Knights Templar: Rothley Preceptory

Following the First Crusade in the Holy Land, the Order of the Knights Templar was formed by nine French knights with Hugh de Payens as its Grand Master.

The members of the Order, retained their warrior status, whilst adopting vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.  The aim of the knights was to protect pilgrims on route to Jerusalem.  They wore a white mantle with a red cross.

In the year 1231, King Henry III of England was anxious, about what would happen to his body after death.  London Templars, bankers to the English king, agreed to take care of this matter.  The king granted the Templars with his own Manor of Rothley…  The Templars established a Preceptory at Rothley, aimed at controlling their interests as Lords of the Manor.  Rothley comprised of a hall, as its living quarters with an adjoining Chapel for devotions.

The beginning of the end of the Knights Templar came in 1291, with the loss of Acre, and their escape to the island of Cyprus.

The Order of the Knights Templar now had no role, whose only allegiance was to the Pope.  Yet the King of France, saw them as a threat to his kingdom.  In his eyes they had to be put down.

In 1307, King Philip IV of France, in defiance of the Pope issued orders for the arrest of all Templars in France, and in 1308 Edward II of England followed suit, arresting Templars on English soil, but under protest.  Templars were charged and tried on dubious charges and their leader, the Knights Templar Grand Master; James de Molay was burnt at the stake, in the shadow of the Eiffel tower.  The Pope abolished the Templar Order in 1312, transferring their possessions to the Knights of St.John of Jerusalem, also known as the Hospitallers.  A non-military order, established in Italy by Amalfi merchants who gave hospitality to pilgrims, and they brandished a white cross on a black robe.

For their kindness to sick and wounded during the First Crusade to the Holy Land, many a warrior bestowed to them; estates.  They were called the Knights of the Hospitallers, and had been established in England of 1100.  In 1313, they took possession of Templars belongings including the Preceptory at Rothley.

In 1351 manorial rights of Old Dalby, Rothley and Heather formed a Commandery under a Commander or Preceptor, who lived in Old Dalby and Rothley Temple, which was also the home of and run by the Hospitallers.

In 1291 the Knights of St.John were expelled from Palestine, and retired to Cyprus.  In 1309 they conquered Rhodes, and were driven out in 1522.  They held a base in Malta, and took the name; Knights of Malta.  In 1798 were driven out of Malta by Napoleon, and their Order was divided into different nationalities, called tongues.  In Paris of 1814, the dormant English Tongue was revived.  Their charter had been re-granted by Mary Tudor in 1557, in 1878 Queen Victoria granted them a new charter, bringing to them a new life; “Hospital of St.John of Jerusalem” in England.  To-day we know it better as the “St. John’s Ambulance Brigade.”

The knights of St.John held the Manor and Rothley from 1313-1540, when there possessions were lost to the crown, during the “Dissolution of the Monasteries.”  Humphrey Babington became lease holder in 1540, and in 1544 the lease passed to Thomas Babington.  From 1565-1845 Babingtons were the Lords of the Manor of Rothley.  It was during this time, much changed as alterations took place, turning the former temple – Preceptory into domestic use.

Images relating to Knights Temple Chapel:

Cross-Legged Templar effigy: In 1790 an effigy of a Templar was discovered in Rothley churchyard and re-sited within the church in 1829.  During the Church’s restoration of 1876, was placed in the crypt of the Knights Templar Chapel, under a shroud with a red cross.

Rothley Font:  A 17th century font, discovered in a farmhouse, was returned to the church during its restoration of 1895.

Roof Timbers:  The roof timbers consist of 13th and 15th century beams, and divided into four bays.

Heraldic Shield: An heraldic shield on marble disc, believed to be part of a Jacobean Tomb can be found within Rothley Church.

Rear Entrance:  Located near the rear entrance, one would find a Jacobean Reading desk.

Knights Templar: St.Mary the Virgin Church

St.Mary the Virgin Church – Nave – Welsh Newton

In the 13th century, the Church of St.Mary the Virgin, in Welsh Newton was built, consisting of a nave, chancel and tower, with the porch being added in the 14th century.

St.Mary the Virgin Church and Graveyard – Welsh Newton

St.Mary the Virgin was a Knights Templar Church up until 1312, and with the end of the order passed into the hands of the Knights Hospitaller.  In 1540 at the height of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, so ordered by King Henry VIII, the Knights Hospitaller saw their possessions seized, and never be returned.

One of the church’s greatest possessions has to be the 1320 Rood Screen, built from stone, displaying a decorated ball flower.  Her roof dates back to the 16th century, and much of its original roof remains to this day.

St.Mary the Virgin Church – Font

The churchyard covers two acres, surrounded by a fine stone wall, added in 1866.  The preaching cross, comes complete with medieval steps and stone sockets, complete with modern shaft.  To the west of the cross, lies the grave of Saint John Kemble.  Within the church and graveyard many Templar Knights and Hospitaller graves can be found.

The grave of the martyred Catholic priest can be found within the gravestones.  Despite harsh anti-Catholic laws, persecution depended upon sympathies of local landowners.  From 1622 a Jesuit College existed in the area, and worshippers at Dingestow observed sixty Catholics marching past on route to Mass.

In 1678 Titus Oates concocted lies that there was a Jesuit conspiracy to murder the king.  William Bedloe also laid out false information concerning Catholics living in the area.

One who suffered much from the prevailing hysteria was John Kemble, born a Catholic at St.Weonards, some five miles north of Welsh Newton, and studied for the priesthood at Douai English College.

Ordained in 1625, and served as a Catholic priest for more than fifty years, based at Pembridge Castle, gaining much respect from Protestant admirers.

In 1651, his nephew Richard Kemble saved the life of King Charles II at the ‘Battle of Worcester.’

In 1678 as anti-Catholic furore came to a head, John Kemble dismissed warnings that he could be prosecuted for his beliefs, he just declared to those listening, that he would be prepared to die for his Christ.  Father Kemble was staying at Pembridge Castle, when he was arrested on the 7th December 1678.

In 1679 he was sentenced to be hanged for being ordained and a practising Catholic priest, which was seen as an act of treason.  The eighty-year old Kemble was strapped backwards upon a horse, and taken to Newgate prison in London to answer.  Here he tried to gain his freedom, by disclosing Titus Oates plot to assassinate King Charles II.  Then forced to walk back to Hereford.

On the 22nd August 1679, the Catholic priest was dragged to Widemarsh Common, where he declared upon the scaffold, that he be prepared to die for his beliefs, and forgave his enemies.  First, he was executed upon the scaffold, before being drawn and quartered. 

John Kemble Cross and Grave

His body rests in St.Mary the Virgin graveyard in Welsh Newton.  One of his hands can be found at St.Francis Xavier Church in Hereford.

John Kemble was beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929 and Canonized on the 25th October 1970 by Pope Paul VI.

The Holy Land…

The Eastern Roman Empire were the custodians of the Holy Land…

The Roman Emperor Constantine was the first Emperor to convert to Christianity, after witnessing a cross in the sky, along with his entire army.  However, his spiritual growth did not happen overnight.  For it was some years later, in 300 AD that Emperor Constantine became a Christian.  Shortly thereafter he moved his headquarters to the Holy City of Constantinople.

Constantine devoted himself completely to God, and chose to immerse himself in the inspired writings.  He made the priests of God, his closest advisers, for he believed it was his duty to pay homage to the God who had appeared to him, in his vision of the cross.

In the year 614AD, the Holy Land was lost to the Persians, and in 636AD Mohammed the Arab, claimed a new religion under his Islamic banner, as he captured Jerusalem.

In Norman times the Turks originally from present day Kazakhstan over ran Persia, converted to Islam, and expanded eastwards to rule the Holy Land and Egypt and to threaten Anatolia, to the east of the Bosporus.  The Byzantine Emperor Romanus set forth from Constantinople to annihilate the Islamic Turks but instead at the land-mark battle of Manzikert (1071) the Christian East Roman armies were routed by the mounted archers of the Turks.  This battle proved to the Muslims that they could beat a crack Christian army, and for the next five hundred years the Islamic Turks steadily advanced westwards, conquering all of Europe east of Hungary except Austria, until they captured the Christian city of Constantinople.  After Manzikert, the Emperor of Constantinople asked the Pope in Rome for military support. 

Unfortunately, Pope Urban II saw the request as an opportunity not only to push the Muslims out of Anatolia but also to recapture Jerusalem for Rome, thus pulling a fast one over his Christian theological rivals in Constantinople.

Had the two Christian groups worked together the outcome might have been different and today’s problem’s in modern day Jerusalem non-existent.  However, the same could be said for the Muslims who were then as now split between the Sunni and Shia factions.

Generally speaking, the Crusades were a failure.  The first actually recovered Jerusalem and Antioch but the Turks were too powerful and the Christians were expelled.  English King Richard I was involved in the 3rd Crusade but his main achievement was taking Cyprus from the Christian Byzantium’s and neglecting his subjects back home.  The 4th Crusade during the reign of England’s King John coincides when England lost most of its possessions in France.  This Crusade is remembered for the Crusaders diverting from their intended target of Jerusalem, to the headquarters of their allies in Constantinople, with the intention of looting the city, which they did having been invited through the city gates by those who thought they be friends.

There were eight crusades in all.  The first during the reign of King William II and the last in the reign of King Henry III.  Plantagenet King Richard I was the most famous crusader from the line of English Kings but was so involved that his English subjects hardly ever saw him, and his French lands were neglected.

William Saint Clair

The Saint Clairs of Roslin, often spelt Rosslyn held a connection which lasted for some 300 years, with the Freemasons of Scotland.

King James II

In 1441, King James II appointed William Saint Clair, Earl of Orkney and Caithness, as Patron and Protector of Scotland’s Freemasons, an office which became hereditary one for the family.  With the death of William Saint Clair in 1484, the office of hereditary patron, was passed down to his descendants.

Rosslyn Chapel

In the year 1446, a founding charter was received from Rome, allowing for the construction of Rosslyn Chapel: Collegiate Church of St. Mathew, the family church of the St.Clairs.

William St.Clair spent four years exploring French Cathedrals and their gothic design, for the design of Rosslyn Chapel.  Then he invited skilled stonemasons from across Europe to come to Scotland, and build the chapel dedicated to the Knights Templar.

According to Scottish tradition, its kings exercised the right in nominating office-bearers to the Freemasons craft.  Only one king neglected to carry out the orders.  First, he be King James VI of Scotland (1567-1603) and carried out his duties, and then as King James I of England (1603-1625), during which time he omitted to carry out his duties.

William St.Clair died in 1484, the office of hereditary Patron was passed down through the family timeline, to the next living descendant.

Around 1600, Freemasons found they were without Protector, and duly appointed William Saint Clair of Roslin, who presided over the order until 1630 when he went to Ireland.  A charter was issued, granting his son Sir William Saint Clair to take over his position in Scotland, and signed off by Masters and Wardens of Scottish Lodges.  Over the next hundred years, the craft continued to flourish, in terms agreed between the Laird of Roslin and Freemasons of Scotland.

The year was 1736 and William Saint Clair to whom the Hereditary Protectorship had descended by right of succession, had no children, and feared the Office of Grand Master, should not become vacant upon his death. 

Accordingly, thirty-two representatives from Edinburgh Lodges assembled, on the 30th November 1736, where their current leader, resigned his post, making way for the election of a new Grand Master.  William Saint Clair was chosen as the new Grand Master in 1737, the last in the line of that noble family, who held the post until January 1778 when he died aged seventy-eight.

The Grand Lodge of Scotland, paid their respects on the announcement of his death, convening a funeral lodge: Four hundred brethren paid tribute to the great man.

Knights Templar: The Fall of Acre

Acre in Holy Land

Acre had long been the most important sea port, which was well fortified, built on a peninsula and protected by the sea, with walls dotted with twelve towers.

From 1191, was the headquarters of the Order of the Knights Hospitaller.  A strong medieval force of Teutonic Knights and Knights Templar were also located in the sea-port.

On the 28th May 1291, the Order of the Knights Templar, surrendered their fortified city of Acre to the Mamlukes, which had been under constant siege.

The loss of Acre was more than a defeat, for it had been captured by Richard the Lionheart on the 12th July 1191, and become home to Templars and Hospitallers.

Losing Acre marked the end of an era, they had lost their headquarters in the east, and the Templar Grand Master; Theobaud Gaudin in battle.  William de Beaujeu next elected Grand Master of the Knights Templar, from Sidon, the Templar Fortress some sixty miles north of Acre.

Beaujeu’s new Grand Master of the Order, left the island for Cyprus, and sought out assistance for his brethren.  As much as he tried, no help came, and on the 12th July, they were forced to abandon Acre and join fellow comrades on Cyprus.  On the 14th July, Christian forces left Acre by sea in the dead of night bound for Cyprus.

Pope Nicholas IV, with a heavy heart, heard of the Christian defeat at Acre, and sought a plan should be drawn up, to take back the Holy Land.  Sadly, before anything could be put in place, Pope Nicholas IV died.

Freemason: Edward Jenner

Edward_Jenner

Freemason: Edward Jenner

Edward Jenner, the son of Rev Stephen Jenner was born on the 17th May 1749 in Berkeley, Gloucestershire.  Aged just five he became orphaned, and went to live with his older brother.  His early schooling, showed young Edward had a deep interest in science and nature.

When Edward was 14, he became an apprentice to one Daniel Ludlow, the County Surgeon in Sodbury, for a period of seven years.  In 1764 he began an apprenticeship with George Harwicke, where he learnt about surgical and medical practices.

In 1770 aged 21, Jenner became a student under John Hunter, a famous surgeon in his time at St.George’s Hospital in London.  He was well known, and a well respected Biologist and Anatomist, also known as an experimental scientist.

Whilst under tutorage of John Hunter, Jenner studied geology, and carried out experiments on human blood.  It was during this time, he devised an improved method for preparation of medicine known as “Tartar Emetic” (Potassium Antimony Tartrate).

Edward Jenner returned to Berkeley to practice medicine, following the death of John Hunter the Scottish surgeon and friend in October 1793.

Jenner was elected as a “Fellow of the Royal Society” in 1788, following his publication, based upon his study of the much misunderstood life of a “Cuckoo.”  Where upon he undertook experiments, dissected it, and gave his personal thoughts.

In 1792, Edward Jenner earned his MD status, from the University of St.Andrews.

Smallpox was a natural disease, which appeared in Europe during the Middle Ages.

In the 18th century, smallpox was known to kill some 400,000 people per year, some of those who survived, were blinded or badly scarred.

The word variola was a commonly used term when referring to smallpox, as introduced by Bishop Marius of Avenches, Switzerland in AD 570.  Derived from the latin word varius, which meant “stained” or varus which meant “mark on the skin.”

The term small pockes, used in 15th century England was to distinguish the disease from syphilis, known as the great pockes.

If we go back to 430 BC, it was common knowledge that survivors of smallpox, became immune to the disease, and they would nurse the afflicted.

In medieval times, many remedies were attempted:  Dr Sydenham (1624-1689), treated his patients by forbidding a fire to be lit, windows wide open day and night, no bed clothes above the waist, and the patient would consume twelve small bottles of beer, every twenty-four hours.

However the most successful way for early doctors, in combating smallpox before the discovery of vaccination (Vaccine: A substance made from the germs that cause the disease, which is given to people to prevent them getting the disease) was inoculation (Injecting a micro-organism, bacteria, to protect one against the disease.  The word is derived from the Latin inoculare, which meant to graft).

Inoculation; saw subcutaneous instillation of the smallpox disease into a non-immune person, by using a wet lancet with fresh matter from an infected smallpox sufferer.

On the 17th April 1722, two daughters of the Princess of Wales were treated this way, and the procedure received acceptance by the Royal Family.

This form of treatment carried some risks, yet it was better than doing nothing, as thousands died.  It is believed only 2-3% of treated patients died, or went on to suffer from other diseases, like tuberculosis and syphilis.

In 1796 Jenner, made his first steps in the eradication of the smallpox disease, which had been the scourge of mankind for centuries.

He deduced that cowpox, a disease often caught by dairymaids, protected one from the more serious disease of smallpox.

Sarah Nelms, a young dairymaid had cowpox lesions on her hands and arms, and using matter from her lesions, inoculated James Phipps.  Nine days later he was cold and lacked appetite, and on the tenth day was better.  A few months later he inoculated the boy once again, but this time with smallpox lesions.

Smallpox did not develop, proving that cowpox had indeed protected him against the infection.

He sent a paper to the Royal Society in 1797, describing his findings, but they rejected it.  In 1798, Jenner knew his theory and practical application had merit, and so published a book on his findings.  “An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae.”

Part one, consisted of details regarding the origin of cowpox, as a disease of horses, and transmitted to cows… yet the theory was rejected.  Part Two, contained critical observations, related to his tests.  Part Three, was a discussion into the pros and cons of his findings.

In 1799, Dr George Pearson and Dr William Woodville supported his vaccination, which was undertaken and distributed to their patients.  His vaccination spread rapidly through England, and by 1800 had reached much of Europe.

Dr John Haygarth received vaccine from Edward Jenner in 1800, which he sent to Benjamin Waterhouse a physics professor at Harvard University.  He in turn introduced it into New England, and Thomas Jefferson tried it in Virginia, which led to the creation of the “National Vaccine Institute” in the United States of America.

In 1802 Edward Jenner received the sum of £10,000 from the British Parliament for his work on vaccination, and in 1806 received a further £20,000 for his work on microbiology.

On the 30th December 1802, he became a Master Mason at the “Lodge of Faith and Friendship.”  From 1812-1813 he was appointed and served as “Worshipful Master of Royal Berkeley Lodge of Faith and Friendship.”

In 1803 he became involved with the Jennerian Institution, a society whose aim it was to promote vaccination to eradicate smallpox.  In 1808, the society was re-named and became the “National Vaccine Establishment.”

In 1821, he was appointed Physician to King George IV, and made Mayor of Berkeley and Justice of the Peace.

In 1788 Edward Jenner married Catherine Kingscote, and they had four children.  They lived in Chantry House, and in the garden he vaccinated the poor for free.

His family was shattered in 1810, when son Edward died of Tuberculosis, followed by Mary and his wife in 1815.  In 1820 he suffered a stroke, from which he recovered.  On the 23rd January 1823 he visited his final patient, and on the 25th January was found with his right side paralysed.  On the very next day; 26th January 1823, aged 73 Edward Jenner died from an apparent stroke.

He was laid to rest with his parents, wife and children, near the altar of Berkeley Church.

The early works by Edward Jenner on the study of smallpox, and its connection with cowpox had laid the foundation, which would allow future doctors and scientists to come up with a cure for this disease which was known to have taken the lives of thousands…

Priory of Sion Grand Master: Isaac Newton

 

Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton

England was being torn apart by civil war and plague, and amidst this a premature Isaac Newton was being born into this world on the 25th December 1642, with little hope of survival.  Against all odds, Isaac survived, and home was Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire.

1642: Isaac’s father, a farmer died some three months before his son was born.

1645: Isaac’s mother re-married, and he was raised by his grandmother.  He grew up to hate his stepfather, whilst his mother had hoped he would run the family farm.

Newton attended Grantham School, and found an interest in mechanics and technology, which led him down the path of inventing sundials.  Yet his life was set on a different path, an intellectual path.

1661: Newton attended Trinity College, Cambridge.  Isaac Barrow his professor of mathematics and his mentor, steered him towards solving mathematical issues.  For this he used Calculus, explaining how the universe was ruled by mechanical laws.

1665: Cambridge University was forced to shut its doors, as the plague spread across our lands.  Newton had no option but to return home.

1671: Newton, re-designed the humble telescope, with the use of mirrors instead of lenses, which brought praise from the Royal Society.

1679: With his mother on her deathbed, Newton returned to the family home of Woolsthorpe, embarking on a period of self-exposed exile, to carry out his research.  His research led him down the path towards alchemy; the study of nature and life, the medieval forerunner of chemistry.  Alchemists like Nicolas Flamel, sought to turn metal into gold.

1684: German philosopher; Gottfried Leibniz published mathematical articles, how equations could be used to describe the physical world.  Newton claimed he had done this twenty years earlier, yet it was never published.  Newton believed Leibniz had stolen his work, and as a result the two became bitter enemies.

1687: Newton published the “Philosophiae  Naturalis Principia Mathematica” the culmination of twenty years of thought and two years in the writing.  It outlined his theory of universal gravitation which equalled a mathematical description of the universe.

1689: Newton had made his name as a philosopher, and was attracted down a new path, that of a politician.  Newton fought King James II’s religious reforms, which led to him being elected as a member of parliament.

1691: Isaac Newton was elected to the post of Grand Master of the Priory of Sion.

1693: In mid-1693, Newton suffered a nervous breakdown, but he still retained his public reputation, and soon after became warden of the Royal Mint.

1696: 17th century finances lay in crisis, as many coins were forgeries.  Under Newton’s rule, old currency was recalled and a new issue released, and counterfeiters were prosecuted.

1700: Newton was appointed Master of the Mint, a post he held for the rest of his remaining years.

1713: The Royal Society commissioned a committee to decide who invented Calculus; Isaac Newton or his arch enemy Gottfried Leibniz.  The committee voted in favour of Newton, yet Leibniz refused to concede defeat, and the feud would last until the death of both men.

1727: On the 20th March Isaac Newton celebrated philosopher died, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Priory of Sion Grand Master: Robert Boyle

Robert Boyle, Anglo-Irish chemist

Robert Boyle

Robert Boyle was born on the 27th January 1627, in County Waterford, Ireland, the seventh son of the Earl of Cork.  He was educated at Eton, and then travelled across Europe, learning as he went until his return in 1644, with a head full of scientific ideas.  He took up residence in Dorset, where he built himself a laboratory.

In 1654, Robert Boyle took up the post as Grand Master of the Priory of Sion, a post he held until his death in 1691.

Around the mid 1650’s moved to Oxford, and took on assistant Robert Hooke, and together they designed a working vacuum chamber/air-pump.

In those days’ experimentation wasn’t the done thing, it was highly controversial.  The established method was to discuss it with like-minded scientist, using well established rules, which had been put together by the likes of Aristotle and other’s over the previous 2,000 years.

Boyle wasn’t interested in discussions, he wanted to observe what took place, and draw his own conclusions.  He became one of the first scientists to perform experiments, and go on to publish his work with details.  His first publication took place in 1659 on Philosophy – Medicine – Religion.

According to Boyle’s Law, this states that if the volume of gas is decreased, pressure increases proportionally.  Boyle defined what an element be, and went on to introduce the litmus test to tell acids from bases.

In 1660 Robert Boyle who was part of the “Invisible College” of dynamic English & European minds along with eleven fellow scientists formed the Royal Society in London, with King Charles II as its patron and sponsor, of the House of Stuart.  They would meet regularly to witness experiments and discuss their results.

In 1668, Boyle took up permanent residence in London, living with his sister.  In 1680 he was offered the presidency of the Royal Society, which he had played a part in its creation.  He had strong religious principles, and the oath of presidency violated his beliefs, for that reason he refused the post of President.

On the 31st December 1691 Robert Boyle died in London.

