The French Monarchy was in debt to the Order of the Knights Templar, and King Philip IV saw French assets dwindling away.
Philip had to come up with a plan of action, one which would destroy the Order of the Knights Templar, and see their wealth confiscated by the French Monarchy.
Any plan of action; had to be undertaken by legal means, and that is where his puppet; Pope Clement V, came in. Philip convinced Pope Clement that these Knights Templar were committing acts of heresy.
With the Knights Templar disbanded, and many put to death, burnt at the stake on trumped up charges of heresy. King Philip IV believed the Order of the Knights Templar was destined to come to an end, however that was not to be… For some leading members of the Order of the French Templar Knights were to escape…
One Humbert Blanc (Humbertus Blancus) an old knight of forty years. He had seen active duty in the Holy Land, returned to his homeland of France, where he received the appointment of Lieutenant to the master of Auvergne, and in 1299 appointed to the post of Master of Auvergne. By the time the trials of the Knights Templar had started in France, Humbert Blanc was in England. In 1308 he was arrested according to Canterbury records, and in 1309 was brought forward to testify at the trials against Templar’s in London. Depositions made by French Templars in Clermont, reached English shores, and Humbert Blanc was accused of Blasphemy, a charge he denied, but the Judges didn’t believe his claim to innocence. His sentence saw him sent to prison and clapped in irons.
Knights Templar; Pierre de Boucle (Pierre de Bouch) brother of Petrus de Bocli, who had escaped justice. This young twenty-five-year-old knight, attempted to evade capture by French forces, by changing his clothes, removing his beard, yet his pursuers caught and arrested this Lieutenant of the Order.
One Renaud de la Folie, a Knight Templar was brought to trial in 1309. We know little of him, other than he be a member of the Templar Order, who had initially escaped large round ups, and was captured shortly thereafter.
Guillaume de Lins (Gillierm de Lurs), and it is believed he fled the order in 1307, before the roundup of members of the Templar Order in 1308. It is believed he opposed the action of spitting on the cross. Once he held the position of Lieutenant of the Visitor Hugues de Pairaud, and if captured could be a valuable witness, if turned by the French against the Knights Templar.
Hugues Daray (Dares) an official within the Temple, who in 1306 was responsible for the acceptance of new recruits into the Order at La Fuilhouse (Fulhosa), Auvergne.
His name was not mentioned in the trials of the French Templars, and as such we have to assume his flight from capture had been a success.
Templar Knight Barral de Gauzignan, Preceptor of Le Puy in Provence. As Daray and Lurs, played their part in the recruitment of new members, and unlike them he held an important position within the order. In 1296 he held the post of Preceptor in Saint-Giles, and from 1298 was Lieutenant to the Master of Provence. The presence of the Provence Templars aroused much interest, for this region was under the reign and jurisdiction of Charles II of Anjou and Count of Provence… and arrests followed Gauzignan flight to safety. Like others who tried to escape he was caught and arrested and brought to trial, where he admitted that questionable rituals took place within the Temple, and denied taking part in said rituals.
Templar Knight one Hugues de Chalon (Hugo de Cabilone), Preceptor of commandery at Thors, Champagne. His trial records revealed that he took it upon himself to reduce the alms for the poor. He was a knight with power, for his uncle was Hugues de Pairaud and as such this contributed to his political career. In 1302 the Pope summoned leading clerics and religious leaders, and Hugues de Chalon went in place of Hugues de Pairaud.
Hugues de Chalon brother of Gerard de Montclair, together with other accomplices had planned to kill the King of France, an anointed sovereign.
Questions have been asked through history, who is Gerard de Montclair, for his name amongst the Templars does not exist, but one Richard de Montclair, who was in Cyprus around 1304 does. So could it be, that Richard and Gerard de Montclair be one and the same person.
One of the key figures, a known villain amongst the Knights Templar, is Gerard de Villiers, who in 1297 became Lieutenant to the Master of France, a post held by Hugues de Pairaud. In 1300 Villiers was appointed Master of France. He held the second rank in the hierarchy of French Templars, and was often called upon to take the leading role of the ‘Order’ in France.
According to trial records of the Knights Templar, Gerard de Villiers was described as a devil within the Order. Accusations made under threat of death, demanded that newcomers would deny God and spit upon the cross, as also testified under interrogation by Templat; Nicolas d’Amiens. Another accusation concerned a mysterious head, which was kept in a leather sack by Hugues de Besancon, Villier’s personal assistant. Raul de Gizy Preceptor in Lagny-le-Sec, made his deposition in November 1307 concerning this head. Villiers was accused that in 1302, he fled the island of Rouad with other Templars, which had come under attack by the Mameluks.
One of the most crushing accusations against Gerard de Villier’s was made by Jean de Chalon, Precepto of Namur. He confirmed total corruption within the Order and blasphemous rites, many of which took place at the Chambers of the French Templars in Paris. Those who resisted these godless acts would find themselves in the Templar prison in Merlen. Jean de Chalon, prison guard at Merlon prison witnessed the deaths of nine Templar prisoners.
He further stated that leaders of the Order, feared trouble was at hand, and Gerard de Villiers put to sea with eighteen ships and fifty horses. One Hugues de Chalon also fled taking with him Hugues de Pairaud’s treasure, which more than likely was the Knights Templar treasure stored at the Templar Temple in Paris.
The Villiers family, noblest within the “Knights Templar.” Jean de Villiers was Grand Master of the Hospital, who heroically stood by his brothers in defence of Acre in 1291. Pierce de Villiers another member of the family, held the post of Templar Commander in Aquitaine from 1292-1300.
According to trial records, Templar priest one Guillaume de Villiers, refused to defend the ‘Order of the Knights Templar’ before the papal commission, referring to his old age. Whilst Bernard de Villiers, Preceptor in Sent-Paul-la-Roche testified against the Knights Templar in 1309 and 1311.
One question one has to ask based on Jean de Chalon’s depositions; How many high-ranking officials of the French Order of the Knights Templar escaped interrogation, prosecution and death?