Rosicrucians: Out of Darkness

Rosicrucian Order

In the 18th century, some four hundred years after the Templar Order had been forced out of the limelight.  They were to emerge as an influential Order within Masonic and Rosicrucian beliefs.

Karl Gottheff, Varon von Hund, founder of the Strict Observance Rite, who established Templar traditions, Templar rules within the Masons.  Baron von Hund had been initiated into the Paris Lodge, led by Lord Kilmarnock, Grand Master of Scottish Freemasons, and the Guardians of Templar traditions.

Supporters of the Jacobite cause claimed that a Masonic Lodge had been founded in 1700’s Scotland, and drew its charter from a surviving Templar Chapter, which had been operational for some 700 years, in Bristol.

At his Masonic initiation, von Hund claims to have met with the knight of the Red Feather, better known as Prince Charles Stuart.  Baron von Hund went on to found a German branch of the neo-Templar’s in Germany.  Based on von Hund’s account of things, the Scottish chapter of the Knights Templar had been founded by two English members of the Order.  They who had discovered the Elixir of Life, and actively practised alchemy.

A popular 18th century occult myth states that Templar’s were initiates of Gnostic teachings passed down by the Essenes, they who had iniated Jesus into its mysteries.  Meo-Templarism attempted to combine pagan and wisdom with Christian ideals.  According to Freemasonry, Templar influence of the 18th century spoke of a myth; three renegade Knights betrayed King Phillip of France to fellow Masons, who murdered Hiram Abiff in Solomon’s Temple.  Masonic references of assassination of Charles de Monte Carmel a prominent Templar who underwent a ritual murder…  This murder according to 18th century Masons, marked a turning point in the history of the Knights Templar and led to their eventual downfall.

The survival of the Knights Templar tradition was masterminded by Jacques de Molay, the Order’s last Grand Master, whilst in a French prison awaiting his execution.  On the evening of the 17th March 1314 the night before being burnt at the stake on unproved charges of heresy.  DeMolay sent a trusted aide to the Templar’s secret crypt in Paris, where the Order’s past Grand Master’s had been entombed.  Symbolic objects sacred to the Order, were duly removed.

Jacques de Molay trusted his aide, with the future of the Knights Templar.  The two pillars which stood at the entrance to the templar tombs were in fact hollow and contained money and artefacts.  It was De Molay’s wish that they be removed, before falling into the hands of the French Monarchy.  The Templar money and symbolic objects were to be used in the re-creation of the Order, preventing the loss of their secrets.

The two pillars of the crypt entrance were copies of the obelisks which stand at the gateway of Solomon’s Temple.  The pillars held detailed manuscripts, detailing occult teachings within the Templar Order.

Johann Augustus Starck, another claimant of the Templar revival, encountered Masonic Templarism whilst teaching in St.Petersburg.  He went on to make contact with surviving Templar Order’s in Southern France, they who were renowned for practising in the Cathar style.  It was Stark’s belief that the Templar’s had inherited occult from the likes of Persia, Seria and Egypt, and these were passed on to the Essenic secret society, operating in the Middle East during the Crusades.

His version of neo-Templarism received approval leading to patronage of European aristocrats and membership of new Masonic Templar lodges.  Gustav III of Sweden became a patron to neo-Templarism, a firm supporter of the Scottish Pretenders and the Jacobites.

Frederick the Great

Frederick the Great

In 1767, Frederick the Great founded two neo-Masonic lodges; “Order of the Architects of Africa,” and the “Knights of Light.”  That same year, Frederick the Great became a financial supporter of Orthodox Freemasonry.  In the next year (1768) Frederick commissioned the construction of a Grand Lodge for the Prussians.

A few years later, the title Illuminati was one of the Masonic Secret Societies.  The “Order of the Illuminati, the occultists became a title associated by Rosicrucian’s and known as key figures in secret political history.

The grand convention of Masonic Lodges in 1771 openly admitted mythical descent from the Templar Order.  Johann Augustus Stark’s group merged with Baron von Hund’s.

adam-weishauptThe Illuminati were founded by Adam Weishaupt, a professor at the Bavarian University of Ingoldstat, in the year 1776, the same year as the American Revolution.  He being of Jewish descent, educated by Jesuits in the Catholic faith.

Whilst an undergraduate, Weishaupt studied Ancient Pagan Religions, Eleusinian Mysteries and Theories of the Greek mystic and philosopher; Pythagoras.  As a student drafted a constitution for a secret society, centred on paganism.

In 1774, he made contact with a Masonic lodge in Germany, and was disappointed by what he found.  They being ignorant to occult and Masonic connections, with no knowledge of pagan symbolism.

On the 1st May 1776, Adam Weishaupt announced the foundation of the “Order of Perfectibilists,” which later became known as the Illuminati.

Weishaupt had a vision, a political vision, a utopian state, with the abolition of private property, social authority and nationality.  He believed human beings would live in harmony, within a brotherhood, based on love, peace, spiritual wisdom and equality.  His main targets of reform were the Monarchy, Church and rich landowners.

The Illuminists attempted overthrow of Hapsburg in 1784, which led to the Bavarian government banning all secret societies, and so it was Weishaupt’s followers went underground.

Comte de Mirabeau a prominent Illuminist, was one of the founders responsible for the French Revolution of 1789.  Aiming at the destruction of the French Monarchy and destroying the Catholic Church, to be replaced by the “Religion of Love,” across France.

Early 1791, allegations arose about the role played by Masons and Illuminate, partly based on the confessions of Comte Cagliostro (Comte Cagliostro born Joseph Balsamo in Parlemo, Sicily in 1743) arrested in 1789 on charges of heresy.

Comte Cagliostro

Comte Cagliostro

Cagliostro married Lorenza Felicioni whom he controlled by use of hypnotism, taught to him by Dr.Mesmer a fellow Mason.  Lorenza went on to denounce her husband in the “Inquisition for practising heresy.”  He spoke of an international conspiracy by Illuminati, neo-Templar’s and Freemasons, taking place across Europe.  He revealed their ultimate object, was to complete work started by the original Knights Templar; the overthrow of the Papacy and the election of an Illuminist as Pope.

He went on to confess that large sums of money had been deposited in banks in Holland, Italy, France and England to finance revolutions.  Funds to finance the French Revolution came from the House of Rothschild… Was this fact or fiction, was Comte Cagliostro just trying to save his life.  No historical evidence can be found to support such claims.

The radicalism of Masonic Lodges prior to the French Revolution, alienated followers amongst aristocratic classes in France.  By 1792 few lodges were still practising, and faced hostilities from the revolutionary government.  At Versailles former Grand Master of a Templar lodge was lynched by an angry mob.  Masonry came under suspicion by those in power, in their belief of a counter revolution.

The Masons who had helped start the French Revolution, and within a few years became a victim of their own creation.

French Revolution

French Revolution

By 1796, it had become common knowledge that Masons and Templars had a hand in the French Revolution of 1789.  With Jacques de Molay, Templar’s last Grand Master, a prisoner in the Bastille before his execution in 1314, and as such, the Bastille was the first target for the mob.  It wasn’t long before connections revealed that the Templar’s and Jesuits were dedicated to the creation of a church within a church.

Duc’d Orleans, Grand Master of French freemasonry an illuminist, plotted against the French Royal family.  It is believed he practised a secret occult ritual, using relics from the past, which once belonged to de Molay.  Were these the sacred objects from the Templar Crypt in Paris?  Unfortunately, historical writings are unable to provide the answer.

“The Tomb of Jacques de Molay” was published in France of 1796, claiming that the French Revolution was the work of anarchists, they who could trace their lineage back to the Templar’s and Assassins.

Father Bamuel a Jesuit priest published his book; “Memoires pour serir de I’histoire du Jacobinisme,” tracing the survival of Manichean heresy through Catharism, Assassins, Templars, Freemasons and French Revolution.

The Royal Families of Europe were shocked by the Illuminist plot of universal revolution, they had witnessed the French Revolution and feared being next in line.  In 1790 the Bavarian government brought in a law that membership of the Illuminati was classed as a capital offence.

England feared the hand of these secret societies, and Parliament attempted to bring in the “Unlawful Societies Act,” which would have outlawed Freemasonry.  It failed, because they never dabbled in politics.

Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte’s rise meant Freemasons faced a bleak future.  Bonaparte was well aware of the Illuminist’s role in the French Revolution.  He used the Freemasons for his own political ends.

Joseph and Lucien, brothers of Napoleon Bonaparte became Grand Masters of the Orient.  They attracted many new members, and by the end of his reign the Grand Orient boasted some 1200 lodges across France, and by the 1800’s had infiltrated the French Colonies.

In the March of 1808, a neo-Templar Order held a public requiem for Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar.  Held at St.Paul’s Church in Paris, presided over by the Canon of Notre Dame; Abbe Pierre Romains.

In 1809 a secret Masonic Lodge came into being in France “Sublimes Maitres Parfait” (Sublime Perfect Masters), with similarities to Catharism.  They opposed Napoleon and saw him as a traitor of France.

The pre-Royalist Masonic Lodge claimed success in 1814, with the abdication of Napoleon Bonaparte in favour of King Louis XVII.  The Paris revolt of 1830, led to Louis Philippe taking his place on the throne.

king louis Philippe

Louis Philippe

Louis Philippe placed Freemasons under his protection, appointed Duc d’Orleans his son, as the Order’s new Grand Master.

The Masonic convention of 1842 held in Strasburg, sowed the seeds of the 1848 Revolution by radical elements in European Masonry; they preached anarchism and socialism.

