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The Templar Grand Masters

I nitially, the Grand Master of the Order was not much higher than the brother at his side. Gradually, as the Order gained influence, wealth, and possessions, the Grand Master acquired increasing power. Given the ecclesiastical immunity the Pope had conferred upon the Order, he was free to pursue matters as he saw fit best, and, given the vows of unflinching obedience to him that the brothers took upon joining, he could rely upon the Order as upon himself.

T he list below shows all Grand Masters of the Order as they appear in many sources. Perhaps the most readily available source for this data is in the Appendix of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, in which there is also a list of the alleged Grand Masters of the Prieuré de Sion, a clandestine organization said initially to exist behind the Templars, and after 1188 to lead a separate line continuing to our times. Please note that the spelling of names varies in the sources, and I am not equipped well enough to call the line as to which is the correct one.

  1. Hugh de Payens 1118 - 1136
  2. Robert de Craon 1136 - 1146
  3. Everard des Barres 1146 - 1149
  4. Bernard de Tremelai 1149 - 1153
  5. Andre de Montbard 1153 - 1156
  6. Bertrand de Blanquefort 1156 - 1169
  7. Philip de Milly 1169 - 1171
  8. Odo de St. Amand 1171 - 1179
  9. Arnold de Toroga 1179 - 1184
  10. Gerard de Ridfort 1185 - 1189
  11. Robert de Sable 1191 - 1193
  12. Gilbert Erail 1193 - 1200
  13. Philip de Plessiez 1201 - 1208
  14. William de Chartres 1209 - 1219
  15. Pedro de Montaigu 1219 - 1230
  16. Armand de Perigord (?) - 1244
  17. Richard de Bures 1245 - 1247
  18. William de Sonnac 1247 - 1250
  19. Reynald de Vichiers 1250 - 1256
  20. Thomas Berard 1256 - 1273
  21. William de Beaujeu 1273 - 1291
  22. Tibald de Gaudin 1291 - 1293
  23. Jacques de Molay 1293 - 1314

I n the 13th century the Order adopted a new office, that of the Visitor of the Order. The holder of this title was lord of the Templar possessions in the West, and second to none besides the Grand Master. Still, not even the Visitor had the power to call the Chapter of the Order to a meeting. It is possible that this accumulation of power into one hands was one of the reasons the Templars became to be perceived as a threat by many, not least Philip the Fair. After all, the Templar military force was fully sufficient to wipe out any army in Europe. When Jacques de Molay became Grand Master, he was already a man in his middle age, but nevertheless when he was finally convicted as a nonrepenting heretic, he went to the stake resolutely and fearlessly, just as the templars did in battle all through their existence.

Armory Bailey Barracks Chapel Dungeon Library Pub

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