Knights Templar Tabard
(About) The ‘Armour of Faith’
Even seven hundred years after their suppression in mysterious circumstances, the Knights Templar remain the most iconic of Crusader Knights. Their monstrous great helms and head-to-foot encasement in chainmail would have marked them out amongst all of the other Western military forces in the Holy Land as wealthy warrior-nobles pledged to poverty and asceticism – but their shining-white tabards bearing the Templar Cross would have left no observer in any doubt as to their allegiance to a higher purpose.
Hand-Made Historical Accuracy
Our faithful hand-made historical reproduction of a Templar Tabard is 100% cotton. It is made from a rough cotton cloth to give the appearance of the rugged outer garb that brother-knights would have worn in battle – but it is lined with a soft cotton lining that makes the garment much more comfortable! Many other Templar-esque tabards use dyed-white cotton, which is far too bright and garish, and does not even approach historical accuracy – ours uses natural-looking undyed cloth for maximum authenticity (as well as avoiding looking like you’ve just grabbed the nearest bedsheet!). Each size includes ties at the neck and at the armpits to allow a perfect fit. Freedom of movement was critical for Crusading knights, and tabards would have been useless if they unduly restricted the wearer – hence, our Knights Templar Tabard, like the historical tabard, is beyond knee-length with a deep slit so that the legs can move wholly freely.
The Templar Cross
The Templar Tabard is emblazoned with a Templar Cross, available in either the traditional Templar deep red, or a stark black. Because there was little standardised production in the High Middle Ages, especially in a comparatively decentralised military order such as the Knights Templar, the Templars used a wide variety of iconography to symbolise their order. Often a knight would donate his own arms and armour as part of forsaking his claims to any material property, and so they would have been divergent and created by many different individual craftspeople – but the red cross was a universally recognised Templar symbol throughout their existence. The cross we have chosen for our own Knights Templar Tabard is a cross moline. Its name is taken from the forked tips of the cross’ arms which (to medieval heralds, at least) resemble that of the millrind, the ironwork used to clamp millstones in place.
Our Templar tabard is accurate enough for a faithful period-accurate re-enactment portrayal of a Templar knight-brother: such a tabard would be worn over a long hauberk of chainmail, and paired with a long white mantle which was also emblazoned with the Templar cross. But with the inclusion of the black cross option, our Knights Templar Tabard becomes a fully flexible garment: it can be used to portray a whole variety of other military orders such as the Teutonic Knights or the Order of Malta – or it can be a fantastic finishing accessory for a LARP portrayal of a fantasy high-medieval knight or man-at-arms.
(Curiousity) Fabulously Wealthy Paupers
The tale of the Knights Templar is one that is still captivating and mystifying in equal measure hundreds of years later: rising meteorically from a handful of ascetic ex-knights pledged to defending pilgrims, to arguably the first multi-national corporation with interests in banking, landed estates and European geopolitics. The Templar order was founded in 1119 by French knight Hugh de Payens and a dozen of his close friends and family for the purpose of protecting Western European pilgrims on the perilous journey to the Holy Land. One the enduring Templar symbols was a horse bearing two riders; legend has it that this was because Hugh and his confidente Godfrey could only afford one horse between them. New recruits flocked to this order as Hugh and his patrons opened their doors to disgraced European knights for service as penance. This service was tough: the Latin Rule, their order book, pledges them to total poverty, and forbids even the receiving of personal letters! The Knight Templar tabard was born in battle in dozens of battles in the Crusader period, and Templar knights formed a fierce and unwavering vanguard.
But quickly, patrons such as Bernard of Clairvaux (later canonised) secured a host of Papal boons for the Templars: exemption from taxes and the permission to collect their own, complete freedom to move unhindered in Christian lands, and preferred status for donations. Crusading nobles often donated their lands in absentia to be managed by Templar administrators – and rapidly the Templars created a huge network of influence across Europe, eventually setting up a Templar state on Cyprus. Inevitably, they made enemies: Philip IV of France (whom himself was heavily in debt to the Templars) eventually persuaded Pope Clement V to suppress the Templar Order in 1312. This meteoric rise and crashing fall has spawned innumerable myths and legends – some with a grain of truth, and some not so much!
- Material: 100% cotton
- Colours: Natural; red or black
- Small/Medium: Chest – 44 to 50 Inches; Waist – 44 to 50 Inches; Length – 47 Inches; Neck Opening – 21.25 Inches
- Large/X-Large: Chest – 56 to 62 Inches; Waist – 56 to 62 Inches; Length – 52.75 Inches; Neck Opening – 24.5 Inches