templar ranks

Hierarchy of the Templars: Understanding Templar Ranks

The Templar Order was a powerful and influential organization during the Middle Ages. Understanding the hierarchy of the Templars is essential to gaining insight into how the organization functioned and was able to exert its influence throughout Europe. In this article, we will explore the various ranks within the Templar Order, from the highest-ranking Grand Master to the non-knight members of the Order.

Key Takeaways:

  • Templar ranks were an integral part of the organizational structure of the Templar Order.
  • The highest-ranking position within the Templar Order was that of the Grand Master, who was responsible for overseeing all aspects of the organization.
  • Commanders, Knights, Sergeants, Chaplains, Serving Brothers, Retainers, and Associates were all important members of the Templar Order with specific duties and responsibilities.

The Origins of the Templars

The Templar Order, also known as the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, was founded in Jerusalem in 1119 by a group of knights led by Hugues de Payens. Their original purpose was to protect Christian pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land during the Crusades.

After the establishment of the Order, the Templars were granted various privileges, including exemption from taxation and the ability to move freely across borders. These privileges, along with their significant wealth, made the Templars a powerful and influential organization within medieval Europe.

The early years of the Templars were marked by success and expansion, and they became known for their military prowess and devotion to Christianity. However, their prominence and wealth also made them vulnerable to accusations and persecution.

In the early 14th century, King Philip IV of France, in need of funds, sought to eliminate the Templars and seize their assets. He accused them of heresy, blasphemy, and other crimes, and pressured the Pope to suppress the Order. In 1312, the Templars were officially disbanded, and many of their leaders were executed or imprisoned.

The legacy of the Templars has endured over the centuries, with their image and symbolism appearing in popular culture and conspiracy theories. Their story is one of power, wealth, and persecution, and their impact on the history of Europe and the world cannot be overstated.

Grand Master

The Grand Master was the highest-ranking position within the Templar Order, overseeing all of its operations. The Grand Master was responsible for the administration of the organization, as well as the spiritual guidance of its members. They were the ultimate decision maker in all matters concerning the Templars.

The Grand Master was elected by the council of Knights, which was made up of the highest-ranking members of the Templar Order. Once elected, the Grand Master held the position for life, unless he was removed from office by the council.

The Grand Master was required to lead by example, and was expected to set the standard for all members of the Templar Order. They were also responsible for ensuring that all of the other members of the organization were following the rules and regulations of the Order.

In addition to their administrative duties, the Grand Master was also responsible for leading the Templar Order in battle. They were the commander-in-chief of the Templar army, and were responsible for making all of the military decisions for the organization.

The role of the Grand Master was a challenging one, requiring a combination of spiritual and military leadership. Despite this, many of the Grand Masters were successful in their roles, and helped to shape the Templar Order into one of the most powerful organizations of the medieval period.

Seneschal: The Second in Command in the Templar Hierarchy

The Seneschal is the second-highest-ranking official within the Templar Order, ranking just below the Grand Master. The position of the Seneschal was an essential one, as it was responsible for overseeing the Order’s day-to-day operations and ensuring its efficiency.

The duties of a Seneschal included managing the Templar estates, supervising the Order’s financial affairs, and overseeing the recruitment and training of new Templar knights. They also had a crucial role in the coordination of military campaigns, developing strategies, and providing tactical guidance to commanders in the field.

In addition to these duties, the Seneschal also acted as a legal authority within the Order. They presided over trials involving Templar members who had been accused of wrongdoing and participated in the creation and implementation of Templar laws and regulations.

Given the importance of the Seneschal position, it is not surprising that the role was held by some of the most distinguished members of the Templar Order. Some Seneschals even went on to become Grand Masters, such as Bertrand de Blanquefort and Gerard de Ridefort.

Templar Commanders: Understanding Their Roles

Commanders held a critical role within the Templar Order, serving as the leaders of individual Templar houses. They were responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of their house, as well as managing the activities of the knights and other members. Understanding the different roles of commanders provides insight into the inner workings of the Templar Order.

The first level of command was the Commander of a single house. They were responsible for overseeing all of the members of their house, including knights and serving brothers. These commanders would answer to the Seneschal, the second-highest ranking officer in the Templar hierarchy.

The next level of command was the Master of a province, who was responsible for overseeing multiple houses and their respective commanders. At this level, there was more administrative and financial management involved, as the Master had to ensure that all of the houses within their province were functioning correctly and efficiently.