In 1850 Napoleon III made it law, that Grand Orient Lodges were forbidden to interfere in politics, even though they received support of the politicians.

The Illuminati failed to create social order across France, but had influenced another revolution.

In 1776 American colonists challenged the British in the War of Independence, the blueprint, a society based on democracy, freedom and social equality… A New World.

American War of Independence

The American Revolution, a social experiment engineered by secret societies.

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The Green Man

Green Man

The Green Man

A major Templar site, the famed Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, has a number of these Green Man carvings upon its walls, which suggests that the Templar’s recognised the Green Man as an ancient source of their idiosyncratic beliefs.

Often portrayed as a head with foliage growing from its mouth, the Green Man carvings represent fertility, growth of nature.  Although one assumes that the carvings are of Celtic origin this is not the case, being discovered in Borneo, Himalayas, Kathmandu, Ranakpur temples and chapels.

Being the primal King of the world, the Green Man is known by many legendary names; Osiris and Lucifer.  He is the life force, so he has the ability to manifest at any time, in any practical form, that meets the appropriate dress code of the area.

Templar sites were found on former sites where once the Druids built their temples.  Notre Dame Cathedral built by the Templar’s was one of many which sits upon pagan ground.

Chartres Cathedral in France does not have a single King, Bishop, Cardinal or Canon interred in its soil, being built upon a former pagan site.

Womb of the Earth

Womb of the Earth

The original altar built above the Grotte des Druides, houses a sacred dolmen, being identified with the “Womb of the Earth.”

Our Lady of Light

Our Lady of Light

Many of the architectural drawings for the finer parts of Gothic Cathedrals were obtained from a 2nd century Greek alchemical manuscript and dedicated to the patron of France;  Notre Dame de Lumiere (Our Lady of Light).  This design believed to be one of the most sacred designs on earth.

Other than Green Man carvings, Gothic styled Cathedrals were built with esoteric imagery and other pagan structures.  Cathedrals contained astronomical symbolisms of Gods and fables of cosmic creations.  The Gods were deemed as representations of planets and stars; the heavenly bodies of the universe.

Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth

Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth

Symbols found within Gothic Cathedrals, were known to convey strong messages about the power of feminine.  The Labyrinth on the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France refers to female mysteries.  This place is not for the praise of the Virgin Mary, because it is the home of the Black Madonna – Our Lady of the Underworld.

Baphomet

The Baphomet introduced by the Templars proved beyond doubt that the Knights Templar were Gnostic Occultists.  Their idol was used in many rituals by the order, its purpose to receive wisdom.

Levi a French Occultist depicted the Baphomet as that of a hybrid goat, containing spiritual and universal elements, revealing esoteric knowledge.

Central to the accusations brought against the Knights Templar at their trials, was that they worshipped an idol named Baphomet, said to have taken the form of a head.

The Baphomet is one aspect of the Templar myths which generate so many theories as to its true origins.  The interest in Baphomet has survived for hundreds of years and taken many forms.  The opinions on the Baphomet vary greatly from scholar to scholar and mystic path to mystic path.

Some describe the Templars as Devil worshipping Occultists, while historians are of the belief that the Templar’s were party to the machinations of corrupt government and church.  Some believe “Baphomet was the deity worshipped by the Knights Templar, and in Black Magic as the source and creator of evil; the Satanic goat of witches.

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Templar Order: The Dark Side

Knights Templar 1

Templar history reveals the transformation that was taking place through time.  They started out under the banner of Christianity, and it wasn’t long before they entered a darker period of history.

These changes took place, during their time in the Holy Land, when they came in contact with Cabala and learned of the teachings of the Jewish sects.

The Assassins mysticism and other perverse practices were incorporated into their system, and the emerging picture reveals Christian faith stepping back, giving way to secret occultist and black magic rituals.

They started out as poor knights of the Templar Order, and over a relatively short period of history, they had gone on to acquire considerable wealth.  So it was to be, they set their sights on grander goals.

Many became convinced that in order to gain wealth, all that was required was help from the dark side, which could be achieved through Black Magic.

Scientific methods were used in contacting and taking control of invisible powers by the use of secret codes, magic signs, formulas and incantations.  Poisons were prepared, elixir of life sought, alchemists desired to create gold through minor metals.

Templar’s sought control of this world, aided by the invisible one, worshipped Satan and called upon him to dominate the powers of darkness.

With years of research by the courts of King and Pope, they were able to prove that these Templar’s were hiding behind a Christian facade.

The Templar’s had gathered dark world symbols, traditions and rituals, and founded a system within castles built for the purpose; it was the start of secret societies evolutions.

The Templar’s never ceased to exist; they infiltrated the lodges of weak and passive Masons, and went on to found the “Order of the Rosicrucian’s,” reorganizing and strengthening the order.

