Post-classical history

Appendix II: Grand Masters of the Temple

There is no definitive list of Templar Grand Masters. If one ever existed, then it is possible that it was amongst the documents destroyed by Jacques de Molay shortly before the arrests of 1307. The earliest known list dates from 1342.

c.1136–c.1149 • Robert de Craon

c.1149–c.1152 • Everard des Barres*

c.1152–1153 • Bernard de Tremelay

1153–1156 • André de Montbard*

1156–1169 • Bertrand de Blancfort

1169–1171 • Philip de Nablus*

c.1171–1179 • Odo de St Amand

1181–1184 • Arnold of Torroja

1185–1189 • Gerard de Ridefort

1191–1192/3 • Robert de Sablé

1194–1200 • Gilbert Erail

1201–1209 • Philip de Plessis

1210–1218/19 • Guillame de Chartres

1219–1230/32 • Peter de Montaigu

c.1232–1244 • Armand de Périgord

c.1244–c.1247 • Richard de Bures*

c.1247–1250 • Guillame de Sonnac

1250–1256 • Reginald de Vichiers

1256–1273 • Thomas Bérard

1273–1291 • Guillame de Beaujeu

1291–1292/93 • Theobald Gaudin

c.1293–1314 • Jacques de Molay

*Disputed.

Many Grand Master lists omit Richard de Bures (see Note 23, above).

The Masterships of Everard des Barres and André de Montbard have been called into question by Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln in The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.53 As regional masters and Grand Masters often signed themselves as ‘magister templi’, it has often led to confusion about precisely who was Grand Master and who was merely a regional master.

All the Masters died in office, with the exception of Everard des Barres, who resigned to become a monk at Clairvaux, where he was still living in 1176, and Philip de Nablus, who apparently also resigned. While Hugues de Payen died in his bed, other Masters were not so lucky: Bernard de Tremelay died during the siege of Ascalon; Gerard de Ridefort at Acre; Guillame de Sonnac at Mansurah; Guillame de Beaujeu during the Fall of Acre; Jacques de Molay was executed as a relapsed heretic. Odo de St Amand and Armand de Périgord both died in Muslim jails.

Gilbert Erail was the only Grand Master to be excommunicated (later rescinded by Pope Innocent III).

In the nineteenth century, a Masonic document surfaced claiming to list all the Grand Masters of the now-underground Templar movement, starting with Jean-Marc Larmenius, who is alleged to have taken over from Jacques de Molay in 1314. It is generally regarded as extremely spurious, and is not quoted here.

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