Bertrand de Blanquefort, was born around 1109, the son of Lord Godfrey de Blanquefort of Guyenne. He learnt the art of sword fighting from an early age, and was elected as the 6th Grand Master of the Order of the Knights Templar in 1156. His reign co-incided with King Baldwin III’s reign of Jerusalem.
The Blanquefort seal, consisted of two riders. He is believed to be the first Grand Master to use this seal.
Blanquefort is remembered for revisions to the Templar Rule Book, adding new regulations, when dealing with military situations and the hierarchy of the Order. Changes had been called for, as the original rules primarily dealt with monastic life.
Bertrand de Blanquefort, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, along with his forces, joined with King Baldwin III of Jerusalem, taking on the likes of the Sultan Nur ed-Din of Damascus. King Baldwin was defeated in battle at Banyas in 1157.
With the battle over, Blanquefort dismissed his Frankish warriors, and was ambushed by Saracen forces in the Jordan Valley, and taken prisoner, held in captivity for three long years in Aleppo. Emperor Manuel I Comnenus negotiated an alliance between Byzantium and Nur ed-Din, against the Turks, which led to Blanquefort being handed over to the Emperor.
Bertrand de Blanquefort Grand Master of the Knights Templar joined forces with King Amalric I, in the expedition against Egypt in 1163 which ended in failure. With the suggestion of a second expedition in 1168, Bertrand declined to join forces, fearing a failed expedition, with heavy losses. After the failed expedition to Egypt, The Order of the Knights Templar were instrumental in drawing up a peace treaty.
Blanquefort requested of the Pope, who gave the Templars the right to use the title; “Master by Grace of God” as rising stars in the church. This meant knights had clearer roles and protocols, establishing clear leadership of the Order. Thus stopping future Grand Masters, checking the direction of the Templars, without backing of the knights.
On the 13th January 1169, Bertrand de Blanquefort, 6th Grand Master of the Knights Templar died. Upon his death, he is remembered as the great reformer of the order.