As I can't reply to my own Blog posts at work, and as this requires a full explaination, I am posting a reply to Marchand's reply to my previous post on Acre as a post in itself. That was an awkward sentence!
Marchand wrote: "Just a quick historicalish question - as a religious order, how did the Knights of St Thomas survive the Dissolution of the Monasteries?"
Hi Marchand! Nice to see you here!
This is an excellent question! The answer is, of course, that they didn't. They were dissolved along with the other monastic orders in the reign of Henry VIII, and were reconstituted as an order in 1555, at the request of the Duke of Acre by Queen Mary. On Elizabeth's ascention to the throne, the knights were required to take oath to her as head of the Church, wherupon some left the order, joining one of the other orders in Outremer, while others remained. New recruits taking their oaths include a new oath of obedience to the Head of the Church of England. The Knights of Thomas are maintained and supplied entirely from Acre, unlike the Catholic orders which are maintained from their lands in Europe as well as their lands in Outremer.
So the current Knights of St Thomas are not the same organization as the original order founded in the Third Crusade. Some brothers returned to the order when it was reconstituted, but most of them have since died, retired, or refused to swear the new oath. The current Order is only 5 years old in 1560, the "Year One" of the game.
The English branch of the Hospitallers, the Order of St. John, has also been reconstituted in 1559, but has not yet made a presence in Outremer as of 1560.