Building and Architecture
In addition to their ability as soldiers and bankers, the Templars also left a more tangible effect on the world.
Granted extended privileges by the Popes, the Templars became skilled builders and built hundreds of structures, including churches, castles, farms, stables and even entire towns and villages.
Templar building practices and designs differed little from that of the Cistercians, who sought functionality over ostentation. The majority of their early constructions were stone-built and comparable to the architecture of the Normans. Most Templar castles were quadrangular in shape, flanked by stone towers and protected by deep moats surrounded by double walls.
Templar churches were usually circular. A good example is the church in Cambridge, modelled on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Most were small and undecorated and rectangular, in keeping with the ethos of Bernard of Clairvaux. In later churches, knights were buried with effigies.
It is also possible that the Templars were involved in the financing of the gothic cathedrals built in Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries.