Where Did Most Templars Come From?

Where Did Most Templars Come From?

The Knights Templar was a medieval Christian military order founded in the early 12th century. Their fascinating history, emblematic of the period known as the High Middle Ages, is often intertwined with myths and speculation. This article aims to address a vital aspect of Templar history – its origins.

Origins of the Knights Templar

The Knights Templar was established in 1119 AD by Hugues de Payens, a French knight from the Champagne region, and Godfrey de Saint-Omer. Initially, they were a small group of knights dedicated to protecting Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land during the tumultuous period of the Crusades.

The order was officially recognized by the Catholic Church in 1129 at the Council of Troyes, mainly due to the influential support of Bernard of Clairvaux. This recognition marked a turning point in the Templars’ history, significantly enhancing their reputation and influence across Christendom.

Where Were the Knights Templar Founded?

The Knights Templar was founded in the tumultuous historical context of the early 12th century amid the fervor and uncertainty of the Crusades. The specific location of their inception was Jerusalem, the spiritual epicenter of the Christian faith, which was recaptured by the First Crusade in 1099 from Muslim rule.

In the year 1119 AD, Hugues de Payens, a nobleman hailing from Champagne, and Godfrey de Saint-Omer, both veterans of the First Crusade, put forth the idea of forming a monastic military order. This order of knights would be committed to safeguarding Christian pilgrims journeying to the Holy Land. The King of Jerusalem, Baldwin II, supported their cause and offered them a wing of the royal palace on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for their headquarters, an area thought to be the location of the biblical Solomon’s Temple. Hence, the order took the name of the “Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon,” which was later shortened to “Knights Templar.”

Their founding was given formal recognition by the Catholic Church in 1129 at the Council of Troyes in France, where the influential cleric Bernard of Clairvaux helped the Templars gain the Church’s official approval. This cemented the Knights Templar as a crucial element of the Christian military infrastructure in the Holy Land, allowing them to expand their influence across Europe and beyond.

Thus, while the Templars had significant ties to France, and their official recognition occurred there, the order was initially founded in Jerusalem, a testament to their fundamental role as defenders of the Christian presence in the Holy Land during the Crusades.

What Was the Headquarters of the Knights Templar?

The Knights Templar established several key bases throughout their nearly two-century existence. Yet, their principal headquarters shifted over time due to changing historical circumstances. They had two primary seats of power – Jerusalem, during the height of the Crusades, and Paris, during their later years.

During the early years of the Templars’ existence, their headquarters was located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Al-Aqsa Mosque, believed by the Templars to be the site of the biblical Solomon’s Temple, became their main base of operations. King Baldwin II of Jerusalem granted them this location around 1120 AD. This period marked the height of the Templars’ influence in the Holy Land during the Crusades.

However, after the fall of Jerusalem to Saladin in 1187 during the Battle of Hattin, the Templars were forced to relocate their headquarters. They moved briefly to Acre until its fall in 1291, marking the end of Christian dominion in the Holy Land.

Later in their history, the Templars’ headquarters was situated in Paris, within the Templar compound known as the Temple. This area, in the northeastern part of the city, housed the Temple Tower, a massive fortress that served as a treasury and a residence for the Templar Grand Master when he was in France. This Parisian headquarters became the epicenter of Templar administration, overseeing a network of estates and properties across Europe.

Interestingly, in England, the Templars established a significant base of operations at the Temple Church in London, which served as their English headquarters. While not the main headquarters, it was an important administrative and spiritual center.

By having various headquarters in different periods and regions, the Templars maintained their influence despite the geopolitical shifts of the 12th and 13th centuries. These locations, some of which still exist today, continue to be important symbols of the Templars’ extensive reach and power.

What Language Did the Knights Templar Speak?

The Knights Templar, a broad, international order, was a multilingual group, communicating in various languages based on their geographical origin and station. However, the predominant language used within the Templar Order was Latin. This was the universal language of the Church during the Middle Ages. Given the Knights Templar’s status as a religious military order, Latin was used for official documents, rituals, and liturgy.

The order’s members were drawn from across Europe, so they would have spoken their regional languages in daily conversation and routine affairs. The Knights from France, for instance, would have spoken Old French, while those from England spoke Old English. Similarly, Knights from the Iberian Peninsula would have used variants of Spanish or Portuguese, and those from Italy or the Holy Roman Empire, Italian or German, respectively.

Moreover, since the Templars spent a significant part of their existence in the Levant during the Crusades, they would have encountered and possibly learned to converse in Arabic, Greek, and other regional languages. Templar documents have been found written in Arabic, indicating some language assimilation.

In the end, the Knights Templar were likely polyglots, using Latin for their official and religious functions, their vernacular languages for daily communication, and potentially regional languages of the Levant for diplomacy and interaction with local populations.

What Religion Was Templars?

The Knights Templar followed the Christian faith, specifically adhering to Roman Catholicism. They were established as a religious order at the Council of Troyes in 1129 AD, under the direct sanction and blessing of the Pope. Their primary goal was to protect Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land during the Crusades, further reflecting their deep roots in the Christian faith.

