Early Templars, mainly from the ranks of lower and middlinge nobility

All the donations received by the Temple added together constituted a significant value. Although the donations were extremely varied in nature, they usually were not cash money but most often lands, revenues from land, rents and rights on land or of taxes on trade, finance or crafts, which were essentially urban activities. Who were the donators?

Example of the latter are the rent of twenty-seven livres given in 1143-1144 by King Louis VII on the stalls of money-changers in Paris, or the rights granted by the Counts of Champagne on the profits of the fair at Provins, such as the tonlieu (transport tax) on wool (1164), animals for slaughter (1214), and pelts from the Saint-Laurent market (1243).

(These kinds of donations lead would have resulted more in streams of modest revenues coming regularly than large sums of cash coming in occasionally, TN).

In France, all social groups gave to the Temple, but certain groups, by their generosity or their involvement, supported the Temple in particular. The favor of the kings, especially Louis VII (1120-1180) did help the Order grow, but the king’s benevolence did not play as essential a role as royal support did on the Iberian Peninsula or in England. Instead, in France it was the lower nobility that made the Temple’s fortune. Although the support of the highest levels of the aristocracy, both lay and ecclesiastic, was essential in the early days, the majority of those who took vows or associated themselves with the Order as brothers and as confreres were from the ranks of the lower and middling nobility.

For example, in Champagne, the lords of Payns favored the Temple as did a number of other castellans in the count’s entourage, such as the count’s seneschal, André de Baudement, who followed his son-in-law Guy de Dampierre in joining the Order, as did several of the lord’s vassals. At Montsaunès in Languedoc, all of the commanders whose identity is known came from the aristocracy of Comminges and all of the local lordly families worked for to promote the Order, although Count Dodon, who joined in 1176, played a major role.

Text adapted from Philippe Joserand (2015) The Templars in France: Between History, Heritage, and Memory; in: COSTA, Ricardo da, SALVADOR GONZÁLEZ, José María (coords.). Mirabilia 21 (2015/2), Medieval and early modern Iberian Peninsula Cultural History (XIII-XVII centuries), Jun-Dez 2015/ISSN 1676-5818. Illustration Louis VII receiving clergymen, from a late medieval manuscript. source Wikipedia

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