The Rutherford Coat of Arms
by Gary Rutherford Harding
The Coat of Arms
Originally coat of arms were embroidered on the surcoat of the armoured knights.
The term is now used for the shield [escutcheon] when arms are displayed. The
term coat of arms is now used even when displayed elsewhere than on the coat. In
the days when knights were so encased in armor that identification was
difficult, the practice was introduced of painting their identifying insignia on
their shields. Originally, these were only granted to individuals, but
eventually were made hereditary by King Richard I, during his crusade to
The Rutherford Blazon:
"Argent, an orle gules, and in chief three martlets sable, beaked of the
Defined as a system of pictographic history, blazoning is the intial step in
understanding the Rutherford coat of arms. Blazoning is the description of a
coat of arms in the technical language of heraldry. The rules of blazon are well
defined and noted for their precision, simplicity, brevity and completeness.
Blazons are an ancient response to an information storage problem. It has never
been easy to store vast archives of coats of arms, so heralds devised a precise
written system for describing them. In this way, relatively small amounts of
space were required to store large quantities of armorial data. The language of
blazonry has its own vocabulary, grammar and syntax. Blazons are supposedly
devoid of punctuation, but as you can see with the Rutherford blazon, many
armorials or books that contain blazons use punctuation. "Argent, an orle
gules, and in chief three martlets sable, beaked of the second."
A blazon has a proper order of describing arms:
i. Give the field, its color and the character of any partition lines
ii. The charges, and first those of most importance, their name, number and
iii. Marks of difference, cadency or baronet's badge
Repetition is studiously avoided in the language of blazonry. If you look at our
blazon you will see a good example, if two charges [figures] have the same color
the second is described as "of the first", "of the second",
etc. depending on where in the blazon the color is first mention. So
"beaked of the second" does have a precise meaning in blazonry. We'll
discuss and translate our blazon in the following article bit by bit.
The Achievement of Arms
The complete design ensemble of a coat of arms is called an achievement of arms
and can be broken down into the following component parts.
The shield or escutcheon is the most important part of the coat of arms and
displays the primary heraldic symbolism of the arms. The escutcheon of the
Rutherford arms is usually in the shape of a shield. It originally represented
the war shield of a knight, upon which his arms were displayed. Indeed, the
escutcheon may be the only component of many coats of arms. The shield or
escutcheon is also known as the field. It's upon this "canvas" that
the charges or bearings [figures] are blazoned [painted]. So in our Rutherford
blazon the first word "Argent" refers to the shield, escutcheon or
field. Argent simply means silver, but the convention for actually painting the
shield made the use of white paint synonymous with silver. So what it says is
"the shield is silver or white". Argent [the root of the word
Argentina] also stands for peace and sincerity. There's a basic guide to the
colors or tinctures, along with their meanings, at the end of the article.
Charges are the figures or anything occupying the field of an escutcheon. Some
coats of arms are divided into geometric partitions, the Rutherford arms are
not. Most coats of arms include symbols or "charges". Many of these
symbols consist of fairly simple geometric shapes known as ordinaries and
sub-ordinaries. The Rutherford arms employs a sub-ordinary called an "orle".
An orle is a smaller shield-shaped figure or charge within the larger shield
itself. This is where we can return to our blazon and see the next phrase,
"an orle gules". This simply means "a red shield". Gules is
another tincture or color meaning red or bloody. The orle stands for
preservation or protection and when coupled with the color red [gules] signifies
military strength and magnanimity. A red orle also echos the arms of another
important Scottish family; the Baliols. The Rutherford arms contains an orle
which is the principal armorial figure of the family. By some it is taken as an
inescutcheon voided or cliche' that is, it is redundant, the orle repeats the
basic shape of the shield. The orle was used in the arms of those who had given
protection and defense to their king and country. It may be interpreted as a
sign of those families who were very active in defending the Borders. The
Rutherfords were defenders of the Scottish kingdom, perhaps under the Baliols,
against the English.
The field also contains three martlets, "and in chief three martlets sable,
beaked of the second". "Three martlets sable" would indicate that
the martlets are black and "beaked of the second" means that the
martlets have beaks that are colored the same as the first color mentioned, i.e.
red [gules]. "In chief" would indicate that the martlets are displayed
at the very top of the shield. Martlets are not blackbirds or crows, they are
mythological birds resembling a swallow, but having short tufts of feathers in
the place of legs.
