The Order of St. James of Altopascio or The Hospitallers of St. James - simply called The Knights of The Tau, were one of the earliest experiments with religious military orders. Founded in 1070 by Matlida of Tuscany, their mission was to enforce the peace and care for the sick. They operated hospitals throughout Italy. They were also tasked with protection of Church property (buildings, relics, etc). Noted for their black mantle-apron with White Tau Cross, on the front and back. The Order held substantial land holdings in England, France, Germany and Italy. They also experimented with providing loads to noblemen. Unusual for it's composition, The Order installed mostly laymen and Chaplains. Upon death, burial was simple and sparse (not unlike a traditional brother of a religious order) - with no sign or mention of The Order. In 1459 a wave of suppression measure were instituted by The Church against all military/religious Orders. The Order moved to France and survived until 1672 - when they were absorbed into The Order of St. Lazarus.