by Virginia Carraway Stark
Chinon Castle is probably best known for being one of the best preserved castles of the second century and for being visited by Joan of Arc when she assured the king of France that he was backed by God and must continue in his fight against the English. There is a dark story lurking in its ancient walls that is spoken about with less frequency: The Siege of the Templars.
There is a lot of propaganda and supposition about the Templars and what they may or may not have been entangled in with the occult but their origins and their end are less mysterious. The Templars started out as a group of Knights who worked to protect pilgrims traveling to and from Jerusalem during the days of the Crusades. They were a humble group of only eight soldiers at the start known as, ‘The Poor Fellow Soldiers of Jesus Christ’. They were known for being fearless and selfless and easily identified by the red cross emblazoned on a white background that they wore over their armor and on their flags.
From a small band of knights in the ninth century the Templars won gold, fame and land for their exploits. For many years the Pope exempted them from all taxes and tithes and this allowed them to flourish. The Templars also gained a lot of power and prestige and following in the wake of their fame were a lot of enemies. The Kings and Queens of Europe, The Pope and the nobles were all made anxious by the rising star of the Templars.
Whether or not they worked black magic and had secret initiation ceremonies that desecrated the cross or committed sodomy are all matters of speculation. In the time when confessions were attained through torture the confessions that the Templars made before their deaths are unconvincing as anyone would say anything under the tortures that were used in the early 14th century. In addition, success is often dogged by envy and this leads to gossip and false accusations, as a result of such ambiguous circumstances the secrets of the Templars died with them.
The Templars Grand Master Jacques de Molay was burned at the stake on March 13, 1307 effectively putting an end to the brotherhood once and for all. Their lands and wealth were claimed and conveniently redistributed to those who had called them out as sodomites and heathens.
An interesting after note to the story of Chinon Castle was that a parchment was discovered in the Vatican archive in 2001. The parchment had been misfiled and was badly damaged and this seems to be why it had been overlooked for so long. It has been proven to be authentic and was signed by Pope Clement V who ordered King Philip of France IV to release Molay and the other Templars. This seems to add to the argument that their trial was unfair and their execution premature. The Chinon Parchment also shows many other discrepancies that seem to indicate that the ‘official’ recording of the events were misleading at best and malicious and perjurious at worst.