‘New’ manuscript of the Templars’ trial in England

In vol. 1, p. xxix of my edition of the Proceedings against the Templars in the British Isles (2011) I wrote that the only manuscripts of the testimonies from the trial of the Templars in Britain and Ireland were Oxford, Bodleian Library MS 454, London, British Library MS Julius B xii fols 67-82, and Additional MS 5444 (copy of Otho B iii), and Vatican, Archivio secreto Vaticano, Armarium XXXV, 147. I noted, however, that there might be others as some testimonies are missing.

The missing testimonies haven’t yet come to light, but another manuscript does exist. Early in 2017 a French scholar of classical literature, Marie-Lise Tosi, wrote to me that the Bibliothèque nationale MS Lat 5376, fols 33-40, includes an extract from the English proceedings against the Templars.

BN MS Lat 5376 fol. 33r

Paris, Bib. Nat. MS Lat. 5376 fol. 33r

Folios 33 and 40 of the MS Lat. 5376 correspond to Oxford: Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 454 fols 88v–90r and London: British Library, Cotton MS Julius B xii fol. 77r-v; folios 34 to 39 correspond to MS Bodley 454 fols 74r–81r. The corresponding sections in my edition of these documents are Proceedings Against the Templars in the British Isles, vol. 1, pp. 141–158, 173–178.

The testimonies on fols 34–39 of MS Lat. 5376 relate to the twenty-five additional charges investigating the Templars’ organisational structure, while those on fols 33 and 40 deal with the remission and absolution of sins in Chapter meetings.

For the text in folios 33 and 40, there are remarkably few differences between the various manuscripts. Where the text on folios 33 and 40 differs from MS Bodley 454 fols 88v–90r it is usually the same as Cotton MS Julius B xii fol. 77, but there is an additional ‘Actum’ statement on fol. 33v (just after the testimony of Brother Radulphus de Barton) reading: “Actu’ in prioratu sce Trinitatis Lond’ vj ydus Junij presentibus domino Sicardo de Vauro + Pontio de Curte not[ario]” and another ‘Actum’ statement on 40r gives more information than the equivalent statement in MS Bod. 454 fol. 89r, as a second scribal hand added details of who was present at this hearing of 8 June 1310: “Actu’ in prioratu trinitatis Lond’ vj ydus junij Presentibus domino Episcopo London’ \prior’ dicti loci/ et Adam de lindeseye not[ario] publico lond’.”

There are more differences between the texts on folios 34–39 and MS Bodley 454. The introductions to each testimony are different, although the meaning amounts to the same. MS Bodley 454 includes the opening words of each ‘article’ (or charge), which MS Lat. 5376 does not. ‘Raimundo de Monte Alto monacho’ appears more frequently in the ‘Actum’ statements in MS Lat. 5376 – the equivalent points in MS Bodley 454 are the ‘Act’ statements on fol. 74 and on fol. 78v. The testimony of John of Sutton is in a different place in each manuscript: in MS Lat. 5376 fol. 39r his testimony is at the end of a group of four testimonies, after Brother Thomas de Camera, just before the statement ‘Acta in ecclesia Sancti Botulphi extra Alegate’, while in MS Bodley 454 it occurs at the start of this group of four testimonies, on fol. 78v, just after the ‘Acta in ecclesia Sancti Botulphi extra portam Episcopi London’. In MS Lat. 5376 John of Sutton states that he is not willing stare spontaneis confessionibus et depositionibus of the Templars (to stand by the Templars’ spontaneous confessions and depositions), whereas in MS Bodley 454 fol. 79r he was willing to do this.

Although there is very little difference between the testimonies in MS Lat. 5376 and those I published in the Proceedings Against the Templars in the British Isles, this additional manuscript is important evidence for the procedures adopted during the proceedings against the Templars, and how the testimonies were recorded.

Perhaps these English testimonies were sent to the inquisitors in France by the papal inquisitors in England, as part of the latters’ attempts to assemble a case against the Templars in England. The rest of MS Lat. 5376 suggests a different purpose, however. Folios 41r-64v of BN MS Lat. 5376 contain a series of notes, which form concordances of the Templar testimonies from Florence, Cyprus and France. These could have been created by the papal commissioners as they assembled consolidated reports of the evidence they had gathered from the proceedings against the Templars in different countries, in preparation for the Council of Vienne, which would decide the Templars’ fate.

Vatican, Archivio Segreto Vaticano Armarium XXXV, 147 is a consolidated report on the trials in Britain and Ireland. I do not know of any other surviving consolidated reports like this, but the notes in MS Lat. 5376 suggest that such reports could have been produced for each country. So MS Lat 5376 fols 33-64 may provide valuable evidence for the process of the trial of the Templars and the detailed work behind the scenes in which the evidence from the trial was assembled and analysed.

