Thomas Berard was born in the 1200’s and joined the Order of the Knights Templar. He became the 20th Grand Master in 1256. It was he who sent word to Europe of the threat of advancing Mongols, who had blazed their way across the Middle East. He reported their atrocities and predicted annihilation was inevitable. Berard presided at the time when the Mameluks under Babybars were putting pressure on the Crusader States. Whilst based in Acre Berard heard of the fall of Antioch and that Baghras was under attack. Unable to offer assistance, knowing the castle could not withstand such an attack, sent message; surrender and withdraw.
In 1266 large Templar fortresses were coming under attack by Egyptian Mameluks under the command of Bailbars, the Sultan of Cairo. The Templar Fortresses of Beaufort, Gaston, Chastel Blanc and Montfort along with the city of Antioch fell.
Berard asked the Pope to send assistance, the Pope promised an Eighth Crusade, which never arrived. On the 25th March 1273 Thomas Berard died.