The Templars on trial: a very muted inquisition

Seven hundred years after they were charged with heresy, Helen J Nicholson considers the oddly understated legal dealings in the case against the military monks in Britain…

The burning of Templars (From: De casibus virorum illustrium by Giovanni Boccaccio). Artist: Master of the White inscriptions (active ca 1480)

This article was first published in the June 2009 issue of BBC History Magazine

Why did Templar brother Thomas Totty break out of Lincoln Castle in April 1310? Was it because he knew some dreadful secret about the Templars which he could not tell? Almost 15 months after his escape Thomas turned himself in to church officials at London, and accused his interrogators at Lincoln of intimidation. With hand on heart, inquisitor Abbot Dieudonné of Lagny had sworn by God’s Word that he would force Thomas to confess. Terrified, Thomas bribed the sheriff of Lincoln to release him, and walked out in broad daylight.

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