The use of the martlet as a charge has two basic meanings in the symbolism of
heraldry. The first and most common association is with service in the various
crusades in the Middle East and Iberia. The heralds of continental Europe
claimed that the beaks and legs were lost in the Holy Land fighting the Muslims.
Presumably they were adopted by ancient warriors to signify their surviving a
crusade. In England the martlet tends to keep its beak, and the Scottish author
of "A System of Heraldry" published in 1722, Alexander Nisbet [a
Rutherford descendant and Clan Hume member], stated that in England they also
kept their legs, although these were very short. As you can see, all three
Rutherford martlets have both beaks and feet.
The martlet has a second signifigance. When the martlet is used as a
'difference' on the shield, it indicates that the bearer is the fourth born son
of the owner of the coat of arms. There is, however, no documentation of a
Rutherford [or three, one for each martlet] fighting in the crusades or of a 4th
son of a Lord Rutherford establishing these arms. Knowing the strictness with
which the Scots have historically approached heraldry, the martlets are not
placed casually. It's likely that one or both of the possible scenarios is part
of Rutherford history.
The helm [helmet] was added to arms before the beginning of the 14th century and
in the 16th century to indicate the rank of the bearer. The helmet is positioned
above the shield and beneath the crest. In England a helmet of steel with the
visor closed would indicate that the bearer of the arms was not a knight , noble
or royal. However, this convention is not used in Scotland. Helmets that face
forward are indications of a royal or, at least, noble family connection. The
helmet in the Rutherford arms is always shown in profile facing to the dexter,
that being the helm's right or the viewer's left. The various distinctions of
the helmets postion and metal to ascribe rank were not in use until after the
enrollment of the Rutherford arms, i.e. they don't apply to arms of such
The crest is the oldest of armorial bearings having its origins in ancient
Greece and Rome. In heraldry it is represented attached to the top of the helmet
or above the shield. Originally the crest was the ornament of the helmet, or
headpiece, and also afforded protection against a blow. In the early rolls it
was scarcely noticed, but in later armorial grants it came into general use. In
the early days of the crest it was given only to persons of rank. The blazon for
the Rutherford crest, "A marlet sable beaked gules" means "a
black martlet with a red beak." The various branches or cadets of the
Rutherford family were identified in battle by the crests which they carried.
All Rutherfords used the same basic arms, but employed 'difference' at the crest
to specify a particular Rutherford cadet. The armorial custom however is to make
difference on the bordure not the crest.
The wreath or torse is a set of twisted cords colored with the principal metal
and color of the shield The wreath is situated above the shield and/or helmet
and below the crest.The wreath being a twist of two silken cords, one colored
like the principal metal and the other like the principal color in the arms,
presents two options for the Rutherford arms. The tincture/color of the cords
would be argent [either silver or white] and gules [red].
The motto is a phrase or sentence alluding to the family, the arms, or the
crest. Sometimes the motto was a traditional war cry, especially among the
Celts, which was common in the days when each chief tennant and baron under the
crown brought into the field and led his own tennants and retainers into battle.
It is written on a scroll above the crest or below the shield. Mottoes are often
written in Latin, French and English. In Celtic countries it is not unusual to
find mottoes in the native Gaelic language. The motto has some connection with
the name of the bearer, the deeds of his ancestors or as sets forth some guiding
principle or idea. Mottos, like arms, were sometimes punning. The Rutherford
motto, "Nec sorte nec fato" - "Neither by chance nor by
fate" has few equals.
The mantle originally was a representation of the piece of cloth that protected
the helmet from the heat of the sun. It became more decorative and was usually
shown in the principal colors, usually a metal and a color of the shield. The
Rutherford mantle is tinctured gules or red.
The colors used on coats of arms are relatively few. They are called
The colors and their meanings:
Or (yellow or gold): Generosity and elevation of the mind
Argent (white or silver): Peace and sincerity
Gules (Red): Warrior or martyr; Military strength and magnanimity
Azure (Blue): Truth and loyalty
Vert (Green): Hope, joy, and loyalty in love
Sable (Black): Constancy or grief
Pupure (Purple): Royal majesty, sovereignty, and justice
Tawny or Tenne (Orange): Worthy ambition
Sanguine or Murray (Maroon): Patience in battle, and yet victorious
I was told many years ago that a family's coat of arms was
"frozen history" and should be researched to the maximum if one wished
to read a family's past. In this spirit, I've been looking for years for a
definitive answer as to what is the origin and signifigance of the Rutherfurd-Rutherford
coat of arms, particularly the "orle gules" [red shield] and the
"three martlets sable" [three black martlets].