Baron Karl von Hund, creator of Masonry’s “Rite of Strict Observance” added the Templar legend to the Masonic Craft.

Over the following centuries, Masonic Templarism branched out, expanding world-wide and becoming a serious global power, yet staying true to its Templar ideology.

In 1717, Masons created an organization providing tolerance and freedom of thought within religious, political and ideological environment of the 18th century.  Signs, traditions and ceremonies of the organization were derived from Freemasonry, Templar and Rosicrucian secret societies.  Its philosophy was the idea of free thought.

Knights Templar: Temple Bruer

Temple Bruer

Temple Bruer Church and Buildings

Temple Bruer emerged in the middle of the vast Lincoln Heath, which spread out southwards from the city of Lincoln.  The heath sparsely populated, and during the Templar times, would have been desolate and forbidding.

The Order of the Knights Templar, were bequeathed the land by William of Ashby in the mid 12th century.  The Templar’s with their renowned vigour and enterprise built a great preceptor and established a productive estate.

As the Templar’s built their property, rumours spoke of a tunnel running under the heath, from the preceptor to the village of Wellingmore, some two miles away.  Templar properties were often associated with such clandestine features.

Temple Bruer Church Plan

Church Plan

The Temple Bruer estate would have been some 4,000 acres in size, featuring a round church, with a number of smaller buildings huddled around it, complete with a defensive wall and gatehouse.   The people living within would fall into four categories: Knights – Sergeants – Servants – Chaplains.

The village of Temple Bruer did not exist before the Templar’s arrived; it was built to house the workforce needed by the Order; labourers, builders along with their families, who would become the Templar’s tenants.  In 1259, the village was granted a charter to have its very own market.

The original Templar estate extended to the west, to an area known as Lincoln Cliff, where the knights typically exploited the climate and built a windmill.  They were in fact the first recorded users of windmills in Europe.

Ermine Street, the old Roman road, runs along the top of the cliff and would have been used by the Templar’s as they travelled up from London, and onto Lincoln and York.  It also follows the same route they would have taken to and from their training grounds at Byard’s Leap, which marks the southernmost limit of their property.

Lincolnshire Longwool Sheep

Lincolnshire Longwool Sheep

Temple Bruer made the change from arable farming to sheep farming, with the breeding of Lincolnshire Longwool sheep.  All wool produced on Templar farms in the immediate area, was collected at Temple Bruer, shipped in Templar vessels, from eastern ports, bound for the continent.  An extremely efficient system had been created, and Temple Bruer evolved into a wealthy preceptor in England.

Byard’s Leap, located to the south of Bruer’s estate, with sizeable stretches of level heath land, provided the Templar’s with tournament areas.  It was here they held war games… engaging forces would take part in simulated battles.

When the Knights Templar were dissolved, Temple Bruer passed to the Hospitaller’s who retained it until the Dissolution of the Monasteries, by King Henry VIII, who then sold the estate to the Duke of Suffolk.

Temple Bruer Tower

Temple Bruer Tower

Temple Bruer remains consist of a square, three-storey tower with a spiral staircase, constructed out of Lincolnshire oolitic limestone.  The tower underwent partial restoration in the early 20th century.  Interior walls consist of inscriptions, believed to be associated with the Templar’s.

(Image) Temple Bruer Church: Papa Donkey
(Image) Temple Bruer Tower: Papa Donkey
(Image) Temple Bruer Chauch Plan: Papa Donkey
(Image) Longwool Sheep: Wikipedia

 

Templar Trials

Justice

The Templar’s had defended Christendom against Islam in the Holy Land, protected pilgrims on route to Jerusalem and other holy sites.

In October of 1307, Templar’s in France were arrested on mass, and charged with acts of heresy.

French Templar’s, admitted charges of heresy under torture.  Pope Clement V, is said to have tried to block said trials, but was outmanoeuvred by King Philip IV of France, who stated if they admitted their guilt, they were guilty.  Any Templar who recounted his confession, claiming they gave a false statement under torture, found it mattered not, as they were still burned at the stake as relapsed heretics.

For British Templar’s they had King Edward II on their side, he being reluctant to arrest these individuals, questioning the legality of being told by France, what to do.

Edward found himself in a difficult position, his father Edward I had left him a kingdom in debt, he could not oppose his French counterpart.

Edward needed all the support he could muster, and as such had to comply by Pope Clement’s decree, if he wanted papal support.

Edward instructed his sheriffs in England, and officials in Scotland, Wales and Ireland, to arrest Templar’s on site, but made it known, that they were to be treated well, and comfortably housed, not imprisoned as urged by Pope Clement V.

Templar land became Edward’s lands.  He granted Templar’s a daily allowance of four pence, and two shillings for William de la More, chief official in Britain.  Allowances came from Templar revenue, and any surplus found its way to the royal treasury.  Edward used his windfall, paying off his father’s debts, rewarding his followers, with gifts to his supporters.

