The knights of the Templar's beginnings can be traced back to 1118, when Hughes de Payens, along with nine other knights, during the Crusades, bound themselves together in a vow witnessed by the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Their vow was to defend Christian pilgrims entering the Holy Land. They were given quarters in the Temple of Solomon, thus they were called "The Poor Knights of the Temple". Hughes de Payens, to "seek approbation" of the Church and to gather recruits went west. Soon, the Order was flowing with recruits. Their rapid growth in popularity was due to two main reasons: religious fervor and military prowess. The Order was divided into four ranks: Knights - wore the adopted the white surcoat with the Red Cross on it; Sergeants; Chaplains, and servants & farmers. The maximum number of knights ever reached was 400.
According to a contemporary who described their lives to be full of contrasts relates:
"They were like lions at war, pious monks in the chapelrough
knights at battle. They had given up all pleasures of life
took death in their pride. They were the first to attack and
the last to retreat. They brought in the true crusading spirit
in their time. People who wanted to be forgiven were
All that was required was blind obedience to the Grand Master. In order to enter the order, a test was held secretly - which led to the accusations against them later on.
They were soon accused by another order, called the Hospitalers, who had now become a military order. Soon, a rumor began to spread that King Philip and Pope wanted to get rid of the knights for once and for all. Some of the accusations against the Templars were "denying Christ, practicing sodomy, worshipping an idol, and spitting on the cross". On Friday 13, the Templars living in France were arrested, and all those who said they were guilty of the crimes laid before them were freed. However, the Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, denied being guilty and was burned at the stake.