The Templars

Death of de Molay

In March 1314, two years after the dissolution of the order, three cardinals sent as envoys of the pope sentenced de Molay and 3 Templar dignitaries, Geoffroi de Charny, Geoffroi de Gonneville and Hugues de Pairaud to life imprisonment. Gonneville and Pairaud both accepted their sentences, whereas de Charny, Preceptor of Normandy, and the Grand Master both retracted their statements and contested that they were still innocent. On 18 March 1314, over six years after his arrest in Paris, Jacques de Molay and Geoffroi de Charny were taken to the Isle des Juifs in the River Seine and executed. Rather than being burned at the stake, the two men were, in fact, cooked over a slow fire, prior to which the soles of their feet had been cut and bathed in oil. Many legends have grown up regarding his execution. According to one account, the doomed Grand Master requested his hands remain free so that he could continue to pray in the direction of Notre Dame. It was recorded that during his execution de Molay called out to the king and pope:

‘Dieu sait qui a tort et a pëché. Il va bientot arriver malheur à ceux qui nous ont condamnés à mort’ meaning ‘God knows who is wrong and has sinned. Soon a calamity will occur to those who have condemned us to death’.