The White Monks of Citeaux - the Cistercians
So what is the connection between the Cistercian coat of arms and the
Rutherfords? Well, they both, obviously, have an "orle gules" or red
shield. My big question initially was "Is this significant or merely
coincidence?", and my answer was written right on the Rutherford coat of
arms "Nec sorte - nec fato" - neither by luck nor chance. Too many
pieces began falling together and not "by chance". I'm certain there
must be a connection.
I've researched all of the standard works on heraldry and the only coat of arms
that I've found with an "orle gules" was that of a Rutherford
ancestor, Sir Walter de Lindsay. Not surprisingly, Sir Walter de Lindsay had
strong connections with the Cistercians. Kenneth Davis Rutherford in his
"The Rutherfords of Britian - a history and guide" theorizes that the
orle comes from the Baliol family, who also have strong Cistercian connections.
However, the Baliol orle is argent [white] not gules [red] as is ours.
The other search has been for the "three martlets sable" [three black
martlets]. Martlets are either the indicator of a forth son becoming a
progenitor or they indicate service in the crusades. Since the Cistercians were
at the very center of the second crusade which took place at about the time of
the mysterious Rutherford progenitor "Robertus Dominus de Rodyforde",
my interests were peaked. So I've been researching the Cistercian monastic order
and their connections to the Rutherfords for quite sometime now and would like
to share briefly what I've found so far.
It didn't take long to find a Cistercian order with Rutherford connections.
Melrose Abbey was founded in 1136 just 2 miles upstream from the town of
Rutherford. Melrose Abbey was not only founded by the Cistercians but has some
of the oldest Rutherford records yet documented. Even so the
Cistercian/Rutherford story begins in far away Burgundy in a remote area called
Citeaux not in Scotland.
On March 21st, 1098 just a year before the Crusaders would storm over the wall
of Jerusalem, a Benedictine monk by the name of Robert of Molesme led twenty-one
of his followers into the inhospitable brush and swamp of Citeaux, Burgundy.
There he would set up a new abbey. Robert was fed up with how the Benedictines
were not observing the rule of St. Benedict. He believed that by establishing an
Abbey in a secluded wilderness he could begin with a fresh slate and minimal
distractions. Unfortunately, the monks of his former abbey at Molesme were
unhappy with his departure and begged the Pope to make him return - which he
did. He was replaced at Citeaux by Alberic. Alberic died in 1109 and his
successor was found in the former Prior, Stephen Harding, who was an Englishman.
He is the first personality in the history of Citeaux whom we have to recognize
as a genius. Born before 1066, and of noble Anglo-Saxon blood, he received his
first education in the monastery of Sherborne in Dorsetshire. Tellingly, during
the troubled years following the Norman Conquest, he fled together with his
fellow monks to Scotland. In his pursuit of higher learning, Stephen went on
from Scotland to Paris and later, as a pilgrim, he visited Rome, where he was
assured of his monastic vocation. When, on his way back, his attention was
called to the promising new venture of Molesme. He possessed all the learning
and experience the era could furnish him and was uniquely qualified to be the
new leader of Molesme. Saint Harding was also a continuing contact with England
and Scotland and encouraged many to come from Britian to Citeaux. Many claim it
was Alberic who is responsible for the white mantle of the Cistercians, but it
is more likely to have been his successor, the Abbott Stephen Harding. Harding's
most notable contribution to the cause came when he accepted a young man from
Fontaines named Bernard who came to the abbey with thirty of his relatives
seeking membership in the order. Saint Harding welcomed them warmly.
Bernard was born in 1090, of noble Burgundian stock at Fontaines, near Dijon.
Bernard would soon rise in the eyes of the order of Citeaux and soon set up his
own abbey at Clairvaux. The land, like so many of the Cistercian abbeys, was
granted by Burgundian nobles. In fact, no less a noble than Hugh Count of
Champagne, who would eventually become a member of the Knights Templars. St.
Bernard of Clairvaux was indeed "the man of the twelfth century". When
he entered the novitiate at Citeaux in 1112, there was hardly more than a small
desperately struggling community; yet when he died in 1153, the Order possessed
343 houses all over Europe, with a respect and influence no other religious body
enjoyed. The young Abbott Bernard was instrumental not only in preparing the
rule of order for the Cistercians but also for a new order of knighthood, called
the Knights Templars. The zenith of St. Bernard's earthly career was the moment
when his pupil, a former monk of Clairvaux, Eugenius III (1145-1153) was elected
Pope. It was on Eugenius III's order, that Saint Bernard launched the Second
Crusade in 1147. By his preaching, he moved hundreds of thousands of people even
in places where they could not even understand his language, such as in
Founded in the year 1098, the Cistercian order came to the British Isles in the
lifetime of the first generation. The first English monastery was founded at
Waverley in Sussex in 1128. In 1132 St. Bernard sent monks to Rievaulx in
Yorkshire, and ten years later to Mellifont in Ireland. The Order flourished in
both countries, as it did in Scotland and Wales, until the Reformation, when all
the monasteries were dissolved.
The mother Cistercian Abbey - Rievaulx Abbey
Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the Cistercian monastery at Rievaulx in Rye,
Yorkshire, was established in 1132 when Bernard of Clairvaux had sent William
Espec to set up a monastery. Rievaulx became the center of Cistercian life in
England and later in Scotland. A historical school developed there in the late
12th Century, and its literary tradition, begun by St. Aelred, continued until
the 14th Century. The monks also made significant contributions to the study of
agriculture. Rievaulx had five daughter houses, including one at Melrose, the
first Cistercian monastery in Scotland.
The moving force behind the Abbey of Rievaulx was Saint Aelred. The son of Eilaf,
a Saxon priest, Aelred was educated at Roxburgh just 2 miles downstream from the
town of Rutherford. Roxburgh was the ancient Scottish capital and the very
center of 12th century Scotland. At Roxburgh, Aelred was known for his
intellectual talents for he had been sent to the Scottish court for an education
that would ensure his future as a noble and courtier. He succeded, to the extent
of being made Master of the Household of the King of Scotland, our ancestor
David I. As the steward to King David of Scotland, Aelred found success at the
court unsatisfying and at the age of 24 he entered the Cistercian monastery at
Rievaulx in Yorkshire.
Saint Aelred left in about 1133 to join the Cistercian community at Rievaulx. He
was the first abbot of Rievaulx's daughterhouse in Revesby, Lincolnshire, but he
returned to Rievaulx in 1147 to be abbot. In this position, the saint was not
only superior of a community of 300 monks, but he was head of all the Cistercian
abbots in England and Scotland. Causes were referred to him, and often he had to
undertake considerable journeys to visit the monasteries of his order. Such a
journey in 1153 took him to Scotland where he was to meet with King David for
the last time. Later, upon his return to Rievaulx, he received the news of
David's death and wrote a sympathetic sketch concerning the character of the
late king and saint.
Saint David was the son of King Malcolm III and Queen Saint Margaret of
Scotland. As King of Scotland from 1124, he was very successful. He ruled with
firmness, justice, and charity. David established Norman law in Scotland, set up
the office of chancellor, and began the feudal court. It was during this period
that he learned of the Cistercian monk Saint Ailred of Rievaulx. Scottish
monasticism began to flower from the start of David's reign and countless
almshouses, leper-hospitals, and infirmaries were established. It is believed
that the Hospital at Rutherford was founded by Saint David at this time.
The monasteries founded under David's patronage were superb architecturally as
well as spiritually. The king refounded Melrose Abbey on the main road from
Edinburgh to the south, and it remained one of the richest houses in Scotland.
David also founded Jedburgh Abbey in 1138, filling it was monks from Beauvais in
France, as well as, the Abbeys at Dryburgh and Kelso which encircled the
"lands of Rutherford." All of the great Abbeys of Roxburgh are
Benedictine orders of various ilks. However, the rule of St Benedict came first
to Scotland with the Cistercians of the Bendictine Reform. It was the great St
Bernard of Fontaines, founder of Clairvaux and 50 other abbeys who sent the
Cistercians of CIairvaux to Rievaulx in Yorkshire, around 1132, and by whose
grace King David of Scotland built for them a further monastery in the Tweed
valley at Melrose.
Three Sable Martlets - a search for a Rutherford Crusader
The Crusades, particularly the 2nd Crusade, centered around the same families
who had founded the abbey at Citeaux, the Cistercian order and who were the
"Norman" families who were given estates and land by King David I
following the Norman invasion of 1066. These families made up the lion's share
of the most famous of knightly orders during the Crusades; the Knights Templars.
Even though the Cistercians were a peaceful order, as early as 1124 a serious
attempt was made to extend the activity of the Order toward the Holy Land. The
major concern was for the safety of Christian pilgrims.