Knights Templar 22nd Grand Master: Thibaud Gaudin

Thibaud Gaudin

Thibaud Gaudin was born in 1229, to French nobility and entered the Order of the Knights Templar pre 1260.

In 1279, Gaudin fulfilled the function of any a Commander of the land of Jerusalem.  For in 1291 he rode at the side of Guillaume de Beaujeu in defence of the city of Acre, under attack from Mamluk Sultan Al-Ashraf Khalil.  Guillaume de Beaujeu 21st Grand Master of the Knights Templar, died in defence of Acre on the 18th May 1291.

Gaudin remained in Acre with remaining knights of the order, and non-combatants, taking shelter in the temple of the Templar Fortress.  One week passed and still the Muslim forces had not gained access to Acre. Pierre de Sevry, Marshall of the Order brokered a deal, which allowed Thibaud Gaudin, the then treasurer of the order, along with possession and non-combatants and few knights leave bound by boat for Sidon.  The following day Acre fell to Muslim forces.

Upon his arrival at Sidon, Gaudin was elected as the 22nd Grand Master of the Knights Templar.

In the October of 1291, a chapter of the order met in Cyprus, at which time it was confirmed that Thibaud Gaudin was the new Grand Master, and Jacques de Molay was named Marshal, successor to Pierre de Sevry who died at Acre.  In 1292 Thibaud Gaudin died, leaving the rebuilding of the Order of the Knights Templar to his successor.

Knights Templar 21st Grand Master: Guillaume de Beaujeu

Guillaume de Beaujeu

Guillaume de Beaujeu was born in 1230, with family ties to King Louis IX, Charles of Anjou and King of Sicily.  He entered the Order of the Knights Templar in 1250, at the age of twenty, becoming Preceptor of the Province of Tripoli in 1271 and Preceptor of Pouilles in 1272.  On the 13th May 1273 Beaujeu was elected as the 21st Grand Master of the Knights Templar.

Beaujeu attended Pope Gregory X’s council in Lyons 1274 advocating professional troops should be brought in to reinforce Acre, and proposed a blockade of Egypt would weaken it automatically.

He argued that Crusaders would need to establish their own fleets so that they did not depend on the Maritime Republics of Genoa and Venice, which were only interested in making money from trading with Muslims.  Beaujeu toured European Preceptories before returning to the Holy Land.  Closeness to the Capetians compromised his position among Palestinian-Frankish barons of the Holy Land who saw him as Charles of Anjou’s agent.  War broke out over control of Sicily between Aragon and Charles of Anjou, it put an end in the eyes of Templars, all hope of relief from the west for the Holy Land had died.

By 1180 Baybars successor was General Qalawun of the Mameluk’s.  Qalawun sent forces aimed at reducing Frankish presence in the Holy Land.  Beaujeu learned the Mameluk’s planned to attack Tripoli and sent a warning messae to its citizens.  Its leaders distrusted Beaujeu, refusing to believe its contents, consequently Tripoli was captured with ease.

Beaujeu informer told him of Qalawun’s attack on Acre, and once again they took no notice.  Qalawun died on route, and his son stepped in; al-Ashraf Khalil to lead his father’s army into battle. Acre forces were severly outnumbered, yet they fought brilliantly with determination.  Beaujeu fought side by side with Templar forces as they attacked the Mameluk camp, time and time again.  Templar and Hospitalier forces defended St. Anthony’s Gate pushing Muslim forces back.  Moats filled with bodies as blood flowed, and the Mameluks pressed home their attack.  The city’s defensive towers started to crumble… Templars and Mameluks fought for possession.

Guillaume de Beaujeu rushed forth to counter attack, but was wounded and his forces pushed back and back.  It is said at one point during the battle, Beaujeu dropped his sword and walked away from the walls.  I am not running away, he spoke out loud, for I am all but dead.  He raised his arm showing the mortal wound from an arrow which had penetrated his armour. They carried him to the Templar Fortress by the sea, where he died of his wounds.  Remaining Templars battled on, but they knew the end was nigh, they would rather die on the battlefield than be taken prisoner.