The order of the Temple

Around 1120, Hugues de Payns, a knight from Champagne founded with some companions a kind of militia that will became « the order of the knights templars ».
The Templars were monks and knights, clergymen and soldiers. Their first mission was to protect the roads in the kingdom of Jerusalem. But then, the Order organized itself around the year 1140 and became a real military force. They extended their activities to the whole Latins' States.
The name of the order came from the place were the first knights templars settled. Indeed, they were housed in the Al Aqsa Mosque, in the Salomon Temple esplanade. This place was attributed by the King of Jerusalem, Baudoin II.
In the West, the Templars became more and more popular and rich persons donated them lands. They also get some taxes and all that money was sent to the Holy Land, for the Holy War.
The knights and menbers of the Order were recruited in the Commanderies (kind of big farmlands), in the West. They had to pronounce the 3 vows : poverty, chatity and obedience, just like other monastic orders.

  • Nowadays, the Templars fascinate because they diseappered in tragic circumstances. On friday 13th of October 1307, the King of France, Philippe IV Le Bel decided to arrest all the Templars of the Kingdom. They were accused of idol worship, heresy and sodomy.
  • The order will be abolished by the Vienna Council in 1312. The last Grand Master of the Order, Jacques de Molay and 2 other dignitaries will be burned at the stake in Paris in 1314.
  • Indeed, the Templars' mission had ended in 1291, when Saint Jean d'Acre, the last Latin's stronghold in the East, fell. The public opinion will never forget this loss. For them, the Order was now useless.

The Hospitalers of Saint-Jean of Jerusalem

In the middle of the XIth century, before the first crusade, some merchants of Amalfi, founded in Jerusalem, next to the Saint Sepulchre, a hospital for the pilgrims coming on Christ tomb.
After the crusade this non-religious hospital will carry on its missions of hospitality and turned on into a religious order : the order of Saint Jean of Jerusalem. It will be recognized by the pope by a bull dating back from the year 1113.
Just like the Order of the Temple, it is around 1140 that they organized themselves into a military order. But they kept their first mission : Hospitality.
This order survived to the loss of the Latins' States in the East after 1291. First, they took refuge in the Frank kingdom, in the Island of Cyprus and then they settled in the island of Rhodes in 1306. They will be chased away by the Turks in 1522.
In 1530, the emperor Charles V gave them the island of Malta (from this moment they will be called the Knights of Malta) and they stayed there until 1798.

The Templar and Hospitaler heritage in La Couvertoirade

The name of Cubertoirada was mentionned during the XI th century in the Charters of the Gellonne Abbey (Saint Guilhem le desert).
The Templars arrived in La Couvertoirade in the second part of the XIIth century. They settled here for differents reasons : there were some farmable lands, some water for men and animals, a rock to built the castle and the site is on a transhumance way from the Languedoc for the ewes.
The village will develop itself at the feet of the church and of the castle, both built on the same rock. On this Causse the templars will developp the farming activity : cereals and ovine breeding for the milk, the meat and the wool.

After the abolition of the Order, with the council of Vienna in 1312, the Commandery of Saint Eulalie (La Couvertoirade is part of that commandery) was given to the Hospitallers of Saint Jean of Jerusalem. In 1328, there were 135 « fires » in the village, between 540 and 600 inhabitants.

In the second part of the 100 years war, the Commander of Saint Eulalie, who was the Grand Priest of Saint Gilles, decided to fortify all the villages of the Commandery. The ramparts of La Couvertoirade were built in 4 years only, between 1439 and 1442.

The Larzac prospered just after the 100 years war in 1453. In this territory, a lot of houses built in the second part of the Xvth century witness it today. But another tragedy, more destructive than the previous one was laying up for La Couvertoirade : the wars of religion.

In this period, the Commander settled in La Couvertoirade, in the castle, with some men armed with muskets and leaded by a captain. This precaution won't be useless. In 1562 the bishop of Lodeve had to deliver himself with its troops the village besieged by the Huguenots.

After the peace, the village developed itself outside the walls, in the « barri ».
The last alert (alarm) was in 1702, during the rebellion of the « camisards » in the Cevennes. It was the last one.

The last Commander of Saint Eulalie and of La Couvertoirade was the commander Riquetti Mirabeau.
After the French Revolution, all the commanderies were considered as National Properties and sold. At this time, the commander was in the island of Malta. The castle was in bad conditions and the farmer of the commander was housed inside.

Like everywhere, the village was victim of the rural exodus but thanks to the quality of its patrimony, the village live again trought tourism since the second part of the XIX th century.