Coming in Spring 2024

This six-week course includes live 90-minute sessions with the instructors. Also included is a free copy of Steve's book, ‘Templars – The Knights Who Made Britain.’

Week 1

Birth of a Dream – Salvation and Strategy

Week one looks at Why the Templars were needed and the birth of the British Templars – the origin story. We cover the strategic objectives underpinning the order, their strategy of war in the East and their strategy of peace in the West.

Week 2

Building Britain I – Richard the Lionheart and the Templars

The second week will look at the reign of Richard I (r.1189–99) which gave the British Templars a ruler who was militarily at the heart of the crusading movement. He was a gifted general and, working with the Templars, Richard was the perfect conduit for moving military resources to the East and using them to best effect against the nemesis of the crusader states – Saladin.

Week 3

Building Britain II – ‘King John Was Not a Good Man, He Had His Little Ways’

The focus shifts to Richard’s brother, King John, who was his opposite. Unpopular, untrustworthy and disinterested in the crusades, he was much poorer material with which to work. But this just meant that the British Templars had to try even harder to stabilise England and ensure that the flow of men and money to the Latin East continued.

Week 4

The Templar Trials in Britain – Out With A Whimper, Not a Bang

The British Templars were arrested in 1308 by an unenthusiastic crown. The differences in the process between France and England were shocking. While French Templars were tortured to death, executed or imprisoned, their British comrades went home with a pension or served penances in other monasteries. The order in Britain ended ingloriously, but, thankfully, peacefully.

Week 5

Medieval Nightmares – Surely No Smoke Without Fire?

The order was gone – found guilty of the most outrageous charges. The Templars are the subject of many modern conspiracy theories. But, even at the time, they were accused of astonishing vices and plots. Given the number of such appalling claims, is it possible that the British Templars were guilty of some? What was the truth behind the accusations of their contemporaries?

Week 6

Modern Conspiracies – The Scottish Case Study

Modern conspiracy theories abound. In week 6 we examine Templar stories in Scotland as a case study. Evidence in Scotland is much sparser than in England or Ireland, and the lack of hard data contributes to an air of ‘mystery’. Did the Templars win the battle of Bannockburn and bury the Holy Grail at Rosslyn chapel? What is the truth? And how should we really remember the British Templars?
  • Start Learning

    This course is coming in spring 2024. Stay tuned for more information.

  • Access

    Course materials are available for three months from the first course session.

Meet your Instructors: Steve and Faith Tibble

Steve Tibble

Steve Tibble is a graduate of Cambridge and London Universities and is a research associate at Royal Holloway College, University of London. He is one of the foremost academics currently working in the field of the Crusades, and is the author of the warfare and strategy chapters in both 'The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades' and 'The Cambridge History of the Crusades' (forthcoming). His recent publications have been critically acclaimed and include 'The Crusader Armies' (Yale, 2018) and 'The Crusader Strategy' (Yale, 2020, short-listed for the Duke of Wellington's Military History Prize). His latest book, 'Templars - The Knights of Britain', was published by Yale University Press in 2023.

Faith Tibble

Faith Tibble is a graduate of Temple and Haifa Universities. A former Latin instructor in Philadelphia, she moved to Israel to study archaeology before gaining her PhD in Medieval Art History. Her forthcoming book, ‘The Crown of Thorns: Humble Gods and Humiliated Kings’, will be published by TT Clark in 2024. Faith currently works in London as a communications consultant for an international financial institution.

“Tibble explodes the old myths but the documented reality he unveils is even more fascinating: behind the warriors lay an intricate organisation of diplomats, lawyers, bankers and estate managers, all of them bound by a monastic oath. ”

JONATHAN HARRIS, author of The Lost World of Byzantium

“Thoughtful, original, accessible… and, yes, the Templars were even more important and played an even bigger role in English affairs than we thought.”

PETER W. EDBURY, author of The Conquest of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade

“Vivid and illuminating ... With a wry style and a sharp eye for an engaging anecdote, Tibble reveals the surprising profile of the Templars as diplomats, seafarers, farmers and financiers.”

JONATHAN PHILLIPS, author of The Life and Legend of the Sultan Saladin