The Cistercian Order, and especially Clairvaux abbot Bernard (1091-1153), was essential in creating the Templar Order. The Vitae of Saint Bernard was written to promote Bernard’s sainthood and may have been idealised. Effectively, as Bernard was canonized by Pope Alexander III as soon as 18 January 1174, so only 20 years after his death. The Vitae gives a very interesting insight into his views, convictions and way of life.
It was from France nobles that the Templars received their earliest support in terms of donations.
In 1120, the Count of Anjou, Fulk V, future king of Jerusalem, came as a pilgrim to the East and he joined the confraternity founded by Hugues de Payns. He lived in the palace that King Baldwin II had given to the brethren and on his return to the West, Foulques V granted them an annuity of thirty Angevin livres. With this gesture inspired by admiration and devotion, he certainly hoped to set an example.
French lands have always had a privileged relationship with the Temple, and so did the French language. Templar founders were from what is now northern France, but at the time was all of Francia. Hugues de Payns came from the family of the lords of Montigny, from the area between Champagne and Burgundy, or Godefroy de Saint-Omer and Payen de Montdidier, both of more elevated status, who were respectively from Flanders and Picardy.