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The Templars’ Estates in the west of Britain in the early fourteenth century

Nicholson, Helen Jane ORCID: 2016. The Templars’ Estates in the west of Britain in the early fourteenth century. Schenk, Jochen and Carr, Michael, eds. The Military Orders, vol. 6. Culture and Conflict in Western and Northern Europe, Vol. 2. The Military Orders, vol. 6. London: Routledge, pp. 132-142.

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This article represents a progress report on my research into the Templars’ properties in England and Wales, as recorded after the arrests of the Templars in Britain and Ireland and preserved in the UK National Archives at Kew. The detailed descriptions of the Templars’ properties drawn up when the Templars in England and Wales were arrested, combined with the accounts for their properties made by royal officials, permit a unique insight into agricultural practice, production and employment during the period 1308–13, and into the operation of this religious order, its religious life and role in wider society. The goal of this research is to publish the records for England and Wales (the records from Ireland were published in 1967), to make them available to all scholars with an interest in medieval estate records; but with the particular intention of establishing exactly how wealthy or poverty-stricken the Templars in England and Wales were in 1308, and what property the Hospitallers actually inherited in 1313. This article considers the evidence from the Templars’ property in the western extremes of Britain: in Herefordshire, Wales, Cornwall and Cumbria, to establish how they operated their estates, whom they employed and on what terms, and their commercial and financial transactions. The evidence discussed here reveals the Templar estates in Herefordshire and the western extremes of England and Wales as profitable concerns, which employed men and women for specific tasks such as carter and cook, and also as farm labourers. The Templars also employed a small number of skilled men, chaplains, clerks and some household servants, through the corrody system. Overall there were very few Templars in proportion to a large number of support staff. Crops grown and animals raised varied from area to area depending on what was most suited to local soil and climate, but everywhere the Templars also received rents from their tenants. The Templars were flexible in how they operated their estates: in Herefordshire they kept some land in demesne and administered it directly themselves, in South Wales there was some land in demesne worked by unfree tenants, but the Templars also leased out land; this may also have been the case at Temple Sowerby in Cumbria. At Temple in Cornwall, which was distant from any Templar administrative centre, their land was entirely leased out to tenants. In Worcestershire, a bailiff was employed by the royal custodian to oversee the running of two manors; it is unclear whether the Templars had also employed a bailiff, but it would have been a reasonable way of administering these manors where no Templars were resident.

Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
Uncontrolled Keywords: Knights Templar
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781472476388
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2022 11:12

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