Short description

On March 18, 1314, Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Templars, imprisoned for 7 years and finally sentenced  to life imprisonment for the crime of "heresy and obscene practices".

He declaring that he was not guilty of the crimes for which he had been accused and that he was the victim of a plot by Philip IV le Bel and Pope Clement V. He knew that his protest would earn him a completely different condemnation: as relapses, they were no longer protected by the pope and had to be sentenced to the stake. This is what happened on the same day, March 13, 1314.

Localisation
Access

Memorial of the Templar Jacques-de-Molay
Square du Vert-Galant
Place du Pont-Neuf
75001 Paris

  • Métro : line 7 (Station Pont Neuf) and line 4 (Station Cité)
  • Bus : lines 21, 27, 58, 67, 69, 70, 72, 85
Address

Memorial of the Templar Jacques-de-Molay
Square du Vert-Galant
Place du Pont-Neuf
75001 Paris

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 51′ 27″ N 2° 20′ 24″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.85718 2.34082
Full description

The Memorial of the Templar Jacques-de-Molay recalls the tragic end on the stake of the Grand Master of the Templars.

The death at the stake of the Templar Jacques-de-Molay

On March 18, 1314, Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Templars, imprisoned for 7 years since the great roundup led by Philippe IV le Bel, was taken to the Ile de la Cité, in front of Notre-Dame Cathedral. There he was to hear the verdict of his trial, in the company of Geoffroy de Charnay, preceptor of Normandy, and two other Templar figures, Hugues de Payraud and Geoffroy de Gonneville. The sentence of the judges was life imprisonment for the crime of "heresy and obscene practices".

But, although he had never denied his confession in six years of imprisonment (probably because he had been tortured), the Grand Master protested against his conviction, declaring that he was not guilty of the crimes for which he had been accused and that he was the victim of a plot by Philip IV le Bel and Pope Clement V. These words are supported by those of Geoffroy de Charnay, his second in command. The two men knew that this protest would earn them a completely different condemnation: as relapses, they were no longer protected by the pope and had to be sentenced to the stake.

They were indeed burned alive that same day practically at the location of the statue of Henry IV of today, it means on the Pont-Neuf - which of course did not exist at that time, as it was built almost 300 years later.

But the history of the Templars does not end there...

According to Geoffrey of Paris, an eyewitness to the event and a chronicler of the time, Jacques de Molay's last words on the stake were

"I see here my judgment where to die suits me freely. God knows who is wrong, who has sinned. God knows who is wrong, who has sinned. Woe will soon befall those who have wrongly condemned us: God will avenge our death."

But according to the most famous legend(1), as he was dying at the stake, Jacques de Molay cursed his torturers, King Philip le Bel and Pope Clement, as well as William of Nogaret, who had arrested the Templars and brought them to trial:

"Pope Clement!... Knight William!... King Philip!... Before one year, I summon you to appear before the tribunal of God to receive your just judgment! Cursed! Cursed! Cursed! Cursed to the thirteenth generation of your races!

(1) This legend was the subject of a series of 7 historical novels written by the writer Maurice Druon between 1955 and 1977 under the title "Les Rois Maudits". This seven-volume saga and its television adaptations were a huge success. They contributed to the popularization of Jacques de Molay and his curse.

The curse of Jacques-de-Molay and what history tells us

The rest of the story is the historical reality.

  • Pope Clement, already ill, died a few weeks later on April 20, 1314;
  • King Philip le Bel died on November 23, 1314;
  • and Guillaume de Nogaret had already been dead for a year.
  • A succession of other misfortunes affected the Capetian royal family, the most famous of which was the adultery of two of the king's brus (the affair of the Nesle Tower in the Conciergerie).
  • The early deaths of Philip the Bel's three sons left the throne without a male heir. This leads in 1328 to a dynastic conflict of succession for the crown of France at the death of Charles IV, his last son. This event leads to the 100 Years War.
  • On the side of the king's descendants (the Capetian branch) there were indeed many unforeseen deaths among the descendants of the following generations (but people died then normally, easily and young).
  • As for the 13th generation of the curse, some historians say that Louis XVI, who died on the scaffold, was the 13th descendant after Philip le Bel. But in reality, if one counts well, the 13th generation would be rather that of the children of Louis XIV.

The Memorial of the Templar Jacques de Molay

The end of the Templars and the order had begun before March 18, 1314. Literature has often remembered the spectacular pyre of May 11, 1310, during which 54 Templars were burned. However, it is the death of Jacques de Molay on the pyre near the Square-du-Vert-Galant that is remembered from this barbaric period against the Templars.

A commemorative plaque known as The Memorial of the Templar Jacques-de-Molay, is visible at the Square-du-Vert-Galant. It reminds us that it was on this spot that the "last Grand Master of the Order of the Temple", Jacques de Molay, was burned at the stake on March 18, 1314.

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  • July 24, 2024 3:09 am local time

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