The families of Rex Deus who claimed direct descent from the high priests of the Temple of Jerusalem, and, through them, from the ancient initiates of Egypt, nominated one of their number from each generation as the Fisher King, the true heir to the throne of Jerusalem. The much-maligned Order of the Knights Templar, which transformed the face of European society during its brief 200-year history, is perhaps the most obvious manifestation of the activities of this secretive group. After their brutal suppression, Rex Deus wisely chose other routes by which to pass on their beliefs to the spiritually aware with European society. Their central belief, that heaven could be created upon Earth if mankind could only learn to change its behavior, was promulgated in many different ways. The stories of the search for the Holy Grail were allegories for the initiatory path to enlightenment promoted by Rex Deus. To them, spirituality did not concern itself with "pie in the sky" after death; it was the mainspring of action here on Earth. Brotherhood, justice, truth, and service to the community were the true foundations of their entire beliefs. No longer content to risk the continuance of this tradition through purely hereditary means, the 15th century Fisher King, Earl William St. Clair, played an instrumental part in spreading these esoteric teachings, which had their origin in ancient Egypt, to carefully chosen men of goodwill of his own time. He had the perfect means at hand, for he was appointed grandmaster of the Craftmasons, the Hard and Soft Guilds in Scotland, in 1441. The absolute secrecy that shrouded the first three centuries of Freemasonry has made it difficult to assess the full range and depth of the wide variety of esoteric influences that formed the fraternity. The history of the St. Clairs of Roslin makes it plain that it was the preservation of Templar tradition that lay behind the transformation of the guilds of operative masons into the speculative and fraternal society of Freemasonry. Under the guidance of the St. Clair grandmasters, the tradition of transmitting secret and sacred knowledge through the rituals leading to higher degrees developed a high level of sophistication and complexity, which led to the development of Scottish Rite Freemasonry and the Royal Arch degrees. The fact that Scottish Rite Freemasonry draws its teaching from sources of great antiquity is made manifest in the name "Roslin," which, according to Tessa Ranford, translates from the Scottish Gaelic as "ancient knowledge passed down the generations." The St. Clairs and the other families of the Rex Deus were descended from the high priests of the Temple of Jerusalem, who were, in turn, descendants of a close-knit priestly group who could trace their lineage and teaching back to the establishment of a hereditary priesthood in ancient Egypt. William St. Clair of Rosslyn, as the Fisher King of Rex Deus in his time, was thus the chosen route by which the sacred gnosis of the Egyptian/Hebraic tradition could reach out and liberate insightful medieval men from the blinkered thinking and despotic dogmatism of Holy Mother the Church. It is therefore no surprise to learn that, in continental Europe, Freemasonry developed an innate anticlerical and anti-Catholic bias and kept particularly close ties with its spiritual parent in Scotland. Like their Scottish counterparts, French lodges took great pains to keep as close as possible to the traditional beliefs that had been handed down over the centuries. The tradition of hereditary teaching and control of sacred knowledge continued for nearly three centuries after the death of Earl William St. Clair. The founding of speculative Freemasonry always had at its heart the long-term aim of spreading Rex Deus teachings and transformative influence far beyond the narrow confines of the Rex Deus families. Such an important step could not be rushed.