In September of 1309, two inquisitors appointed by the Pope; Abbot Dieudonne and Sicard of Vaur arrived in England, to carry out interrogations on the Templar’s.

On the 23rd October 1309, interrogations started in London.  What had been clear cut cases in France, proved anything but in England?  The Templar’s in London denied all charges of heresy.  The inquisitors wanted to use torture as they had done in France, but English common law did not allow the use of torture.

Procedures against possible heretics, allowed for church officials, to seek out those who were employed by the Templar’s.  Some seventeen non-Templar witnesses in November 1309 through to January 1310, came forward, and spoke in their support.

Robert the Dorturer, notary public figure of London, showed hostility towards the Templar’s accusing a former grand commander of sodomy… he was unable to produce any proof of his so called charges.

On the 23rd October 1309, the trial of the Templar’s commenced in London.

The initial interrogations by inquisitors taking place in London revealed some Templar’s had limited understanding.  They were unable to understand the differences; sins against God and infringement of rules as laid down by the order.  Only a priest could absolve a Templar of Sin.  Only a Grand Master could absolve one of infringing regulations.

On the 17th November 1309, Templar interrogations commenced in Scotland, but were cut short by the Anglo-Scottish war.  Those Templar’s who resided in Scotland, were of English origin, and confessed to nothing of a heretical nature.

Lord Henry Sinclair and Lord Hugh of Rydale, whose lands bordered the Templar estates of Midlothian, stated they believed the Scottish Templar’s were good Christians.  However, they could not speak for European Templar’s.

Irish Friar’s believed their Templar’s could be guilty of acts of heresy, but they had no proof to the fact.  It was based on here say.

Lincoln Castle

Lincoln Castle

When inquisitors reached Lincoln in March of 1310, they found similar confusion as in London, limited understanding of the order’s beliefs.  Similar confusion existed in York as well.

Templar Yorkshire priest; Ralph of Ruston declared to all those present, an Abbot can absolve persons of their convent, because he is a priest.

By June of 1310, papal inquisitors were becoming frustrated; for they had found no evidence of heresy among British Templar’s.  They believed torture was the only way, to get answers.

The papal inquisitors contacted Robert Winchelsey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, asking for assistance.  They complained King’s ministers were bribing the King, not to assist inquisitors.  Even to the point of buying off officials, who would be called upon to carry out acts of torture.

Tower of London.jpg

Tower of London

In the August of 1310, King Edward II agreed that all Templar’s held in Lincoln Castle, would be moved to London, arriving in the March of 1311, for imprisonment and torture.

In the July of 1311, Church Councils of London and York absolved Templar’s who agreed to swear off all heresy… any who refused, would remain in prison.

In the October of 1311, the Pope summoned a Church Council at Vienne in the south of France, to discuss British Templar’s.  Papal inquisitors only evidence was based on gear say evidence, second or third hand stories.

Only three British Templar’s were ever tortured; Stephen of Stapelbrugge, who had fled to Ireland during the troubles and returned home in June 1311, Thomas Totty who had infuriated Abbot Dieudonne and John of Stoke a priest.  They confessed to some charges, and it was enough to bring the work of the inquisitors to an end.  The Templar’s claim of innocence and evidence in their favour was ignored.  So it was in July of 1311 the Church Council in London, agreed to dissolve the Order of the Temple.

Not a single Templar in Britain was condemned on charges of heresy; no one was burnt at the stake.

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Chartres Cathedral: Sacred Geometry

saint-bernard-of-clairvaux

St.Bernard of Clairvaux

St.Bernard of Clairvaux, the patron saint of the Knights Templar, clearly regarded their architectural skills with much praise, and was particularly impressed by their soaring roofs and arches… With their distinguishing features of Gothic architecture as expressed at Chartres Cathedral and other 12th century French Cathedral’s.

Chartres Cathedral

Chartres Cathedral – France

Contained within the walls of Chartres Cathedral, Ancient Hebrew ciphers were added, spelling out obscure liturgical phrases in key positions, in the buildings structure.  Key designs to religious mysteries.

Similarly, sculptors and glaziers concealed texts about human nature, the past and prophetic scriptures, in its sculptural works and leaded glass.

The French Gothic Cathedral of Chartres contains sacred geometry, as used in its construction…

Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth

The Labyrinth

In the nave of the cathedral, we find a labyrinth on the floor made from white stone, set within dark coloured marble.  The labyrinth measures one tenth of the cathedral’s interior length, which equates to the central point of the buildings geometric construction.

Chartres Cathedral - West Front

West Rose Window – Chartres Cathedral

The diameter of the labyrinth is the same size as the West Rose Window.  The distance from the centre of the west rose window to the floor, is exactly the same as the distance from the centre of the labyrinth to the Cathedral’s west portal wall.

