The Templar motte at Richemont, Allier, France



One of the less well known Templar sites of the Allier Department, France, is the "motte" at Richemont (Municipality of Bizeneuille. It is a circular platform, called The Chapels, which once was the foundation of a castle that belonged to the Templars and then to the Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem.

It is said that the location of the quadrangular castle can be recognized on the ground thanks to the vegetation. This was not the case when TemplarsNow visited the site on August 2, 2020. At the time the site was used as a cattle pasture, as far as possible because of the drought.

In 1242, Guillaume de Richemont was one of the signatories of a Montluçon charter.

Richemont is also mentioned with Magnet as a Templar possession, in 1279. On this date, François de Bort, tutor of the Militia of the Temple in Auvergne, recognizes that Robert comte d'Artois, and Agnès Dame de Bourbon, have written off half of the forest of Magnet acquired by the Order of the Temple, but in reserving high justice for the men of the Temple who live in the village of Magnet at the Domaine du Temple à Magnet (act 657).

The toponyms: Les Chapelles, Le Champ de l'Abeille, La Champ de l'Hôpital preserve the memory of the original function of the Motte de Richemont.



Text (translated from French) based on this site; Pictures made by TemplarsNow, August 2, 2020.

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Saint Bernard - hating and loving Knights

The Cistercian Order, and especially Clairvaux abbot Bernard (1091-1153), was essential in creating the Templar Order. The Vitae of Saint Bernard was written to promote Bernard's sainthood and may have been idealised. Effectively, as Bernard was canonized by Pope Alexander III as soon as 18 January 1174, so only 20 years after his death. The Vitae gives a very interesting insight into his views, convictions and way of life.

Noble support of the early Templars: funds, hands and land

It was from France nobles that the Templars received their earliest support in terms of donations.

In 1120, the Count of Anjou, Fulk V, future king of Jerusalem, came as a pilgrim to the East and he temporarily joined the confraternity founded by Hugues de Payns. He lived in the palace that King Baldwin II had given to the brethren and on his return to the West, Foulques V granted them an annuity of thirty Angevin livres. With this gesture inspired by admiration and devotion, he certainly hoped to set an example.

The langue d’oïl, the mother tongue of the Knights Templar

French lands have always had a privileged relationship with the Temple, and so did the French language. Templar founders were from what is now northern France, but at the time was all of Francia. Hugues de Payns came from the family of the lords of Montigny, from the area between Champagne and Burgundy, or Godefroy de Saint-Omer and Payen de Montdidier, both of more elevated status, who were respectively from Flanders and Picardy.

Small rural commanderies: the heart of the Templar organisation

Templar commanderies formed an interlocking network, despite significant regional differences. They housed brethren that belonged to three categories of members of the Order: knights, clerics, and sergeants lived together in the everyday life of the commandery.

Usually the brethren in the commanderies did not constitute a community in the full sense of the term. The existence of a cloister, known for the Temple in Paris, was exceptional and dormitories and refectories remained fairly rare.

Were Occitanian Templars also Cathar heretics?

Templars and Cathars were contemporaries. The Cathars were subdued during the Albigensian Crusade (1209–1229). This was a 20-year military campaign initiated by Pope Innocent III to eliminate heretical Catharism in the Languedoc region, in southern France. This Crusade was prosecuted primarily by the French crown. It promptly took on a political flavour, resulting in not only a significant reduction in the number of practising Cathars, but also a realignment of Languedoc with the French crown. 

The Templars had many settlements in the Occitanian region and in that way were closely connected to the local nobility and people. Many of those families were (at least in part) favourable to the Cathar movement. Read Jochem Schenk "Templar Families" on these family ties. At the same time, Templars and Cathers did not see everything the same way.

Templar devotion of Saint Blaise

"Among the devotional objects mentioned in the inventories (made during the trial investigations 1307-1312, TN) relics and reliquaries feature prominently. (...) One devotional trend that the Templars, especially in southern France, seem to have picked up was that of the fourth-century martyr St Blaise, bishop of Sebastia.

Contemporary Templar images on a medieval shrine

Contemporary images of the Knights Templar are rare, but there are some on the tomb of St Thomas of Cantilupe in Hereford Cathedral. Hereford Cathedral is the cathedral church of the Anglican Diocese of Hereford, England. 

The Templar banner

The name baucent, also spelled bausent, bauceant, baussant, beausseant, beauséant etc., in origin is the Old French term for a piebald horse, a horse that has a pattern of spots (white) on a pigmented background of hair. The name was later approximated to the French bien-séant, meaning "decorous, becoming". The name was also used as a battle cry by the Templars, À moi, beau sire ! Beauséant à la rescousse ! (French for "To me, good sire ! Beauséant to the rescue"). The word, however, is more commonly used for the war flag (vexillum belli) used by the Knights Templar in the 12th and 13th centuries.