In 1118 the Knights Templars had been founded to protect the pilgrim routes in
the Holy Land by Hugh de Payen. This was in the reign of Baldwin II. Baldwin II
granted quarters in Jerusalem on the site of the Temple of Solomon; hence the
name Knights of the Temple or Knights Templars. The secular overlord was the
Count of Champagne with spiritual leadership given by St. Bernard of Clairvaux.
The Templars had as yet neither distinctive habit nor rule. Hugues de Payens
journeyed to the West to seek the approbation of the Church and to obtain
recruits. At the Council of Troyes (1128), at which he assisted and at which St.
Bernard was the leading spirit, the Knights Templars adopted the Rule of St.
Benedict, as recently reformed by the Cistercians. They accepted not only the
three perpetual vows, besides the crusader's vow, but also the austere rules
concerning the chapel, the refectory, and the dormitory. They also adopted the
white habit of the Cistercians, adding to it a red cross. Later that year the
Grand Master of the Knights Templars, Hugues de Payen, visited Scotland. This
was at the same time as St. Bernard was giving his enthusiastic support to the
Knights Templars in his famous treatise entitled "In Praise of the New
Warfare" (De Laude Novae Militiae).
The original nine Knights Templars:
i. Sir Hugh de Payen - a vassal of Hugh de Champagne and a relative by marriage
to the St Clairs of Roslin, Scotland
ii. Sir Andrť de Montbard - the uncle of Bernard of Clairvaux and another
vassal of Hugh de Champagne
Sir Geoffroi de St Omer - a son of Hugh de St Omer
Sir Payen de Montdidier - a relative of the ruling family of Flanders
Sir Achambaud de St-Amand - another relative of the ruling house of Flanders
Sir Geoffroi Bisol
Sir Gondemare - a Cistercian monk
Sir Rosal - a Cistercian monk
The Cistercians and the Knights Templar were so closely linked by ties of blood,
patronage and shared objectives that many Templar scholars believe that they
were two arms from the same body. In fact, two monks who had joined the order
with St. Bernard were actually knights who had taken the names of Gondemar and
Rosal on their profession as monks. In February of 1117 St. Bernard came to this
monastery released and Gondemar and Rosal from their vows and then blessed these
two monks and their seven companions, prior to their departure to Jerusalem.
This departure was not immediate and did not take place until November of 1118.
The seven companions of the two ex-Cistercian monks are listed above. The
document records that St Bernard nominated Hugh de Payen as the first grand
master of the Poor Militia of Christ. Later in 1154, by the act of Louis VII,
King of France, the church recognised the supreme authority of the Grand Master
of the Order of Knights Templars over his order. The Grand Master was answerable
only to the Pope.
Almost in unison with the Cistercians, the Templars were growing in wealth,
power and influence. Like the Cistercians, the Templar order was free of taxes
and tithes and were expert at all manner of farming, industry and commerce. As
we've discussed, the connection with the Templars is not merely one of
coincidence. The very rule of the Templar order held the Cistercians in highest
regard and there is no doubt of the many cooperative ventures between the two.
For example, if a knight was expelled from the order, he did not merely rejoin a
secular life. The knight was required to seek shelter in a Cistercian monastery
in the hopes that he could be rehabilitated. In fact one Templar Master who quit
the order sought shelter in the cloisters of the Cistercians and lived out the
balance of his life there.
Gerard de Rideford - the Tenth Master of the Knights Templars
What we know of Sir Gerard de Rideford is that he came to the Kingdom of
Jerusalem in the ill-fated Second Crusade urged on by St. Bernard of Clairvaux.
He served with the contingent from Flanders, but his ties to Scotland are well
demonstrated. He spoke English and was in communication with the King of
England. At the end of the crusade Gerard chose to remain behind. As a younger
son, he had nothing to return to in Europe, so he took service with Count
Raymond III of Tripoli. Gerard hoped to be given the next available fief. Upon
the death of William Dorel in 1180, Gerard expected Raymond to give him in
marriage the sole heiress, Lucia of Botrun, along with her vast holdings.
