The Knight Templar 1120-1312
by Helen Nicholson Published by Osprey

Book Review.

Knight Templar 1120 - 1312 is a useful insight to the world of the Knight Templar. It is not a history of the Order, although a potted chronology of the Order is included.

The text is easy to follow, and gives a good account of life in the Order and an insight to how the Order was organised.

The Sections covered are; Introduction, Chronology, Recruitment & Admission, Belief & Belonging, Training, Appearance and Equipment, Conditions of Service; on campaign, Experience of battle, Colour plates plus commentary. Notes on Museums & Re-enactment, and Index

Further reading; Glossary; Colour plate commentary.
In addition to the information covered, the book is well illustrated throughout, as well as a centerpiece of 8 full colour pages.–1312_9781841766706
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Contact details for Osprey:
Osprey Direct, P.O. Box 140, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire NN8 2FA, UK.
01933 443863

The Author has drawn on her experience as an author on the subject of the Knights Templar. The sections outlined above are explored in detail, providing the reader with a good idea of what life would have been like for those who joined the Order. There is at least a hint of the idea that not all those who joined the Templars were warriors, and the author includes a detail on Brother Roger of Dalton, who spent his entire life in the Order as an administrator (page 32) - and continued so to do under the Knights Hospitaller, providing incidental evidence that many ex-Templars were absorbed into the Order of St John following the disbanding of the Templars after 1312.

The illustrations by Wayne Reynolds keep to the tradition of excellence for which Osprey books are famed. These illustrations bring to life very accurate historic details about the Templars and their dress, armour and combat equipment.

Criticisms; there is only one. The Author draws on Templar trials to provide evidence about life in the Order, but lacking in the book is an explanation of the trial. The potted chronology only offers a few clues. It may have been helpful to have had a slightly expanded version of the chronology, moving it toward a potted history of the Order, and thus offering some insights as to what became of the Order at the end. As it stands, it seems that the author assumes the reader will be acquainted with the history of the Order.

Despite this criticism, to buy the book it is worth parting with hard earned cash. If the would-be purchaser needs a full introduction to the history of the Order, as well as the Knights of the Order, then this book would need to be complemented by a short history.
Judged on its subject matter - the 'Knight Templar' - this book does give an insight into his life and world, and does that task well. What appears to be unrivalled compared to all other publications are the illustrations; especially the coloured plates - a hallmark of the Osprey imprint!

The Reverend Dr Michael Foster.
Rector Chase Benefice, Salisbury Diocese, Church of England.

Created 12th December 2004
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