Winning Wednesday: The Age of Pilgrimage by Jonathan Sumption

Behold the Dawn by K.M. WeilandThis week’s Winning Wednesday winner is Michael Colwill. In order to win the prize of an autographed poster of Behold the Dawn’s cover, he answered the question “What color was the official uniform of the Knights Templars?” The Knights Templars, the infamous protectors of Jerusalem’s Temple, traditionally wore a white tabard emblazoned with a red cross.

Knights Templar in the Middle Ages

The Templars were a Christian military order founded in Jerusalem in 1119 to protect pilgrims after the First Crusade. The sworn defenders of Jerusalem’s temple had a murky fame, sometimes hailed for their fatalistic bravery, sometimes shunned for their intractable defiance to any authority save their own. The Templars—along with their brothers the Knights Hospitallers—were easily the most important non-feudal military force in Christendom. The Order recruited men from all over western Europe. In the early years, a man needed only to be free in order to become a Templar. But, as time went by, the regulations were altered to exclude anyone who wasn’t a knight, although lower-ranking members were still sometimes peasants, but never serfs. Recruits were required to be “spiritually clean,” financially secure, and free from membership in any other Order.

Congratulations, Michael! Your prize is in the mail! Please feel free to enter again.

This week’s prize: The 576-page book The Age of Pilgrimage: The Medieval Journey to God by Jonathan Sumption. (This is one of the best books I stumbled upon in researching Behold the Dawn. Fascinating to say the least!)

This week’s question: What was a jongleur? (Hint: Look it up in a dictionary!)

Excerpt From Behold the Dawn

In Behold the Dawn, the tourneyer Marcus Annan is summoned for a meeting with the English King Richard, who is ill:

Richard lifted a broad hand from the purple coverlet and waved it in a conciliatory gesture. “Spoken like a man of the sword. And as for the tourneys, I enjoy them greatly myself.” He leaned forward. “I should very much have liked to engage an arm as stout as Master Annan’s.” The torchlight flickered in his blue eyes. “Mayhap when I am well and the infidels are crushed beneath my destrier’s feet, we shall have such a contest, eh, Sir Knight?”

“Your Majesty.” Father Roderic’s lips drew tight, as though with a purse string. “A vehement Scot, apathetic to our holy mission, may use such an opportunity to do you great harm.” He straightened his shoulders, sliding his hands in their opposite sleeves. He glanced at Annan, eyebrows cocked.

Beneath his pointed beard, Richard’s mouth hardened. “Do not seek to control my actions, Bishop.”

“Of course not, Majesty.” Roderic’s gaze did not leave Annan’s face. “But perhaps we are mistaken in thinking this knight has any interest in plying his sword for a living?”

Annan frowned. Something in the way Roderic was asking the question… so unstudied as to be pointed… It was as if Roderic were here tonight just to ask it.

He frowned. If Roderic hoped to recruit him for his Holy War, he miscalculated.

“Indeed, I have an interest, Bishop.” The reckless smile that always exasperated Marek rose on his face. He looked back at Richard. “The Holy Father speaks the truth, Sire. Any contest between us could end no better than my meetings with Norman jongleurs posing as tourneymen.” He flicked his gaze in Hugh’s direction.

To enter this week’s contest, use the form at the bottom of the left-hand column to email your best guess. Deadline is Tuesday, August 11, 6:00 p.m. MST. One name will be selected from the correct entries and announced next Wednesday.

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. These Wednesday posts are always so informative! I enjoy them!

  2. Thanks! I’ve been having lots of fun putting them together.

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