Putting it simply, the West Rose Window and the Labyrinth form a perfect equilateral triangle.

Within the Cathedral, distances between pillars and the length of the nave, transepts and choir, are multiples of the Golden Mean, (The Golden Mean is related to the dimensions of a pentagon, a shape much used in the building of Chartres Cathedral).

The ribs supporting the vaults of the quadrangle units of which the cathedral is composed of, are the shape of the golden triangles.

Chartres - Latin Cross Plan

The grand plan view of Chartres Cathedral is in the design of a Latin Cross.  It symbolizes Light of the Cross, where Spirit and Matter converge.

Knights Templar: Grand Masters

 Knights Templar a

1119-1136 Hugh de Payen: One of the nine founding knights of the Order was the first master of the Order of the Temple; Hugh was a vassal of the Count of Champagne from Payns, northwest of Troyes in France. Hugh settled in the kingdom of Jerusalem sometime after 1113, and in 1119, together with Godfrey of Saint-Omer and several other companions, began to patrol the road from Jaffa to Jerusalem in order to protect pilgrims from Muslim attack. The knights were sustained by benefices centred on the Temple complex in Jerusalem. In 1127, Hugh was part of a delegation sent by King Baldwin II of Jerusalem to accompany Fulke V, count of Anjou, to Jerusalem, where he was to marry Melisande, Baldwin’s eldest daughter. While in the West, Hugh travelled extensively in France, Normandy, Flanders, England, and Scotland in order to recruit forces for an attack on Damascus planned for late 1129. In January 1129 the Templars received their rule at the Council of Troyes following an oral explanation of their original customs by Hugh himself. At about the same time, Hugh asked Bernard of Clairvaux to write in their support, a request that resulted in the treatise ‘De laude novae militiae.’

1137-1149 Robert de Craon: Robert, a son of Rainald Burgundio of Craon and Ennoguena of Vitré, belonged to the Angevin high nobility. Robert de Craon was also known as Robert the Burgundian. After several years in the service of the count of Angoulême and at the court of the dukes of Aquitaine, he dissolved his engagement to the heiress of Chabannes and Confolens and traveled to Outremer. By about 1125 he had joined the Templars and became Seneschal of the Order. He travelled to the west, 1132-4, where he received important donations including the castle of Barbera in Spain. Robert became the second grand Master of the Order in 1137 after the death of Hugh de Payen. Robert returned to the West in 1138 and when on 29 March 1139, Pope Innocent II issued the Papal Bull Omne Datum Optimum, the Templars’ most important papal privilege, it named Robert as its recipient. William of Tyre listed Robert among the participants of the Second Crusade’s general curia held in Acre on 24 June 1148 and gave an unusually friendly assessment of him. Robert died on 13 January 1149.

1149-1152 Everard de Barres: Everard de Barres was for a period in charge of receiving donations to the Templars around Barcelona. Everard de Barres was the Master of the Temple in France at the time of the launch of the Second Crusade (1147). He and his fellow knights from Portugal and Spain accompanied King Louis of France on the overland journey to Outremer. The King relied heavily on the diplomatic and military advice of Everard de Barres to get his forces across Byzantine territory to Outremer and then for financial aid when he got there. In return Louis supported Everard’s subsequent election as Grandmaster. In 1152 Everard de Barres resigned his post as Grand Master of the Temple to become a monk at the abbey of Clairvaux.

1152-1153 Bernard de Tremelay: Bernard was a Burgundian from near Dijon. On the 15th August 1153, during the siege of Ascalon, Bernard was killed leading a group of Templars in an unsuccessful assault on a breach in the walls of the city. The chronicler Walter of Tyre in describing this episode used the occasion to attribute the deaths of the attackers to Templar pride and greed, but then he wasn’t much of a fan of the Templars.

1153-1156 Andrew de Montbard: Andrew was one of the original nine members of the Order; born sometime before 1105 in Burgundy, his father was Bernard I of Montbard, his sister Aleth was the mother of Bernard of Clairvaux. Before being elected Grand Master Andrew served as the Seneschal of the Kingdom of Jerusalem for the Order. According to the fake ‘Dossiers Secrets’ of the Priory of Sion Andrew de Montbard was not a Grand Master of the Templars.  between 1130 and 1135 carried out missions between the West and Outremer for Bernard of Clairvaux and the king of Jerusalem (either Baldwin II or Fulk). After the death of Fulk (1143), Bernard recommended Andrew to Queen Melisende, and by 1148 he had been appointed seneschal of the Templars. He was in charge of the central convent of the order while Master Robert Burgundio took part in the Second Crusade (1148) and while Robert’s successor, Everard of Barres, travelled to France (1149–1151). On the death of Master Bernard of Tremelay during the siege of Ascalon (1153), Andrew was elected master. His career illustrates the strong ties between the Templars’ leadership and the royal court of Jerusalem’. –Jochen Burgtorf – The Crusades; An Encyclopedia

