Thibaud Gaudin (1229? – April 16 1292) was the Grand Master of the Knights Templar from August 1291 until his death in April 1292.
The history of Thibaud Gaudin within the Order is rather mysterious. Born to a noble family in the area of Chartres or Blois, France, he entered the Knights Templars well before 1260, because on that date he was taken prisoner during an attack on Tiberias. His great piety was deemed worthy of the nickname of "Gaudin Monk".
In 1279, Sir Thibaud fulfills the function of "Commander of the Land of Jerusalem", the fourth most important function in the Templar hierarchy. In 1291, he rides at the side of Guillaume de Beaujeu to defend the town of Acre, besieged by the formidable army of Mamluk Sultan Al-Ashraf Khalil. On 18 May, upon the death of Guillaume de Beaujeu, Gaudin remains in the city of Acre in garrison with some 500. Thibaud Gaudin and Pierre de Sevry, Marshal of the Order, are the last two knights of the Temple who continue to defend Acre. Al-Ashraf Khalil sends messengers to the defenders of the castle of the Temple in order to negotiate an honorable outcome. Thibaud Gaudin and Pierre de Sevry agree to yield to the conditions dictated by the sultan and let a detachment of Moslem riders into their enclosure. As soon as the soldiers entered, they caught some French women. Thinking that to be a treasonous act, Thibaud Gaudin and Pierre de Sevry ordered the Moslems be thrown of the walls. The two dignitaries decide that Thibaud Gaudin will leave the city by sea, carrying the treasures of the Temple, while Pierre de Sevry will continue the combat. Acre falls the following day.
Thibaud Gaudin arrives at Sidon with some knights where he is elected Master and decides to defend the city as long as possible. Just before the arrival of emir Al-Shujâ' I, the inhabitants evacuate the city and take refuge behind the walls of the Templar castle. With the assistance of Cypriots, the majority of the inhabitants and garrison evacuate the fortress to take refuge in Cyprus. Arriving at Cyprus, Thibaud Gaudin tries to gather reinforcements but they never reach the Holy Land. Sidon falls to the Moslems on July 14, 1291. The last French strongholds in the Kingdom of Jerusalem fall one by one. Beirut is taken on July 21, the area of Kaifa is invaded and the monasteries of Carmel destroyed on July 30. In early August, the Franks hold nothing more than two fortified towns, both occupied by Templars. Tortose is evacuated on August 3 and Castle-Pélerin on August 14. By then, all Templars are located in Cyprus in Ruad in the south of Tortose, which will remain in their hands until 1303.
In October 1291, a general chapter of the Order meets in Cyprus. This meeting confirms the election of Thibaud Gaudin as Grand Master and names new dignitaries in the important positions within the hierarchy of the Order. On that occasion, Jacques de Molay was named Marshal, to succeed Pierre de Sevry, who died at Acre. Thibaud Gaudin tried to reorganize all the Templars after the devastations of the recent battles. Moreover, it was necessary for him to defend of the Kingdom of Armenia from the encircled Turkish Seldjoukides and the island of Cyprus, occupied by a multitude of refugees. Apparently the task proved daunting for Thibaud Gaudin; he died of exhaustion at the beginning of the year 1292, leaving an enormous rebuilding task for his successor.
this existing biography has some errors from the original:
☀Master of the Order from 1291 to 1292.
The origin of Thibaud Gaudin within the Order is rather mysterious. He originated from a noble family of the area of Chartres or Blois, and entered the Order well before 1260. We know this because on that date he was captured during a raid on Tibériade. We also know his great piety earned him the nickname "Monk Gaudin".
In 1279, Gaudin occupied the position of "Preceptor of the Land of Jerusalem", the fourth most significant position in the Templar hierarchy. In 1291, he was at the side of Guillaume de Beaujeu defending the town of Acre as it was besieged by the formidable Al-Ashraf Khalil army.
On May 18th of the same year, upon the death of Guillaume de Beaujeu, a mere handful of the 500 strong Templar garrison remained in Acre. Thibaut Gaudin and Pierre de Sevry, Marshal of the Order, were the last two dignitaries of the Temple to defend Acre. Al-Ashraf Khalil sent messengers to the Templar defenders in order to negotiate an honourable surrender. Thibaut Gaudin and Pierre de Sevry agreed to yield under the conditions dictated by the sultan, which included allowing a detachment of Muslims riders into their enclosure. As soon as the Muslim detachment entered they began to attack the Frankish women. Considering this a betrayal of the agreement, Thibaut Gaudin and Pierre de Sevry ordered the garrison to drive out the Muslims and to secure themselves behind barricades. The two dignitaries decided that Thibaut Gaudin would exit the city by sea and carry with him the treasure of the Temple. Pierre de Sevry continued the combat, but Acre fell the following day.
Thibaut Gaudin, accompanied by some knights, arrived at Sidon where he was elected Master. He decided to defend the city and his insular castle for as long as possible. Just before the arrival of emir Al-Shujâ'i, the inhabitants evacuated the city and took refuge behind the walls of the Templar stronghold. Some time later, and with the assistance of Cypriot, the majority of the inhabitants and garrison evacuated the fortress to take refuge in Cyprus. The reinforcements that Thibaut Gaudin tried to gather on his arrival at Cyprus never arrived in the Holy Land. Sidon fell into Muslims hands on July 14th, 1291.
The last Frankish occupations in the Kingdom of Jerusalem fell one after the other. Beirut was taken on July 21st. The area of Caïffa was invaded and the monasteries of Mount Carmel were destroyed on July 30th. At the beginning of August, the Franks had nothing except two fortified towns, occupied by the Templars, Tortose, and Chateau-Pelerin. The first town was evacuated on August 3rd and the second on August 14th. All Templars retreated to Cyprus and the islet of Ruad, on the south of Tortose. The latter remained in their hands until 1303. In October 1291, a general chapter of the Order met in Cyprus. This chapter confirmed the election of Thibaut Gaudin as Master. It also appointed new dignitaries to significant positions within the hierarchy of the Order. On this occasion, Jacques de Molay was named Marshal to succeed Pierre de Sevry, who died under the walls of Acre.
Due to the large number of deaths within the upper ranks of the Templars, one mission for Thibaud Gaudin was to rebuild the organization. While doing so, Gaudin also found it necessary to defend the Kingdom of Little Armenia, encircled by Seldjoukides, and the island of Cyprus, occupied by a multitude of refugees. At the beginning of 1292 Thibaut Gaudin died of exhaustion. "However, he left behind an enormous building site for his successor."