House of Knights Templars: The preceptory of Guiting

Page 113

A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.

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The preceptory of the Templars at Guiting was founded about the middle of the twelfth century. (fn. 1) Gilbert de Lacy and Roger de Waterville gave lands at Guiting; Roger, earl of Hereford, and Roger d'Oilly were among the benefactors of the Templars in Gloucestershire. (fn. 2) At the survey of the lands of the order in 1185, the possessions of the preceptory of Guiting were valued at £11 10s. 6½d. (fn. 3) The preceptories were virtually cells of the head house of the Templars in London, which were established principally for the sake of managing the property of the order. (fn. 4) The community consisted of some serving brethren, a chaplain, and one or more knights under the rule of the preceptor, who was always a knight. After due provision was made for their maintenance and for hospitality, the surplus of the revenues was sent to the Master of the Temple, and transmitted by him to Palestine.

The destruction of the order in England has been carefully chronicled. (fn. 5) In obedience to the bull of Clement V, under writs from Edward II, the Templars were suddenly arrested on 8 January, 1308, in all parts of England, and their property was seized for the king. (fn. 6) When they were transferred as prisoners to the Tower of London and to York and Lincoln Castles, in September, 1309, John de Coningston, the preceptor of Guiting, was sent to London. (fn. 7) Of all the Templars who were examined and tortured in England, only two serving brethren and one chaplain were constrained to admit the truth of the charges which were brought against them. (fn. 8) A compromise was at last effected. The Templars agreed to confess that they had erred in believing that the Master of their order, who was a layman, had the power of granting absolution, and that they were therefore guilty of heresy. (fn. 9)

They made a public abjuration of their error, and in June, 1311, were absolved and reconciled to the church. (fn. 10) Their property was confiscated, and a pension of 4d. a day was assigned to them. John de Coningston and six other Templars were sent to different monasteries in the diocese of Worcester to do penance, and their maintenance was a charge on the lands of Temple Guiting. (fn. 11)


  • 1. Dugdale, Mon. vii, 823.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Addison, The Knights Templars, 93.
  • 5. Ibid. 459-559.
  • 6. Addison, The Knights Templars, 464.
  • 7. Ibid. 467, 468.
  • 8. Ibid. 530-7.
  • 9. Ibid. 540.
  • 10. Ibid. 541.
  • 11. Worc. Epis. Reg. Reynolds, fol. 64.