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The Templars in Britain: Garway and South Wales

Nicholson, Helen Jane ORCID: 2013. The Templars in Britain: Garway and South Wales. Baudin, Arnaud, Brunel, Ghislain and Dohrmann, Nicolas, eds. L'économie templière en Occident: Patrimoines, commerce, finances - Actes du colloque international, Langres: Éditions Dominique Guéniot, pp. 323-336.

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This paper represents an early stage in my research into the records of the Templars’ estates in England and Wales during the proceedings against the Templars, 1308–12. It also builds on my recently-published work on the proceedings against the Templars in the British Isles. The Templars held extensive possessions in the east of England, but their possessions in the west of England were much less extensive. In contrast to the Hospitallers, they had little property in South Wales. To judge from later Hospitaller practice, whatever the Templars held in South Wales was administered from their commandery at Garway in the English border county of Herefordshire. Garway also controlled extensive but scattered properties elsewhere in south-western Herefordshire. Apparently remote and cut off from major communication routes, Garway was a far less wealthy commandery than those in eastern England. For example: in the first nine months after the Templars’ arrest in England (10 January to 29 September 1308), the income received at Garway was only 87l. 40s., 2½d.. This was less than half of the income of 1811. 9s. 1¾d. received at the important commandery of Temple Bruer in Lincolnshire, in eastern England, during the same period. At the time of the Templars’ arrests in 1308 there were only two Templars living at Garway, Philip of Meux, knight, and William of Pocklington. Only one Templar who was interrogated in the British Isles, William of Hereford, claimed to have been received here, ten years before 27 January 1310. The only other mention of Garway during the trial proceedings emphasized its remoteness: in his final ‘confession’ the priest-brother John of Stoke placed his alleged second reception ceremony at Garway, on 30 November 1293. No Templars were recorded as having been arrested in South Wales. In contrast, at Bruer in Lincolnshire, four Templars were arrested in January 1308, and during proceedings six Templars in England, Ireland and Scotland claimed to have been received there. It is possible to reconstruct some of the Templars’ activities at Garway and in South Wales from the records made by the royal custodians of these properties between the arrest of the Templars in January 1308 and the formal handover of the properties to the Hospitallers in December 1313. The surviving custodians’ accounts for Garway cover the six years that the Templars’ lands were held by King Edward II (January 1308– December 1313). Only one of the royal custodian’s accounts survives for Llanmadoc on the Gower Peninsula, in Glamorgan (Morgannwg), South Wales: this covers the period 10 January 1308 to Michaelmas 1308. The king also had records made of the Templars’ debts and their ongoing obligations to holders of corrodies. These record four corrodies payable at Garway, but none at Llanmadoc. There are no records from this period for the other Templar properties in South Wales. It appears reasonable to assume, although it is not certain, that the royal custodians – at least in the first year – operated the estates in the same way that they had been operated by the Templars. In time they might have made workers and overseers redundant in order to save money, but – at least initially, while the outcome of the proceedings against the Templars were uncertain – they would probably not have wanted to change any of the Templars’ procedures. It is likely that some damage had been done before the arrests, and that the Templars’ employees, or the Templars themselves, had removed property from the estates, but it is impossible to judge how far this might have been the case. For the purposes of this article, it is assumed that the records of activity on the Templars’ estates in the nine months after the Templars’ arrests give a true picture of their activity under the Templars’ administration.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Publisher: Éditions Dominique Guéniot
ISBN: 9782878255201
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Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 11:47

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