ABSTRACT

In the preceding chapters we have seen the Templars in their role as monks, farmers and landlords. The Templars in the west also took on the role of advisers to the king, royal officials, ambassadors and negotiators. One of Hugh de Payens aims in coming west in 1128 may have been not only to gain recognition for the Order, but to place its members where they would have the secular overlord’s ear and could promote the benefits to his soul of going on crusade, as they did in the case of David I of Scotland. Their role at court was to alter during the twelfth century from one in which they gave counsel on the crusades and affairs in the Holy Land to one where they were giving advice to the king on the affairs of his realm and overseas, and taking charge of his finances. In these dealings the Templars could be trusted as members of a religious order, and as an international order their advice should have been impartial, and aimed at the best for all concerned. But they were in an ambiguous position. They owed allegiance only to the Pope and in a squabble between the monarch and the Church were dutybound to promote the Church’s interest. As an institution without boundaries they had to take care to show they were aloof from international struggles, as frequently occurred between England and France, and in the fourteenth century between England and Scotland. They also had to be careful in internal politics not to be

bribed by offers of property to favour one side over another, and they had especially to eschew any involvement that might result in the spilling of Christian blood.