Roles of Commanders

Commanders carried out a variety of duties within the Templar Order. One of their primary responsibilities was to lead their house in battle. Commanders were required to have military experience and were often chosen for their bravery and strategic thinking.

Beyond military leadership, commanders were also responsible for managing the finances of their house. This included overseeing the collection of taxes and ensuring that all expenses were accounted for. They also had to manage the property belonging to their house, including the care and maintenance of any land or buildings.

Another important role for commanders was the recruitment and training of new members. They had to oversee the training and education of all new knights, ensuring that they were prepared to take on the responsibilities of serving within the Templar Order.

Overall, commanders played a crucial role in the operation and success of the Templar Order. Their leadership, military experience, and administrative abilities allowed the Templars to function as a powerful and effective organization for hundreds of years.


The lower ranks of the Templars were filled by knights, who were required to be of noble birth. Templar knights were known for their exceptional military skill and were responsible for defending the Holy Land and protecting pilgrims.

The rank of knight was divided into sub-ranks:

Knight Brother Knight Sergeant Knight Commander
Experienced knights who had taken their vows and wore the distinctive white mantle with the red cross Reported directly to the Seneschal and oversaw the lesser-ranking sergeants and knights Commanded a large group of knights and sergeants and oversaw the work of the lower-ranking commanders

Knights formed the backbone of the Templar military force and were highly respected for their bravery and loyalty. They also played important roles in the economic and administrative aspects of the Order, serving as treasurers, overseers, and diplomats.

Templar Sergeants: Understanding Their Role and Rank in the Order

As we dive deeper into the hierarchical structure of the Templar Order, we come across the important role of sergeants. While not holding a rank as high as the Grand Master or Seneschal, sergeants played a vital role in the operations of the Templars. Let’s take a closer look at the duties and responsibilities of Templar sergeants and the different sergeant ranks within the organization.

Serving the Needs of the Order

Templar sergeants were responsible for carrying out various tasks to support the needs of the Order. This could include managing finances, inventory, or even leading small groups of knights into battle. Sergeants were also in charge of training new members and ensuring that they followed the strict code of conduct established by the Templars.

Sergeants were respected members of the Order and had to adhere to a strict set of rules. They were not allowed to own any personal property and had to dedicate their lives to serving the needs of the Order. In return for their service, sergeants were provided with food, clothing, and shelter.

The Different Sergeant Ranks

There were several different sergeant ranks within the Templar Order. The first, and most senior, was the Sergeant at Arms. This rank was responsible for leading other sergeants and knights into battle and ensuring that proper tactics were followed. They were also in charge of protecting the Grand Master and other high-ranking members of the Order.

The next rank down was that of the Sergeant of the Watch. These sergeants were responsible for guarding the various Templar properties and ensuring that they were kept safe from intruders. They also had to maintain the discipline and morale of the knights under their command.

The final rank of sergeant was the Sergeant of the Stable. This rank was responsible for the care and upkeep of the horses used by the Order. They had to ensure that the horses were well-fed and groomed, and that all equipment was properly maintained.

The Importance of Sergeants in the Templar Order

While not holding a high rank like the Grand Master or Seneschal, the sergeants were an integral part of the Templar Order. They carried out many of the day-to-day tasks required to keep the organization running smoothly. Without the dedication and hard work of the sergeants, the Templars would not have been able to accomplish all that they did.

Understanding the role and rank of Templar sergeants is crucial to gaining a comprehensive understanding of the order’s hierarchy. By recognizing the importance of every member of the organization, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the contributions made by the Templars and their lasting impact on history.


Chaplains played an important role within the Templar Order as religious leaders. They were responsible for conducting religious services, providing spiritual guidance to members of the Order, and administering the sacraments. Templar chaplains were required to be ordained priests and received a salary for their services.

The duties of chaplains extended beyond religious services. They were also involved in the management of Templar properties and finances, as well as in diplomatic missions. In times of war, chaplains accompanied the Templar knights into battle and provided spiritual support to them.

The highest ranking chaplain within the Templar Order was the “Chaplain-General,” who oversaw the activities of all the chaplains within the Order. The position was held by a senior member of the Order and was responsible for the administration of the Templar chapels and the training of new chaplains.

