A gripping account of the Knights Templar, challenging received wisdom to show how these devout medieval knights played a profound role in making modern Britain
The Knights Templar have an enduring reputation—but not one they would recognize. Originally established in the twelfth century to protect pilgrims, the Order is remembered today for heresy, fanaticism, and even satanism.
In this bold new interpretation, Steve Tibble sets out to correct the record. The Templars, famous for their battles on Christendom’s eastern front, were in fact dedicated peace-mongers at home. They influenced royal strategy and policy, created financial structures, and brokered international peace treaties—primarily to ensure that men, money, and material could be transferred more readily to the east.
Charting the rise of the Order under Henry I through to its violent suppression following the fall of Acre, Tibble argues that these medieval knights were essential to the emergence of an early English state. Revealing the true legacy of the British Templars, he shows how a small group helped shape medieval Britain while simultaneously fighting in the name of the Christian Middle East.
About the Author
Steve Tibble is honorary research associate at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of Monarchy and Lordships in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, The Crusader Armies, and The Crusader Strategy.
“Tibble explodes the old myths but the documented reality he unveils is even more fascinating: behind the warriors lay an intricate organisation of diplomats, lawyers, bankers and estate managers, all of them bound by a monastic oath.”—Jonathan Harris, author of The Lost World of Byzantium
“Thoughtful, original, accessible: Tibble writes with panache and, yes, the Templars were even more important and played an even bigger role in English affairs than we thought.”—Peter W. Edbury, author of The Conquest of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade
“Templars is an engaging and fascinating exploration of the most famous medieval knights. Templars are, here, administrators and diplomats as well as warriors, supranational seekers of peace in Europe to fuel war in the Near East. In seeing their work in the round, Tibble offers us a deep and rich picture of the Order.”—Matthew Lewis, author of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine
“Vivid and illuminating. . . . With a wry style and a sharp eye for an engaging anecdote Tibble reveals the surprising profile of the Templars as diplomats, seafarers, farmers and financiers who, at times, were right at the heart of royal government – activities all essential to their core purpose of fighting to defend Jerusalem.”—Jonathan Philips, author of The Life and Legend of the Sultan Saladin