Geoffroi de Gonneville (born c. 1260) was the Knights Templar Preceptor of Aquitaine and Poitou at the time of the infamous arrests. He was imprisoned along with four other dignitaries of the Order, including the Grand Master, Jacques de Molay.
Ivy-Stevan Guiho makes a surprising statement about Geoffroi de Gonneville in his L’Ordre des Templiers: Petite encyclopédie: “De même que Jacques de Molay, il se rétracta au dernier moment et fut brûlé comme relaps” (Just as Jacques de Mollay, he recanted at the last moment and was burnt at the stake as a relapsed heretic). This is a very strange assertion, especially because elsewhere in the book Guiho identifies Geoffroi de Charney as the only other Templar who was burnt at the stake at the same time as Jacques de Molay.
Regardless of this confusion, Geoffroi de Gonneville was an interesting character. While most Templars simply admitted to various charges (under torture and fear of torture), de Gonneville attempted to offer different explanations for “irregularities” in the Knights Templar initiation procedures. He said that, according to rumors, a certain Grand Master who had been held captive by the Saracines had to incorporate a foreshadowing hint of similar treatment into the Order’s initiation ceremony, that being a condition for his release. De Gonneville’s second guess was that brother Roncelin (presumably, Roncelin de Fos) may have introduced corruption into the Order’s life. Or it may also have been Grand Master Thomas Berard who was responsible for incriminating practices. Finally, de Gonneville surmised that denials of Christ were committed in imitation or remembrance of St Peter, who thrice denied his Savior (hoc fit ad instar seu ad memoriam beati petri qui abnegavit Christum ter). In other words, the Templars were admitting crimes against religion without having a good idea of why and what they were doing. [click to continue…]