Raymond gave the Lady Lucia to a wealthy merchant from Pisa, in exchange for the
ladyís weight in gold. Her weight is recorded as being "ten stone",
or 140 pounds. Lucia went on the scale and the gold went into Raymondís
Shortly after this affair, Gerard turned his back on the secular world and
joined the Knights Templars. He was unable to serve as a knight for Count
Raymond, a man for whom he showed open distrust. Gerard de Ridefordís rise in
the Order of the Temple was meteoric. In approximately 1183, he became Seneschal
of the Order, second only to the Master of the Temple, Arnold de Torroga. Two
years later, he himself rose to the office of Master of the Temple. Sir Gerard
de Rideford as Grand Master was absolute ruler over the order and answered only
to the Pope. In fact so important was the Grand Master of the Templars that many
served as advisors to monarchs. One Master in a letter threatened a king with
the possibility of his being removed from the throne. Powerful military leaders
as they were, the Grand Masters were still governed by the same Templar Rule as
the rest of the order, with some special privileges to befit their rank. Each
Grand Master was equipped with five horses as opposed to the three that a knight
of the order received. The Grand Master was given an entourage to escort him
consisting of a sergeant on horse as well as a valet. The purpose of the valet
was to attend to the Master and carry his lance and shield. Others in the
company of the grand Master were advisers, cooks and interpreters.
In March of 1185 King Baldwin IV, known as the Leper King of Jerusalem, finally
succumbed to his illness. During a palace coup the Templars seized the city of
Jerusalem. Princess Sybilla was crowned Queen. She then placed the crown on the
head of her husband, Guy de Lusignan, a landless adventurer. Gerard de Rideford
was heard to have shouted, "This repays for the marriage of Botrun!"
Forgetting his oath as a Crusader, Raymond III of Tripoli, the former regent,
rebelled openly against the new king. In the winter of 1186-1187 Count Raymond
betrayed his oath again and became a secret ally of the famous Sultan of Egypt,
Saladin. Gerard de Rideford saw this as further cause to denounce Raymond as a
traitor to the Crown and to the Cross.
An embassy from King Guy de Lusignan was dispatched to negotiate. The embassy
set off on April 29, 1187. Count Raymond, as leader of the party, got word of a
reconnaissance in force, sent by Saladin and commanded by his son, Al-Adfal.
Rather than attacking the enemy, Count Raymond gave quarter to the enemy and
left them unharmed. Gerard de Rideford was incensed, and ordered Jacques de
Molay, the Marshal of the Order, to summon 90 knights from the Templar castle at
Caco. Along with the 40 secular knights from the Nazareth garrison he went in
search of the muslim army. They found the muslims near the Springs of Cresson
and learned the force led by Al-Adfal was very large. Jacques de Molay, along
with the Master of the Hospital, told Gerard de Rideford that they did not want
to attack. Gerard de Rideford reminded the knights of their vows but came short
of suggesting cowardice. Eventually the remaining 123 knights rode to the
attack. The muslim victory was almost total. By the time it was over, only three
Templar knights, including Sir Gerard de Rideford, managed to cut their way out
of the melee.
Count Raymond of Tripoli found himself shamed into making peace with King Guy de
Lusignan due to the defeat at Cresson and his betrayal. The kingdom needed to
show a united front against Saladin. A series of raids into the kingdom
escalated into the invasion everyone feared would come, and King Guy called for
the ban and arriere-ban, the mustering of every able-bodied male of the Kingdom
to defend it. The troops of Crusaders mustered at the Springs of Saffuriya, a
well-watered oasis with plenty of grazing for the horses. Its position was key
in the defense of the kingdom, and if they stayed at the Springs, they could
effectively checkmate the forces of Saladin.
Scouts rode in, reporting an attack on Tiberius. The city had fallen, but the
castle still held out. The wife of Count Raymond was there, along with his
children. Master Gerard and Raymond de Chatillon urged to press the attack.
Count Raymond pointed out that the way to the city was through a waterless plain
and that the army would risk defeat if it went to Tiberius. "Tiberius is my
city!" Count Raymond declared, "My wife and children are there. But
better to lose all of these rather than the Kingdom!" Raymond again was
accused of being unknightly by Gerard de Rideford. Later that evening, Gerard
went to the kingís tent, declaring that the Templars would sell their mantles
rather than let a Christian city go so easily and the Countess Eschiva fall into
the hands of the muslims. He again called Count Raymond a traitor and a coward,
unwilling to save even his own family. These arguments won King Guy de Lusignan
over and the order to march was given.
The Hattin campaign took place in the heat of July, and it is written that no
one could remember such a hot summer. The Crusader's line of march took them
over harsh, rocky desert countryside, with few watering holes, and those dried
in the heat. Even though the distance was only fifteen miles, about a dayís
march, it was fifteen miles spent in purgatory. As Saladinís advance scouts
reported the Crusader army approach, he ordered horse-archers into the saddle.
