A grim anniversary for Templars – 22nd November, 1307

It was on this day in the year 1307 that Pope Clement V finally buckled to pressure from King Philip IV of France and ordered the arrest of all Templar knights.  To reinforce the point, he issued a Papal Bull called ’Pastoralis Praeeminentiae.  This followed the more notorious order of the King to arrest the Templars on Friday 13th October, giving that date a certain infamy every since. 

The pontiff does seem to have vacillated over the issue and his action led to the possibly unintended result of Templars recanting on confessions they had previously made under torture.  Free from Philip’s dungeons to appeal before church hearings, many tried to recover their dignity and take back what they had said on the rack.  Or in the case of one Templar, what he had said when his toes were burnt off.  The said toes carried round by him in a box.

Grand Master Jacques De Molay retracted his confession and would pay with his life, burnt at the stake.  The property of the Order would be distributed in part to the rival Order of the Hospital.


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