Ranks of the Knight Templar

Ranks of the Knight Templar

The Knights Templar was founded by ‘Bernard de Clairvaux’ and ‘Hugues de Payens’ in 1119 as a Catholic Military Order designed to protect Christian pilgrims during their travels throughout the Holy Lands.

Bernard de Clairvaux

Bernard de Clairvaux

They were not initially classed as an official organization but that came later in the year 1139 when they were granted official status by the Roman Catholic Church in the form of a Papal Bull – an official declaration by the Pope of the time.

Hugues de Payens

Hugues de Payens

Because of their official status and backing of the Church, The Templars became a favored charity throughout Christendom and grew rapidly in membership and power.

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Ranks within the order

There were three main ranks within the organization

1.Grand Masters

The Grand Master was the most important person within the organization and this position was more of a logistical role in that the Grand Masters would plan, organize and deal with the logistics of the battles within the Holy Lands and Western Europe.

In this varied role, the Grand Master was also in charge of the organisations’ finances. The Grand Masters role could be compared to that of a managing director or CEO of a Company today.

Jaques de Molay

Jaques de Molay

The Role of a Grand Master was usually for life, but having said that Grand Masters were often killed during military campaigns.

Famous Grandmasters of the Order were Hugues de Payens 1118-1119 who was also the founder of the organization and Jaques de Molay the last Grand Master and was famously burned at the stake in Paris on the Orders of King Phillip IV in 1314.

Hugues de Payens

Hugues de Payens

2. Noble Knights

You had to be able to prove you were already a knight to join the Templars as there was no training on the job,  and therefore there was also no traditional dubbing ceremony!

Knight Armour

The Noble knights were the most recognizable people with the ranks, with their white mantles, which was to display their chastity and purity, and the ‘Red Cross’ that signaled martyrdom and showed their willingness to die in battle.

Knights Templar Costume Crusades

These Templar knights were well trained, disciplined, and well armored and armed, they were the heavy cavalry who owned several horses and were assisted by their squires.

crusader knight

Squires did not belong to the order and were usually hired as and when required.

A Knight & Flail Weapon

Templar Knight

3. Non-Noble Sergeants

Sergeants were a level below the noble knights and usually came from families who were not nobility, they could find themselves fighting with the Noble Knights and usually owned a single horse.

Although sergeants were at a lower level they still held important roles such as the ‘ Commander of the Vault of Acre’.

Origins of The Knights Templar French Knight Hugo de Payens

As well as fighting alongside knights, sergeants also brought a wide range of needed skills to the organization as they could have skills such as carpentry, Masonry, blacksmiths, and other important trades.


The sergeants wore black or brown mantles, but still displayed the Templar cross on their costumes.

Templar Red and White Flag


Later in the 12th-century chaplains were brought into the order to help the Noble Knights on a spiritual level and prepare them mentally for battle.

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All three classes of brotherhood would show their allegiance by wearing the Templar red cross.