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Templar Defence

N ogaret's evidence against the Order was not enough to satisfy all in the proceedings. There were retractions of confessions and even denials, especially after a papal commission set out in February 1310 to hear any Templars who wished to come forward on behalf of the Order. This pulled out more than 500 Templars who wanted to speak to the Commission.

T he commission heard Templars in Paris, recording retractions and denials for later perusal. The main defence was given by Pierre de Bologna, a scholar of law and a high official of the Order, and Renaud de Provins. Their well presented testimony made a significant influence on the Commission. The atmosphere within the investigation began to shift to the side that the Order itself may have been pure, even if it had some heretical members. Even Bernard Gui, a Dominican witch-hunter par excellence, was confused as to which side to take in the light of the contradicting evidence.

I n the spring of 1310 things may even have looked somewhat bright to the Templars languishing in dungeons and gaols. However, this was not for long. Philip IV figured that he needed to put the trial back on course, and to do this he assembled 54 Templars to a field outside Paris on 12 May, and roasted them at the stake. This was all it took to put the Templar defence down. By November there was not one Templar willing to speak for the Order - all were more willing to stay quiet and hope to save their necks. Philip gained his goal by that single event, and could thereafter concentrate on getting Clement V to do his bidding.

Armory Bailey Barracks Chapel Dungeon Library Pub

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