These troops fired thousands of arrows into the slow moving Crusader ranks,
delaying their march even further. After eight hours of constant attack, the
Templars still held the rearguard. They were waning in number and nearly
separated from the main body by the ferocity of the attack. King Guy de Lusignan
ordered a halt for the evening, and when Count Raymond got the news, he cried,
"Alas, Lord God! The Kingdom is finished, we are all dead men!"
The Christian camp spent an uneasy night under the watchful eyes of Saladinís
army. Kept awake by the sounds of sudden attacks, which never came, the sounds
of comrades being sniped at by arrows and the singing from the muslim camp. Just
before sunrise, Saladin set fire to the scrub-brush surrounding the camp setting
off a confusion of black smoke.
The Crusaders had camped on a pair of hills called the Horns of Hattin, within
site of Tiberius and the Sea of Galilee. Tiberius was inaccessible to the
Crusaders for it was located a couple of hundred feet down a cliff face. With an
enemy army between them and relief, they could see and smell water, but
couldnít even reach it. Their position was made even more perilous by the
desertion of their infantry, who refused to march further. They watched as
muslim cavalry slaughtered the infantry as they gathered on one of the Horns,
and knew they were trapped, with no escape. By the end of the battle, most of
the nobility of the Kingdom were captured. All of the surviving Templars (230
brothers, according to Brother Terricusí letter to the Templars in England)
and the surviving Hospitallers were beheaded, except Master Gerard de Rideford.
He was kept alive to secure the surrender of several Templar castles during
Saladinís sweep of the Kingdom.
Tiberius fell shortly thereafter, the Countess Eschiva personally giving the
keys to Saladin. Her husband Count Raymond escaped the battle, cutting his way
out before the final push to take the Horns of Hattin, and died, it is said, of
shame soon after. With Saladinís victories, castles and towns surrendered to
him and received generous terms until, ultimately, Jerusalem herself fell. The
only major city remaining to the crusaders was Tyre, where Lord Conrad de
Montferrat held firm.
In September of 1187, Master de Rideford was freed, after securing the surrender
of the Templar castle of Gaza. He is next heard of as being part of the muster
of troops assembled by the now freed King Guy of Lusignan as he prepared for his
siege of Acre. As Guy was now a widower, his right to the throne was in
question. This may explain the attack on Acre, as a way to stabilize a shaky
grip on the throne. Little did they realize that the siege would last three long
years, cost countless lives and, ultimately cost de Rideford his life.
He was killed on 4 October 1189. The sources vary as to how he died. Ambroseís
"LíEstoire de Eracles Empereur et la Conqueste de la Terre de Outremer"
states he died in battle, refusing to leave the field. Ibn al-Athir states that
he was later captured and executed. Saladin likely considered de Rideford too
dangerous to keep alive, particularly after releasing him following the Battle
of Cresson. In any case, his life was marked by religious devotion and personal
achievement peculiar to his time. In the company of Kings, he was the one
Crusader there because of his own accomplishments and not because of his birth -
"Nec sorte, nec fato"!
The 23 Grand Masters Of The Knights Templar
From 1118-1314 CE
1118-1136 ..... Hugh dePayens - Founding member of the order
1136-1146 ..... Robert de Craon
1146-1149 ..... Everard des Barres
1149-1153 ..... Bernard de Tromelai
1153-1156 ..... Andre de Montbard - One of the founding members of the order and
the uncle of St. Bernard of Clairvaux.
1156-1169 ..... Bertrand de Blanchefort - The Grand Master responsible of rthe
traditional seal of two knights on one horse.
1169-1171 ..... Philip de Milly
1171-1179 ..... Odo de St Amand
1179-1184 ..... Arnold de Toroga
1185-1189 ..... Gerard de Rideford - Grand Master at the Battle of Hattin
1191-1193 ..... Robert de Sable - De Sable was responsible for the purchase of
the Island of Cyprus from Richard I.
1193-1200 ..... Gilbert Erail
1201-1208 ..... Philip de Plessiez
1209-1219 ..... William de Chartres
1219-1230 ..... Pedro de Montaigu
(???)-1244 ..... Armond de Perigord
1245-1247 ..... Richard de Bures
1247-1250 ..... William de Sonnac
1250-1256 ..... Reynald de Vichiers
1256-1273 ..... Thomas Berard
1273-1291 ..... William de Beaujeu
1291-1293 ..... Tibauld de Gaudin
1293-1314 Jacques de Molay - Last Grand Master of the Order
The Knights Templars in Scotland
Following the Crusades, the the Knights Templars allied themselves with the St.
