Hugh also goes by the name of Hugues (also called Hugues) de Payens is a nobleman from France who took part in the First Crusade, which was the starting point of a two-century conflict between the Muslims and Christians over the Holy Land.
Hugh de Payens became a familiar name after Jerusalem was established as a Crusader state. Along with a small set of knights, started an order known as the Knights Templar after the king permitted them to do so. The group aimed to provide protection to Christian travelers coming to Jerusalem. The Knights Templar set their headquarters first in the Temple of Solomon, hence their name.
Hugues was the first Grand Master of the order from 1118 until 1136, when he died. Although there isn't much evidence of where he was born, many said to agree that he comes from the land of Payens in Champagne, France. He was born in 1070 and became a knight at the age of 15. Back in France,
Hugues de Payens arrived at Jerusalem when he accompanied the Count of Champagne to the Holy Land in 1104, only to return ten years later, with a few other knights' companionships. There aren't any records that state whether that Hugues participated in the First Crusade or not.
The first assembly of the Knights Templar stayed in Jerusalem to protect pilgrims until 1127, when Baldwin II, the king back then, sent them back to France to gather donations and seek support to the order. Obviously, the king was a huge advocate of the Knights. He sent for Bernard of Clairvaux, an abbot and a leader of the Benedictines, to officially recognize the order and also to write down the Rule, which will later organize the lives of the knights. Hughes de Payens, along with Bernard, became known as the co-founders of the Knights Templar.