hugh de payen

Hugues de Payens: The Founding Grand Master of the Knights Templar and His Enduring Legacy

 The Order is traditionally believed to have started with nine knights, taking vows before the Patriarch of Jerusalem, though some accounts mention eight. These included Payen de Montdidier, Archambaud de St. Agnan, Andre de Montbard, Geoffrey Bisol, and two knights known only by their Christian names, Rossal and Gondemar. The ninth knight, speculated to be Hugh Count of Champagne, remains a subject of debate.

 Hugues de Payens

Andre de Montbard, Bernard of Clairvaux’s younger uncle and a key member, later ascended to the position of Grand Master. The involvement of both de Montbard and the Count of Champagne hints at a deeper interconnectedness within the Order’s early structure.

For the first nine years, de Payens and his companions reportedly refrained from recruiting new members. Desmond Seward, in "The Monks of War," suggests this might have been due to the Order’s near dissolution from low numbers, leading de Payens to seek Bernard’s support.

Regardless of the veracity of this claim, it's clear that de Payens and his associates eventually ventured back to Europe from the Levant in search of support and recruits. Their efforts culminated at the Council of Troyes in 1129, where they received a formal Rule of Order, partially penned by Bernard of Clairvaux. Bernard's influential letter of exhortation significantly boosted the Order's stature.

Hugues de Payens’ leadership spanned nearly two decades until his death in 1136. Historian Charles Addison, in "Knights Templars," lauds de Payens’ contributions, underscoring his foundational role in the Temple’s monastic and military establishment.

Hugues de Payens

Under de Payens' stewardship, the Templars flourished. He led a group of new Templar knights from France and England back to Palestine, receiving accolades from the region's king, clergy, and barons. After 21 years at the helm, de Payens passed away in 1139, leaving behind a revered legacy, largely untainted despite later attempts to discredit his character.

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2 comments

I am researching my family history and am delighted with the information presented.
Thankyou

Arthur Payne

Very interesting article

Frank de Lacey

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