or Knights Templars. Nine French knights bound themselves, at the beginning of the twelfth century, to protect pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land, and received the name of Templars, because their arms were kept in a building given to them for the purpose by the abbot of the convent called the Temple of Jerusalem. They used to call themselves the “Poor Soldiers of the Holy City.” Their habit was a long white mantle, to which subsequently was added a red cross on the left shoulder. Their famous war-cry was “Bauseant,” from their banner, which was striped black and white, and charged with a red cross; the word Bauseant is old French for a black and white horse.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894