Frequently Asked Questions on the Knights Templar

Helen J. Nicholson


Welcome to my Templar FAQ page. This page is a sequel to my Crusades FAQ page. As a professional historian working full time at one of the leading research universities in the U.K., I receive many general questions on the Knights Templar from those outside academic scholarship who have an interest in the Templars. However, as my work load at the University does not allow me the time to answer these questions individually with the care and attention that they deserve, I hope that this page would go some way towards meeting this genuine need.

These answers are intended to reflect modern scholarship on the Knights Templar. They are not intended to promote any political, national or religious viewpoint. Readers should note that these answers reflect my views as a professional historian who works from the original medieval documents, not my personal views. They are intended to be OBJECTIVE. Therefore it is quite likely that you will not like some of the answers. However, as they reflect history and not my own views, there is no point in writing to tell me that you don't like my answers. I am not responsible for history.

Some readers have complained about spelling errors in my FAQ pages. These pages are written in U.K. English, not U.S. English.

If you have questions on the crusades rather than on the Templars, please go to my Crusades FAQ page.

Please note: All answers are copyright © Dr Helen Nicholson, and any items from this web site that are copied or quoted in any form should be acknowledged.

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Question: Please give me a brief history of the Templars.
Question: Please tell me what I should read about the Templars.
Question: What are the key books on the Templars – the ‘must-reads’?
Can you suggest any accurate, historical accounts of the Templars?
Question: I need something quick and easy to read on the Templars.
Question: How many Templars were there?
Please send me some information on the Holy Grail. What do you think the Grail is? What is the connection between the Knights Templar and the Holy Grail?
Can you tell me something about the Priory of Sion. Do they still exist? Is it all really a hoax? – I think that it is all a great manipulation of people in the world we live in.
What were the Knights Templar – were they laymen or some sort of monk, canon or conversus? Bernard of Clairvaux said of them in his treatise De laude novae militiae, 'I do not know if it is more appropriate to call them monks or knights; perhaps it is better to recognize them as being both.' It is hard to understand the idea of a professed religious bearing arms and fighting, because canon law had strictly forbidden clerics and monks to carry weapons.
Question: Is it possible to account for the rise of the Knights Templar from their foundation to their height of power?

Could you tell me if there was any directive the Templars used or followed, regarding the use of captured enemy/Saracen weapons? Was there a need to remove, through blessings, any ‘Un-Christian’ stain on these tools before they could be employed?
Question: Did the Templars kill / slaughter the Jews as I have read from supposedly scholarly Rabbis?

Question: Where are the best places to see buildings associated with the Templars? Are there many sites of Templar influence in the UK?
Question: Did the Templar Knights have to wear their uniforms at all times? If not, when were they required to wear it?
Question: What sort of clothing did Templar sergeants wear when they weren’t fighting?
Question: I have read that the Knights Templar often had a lance, would they carry said lance around with them?
Question: What did the Templars' banner look like?
Question: How did the Knights Templar travel from place to place? Did their squires follow them around, did they ride horses, who carried the flag, were all of their weapons with them?
Question: Would it have been possible for a Knight Templar to have carried around a journal (possibly without the Order's knowledge)?
Question: If a Templar left the Order for marriage would he be completely disowned, or would he be able to have some sort of affiliation with the Order? If a married knight joined the Order, would he have to leave his wife and family, or would he be able to stay with his family and go as he was needed?
Question: What do you think I should say about the Templars to introduce them to a non-specialist audience?
Question: What links do the Templars have with the Freemasons?
Question: Has any of the Templars’ hidden treasure been found and if so where?
The Templars have been credited as being supremely influential in orchestrating the development of Europe we live in today – is this over-generous praise?
Question: What are the main points of contention about the Templars?
Question: Do the medieval Knights Templar still exist today?
Question: The Templars were accused of heresy but surely they were protecting the Christian cause?
Question: The Templars were accused of worshipping ‘Bahomet’ or ‘Bafomet’, which sounds like an Islamic Prophet?
In your book The Knights Templar you said the acts of the trials of 1307–1312 are problematic, because the confessions were obtained under torture. What do you think about the publication by the Vatican Library of the complete acts in the book Processus contra Templarios?
Question: I live in England, and I believe that my local parish church once belonged to the Templars. How can I find out whether this is the case?
Question: Was the skull and crossbones a Templar symbol?
Question: I was wondering if in all your studies, you had ever looked into the grave slabs in Kilmartin and their speculated Templar connection, or if there has ever been any kind of academic study of the same.
Question: Did the Templars help Robert Bruce win the battle of Bannockburn in 1314?
It is not possible to answer individual questions. However, if you find any bad links on these pages, wish to suggest further links, or think that you have a general question that should be added to this list, please send an e-mail giving the subject as ‘bad link’, ‘new link’ or ‘Knights Templar question’. Regretfully, it may be several months before I have the opportunity to update these pages. However, I am always glad to hear from you if you have found this FAQ page useful. If you have questions on the crusades, please go to my Crusades FAQ page.