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South Welsh Transport

Official Gawain Blog

Newport M4 Deviation Scrapped


This is one of the best decisions a politician has made for a really quite considerable number of years. Can we make him Prime Minister? He might can the Heathrow third runway for us too.

In view of the comment in the article from someone who thinks that this road would have made a substantive difference to her commute in from Monmouth, this post is also an appeal for me to be Prodded until I get round to producing a nice-looking PDF on what a re-opened line from Monmouth (May Hill) to Pontypool (trains to continue to Cardiff, possibly with peak additionals to Bristol) would look like.

After all, there is now £1,400,000,000 knocking around Welsh transport and the Welsh Government is open to spending it on public transport. We have the unusual support of the Taxpayer’s Alliance for local public transport and rail spending…

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Election Literature 2019

Apropos of this: we’ve had the same election leaflets here in South Wales, except nothing from Change UK. Apparently the LibDems and the Tories aren’t standing in the Euro Elections 2019.

Official Gawain Blog

To the delight of many, we are having Euro Elections on Thursday 23rd May this year. Voters will head to the polls to choose their preferred party to represent their region in the European Parliament, basing their vote on a range of environmental and regulatory considerations that are managed on a pan-European basis by the European Union – thereby ensuring that nobody has an unreasonable competitive advantage by draining their chemical factories into freshwater lakes, not installing safety facilities in blast furnaces or passing off other people’s academic literature as their own.

The ballot paper will list the usual local parties, but each has an affiliated overarching pan-European party which they will sit with in the European Parliament. The current leading party is the centre-right European People’s Party grouping that the Tories formerly sat with, although we have not been represented in this for most of the time since the…

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Protests & Placards

Genuine poster from the People’s vote march on Saturday, not actually waved around.

Official Gawain Blog

After yesterday’s rather moody post, here is a thought-provoking and optimistic suggestion of something the Government can do to make people feel better about the (hopefully) imminent death of their flagship only policy:

Placard (s) JPG.jpg

(Genuine bodged placard, as not used on Saturday.)

Sticking to the theme, here is a futuristic picture of Tintern station with the track re-instated. (A rather old futuristic picture of Tintern station with the track reinstated, but producing a new one would take a while and show much the same thing.)

Tintern Old station 8 (m) JPG.jpg

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Government Response to the Petition

Official Gawain Blog

British people cast their votes once again in the 2017 General Election where over 80% of those who voted, voted for parties, including the Opposition, who committed in their manifestos to upholding the result of the referendum.

This Government stands by this commitment.

Revoking Article 50 would break the promises made by Government to the British people, disrespect the clear instruction from a democratic vote, and in turn, reduce confidence in our democracy.


Dear Government,

The 2017 General Election was not a referendum on EU membership. It was an opportunity to express our opinions on which party we wished to form the Government, based on their overall package of policies and the apparent competence of their leadership (the result ultimately reflecting national confidence on the latter point).

Personally I voted on the grounds that you had promised to electrify the Great Western and Midland Mainlines, and seemed most likely…

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The Origins of the Templars: sessions at the International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds, July 2019

I’ve organised four conference sessions on the Origins of the Military-Religious Orders (the Knights Templar, the Knights Hospitaller and the Teutonic Order). These will take place at the International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds, 1-4 July 2019. Click on the links for details:

The Origins of the Military-Religious Orders, I: Beginnings in the East [Session No: 514]
The Origins of the Military-Religious Orders, II: Origins in Europe [Session No: 614]
The Origins of the Military-Religious Orders, III: Patrons, Agency, and Growth [Session No: 714]
The Origins of the Military-Religious Orders, IV: Foundation, Re-Foundation, and Recreation [Session No: 814]

These sessions will all take place on Tuesday 2 July, between 9am and 6pm. It will be a full and fascinating day!

(Meanwhile, I’ll be giving my own paper on Thursday: ‘A Queen Alone: Queen Sybil of Jerusalem between Hattin and Acre, 1187-1189’, in a session on New Approaches to the Third Crusade, II [Session No: 1614].)

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Matilda 900 papers online!

I was involved in this as chair of the concluding roundtable at Leeds!

Matilda 900

All of the papers from the Matilda 900 sessions at Kalamazoo and Leeds are now online!  The collection also presents the concluding roundtable, recorded by Rob Pryke and transcribed by yours truly, a more informal set of comments that might resonate with other aspects of medieval studies and women’s/gender studies.  Check it out!


Leggi l’intero dossier “Matilda 900: Remembering Matilda of Canossa Wide World”

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