chapter  14
16 Pages

Why Did the West Fail to Recover the Holy Land Between 1291 and 1320?

These are the last sentences of a letter by John of Villiers, Master of the Hospital, to William of Villaret, the order’s prior of St Gilles in Provence, written in the days following the dramatic loss of Acre to the Mamluks, who had finally overcome the last resistance during vicious fighting around the Templar compound on 28 May 1291.1 There is no equivalent Templar letter, for William of Beaujeu, the master, had been killed 10 days before, dying from his wounds as he tried to defend the St Antony Gate in the same engagement in which John of Villiers had been so badly injured.