the Templars as a secret society dedicated to locating holy relics and accumulating knowledge.
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In this role, they have also appeared in popular culture as the villains in the beloved Assassin's Creed video game franchise, being portrayed as an Illuminati-type group that seeks world domination.
Edward Spencer Dyas, who found the graves in St Mary's Church, told MailOnline: "I believe these discoveries make Enville one of the most nationally important churches in the country.
"That's due to its close links with William Marshall, who is considered of the greatest warriors England ever produced.
"But there is a mystery of why a European Templar is buried at Enville and why they were secretly so prominent there."
Willaim Marshall was the first Earl of Pembroke and found renown in the 12th Century for his exploits on the battle field.
He was inducted into the Templar order on his deathbed, but it is not known why so many of his fellow knights settled around Enville.
Mr Dyas had already found the graves of three Templars in the area before his latest discovery, bringing the total number to eight.
The church where they were found was not built by a Templar, but Mr Dyas says it is "clear" that the order financed the project.
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He explained: "Although records are missing it is clear the de Bermingham family built the Norman church at Enville, using Templar financing.
"Henry de Morfe, who held land owned by the de Berminghams, sold part of Morfe Forest to the Templars at this time, and the de Berminghams instated Roger de Bermingham as the first priest of St Mary's Church, Enville."
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