As a Catholic military order, the Templars were expected to uphold the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, similar to monastic orders of the period. They had a Rule akin to other religious orders, which outlined the behaviors and duties expected of a Templar. This Rule was initially developed by Bernard of Clairvaux, a leading French abbot and a major figure in reforming the Benedictine monasticism into the Cistercian order.

The Templars were also entrusted with religious and liturgical life, including daily prayers and Mass. Their iconic white mantles were adorned with a red cross, a symbol of their faith and the martyrdom they were willing to endure in service of their cause.

Despite their dissolution in 1312 AD and accusations of heresy that led to their downfall, the religious commitment of the Templars to the Christian faith, and more precisely to Catholicism, is beyond dispute. They were a product of their time, blending the roles of monk and knight, dedicated to their religious duties as fervently as they were committed to their military responsibilities.

Predominant Geographic Origins of Templars


Undoubtedly, the highest number of Templar Knights originated in France. The founding members were French, and it was in France, notably in the Champagne and Languedoc regions, where the Templars initially gained their largest support base. The influential French nobility provided substantial donations and recruits, propelling the Templars into an era of expansion and wealth.

French Templars included some of the order’s most prominent figures, such as the founders Hugues de Payens and Godfrey de Saint-Omer. Others had illustrious Grand Masters like Jacques de Molay and Arnaud de Toroge.


England was another significant source of Templar knights. The English monarchy and nobility were largely supportive of the Templars, resulting in numerous donations of land and resources. Templar preceptories, the basic administrative unit of the order, were widespread across England. The Templars’ London headquarters, known as the Temple Church, still stands today as a testament to their influence.

Notable English Templars include Robert de Craon, the second Grand Master of the Order, and William de Chartres, a prominent member during the late 12th century.

Other Parts of Europe

While France and England were dominant, the Templar Knights were a pan-European organization. Templar recruits were welcomed from across Christendom, including regions such as Spain, Portugal, Italy, and the Holy Roman Empire.

During the Reconquista, the Christian effort to retake the region from Muslim rule, the Iberian Peninsula was a significant source of Templars. In Portugal, the Templars even played a critical role in the formation of the kingdom, later evolving into the Order of Christ after the Templars’ dissolution.

Did the Knights Templar Come from England?

While the Knights Templar did have a significant presence in England, it is a common misconception that all Templars originated from this region. The Knights Templar was a pan-European organization whose members came from various parts of Europe and beyond.

The Templar order was, in fact, founded in France in 1119 AD by Hugues de Payens and Godfrey de Saint-Omer. The Templars had a strong French connection, with many of their early members and influential leaders, including Jacques de Molay, the last recognized Grand Master, hailing from France.

Nevertheless, England played a crucial role in the Templar’s history. After King Stephen of England endorsed the Templars in 1135 AD, English nobles made significant donations, helping the order establish a robust presence across the country. Notable English Templars include Robert de Craon, the order’s second Grand Master, and Richard de Hastings, Master of the English Templars, during the Third Crusade.

While England was indeed a significant source of Templar knights, members were also drawn from other regions, such as Spain, Portugal, Italy, the Holy Roman Empire, and even the Holy Land itself. Thus, the Knights Templar was a multicultural organization, reflecting the broad scope of medieval Christendom.

Social Origins of the Templars

Beyond their geographical origins, it’s essential to consider the Templars’ social background. While the order was primarily composed of knights – members of the nobility trained in warfare – it also included a wide range of other roles. Often from less wealthy backgrounds, sergeants served as light cavalry and stewards. Clerics, drawn from the Church, handled administrative and religious duties. These non-noble members played crucial roles in the functioning of the order.

When Did the Templars Leave France?

The Knights Templar, who had a considerable presence in France due to their French origins and support from French nobility, experienced a significant decline starting from the early 14th century. This downfall was largely orchestrated by King Philip IV of France, known as Philip the Fair, who held substantial debts with the Templars.

On Friday, October 13, 1307, King Philip ordered a simultaneous arrest of all Templars within his kingdom, a date that would forever be associated with bad luck. These Templars were charged with numerous heretical crimes, including apostasy, idolatry, and homosexuality. These charges, most historians agree, were largely fabricated to discredit the order and absolve the King of his substantial financial obligations to the Templars.

The Templars were subjected to trials, and many were tortured into giving false confessions. Despite attempts to defend the order, Pope Clement V, under the influence of King Philip, disbanded the Knights Templar in 1312 with the papal bull “Vox in excelso.

By 1314, the last Grand Master of the Templars, Jacques de Molay, and other remaining Templars were burned at the stake in Paris, marking the end of the Templar presence in France. Some surviving Templars fled to other territories, and it’s speculated that some assimilated into other orders like the Knights Hospitaller.

Hence, the Templar’s departure from France was not a voluntary dispersal but a violent and forced dissolution that ended their significant presence in French society by the early 14th century.


The Knights Templar, one of the most influential military orders of the Middle Ages, were predominantly drawn from France and England, reflecting their origins and the power dynamics of medieval Europe. Still, their influence was far-reaching, with members originating from all corners of Christendom. Their diverse geographical and social origins reflect the Templars’ unique role as a pan-European military and religious order.