Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Becket and the Templars

During his reign and his dispute with Thomas Becket.King Henry II relied heavily on many occasions on the advice of the Templars. 

The Templars and the Vexin, Custody of Gisors Castle

Gisors castle was given to the French King Louis VII in 1144. Gisors was to be given to back to England when the young children -three and five years old- of the kings were to get married. In the meantime it was held in trust by the Templars from 1158. In 1161 the children were married and Gisors was taken back by the King of England Henri II Plantagenet who completed its construction.

It was by this act that the loyalty and partiality to Henry II of the Templars was demonstrated, when they transferred the Vexin castles to him, following the marriage of Princess Margaret of France to Prince Henry of England (the Young King). However for this treachery they were banished from  France by the French king.

Frank Barlow (1990). Thomas Becket. University of California Press. pp. 98–. ISBN 978-0-520-07175-9.

Emilie Amt (1 January 1993). The Accession of Henry II in England: Royal Government Restored, 1149-1159. Boydell & Brewer. pp. 107–. ISBN 978-0-85115-348-3.

Jeffrey Strickland (2012). Knights of the Cross. pp. 152–. ISBN 978-1-105-35162-4.

Diceto i 303

Templars' involvement at the Council of Clarendon, January 1164

Richard of Hastings and Hostes [Hoston] of St-Omer.
These two Templars were present at the council of Clarendon in January 1164.

Both were Grand Priors of the Temple in England
     Hoston de Saint-Omer (1153–1155)
     Richard de Hastings (1155–1185)

During the proceedings at the Council of Clarendon 1164 they were sent by Henry to Becket. Richard de Hastings throwing himself on his knees before Becket and with profuse tears and entreaties attempted strongly to reconcile the differences between Henry II and Thomas Becket. They begged him to give his adherence to the Customs that the King had drawn up.

Charles G. Addison (1842). The history of the Knights Templars, The Temple Church and the Temple. Longman S. S. S. S. pp. 110–.

William Holden Hutton. Thomas Becket. Cambridge University Press. pp. 87–. ISBN 978-1-107-66171-4.

Hoston de St-Omer
[Aka Osto de Saint-Omer, Toston de St. Omer]

Becket 1170

As they did for the papacy,  Templars regularly acted as messengers for kings and nobles. Like the friars in the thirteenth century and later, the Military Orders could be conveniently used for secret missions because they were inconspicuous. Templars and Hospitallers were always on the road, preaching and collecting alms from the faithful, and because they were religious men they were less likely than secular messengers to be stopped by an enemy and searched or even imprisoned. In 1170 one of Archbishop Thomas Becket's correspondents warned him that the Templars who brought him news were not simple and trustworthy religious men but were actually the agents of his enemy, King Henry II of England.

MTB Epistola 673

Correspondence of Thomas Becket Volume 2, Letter 296
Written from Normandy by a well-informed supporter  (possibly Master Ernulf, formerly keeper of Becket's seal):

but even to God himself, rather than to make peace with you. Therefore do not set your hope in justice or believe those Templars, who do not walk in simplicity, but in fact, desiring to follow the king's will rather than yours, they bring nothing but falsehood from the king and the father of lies to deceive you. For whatever the king does in your regard is deception and villainy; but , if I may say it by your leave, he decievs the foolish with empty words, so that he may meanwhile make better provision for himself and lay greater traps and stronger nets for you with the passing of time. What therefore will you do, most unfortunate of men, if that which you have sighed for so long should be taken from you in a short space of time?

1155 the Knights Templar build their Temple Church in Fleet Street

In 1154 under King Henry II of England, the Grand Master of Knights Templar (André de Montbard) superintended the Masons. The Knights Templar built their Temple in Fleet Street. The Knights Templar moved their London temple to the new site between Fleet Street and the Thames in 1161.

King Henry II  granted the Templars land across England, including some territory by Castle Baynard on the River Fleet, where they built a round church, patterned after the Knights Templar headquarters on Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Later a chapel dedicated to St. Thomas is also erected  near to this site. 

Emilie Amt (1993). The Accession of Henry II in England: Royal Government Restored, 1149-1159. Boydell & Brewer. pp. 108–. ISBN 978-0-85115-348-3.

Robin Griffith-Jones; David Park (2010). The Temple Church in London: History, Architecture, Art. Boydell & Brewer. pp. 24–. ISBN 978-1-84383-498-4.

Robin Griffith-Jones; David Park (2010). The Temple Church in London: History, Architecture, Art. Boydell & Brewer. pp. 87–. ISBN 978-1-84383-498-4.

Saxons, Knights & Lawyers in the Inner Temple;
archaeological excavations in Church Court & Hare Court
by Jonathan Butler (2005)
Pre-Construct Archaeology Limited Monograph No. 4 

Knights of Saint Thomas, Acre

Knights of Saint Thomas - Wikipedia

Henry II's Will and Last Testament 

Throughout his reign Henry II held a very high regard for both the Templars and Hospitallers. A number of clauses in his Will and Last testament confirm this.

Barlow, Frank. (1988)

Wilfred Lewis Warren (1973). Henry II. University of California Press. pp. 148–. ISBN 978-0-520-02282-9.

Foedera, conventiones, literæ, et cujuscunque g...

Henry II and Financial Relations with the Templars

King Henry II of England  primarily used the Order to accumulate crusading funds in Jerusalem.

Frederick Maurice Powicke. Essays in Medieval History. Manchester University Press. pp. 147–. 

Ch Petit-Dutaillis; Georges Lefebvre (1969). Studies and Notes Supplementary to Stubbs' Constitutional History. Manchester University Press. pp. 363–. ISBN 978-0-7190-0341-7.

The Financial Relations of the Knights Templars to the English Crown
Eleanor Ferris
The American Historical Review
Vol. 8, No. 1 (Oct., 1902), pp. 1-17
Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Historical Association

Book - The Knights Templar


Frank Barlow (1990). Thomas Becket. University of California Press. pp. 61–. ISBN 978-0-520-07175-9.

Frank Barlow (1990). Thomas Becket. University of California Press. pp. 98–. ISBN 978-0-520-07175-9.

W. L. Warren (1977). Henry II. On The Vexin 1158: University of California Press. pp. 71–. ISBN 978-0-520-03494-5.

W. L. Warren (1977). Henry II. On the Vexin 1160: University of California Press. pp. 90–. ISBN 978-0-520-03494-5.

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