The Knights Templar - Canons at first?

In his book The New Knighthood: A History of the Order of the Temple Malcom Barber reconstructs in detail the birth of the Order.

He argues that it is probable that, prior to their recognition by King Baldwin II sometime after Spring 1118, the brotherhood that later became the Knights Templar existed in another form. Prior to settlement on the former royal palace at the Temple Mount and becoming "The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon" (in Latin: Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Salomonici), this brotherhood probably already existed for some years as one of the brotherhoods of the Holy Sepulcher.

Researching on this TN found that one of the possible groups was the Canons Regular of the Holy Sepulchre. Originally, a canon was a cleric living with others in a clergy house or, later, in one of the houses within the precinct of or close to a cathedral and conducting his life according to the orders or rules of the church. This way of life grew common (and is first documented) in the eighth century. In the eleventh century, some churches required clergy thus living together to adopt the rule first proposed by Saint Augustine that they renounce private wealth. Those who embraced this change were known as Augustinians or Canons Regular, whilst those who did not were known as secular canons.

The also Augustinian Order of the Canons Regular of the Holy Sepulchre was founded in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, then the capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The Order was recognised in 1113 by Papal bull of Pope Paschal II and therefore must have been established several years earlier.

According to the website of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem Godfrey de Bouillon, who ruled Jerusalem between July 15, 1099 and his death on July 18, 1100, founded the Order of Canons of the Holy Sepulchre. According to accounts of the Crusades, in 1103 the first King of Jerusalem, Baldwin I, assumed the leadership of this canonical order.

The Order’s members included not only the Regular Canons (Fratres) but also the Secular Canons (Confratres) and the Sergentes. The latter were armed knights chosen from the crusader troops for their qualities of valour and dedication. They vowed to obey Augustinian Rule of poverty and obedience and undertook specifically, under the command of the King of Jerusalem, to defend the Holy Sepulchre and the Holy Places. This description seems a blueprint for the later Knights Templar Order.

The Order of the Canons Regular of the Holy Sepulchre was suppressed in 1489 by Pope Innocent VIII, but its history runs parallel to that of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (along with the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of the Custody of the Holy Land), with Grand Magistery vested in the Papacy since 1496.

sources Wikipedia 1 and 2, and LPJ. illustration Church of the Holy Sepulchre Wikipedia

Templars and wine making in Occitania

When in the 12th to 14th centuries Knights Templar returned from their Crusade, they settled also on the territory of Banyuls and Collioure,  (departement Pyrénées-Orientales, region of  Occitanie, Southwest France), and restored the noble grape varieties planted there by the Phoenicians centuries earlier.

Their settlement all over Europe, led them to discover very varied agricultural techniques. They applied these techniques (and techniques they had importerd themselves from the Orient; TN) in their Commanderies, in producing the cultures necessary for their subsistence and that of the neighboring populations. Through trading their produce they also acquired funds for the continuing occupation and protection of the Holy Land.

In the Banyuls and Collioure region, Templar knowledge revolutionized the management of the vineyard. Their techniques have been preserved for centuries thanks to generations of winemakers. In Banyuls and Collioure, it does not rain often but the showers are terrible. In order to avoid runoff of water on the plots, which takes everything in its path, the Knights Templar set up the terraced cultivation. This required more than 6,000 km of walls, and created a network of canals to guide the water, called Agulles" änd "Peu de Galls" in Catalan.

In 1258 the "mutage  was discovered by the Catalan physician Arnaud de Villeneuve, who reported the principle of the distillation obtained during the Crusades. Mutage is the operation of stopping the alcoholic fermentation of a wine by the addition of vinous alcohol (wine having been distilled). In this way preserve some of the grape's natural sugar and aromas is preserved. This is how one gets the Banyuls wine.

Seduced by the unique taste of the Banyuls and its aromatic richness, the Templars wanted to have them discovered across Europe. It was during a transport by boat that they realized that the barrels of Banyuls that had rested some time in the sun, had developed richer and more complex aromas. It's since then that a part of the Banyuls wines is ripened outdoors.

source text (translated from French and adapted by TN) and illustration terresdestempliers.fr

The Knights Templar Commandery at Arville, France

This video, hosted by a very enthousiastic Frenchman, provides a nice introduction to the well preserved Knights Templar Commandery at Arville, Loir-et-Cher Department, France.


Map of medieval monasteries in the Netherlands published

On October 17, 2019 the Vrije Universiteit at Amsterdam, the Netherlands, published The Map of Monasteries. This map shows the monasteries of all orders which have been represented in the present-day Netherlands during the Middle Ages and Early Modern period (until 1800).

This Map of Monasteries is based on the Census, which has been composed at the Faculty of Humanities of the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam and which contains basic information on all monasteries in the Netherlands until 1800. The Census may be accessed independently, but its records are also accessible via the Map.

The map includes the settlements of Cistercians and Knights Templar in the Netherlands.

The first Templar house was founded at Alphen in the southern province of Brabant by the lord of Breda, probably shortly after 1144. It remained a Templar house until the abolition of the Order in 1312. After that it was taken over by the Knights Hospitaller. The last time this house was mentioned was in 1616.

According to the map the first Cistercian settlement was the monastry of Klaarkamp (= Clear field) at Rinsumageest in the northern province of Friesland. This monastery for monks was dedicated to Our Lady. The first efforts of foundation of the Order took place in East-Frisia ca 1155. The settlement of Cistercians in Frisia West-of-Lauwers took place in 1163-65. Monsatic life ended here in 1580.

All traces of Templar houses in the Netherlands have been summarized on our own map, which in turn is based on the great work (in Dutch) of late Dr Ben Brus.

Source text and illustration Free University Geoplaza. The illustration shows the site of the Klaarkamp Cistercian monastery in northern Friesland. The archaeological remains are lying directly beneath the surface.

"The Templars in Bretagne (France) during the Middle Ages"

The Templars established themselves in the duchy of Brittany in the second quarter of the twelfth century, perhaps as early as 1128, during the travels in western Europe of the first master of the order, Hugh of Payns.

The Templars lived on well beyond the Middle Ages in the local collective memory, in spite of the poorness of the buildings which may be directly ascribed to them.

Even if the present paper is interested in the traditions and myths the Templars provoked in Brittany, it is based on medieval and modern sources which are not as scarce as scholars have often thought.

Thus, over a period of two hundred years, this study explains the Templars’ regional growth, violently broken by the trial of 1307, and it throws light on the establishment of a complete network of possessions organized at its peak, during the second half of the thirteenth century, in about ten commanderies and integrated in the province of Aquitaine.

This blog quotes the English abstract of the paper "Les Templiers en Bretagne au Moyen Âge : mythes et réalités" by Philippe Josserand published on journals.openedition.org. Illustration from the same sorce, showing the Chapel of the Commandery of Coudrie (cliché Chr. Renault).