1156-1169 Bernard de Blanquefort: In 1158 Bernard, accompanied by 87 Brother-Knights and 300 secular knights, was ambushed by a force of Saracens while travelling down the Jordan valley. Bernard was taken captive. He was freed in 1159 as a result of a treaty between Emperor Manuel of Byzantium and Nur ed-Din, ruler of Aleppo. In 1168 Bernard refused to join King Amalric of Jerusalem and the Grand  Master of the Hospitallers, Gilbert of Assailly, in a planned invasion of Egypt.  According to the fake ‘Dossiers Secrets’ of the Priory of Sion Bertrand de Blanquefort is not the sixth Grand Master of the Templars but the fourth.

1169-1171 Philip de Nablus: Philip de Nablus was the Lord of Outrejourdain before he joined the order in 1166, bringing fortresses with him.

1171-1179 Odo de Saint-Amand: Before he joined the Order Odo had been a prisoner of the Moslems between 1157 and 1159. He had also served in several important official posts in the royal service. This did not stop him seriously falling out with King Amalric over the attack by a group of Templars, led by Walter of Mesnil, on an envoy to the King from the Assassins. Odo de Saint-Amand was captured in 1179 by Saladin during an attempt to relieve the Templar fortress at Jacob’s Ford. He refused to be ransomed and subsequently died in captivity.

1180-1184 Arnold de Torroja: Arnold had been the Templar Master of Spain and of Provence before his election as Grand Master. Arnold died in Verona while on an embassy with the Grand Master of the Hospitallers, Rogers de Moulin, and Patriarch of Jerusalem Hericlais seeking for support from Europe.

1185-1189 Gerard de Ridefort: A knight of Flemish or Anglo-Norman origin, Gerard entered the service of Count Raymond III of Tripoli in the early 1170s and had risen to be marshal of the kingdom of Jerusalem by 1179.  However, in 1180 he joined the Templars and rapidly rose within the order. By 1184 Gerard de Ridefort was the Knights Templar Seneschal in the Kingdom of Jerusalem  and master by 1185.

‘Gerard supported the claims of Princess Sibyl and her husband Guy of Lusignan to the throne of Jerusalem after the death of the young Baldwin V in 1186; he was thus in opposition to the party led by Raymond of Tripoli. Gerard facilitated the coronation of Sibyl and Guy by surrendering the Temple’s key to the royal treasury (where the crowns were located) and by collecting the key that the master of the Hospital, Roger of Les Moulins, had discarded. The chronicle known as Eracles ascribes Gerard’s actions to his enmity toward Raymond of Tripoli. Raymond had promised Gerard an advantageous marriage, and around 1180 Gerard had expected to marry the heiress of Botron in the county of Tripoli; however, Raymond had given her to a wealthy Pisan merchant instead. It is possible that this disappointment prompted Gerard to join the Templars.

Faced with the growing threat from Saladin, King Guy selected Gerard as one of a delegation that was intended to make peace with Raymond of Tripoli in April 1187. At the Templar castle of La Fève, he and Roger of Les Moulins learned of a large Muslim force in Nazareth. Accounts vary as to whether both masters decided to attack or whether Gerard persuaded Roger against his better judgment. Roger was killed, along with most of the Christian forces, at the ensuing battle of the Springs of Cresson (1 May 1187); Gerard was one of only three Templar knights who escaped. The defeat reduced Christian forces, and Gerard hired mercenaries with the money that King Henry II of England had deposited with the Templars.  When Saladin mounted his great invasion of Galilee later that year, Gerard advised King Guy to fight Saladin, contrary to Raymond of Tripoli’s counsel. Gerard was the only Templar to survive the defeat at Hattin (4 July 1187), and was apparently ransomed in exchange for the Templar castle at Gaza.

Gerard de Ridefort died in battle outside Acre on October 4th 1189.

1191-1193 Robert de Sable: Robert de Sable was both a vassal of and a trusted friend of King Richard the Lionheart. He joined the Templars and was elected Grand Master under the sponsorship of Richard. On behalf of the Templars, Robert de Sable bought the island of Cyprus from King Richard.

1194-1200 Gilbert Erail.

1201-1209 Philip de Plessiez.

1210-1219 William de Chartres: William died of fever outside Damietta during a crusade against Egypt.

1219-1232 Peter de Montaigu.

1232-1244 Armand de Perigord: In 1242 Armand led the Templars in breaking the treaty with Egypt when they attacked Hebron and sacked Nablus. Armand was captured and subsequently died in prison after leading his Templars at the disastrous, for the crusaders, Battle of La Forbie against the Egyptians from which only thirty-three Templars survived from a force of hundreds.

