Hearts Through History Romance Writers

Jacques de Molay, Last Grand Master of the Templar

by | March 19, 2013 | 7 comments

 By Anna Kathryn Lanier 

Jacques de Molay

Jacques de Molay

When I had to choose a day to do my monthly blog on Seduced by History, I choice the 19th, because March 19th is my birthday…so in honor of that, I’m going to give away a prize to one lucky commenter, an ebook copy of one my books (winner’s choice and format).  So, please leave a comment and your email so you can win! 

On March 19, 1314 Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Templars was executed.  Now, I do not proclaim to be an expert on the Templars…I know just little enough to get myself in trouble, so I’m relying on 365: GREAT STORIES FROM HISTORY by W.B. Marsh and Bruce Carrick and what I found on the internet.  Feel free to add more details or corrections if you know better than me.  But here’s the low down – by the late 1200’s, the Templars had become too powerful and too rich for their own good and the King of France wanted the booty for himself. 

The Knights Templar was a religious military order of knighthood established in 1128 during the Crusades. Originally, they protected the Christian pilgrims in route to the Holy Land. They soon became the model for other military orders as they assumed greater military duties. After two hundred years, they were quite wealthy but the fall of Acre to the Muslims in 1291 left the Templars without much to defend. Back home in Europe their vast landholdings and wealth inspired resentment. In addition, an ex-Templar had accused the order of blasphemy and immorality in about 1304. This gave King Philip IV the Fair the opportunity to lodge accusations of heresy and immorality against the Templars  and order the arrest of all Knights on October 13, 1307.  The group was accused of idol worship, worship of a cat, homosexuality and other minor things.

Pope Clemnts V

Pope Clemnts V

de Molay and other knights confessed these sins, but later recanted them, stating that they had been given under torture. de  Molay sought final judgment from Pope Clement V, who, unfortunately for de Molay, was in cahoots with Philip and in 1312, the pope suppressed the order and the orders property in Europe was seized.  Still, de Molay requested help from the pope and a commission to review the charges was arraigned.   Instead of coming himself to judge the Grand Master, Pope Clement sent three cardinals, keeping himself free of the mess.

About to be condemned to life in prison, de Molay began an eloquent defense, confusing the cardinals who decided to take the issue back to the pope.   King Philip did not want the tide to turn against him, however, and he ordered the immediate execution of the Grand Master.

At sunset, de Molay was taken to the stake, dressed only in a cloth shirt.  Tied to the stake, he asked that he be turned so that he could see Notre Dame.  He also cursed the king, proclaiming, “God will avenge our death. Philip, thy life is condemned. I await thee within a year at the Tribune of God.”  With that, he was set afire.

Thirty-one days later, Pope Clement suddenly died and on November 29, 1314, a little over seven months after de Molay’s execution, Philip the Fair was died as well.

King Philippe IV, The Fair

King Philippe IV, The Fair

Other events on March 19:

1452: Frederick III was crowned the Holy Roman Emperor…his reign lasted 53 years, longer than any other Emperor.

1628: The New England Company was formed in Massachusetts Bay Colong.

1687: French Explorer René-Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle was murdered by his own men while they were searching for the mouth of the Mississippi River in what is now Texas (they were only off by about 300 miles).

1831: The Bank of New York City was robbed for $245,000, the first bank robbery reported in America.

1819: Daylight Saving Time was established when the U. S. Congress approved the Standard Time Act.

Works Cited and for further reading:



365: GREAT STORIES FROM HISTORY by W.B. Marsh and Bruce Carrick  ISBN: 978-184046675-1

Anna Kathryn Lanier

Never let your memories be greater than your dreams. ~Doug Ivester


  1. Ella Quinn

    Very interesting post. Thank you. I knew of the Templers, and the persecution, but had never heard this story. I tweeted.

  2. Anna Kathryn Lanier

    Thanks, Ella. Yeah, I knew they’d been persecuted, but not the whole story and didn’t know Jacques had been killed on my birthday. I have heard it’s because of the Templars being rounded up on Friday, Oct. 13 that we now have a fear of Friday the Thirteenth….

  3. Gerri Bowen

    Always an interesting subject, Anna. So much speculation and unknowns. And many theories about the Templars.

  4. Jody

    And to that cursee that not only did Phillip and Pope Clement died but so too did Phillips heirs to the French crown and along with their adultorus wives leaving only his daughter Queen Isabella of England, mother of Edward III and it is his claim to that throne which caused the stirings of the 100 years war. de Molay got his revenge forsure. I love ths history of the Templar which as been so abused by history over time and even more son now in some fiction media like American Unreathed on H2

  5. Anna Kathryn Lanier

    Jody, I know you are one of the experts, or who at least one who knows more than me. It is a fascinating history and one that should be uncovered for what it is, not for what people want it to be. Thanks for stopping by.

    Hi, Gerri….very true, a lot is unknown. The Masons are supposed to be an outbranch of the Templars.

  6. Ilona Fridl

    Anna, interesting post. I think the Masons are an off shoot. The young men’s group in the temple is called De Molay’s. I was a Job’s Daughter.

  7. Anna Kathryn Lanier

    Ilona, yes, there’s a young man in my church who was a member of the De Molay’s. His father wad telling me about it one day.



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