Further donations of money and land were given to the Knights Templar order by nobles and Kings. The Knights Templar were also given certain privileges, for example, King Alfonso I of Spain granted the Knights Templar exemption of tax on a fifth of the wealth taken from the Moors. Various Popes also gave privileges to the order. The Knights Templar order therefore became extremely wealthy and became involved in Knights Templar Banking activities.
Knights Templar Banking - Usury (money lending)
The Knights Templar banking activities led to their involvement with Usury. Usury was a form of money lending where an initial charge was made for a loan, or interest was charged on the repayments. The increase of the Knights Templar wealth in turn led to becoming involved in banking which in turn brought even greater wealth into the Knights Templar order. Their financial power due to their banking activities led to great political power in all of the countries in Europe of the Middle Ages.
Knights Templar Banking - the decline of the order
The Knights Templar banking activities increased their financial wealth and political power. Powerful monarchs went to the Knights Templar treasurers to obtain loans to finance their interests which included financing the cost of mounting a war. This was the case of King Philip IV of France (1268-1314) who was already heavily in debt to the Knights Templar when he requested a further loan to finance a war. The request was refused and a furious King Philip mounted an attack on the Knights Templar order. Pope Clement V initiated enquiries into the order and thousands of Knights Templar were arrested across Europe on charges of heresy. Anyone found sheltering a Templar was under threat of excommunication. This led to the decline of the Knights Templar Banking activities and the order itself.