Date of Completion


Thesis Type

College of Arts and Science Honors



First Advisor

Sean L. Field


Knights Templar, Templars, inquisitors, Philip IV, Sicard da Vaur, Dieudonné


This thesis examines the trial of the Knights Templar in the British Isles, 1307-1312. It emphasizes the role of the French Dominican inquisitors throughout the process of the trial, and seeks to contextualize the trial through an understanding of their worldviews and motivations. A close reading of Helen J. Nicholson’s 2011 publication of The Proceedings Against the Templars in the British Isles highlights the goals of the two inquisitors who were sent to England to conduct the interrogations there. England’s common law prevented the use of torture, and the subsequent frustrations that this caused, forced these inquisitors to shift their tactics, building a case against the accused rather than relying on forced confessions. These men were likely deeply committed to a spiritual ideal, in which the world was made safe from the threat of heresy through their inquisitorial work. And yet, their spiritual ideals were not allowed to exist in a cloistered vacuum. The very act of going out into the world, as their foundational mandate commanded them to do, resulted in real world interactions that complicated the ideal of their monastic vision. Nowhere was this more true than in the kingdom of France, where the attack against the Templars began. France’s Dominican inquisitors had, by the fourteenth century, become closely integrated within the French government. France’s Philip IV may have been the prime instigator of the attack, but the inquisitors themselves were ultimately the men without whom the trials could not have taken place.