King John and the Templar master


English: John of England signs Magna Carta. Im...
English: John of England signs Magna Carta. Image from Cassell’s History of England – Century Edition – published circa 1902 Scan by Tagishsimon, 23rd June 2004 Português: João Sem Terra Assina a Carta Magna. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s an interesting fact that when King John was first presented with the demands of the barons, who were forcing Magna Carta (the great charter) on to him, he was staying at the New Temple in London with Brother Aymeric (sometimes spelt Elmeric), master of the Order in England.  This was rather like lodging with your bank manager who also happened to enjoy a papal seal of approval and have a handy stock of weapons and well trained soldiers.

The Templars were very much John’s bankers, particularly after he was declared excommunicate by Pope Innocent III.   John seems to have both deposited and taken out multi-thousand ‘mark’ amounts to protect his wealth and to use it to hire troops.  Aymeric also helped John out with his papal problems – particularly important as Innocent III was beyond doubt the most powerful pope in history.

The Templars were enthusiastic supporters of the Plantagenat kings and did rather well out of them.  Henry II was a keen benefactor and John gave them the island of Lundy, bits of Northampton and Cameley amongst other bequests.  For this, he got their support in his bust up with the aristocracy.

Aymeric St Maur may have been related to Milo St Maur, one of the rebel barons.  Entirely plausible as they were all from the same Norman knightly class.  It’s also claimed that the St Maur family were ancestors of the Seymours from whom Jane Seymour emerged, third wife of Henry VIII – two hundred years after the crushing of the Templar Order.

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