B.5. Tomar:  the Knights Templar and the Order of Christ

The castle at Tomar was built by Gualdim Pais.  Pais, the Master of the Templars at Braga in Portugal, who became Grand Master of the Templars in 1156 and received the ruined castle of Ceras from the king, Afonso I (1139-1185, generally known as Afonso Henriques), in 1159.  In 1160 Pais started construction of a new castle at Tomar, and in 1162 Tomar received its town charter and become the headquarters of the Templars in Portugal.  At this time the frontier with the Moors in Portugal was the Rio Tejo, and in 1190, Tomar on a tributary of the Rio Zêzere, a northern tributary of the Tejo, was beseiged by the Moors.  Pais, then an old man, lead the resistance and finally defeated the Moors lead by Yacub.  Pais died in 1195 and was interred in the chapel of Santa Maria dos Olivais in Tomar.

After the demise of the Knights Templar early in the fourteenth century, king Dinis I (1261-1325) created a new Order of Knighthood, the Order of Christ which was confirmed by Pope Clement V in 1312.  The new order received all the properies of the now-dissloved Templars in Portugal and made the castle at Tomar their headquarters from 1357.  The first Grand Master of the new Order, Gil Martins, who had previously been Master of the Order of Aviz, died in 1321.  At the time James Cottrell arrived in Portugal, Dom Lopo Dias de Sousa was Grand Master of the Order of Christ as well as being Mordomo-Mór to the royal household.  De Sousa was the last elected Grand Master, and was succeeded on his death by the Infante Dom Henrique who was finally confirmed as (lay) Governor of the order by the Pope in 1420.

Prince Henry and James Cottrell lived in the house at Tomar shown in Figure B.2

Figure B.1. The Castle at Tomar

The Castle at Tomar

Photo by World heritage, [PAULO]

Figure B.2. The House of the Infante Dom Henrique inside the Castle at Tomar

Henry's House at Tomar Castle

Photo by Paulo Alcobia Neves, [PAULO]