House of Knights Hospitallers: Preceptory of Dalby and Heather

Pages 32-33

A History of the County of Leicestershire: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1954.

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Lands at Dalby on the Wolds (fn. 1) are said to have been given to the Hospitallers by Robert le Bossu, Earl of Leicester, in exchange for other property. (fn. 2) The Hospitallers were certainly in possession of land at Dalby by 1206, when there seems to have been a preceptory established there. (fn. 3) They had acquired lands at Swinford, Isley Walton, Heather, and Ravenstone before 1199. (fn. 4) About 1220 they also possessed the advowsons of Swinford, Ashby Parva, Dalby on the Wolds, and Buckminster; of these, Dalby and Heather at least had been in the hands of the Order for some time. (fn. 5) In 1274 the Hospitallers had a view of frankpledge and the assize of bread and beer in Ashby Parva. (fn. 6) It is uncertain how far these Leicestershire possessions of the Order were included in the preceptory of Dalby. In 1338 the bailiwick (fn. 7) of Dalby (fn. 8) included, besides land at Dalby and the appropriated church (fn. 9) there, property at Peatling, (fn. 10) Heather, Grimston, (fn. 11) and Beaumont Leys. (fn. 12) There were then at Dalby the preceptor and one other brother, while the vicar of Dalby lived in the preceptory and acted as chaplain. (fn. 13) In 1377 there were again only two Hospitallers at Dalby. (fn. 14) The yearly revenue from the Dalby property was little more than £60 in 1338. (fn. 15) At the same date the Hospitallers' lands at Swinford, with the appropriated rectory there, were administered by a bailiff as a separate camera, (fn. 16) which had existed since at least 1225. (fn. 17) Rothley, which after the suppression of the Templars had in 1313 been handed over to the Hospitallers, (fn. 18) was accounted for separately in 1338, though it does not seem to have formed an independent preceptory. (fn. 19) The Hospitallers' lands at Melton Mowbray and Stonnesby were also not included in the accounts of the Dalby preceptory. (fn. 20) In 1346 the Hospitallers, who had long held one manor at Dalby on the Wolds, acquired a second manor there by exchanging it for their manor at Thrumpton. (Notts.). (fn. 21) By 1371 Dalby and Rothley certainly formed a single preceptory, (fn. 22) and they remained united until the seizure of the Hospitallers' lands in England under Henry VIII. In 1338, and again in 1371, the Hospitallers were themselves cultivating their lands at Dalby, while the manor of Heather, and various outlying properties in the county, were rented out. (fn. 23) Beaumont Leys, near Leicester, was exchanged for the rectory of Boston in 1482. (fn. 24)

In the 16th century the Preceptor of Dalby and Rothley sometimes also held the bailiwick of the Eagle (Line.). (fn. 25) From 1500, if not earlier, Dalby, Rothley, and Heather (fn. 26) were farmed out. (fn. 27) In 1535 the clear yearly revenue of the preceptory of Dalby, Rothley, and Heather was assessed at £231. 7s. 10d. (fn. 28) The lands of the preceptory passed to the Crown in 1540 with the suppression of the Hospitallers in England. The last preceptor, Sir Henry Poole, was granted a pension of 200 marks. (fn. 29) The First Minister's Account gives a net revenue of £167. 10s. 9¾d. (fn. 30)

Preceptors of Dalby

Robert of Sutton, occurs under Henry III or Edward I. (fn. 31)
Robert Cort, occurs 1326. (fn. 32)
John Larcher, occurs 1338. (fn. 33)
John Dingley, occurs 1363 and 1371. (fn. 34)
John Langstrothyr, occurs 1448. (fn. 35)
Thomas Newport, occurs 1503, (fn. 36) died 1522. (fn. 37)
Henry Babbington, occurs 1525. (fn. 38)
John Babbington, died 1534. (fn. 39)
Henry Poole, became preceptor 1535-6 (fn. 40) and remained in office until 1540. (fn. 41)

No seal is known.