The role of chaplains was integral to the functioning of the Templar Order. Their spiritual guidance was essential to the moral and ethical principles that the Order upheld. Templar chaplains were respected members of the Order and had an important part to play in the lives of their fellow Templars.

Serving Brothers in the Templar Order

Serving brothers were non-knight members of the Templar Order who worked tirelessly to support the organization’s mission. Unlike the knights, serving brothers did not have to prove their noble birth or fulfill any military duties, but they had to take religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience to the Grand Master.

The duties of serving brothers were diverse and included activities such as cooking, cleaning, tending to the sick, and managing the Templar properties. They also assisted the Templar knights in their daily tasks, including grooming their horses and maintaining their weapons and armor.

In addition to their practical roles within the Templar Order, serving brothers also had spiritual responsibilities. They were in charge of lighting candles and incense during church services, ringing the bells, and preparing the altar for mass.

Serving brothers played a pivotal role in the success of the Templar Order, supporting the knights in their military endeavours and ensuring the smooth running of the organization. Their contributions were so important that they were given their own distinct habit, which was brown with a black cross.

It is worth noting that serving brothers did not have a separate hierarchical structure, but they were classified according to their duties. Some of the serving brothers were dedicated to the infirmaries, while others were assigned to the stables or the kitchens.

Despite not being knights, serving brothers were respected members of the Templar Order, and their contributions to the organization should not be underestimated.

Retainers and Associates

While the majority of members in the Templar Order were knights, there were also non-knight members known as retainers and associates. These individuals played important roles in supporting the Order and its mission.

Templar Retainers: Retainers were usually men-at-arms who provided service and support for the Templars. They were responsible for tasks such as guarding the Order’s properties and accompanying knights on missions. They were also required to take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, similar to the knights.

Templar Associates: Associates were individuals who, while not formally part of the Order, supported the Templars in various ways. This included making donations, providing supplies, and offering other forms of assistance. Associates also attended church services and participated in religious observances alongside the knights and serving brothers.

Retainers and associates were not officially recognized as members of the Templar Order, but their contributions were vital to the success of the organization. The Templars relied on their support and assistance to carry out their mission and maintain their holdings throughout Europe and the Holy Land.


In conclusion, understanding the hierarchy of the Templar Order and the different ranks within it is crucial to gaining a deeper insight into the history and operations of this legendary organization. From the Grand Master, who held ultimate authority, to the serving brothers who carried out essential tasks, each member of the Templar Order played a vital role. By grasping the significance of each rank, we can appreciate the unique qualities and contributions of the Templars as a whole. To summarize, the Templar ranks consist of the Grand Master, the Seneschal, the commanders, knights, sergeants, chaplains, serving brothers, retainers, and associates. Each rank had specific duties and responsibilities, and the hierarchy was structured to ensure the efficient functioning of the Order. By understanding the different roles and responsibilities of each rank, we can develop a fuller understanding of the Templar Order and its place in history.


Q: What is the hierarchy of the Templars?

A: The Templar Order had a well-defined hierarchical structure, with different ranks and positions that determined the responsibilities and authority of each member.

Q: What are the origins of the Templars?

A: The Templars were founded in the early 12th century and originated from a group of knights who pledged themselves to protect Christian pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem.

Q: Who is the Grand Master?

A: The Grand Master was the highest-ranking position within the Templar Order. They were responsible for overseeing the entire organization and making important decisions.

Q: What is the role of a Seneschal?

A: The Seneschal held the second-highest position in the Templar hierarchy. They were responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the Templar Order.

Q: What are the roles of the commanders?

A: Commanders played crucial roles within the Templar Order, overseeing specific territories or areas of operation and leading groups of knights.

Q: Why are knights important within the Templars?

A: Knights were the backbone of the Templar Order, serving as the frontline warriors and carrying out the missions and objectives of the organization.

Q: What is the role of a sergeant?

A: Sergeants were responsible for assisting the knights and commanders in various tasks and also played a role in training and disciplining the members.

Q: What is the role of a chaplain?

A: Chaplains were religious leaders within the Templar Order, responsible for providing spiritual guidance and performing religious ceremonies for the members.

Q: What is the importance of serving brothers?

A: Serving brothers supported the Templar Order by performing various non-combat tasks, such as administration, maintenance, and providing assistance to the knights.

Q: Who are the retainers and associates?

A: Retainers and associates were non-knight members of the Templar Order who contributed to the organization through their skills, expertise, or resources.