Heinrich Walpot (11??-1208)

Translation : Carole Resplandy

Master of the Teutonic Order from 1198 to 1208.

He was probably born in Mayence (Maintz on the Rhine) in Germany, he was from a ruling class family (he was from a patrician family).
In great religious fervour Walpot went to the Holy land, among literally hundreds of pilgrims who travelled there over a period of several years; many of them perished from exhaustion or disease; many were attacked by robbers and brigands, who prowled the highways and byways.

Before being the first Grand-Master of the Teutonic Order in 1198, he was probably first Grand Prior or Preceptor of the Hospitaller German Brotherhood created in Palestine before 1190.
This little community, which was composed in majority of Breme and Lübeck middle-class, offered to help poor people who came as them from Germany to Holy Lands to get the salvation and who found on their way, illness, deep wounds and death. It was so a brotherhood only hospitaler and their members have no right to bear arms.

The Teutonic Order, created on March 5th 1198 was a Knightly order and in addition of its hospitaller functions, it also accomplished military ones.
He was dependant for a long time on the two first military orders already created in Palestine, The Templars and the Hospitallers. This dependence was confirmed by the Pope Innocent III in 1199 who approving the transformation of the hospitaller brotherhood in a knightly Order gave it the Templar Rule.
Heinrich Walpot received an exemplar of the rule according which the new Order should work in the hands of Gilbert (Gilbert Horal), Master of the Templars.

Despite that its complete name was ‘Order of the Teutonic Knights of the Hospital of Saint-Mary of Jerusalem’, Jerusalem was not its capital. During all the time Heinrich Walpot was Master, this city was always in Muslim hands despite of efforts made by the Crusaders. The chieftain house of the Teutonic Order was located in Acre.
Teutonic tradition says that Heinrich Walpot should have lead the Order during 10 years, so until to 1208, but we don’t know if this is true.
We only know that during his time he was Master, the Teutons did not have a lot of influence on political situation in Holy Lands, they weren’t numerous and they had not signification. The majority of the Brothers came from the German expedition of the Third Crusade which broke up in the city of Toron because of the rumour that a civil war had just broken out in Germany after the death of the Emperor Henry VI.

Heinrich Walpot probably died on November 5th 1208 in Acre where he was buried.

for a bibliography more complete... Bibliography
  1. "Poczet Wielkich Mistrzòw Krzyzackich"
    Pawel Pizunski; Wydawnictwo "Arenga"
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