  • 1. Also known as Old Dalby.
  • 2. Nichols, Leics. iii, 244. No evidence is quoted for this statement; lands at Dalby were in the earl's hands in 1124-9: V.C.H. Leics. i, 348.
  • 3. Pipe R. 1206 (Pipe R. Soc., N.S. xx), 8. The Master of the Hosp. of Dalby is mentioned. See also Cur. Reg. R., 1207-9, 219, 311, and Descriptive Cat. of Derbys. Charts., ed. I. H. Jeayes, 351.
  • 4. Dugd. Mon. vi, 809; Rot. Chart., 1199-1216 (Rec. Com.), 16.
  • 5. Rot. Hugonis de Welles, ed. W. P. W. Phillimore, i, 242-3, 247, 256, 267.
  • 6. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), i, 239.
  • 7. bajulia.
  • 8. Knights Hospitallers in Engl. (Camden Soc., 1st ser. lxv), ed. L. B. Larking, 63-65.
  • 9. Dalby ch. was appropriated before c. 1220: Rot. Hugonis de Welles, i, 256. The ch. of Dalby on the Wolds has been confused (ibid, i, 269) with that of Dalby Parva, held by the nuns of Langley. See ibid. ii, 291, and Rot. Ric. Gravesend, ed. F. N. Davis, 158, for evidence that Dalby Parva was the ch. held by Langley.
  • 10. The Hospitallers were already holding land at Peatling in 1205: Farnham, Leics. Notes, iii, 306.
  • 11. Grimston was a chapelry of Rothley, and the Hospitallers presumably obtained their property there when Rothley passed to them after the suppression of the Templars.
  • 12. Acquired by the Hospitallers from Simon de Mbntfort: Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), i, 238.
  • 13. Knights Hospitallers in Engl. 64-65.
  • 14. Farnham, Leics. Notes, v, 143.
  • 15. Knights Hospitallers in Engl. 65.
  • 16. Ibid. 63-65.
  • 17. Rot. Hugonis de Welles, ii, 297.
  • 18. G. F. Farnham, 'Rothley. The Descent of the Manor', T.L.A.S. xii, 46.
  • 19. Knights Hospitallers in Engl. 176-7. For an extent of Rothley drawn up in 1331, see T.L.A.S. xii, 47.
  • 20. Knights Hospitallers in Engl. 178.
  • 21. T.L.A.S. xii, 48-49.
  • 22. Nichols, Leics. iii, 245.
  • 23. Ibid. 245-6; Knights Hospitallers in Engl. 63.
  • 24. Rot. Parl. vi. 210.
  • 25. Nichols, Leics. iii, 246; L. & P. Hen. VIII, vii, p. 620; T.L.A.S. xii, 77.
  • 26. Heather is referred to in 1534 as if it were a separate preceptory (Farnham, Leics. Notes, vi, 333), but there is no record of its having had a separate preceptor, and it is only mentioned in connexion with Dalby.
  • 27. Ibid. v, 148-9; vi, 333-4; T.L, A.S. xii, 69-92.
  • 28. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iv, 165.
  • 29. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xvi, p. 177.
  • 30. S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/7272, mm. 1-10.
  • 31. Hist. MSS. Com., Hastings, i, 35.
  • 32. B.M. Add. Chart. 11225.
  • 33. Knights Hospitallers in Engl. 65.
  • 34. Hen. Knighton, Chron. (Rolls Ser.), ii. 119; Nichols, Leics. iii, 245.
  • 35. Cal. Papal Letters, 1447-55, 26; he was Preceptor of Balsall in 1454: ibid. 161.
  • 36. Nichols, Leics. iii, 246.
  • 37. T.L.A.S. xii, 77.
  • 38. Ibid, xii, 92.
  • 39. L. & P. Hen. VIII, vii, p. 620.
  • 40. Farnham, Leics. Notes, v, 148-9; L. & P. Hen. VIII, vii, p. 620.
  • 41. Ibid. xv, pp. 231-2.