Sunday, 26 June 2011


The Order of Hospitallers was founded in the 11th century and recognized by Pope Paschal II in 1116.[1] Headquartered in the great hospital in Jerusalem, its original object was to provide aid and relief for pilgrims to the Holy Places. However, Raymond du Puy (master, 1119–24) permitted the Order to undertake military activities and these soon began to take precedence over the charitable work from which it took its name.[2] When Jerusalem was surrendered to Saladin in 1187 the hospital was lost and the Order became completely military. Its headquarters remained in the Holy Land and was established in Acre after its capture by the Third Crusade in 1191. There is stayed until Acre fell to the Mamluks some hundred years later.

Before being made the 9th Master of the Order, Garnier had been Prior of England (C. 1184-1190) and travelled to the Holy Land with King Richard I and Robert de Sablé (future Grand Master of the Templars).[3]

Here we see the Order in action at the battle of Arsuf on 7 Sep 1191. Despite having asked Richard several times and been denied permission to charge the enemy to relieve the pressure on the rearguard, sources relate that the Hospitallers finally launch themselves through their infantry shield. Here Garnier vainly tries to restrain his Marshall as he leads the Hospitallers out against the enemy.

As with the Templars, the rule of the Hospitallers made the Marshal the commander of the Order in the field and he also acted as standard-bearer with the Standard Bearer actually commanding the serjeants once the Marshal had taken the flag. To the Marshal’s rear is a brother-serjeant who is dressed in the brown habit of his rank and is sounding the charge.

[1] Delaville le Roulx, Cartulaire Generale des Hospitalliers, i. 29.
[2] See letter (1178–80) from Alexander III to Roger des Moulins: Cartulaire, i. 360. For Raymond's Rule see ibid. i. 62.
[3] Cartulaire, iv, 321–7, 329.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Talk about déjà vu

Back in UK for a bit and back on the crusaders - should have some hospitallers for you shortly...