Evrard des Barres (1113??-1174)

Translation : David COBBOLD

Master of the Templar Order from 1149(1) to 1151

Born around 1113 in Meaux (Champagne), Evrard des Barres entered the Templar Order while very young. In 1143, he was already the Preceptor of France. At Easter 1147, he convened the General Chapter of the Order in France. They met in the Chieftain house in Paris and decided to actively participate in the newly announced second crusade. The Order joined the army of Louis VII, King of France.

From the very beginning of the French army’s advance through Anatolia (January 1148) the Templars showed their courage and bravery by saving King Louis VII from a Turkish ambush in the gorges of Pisidie, near Mount Kadmos. After this victory, Louis VII handed over his entire army to the control of Evrard des Barres.
des Barres dictated the crusaders with an iron discipline. He divided the royal army into several groups, each lead by a Knight Templar. Thanks to the strict discipline enforced by the Templars, the French army made it through the dangerous gorges with minimal loos of life.

In springtime 1148, Louis VII and the rest of his army arrived in Antioch. Without any financial resources, he sent the Templars a request to borrow 2000 marks to provide for his needs. Evrard des Barres immediately went to Acre to gather the funds. This loan was the first financial act made by Templars who later became bankers for Kings and great Lords.
In Jerusalem, July 1148, Baudouin III gathered the Masters of the Temple and the Hospital, Louis VII and Konrad III for the purpose of besieging the city of Damas. In August the expedition ended in failure.
In January 1149, Robert de Craon died. He left his role as Master of the Order to Evrard des Barres. The latter joined Louis VII when he came back to France following the Easter of 1149. In May 1150, for the first time, Evrard des Barres presided over the General Chapter of the Order in Paris.

Andre de Montbard, at this time Seneschal of the Order, stayed in the East. He sent several letters to his new Master requesting his presence in the Holy Land and asking him to send reinforcements and money.
des Barres never answered these letters, because he decided to abandon his function as Master of the Order.
In April 1151, Evrard entered the Cistercian Order, in Clairvaux Abbey, as an ordinary monk.
He stayed there, lost in contemplation and prayers, until his death in 1174, some 24 years later.

Previous Master : Robert de Craon - Next Master : Bernard de Tremelay

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(1) Another version of History mentions Evrard des Barres as Master of the Temple from Spring 1147, just after the death of Robert de Craon in January of the same year.
More references... Bibliography
  1. "Armorial des Maîtres de l'Ordre du Temple"
    Bernard Marillier; Editions Pardès 2000
  2. "Histoire des Templiers"
    J.-J.-E. Roy ; Editions Pardes 1999
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