Women in the Templars

So you thought that no women were allowed in to the Order of the Temple and this was an all boys’ club?  Well, it seems that money has always opened doors and the Middle Ages were no exception.  There are a few examples of wealthy ladies who gave themselves to the Order as ‘donatas’. In return for a portion of their fortune, they gained access to the knights.

There were also women handed over to the Order by benefactors as bondswomen.  And, heavens above, there was even a Templar convent at Muhlen. This was, however, the only example of a nunnery in the order.

What was definitely a men only area was the battlefield.  But away from the clash of sword against scimitar, there seems to have been a surprisingly ability for women to ingratiate themselves in to the Order’s company.  All that in spite of the misogynist ravings of Bernard of Clairvaux, the saintly abbot who was the religious mentor to the knights.

Templar historian Helen Nicholson notes that the Templars held female saints in special reverence that contrasted with the all-male atmosphere of daily life in the Templars and their vows of celibacy.

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