1244-1247 Richard de Burres.

1247-1250 William (Guillaume) de Sonnac: William lost an eye at the ill-fated Battle of Mansurah. He was said to have been one of only two Templar survivors out of 280. William lost his other eye and died on a further day of battle.

1250-1256 Reginald (Renaud) de Vichiers: At the time, 1248, when King Louis IX of France was preparing his Crusade, Reginald de Vichiers was the Temple Preceptor of France. He had arranged the shipping of the troops, was Louis’ Marshal in Cyprus and a friend to the king. Reginald was Marshal of the Templars when King Louis IX of France supported his election as Templar Grand Master. Reginald and the King quarrelled soon after.

1256-1273 Thomas Berard.

1273-1291 William (Guillaume) de Beaujeu: William was born around 1230, the fourth son of Guichard of Beaujeu, lord of Montpensier, and had joined the Templar Order by 1253. William was a career Templar with considerable experience of fighting in Palestine and administering the Order. In 1261 he had been captured in a raid and he was subsequently ransomed becoming the Templar Preceptor in the County of Tripoli in 1271 and was Master of the Province of Apulia in southern Italy / preceptor of the Kingdom of Sicily at the time of his election. However, his elevation almost certainly came about because of his links with the French Crown. His uncle had fought with Louis XI on the Nile, and through his paternal grandmother, Sybil of Hainault, he was related to the Capetian royal family. He retained close ties with Charles I of Anjou, king of Sicily, to whom he was related, until Charles’s death in 1285. William was elected master in 1273 and spent nearly two years travelling through France, England, and Spain, recruiting men and collecting funds, before speaking at Pope Gregory Xs Second Council of Lyons in 1274.

 ‘He returned to the Holy Land in September 1275, and from that time on he was identified with the claim of Charles of Anjou to the kingship of Jerusalem in opposition to Hugh III of Cyprus. This stance contributed significantly to the political divisions within Outremer but also ensured Charles’s continued material support, much needed at this time. William’s partisan role certainly contributed to his lack of credibility in the years 1289 to 1291, when his warnings of impending Mameluke attacks, derived from spies in the Egyptian army, were ignored. William was killed during the siege of Acre by the Mamelukes on 18 May 1291’.

1291-1293 Theobald (Thibaud) Gaudin: Thibaud belonged to a family from the Ile-de-France which had supplied several members of the order in the thirteenth century. His early career as a Templar is unknown but in 1260 he and several other Templars (including the future Master William of Beaujeu, who probably supported his career) were captured by the Muslims during an ill-planned raid in northern Galilee and released upon payment of ransom. Thibaud subsequently served as Commander of Acre. After a spell in France (1279) Thibaud became Commander of Outremer (1283–1291). Thibaud embarked from Acre with the surviving Templars in 1291 and went to the fortress of Sayette in Cyprus where he was elected Grand Master, allegedly having managed to rescue the order’s treasure and relics.

1293-1314 Jacques de Molay: Jacques de Molay was received into the order at Beaune in Burgundy in 1265 by Amaury de la Roche, Master of France, and Humbert de Pairaud, Visitor General of Templar Houses in France, England, France and Provence. Jacques de Molay’s uncle, Guillaume de Molay, was Marshal of the Templars at the time. From around 1275, Jacques served in the East, and in 1292 he was elected Grand Master at the new headquarters in Cyprus from where he organized naval raids against the Palestinian coast. In October 1307, in Paris, Jacques was among the Templars arrested by officials of King Philip IV for a range of heretical crimes. Jacques de Molay after years of imprisonment and torture was finally burned as a relapsed heretic on 18 March 1314.

At the same time, he obtained privileges and material help from the papacy and leading secular rulers.  James twice visited the West for these purposes, in 1293–1296 and in 1306–1307. On the second occasion, he was responding to a request from Pope Clement V for advice on two controversial issues: the union of the military orders and the organization of a new crusade. James wrote short reports on both of these subjects. In October 1307, in Paris, James was among the Templars arrested by officials of King Philip IV for a range of heretical crimes. He confessed to the denial of Christ and to spitting on a crucifix, a confession he repeated before an assembly of university masters. However, at Christmas, in the presence of papal representatives, he recanted, leading Clement to suspend the whole trial. Nevertheless, when the proceedings were restarted in August 1308, James apparently returned to his original confession, and in November 1309, in three appearances before the papal commission appointed to investigate the order as a whole, he failed to offer any convincing defense, instead relying on a personal hearing. It was not until March 1314, when he was brought before three cardinals representing the pope, that he was condemned to life imprisonment. He then denied the charges again, asserting that the order was pure and holy. Handed over to the secular authorities at Paris, he was burned as a relapsed heretic on 18 March 1314…According to The History of the Crusades