Clairs [Sinclairs] family of Scotland.The St.Clairs [Sinclairs] became the
traditional guardians of holy relics such as a portion of the True Cross, a
sacred stone, and several sacred apocryphal scrolls. These are said to be hidden
somewhere inside Rosslyn Chapel which was built by the St. Clair family for that
purpose. Rosslyn Chapel is constructed on the model of the Temple of Solomon.
Some even believe it was built as a Chapel for the Holy Grail, which the Knights
Templars had buried within its vaults. Remember that St Bernard of Clairvaux had
founded the monastery at Citeaux to protect "a great secret". By the
way, Lady Elizabeth Rutherfurd of Edgerston was the 13th de jure Lady of
Sinclair, wife of Lord Andrew Sinclair.
Another advocate of the Knights Templars and the Cistercian Order was our
ancestor Robert the Bruce. Robert I was born in 1274 had missed the Crusades by
a generation. His father Robert Bruce, the Earl of Carrick died on April 4, 1304
in the Holy Land. In 1291 with the fall of Acre, the Holy Land was slipping from
Christian grasp. The Templars and other Crusaders returned home from utter
defeat following the coronation of Robert the Bruce at Scone on March 27th,
1306. In Scotland the Templars found a home and refuge. Many were aware of the
"great secret" that the Knights Templars were supposed to be keeping.
There were many outside of the order who were driven by greed to discover what
it was and how to profit by that knowledge. In Scotland a papal inquisition was
held at Holyrood Abbey in 1309 to try the Templars. The Templars were accused of
heiracy for the veneration of a cloth which "bore a man's face". This
cloth is known to us today as the "Shroud of Turin". At this
inquisition only two knights, Walter de Clifton and William de Middleton
appeared. The others ignored the order to appear and joined the army of the
Scottish monarch Robert the Bruce instead.
In the year 1312 the Knights Templars were dissolved by papal decree and
subjected to a cruel persecution. However, no order of suppression was ever
issued in Scotland and charges against the order were found "not
proven". Under its excommunicated King, Robert the Bruce, Scotland provided
a sanctuary for the Knights Templars.
In 1314, the Templars fought at the Bruce's side at the battle of Bannockburn on
the 24th June, midsummer's day [the Feast day of John the Baptist]. The Templars
distinguished themselves at the battle of Bannockburn and after the battle a new
order was formed called the Royal Order of Scotland, into which the Templars
were admitted. Robert Bruce, King of Scots also created the Order of St. Andrew
of the Thistle, to which was afterward added that of Heredom, for the sake of
the Scottish Masons, who had made a part of the 30,000 men who had fought
against 100,000 English soldiers. He reserved for himself and his successors the
title of Grand Master and founded at Kilwinning the Grand Lodge of the Royal
Order of Heredom.
Melrose Abbey and the town of Rutherford were on the main marching line between
England and Scotland. Even though Robert the Bruce had come from having a
handful of supporters to controlling a good deal of the country, Melrose Abbey
was completely destroyed by the English following their defeat at Bannockburn.
However, the reconstruction of Melrose Abbey was soon begun through the personal
donations of Robert the Bruce. In 1329 Robert the Bruce died and was buried in
Dunfermline Abbey in the Kingdom of Fife. A year later, a group of Scottish
knights tried to take the Bruce's heart to the Holy Land. The group is led by a
near cousin to the Rutherfords, Sir James Douglas "the Good". Sir
James had also played a major role in the defeat of the English Army at the
Battle of Bannockburn and was one of the signatories of the Declaration of
Arbroath, at Arbroath Abbey, in 1320. On the death of Bruce in 1329, Sir James
was entrusted with the monarch's heart in order to carry it on a pilgrimage to
the Holy Land. The Good Sir James was a lifelong friend and supporter of the
Bruce and died in Spain carrying the Bruce's heart to Jerusalem. Sir James had
joined with the King of Castille in his crusade against the Moors and was killed
leading a charge against a superior enemy force. The Bruce's heart was recovered
from the battlefield, returned to Scotland and laid to rest at Melrose Abbey.
The Rutherford coat of arms, bearing a red shield and 3 black martlets, was
first quartered in the year 1260.