House of Knights Templar
Dunwich

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Victoria County History

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William Page (editor)

Year published

1975

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120

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'House of Knights Templar: Dunwich', A History of the County of Suffolk: Volume 2 (1975), pp. 120. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=37911 Date accessed: 26 July 2014.


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HOUSE OF KNIGHTS TEMPLARS

32. THE KNIGHTS TEMPLARS OF DUNWICH

There was a house or preceptory of the Knights Templars at Dunwich at an early date, for King John, in the first year of his reign, confirmed to them their lands and other liberties at Richdon in this town. (fn. 1) This confirmation was strengthened by Henry III in 1227. (fn. 2)

In 1252 the bona Templiariorum de Donewico were valued at 11s. a year. In early wills their house was styled Templum beate Marie et Johannis, and it once occurs as Hospitale beate Marie et S. Johannis vocat Le Tempil. (fn. 3)

On the suppression of the order of the Templars in 1312, their Dunwich property was transferred to the Knights Hospitallers. In 1313 John de Eggemere, who had been appointed ad interim keeper of the Templars' manor of Dunwich, was ordered by the crown to pay to the Bishop of Norwich the arrears of the wages assigned to Robert de Spaunton and John Coffyn, Templars assigned to him to put in certain monasteries to do penance, to wit 4d. a day for each, and to continue to pay the same. (fn. 4) There can be no doubt from this entry on the close rolls that Spaunton and Coffyn were two of the Templars who had been attached to the Dunwich preceptory.

Weever, writing in 1631, describes the church of this establishment as having been a fine building, with a vaulted nave and lead-covered aisles. The church held various indulgences and was a place of much resort. It stood in Middlegate Street, and about 55 rods from All Saints'. The establishment possessed various houses, tenements, and lands in the town and neighbourhood, and their manor extended into Middleton and Westledon. The court of the lordship, called Dunwich Temple Court, was held on All Saints' Day. The church, styled in wills 'the Temple of Our Lady in Dunwich,' remained in use until the dissolution of the order of the Hospitallers in 1540, when the revenues of the Temple manor fell to the crown, and were granted to Thomas Andrews in 1562, as parcel of the possessions of the Preceptory of Battisford. (fn. 5)

Footnotes

1 Chart. R. 1 John, pt. i, m. 34.
2 Ibid. 2 Hen. III, pt. i, m. 29.
3 Suckling, Hist. of Suff. ii, 279.
4 Close, 7 Edw. II, m. 15.
5 Weever, Funeral Monuments, 719; Gardner, Hist. of Dunwich, 54.