Houses of Knights Hospitallers: Maltby by Louth, Skirbeck and Lincoln

Pages 209-210

A History of the County of Lincoln: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1906.

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Though the knights of St. John held a good deal of property in Lincolnshire at the dissolution, only a small part of it had come down to them from their early endowment. They had but two commanderies in the county (or perhaps three) before 1312, when the property of the Templars passed into their hands. Of these the earlier was that established at Maltby during the reign of Stephen by Ranulf, earl of Chester, (fn. 1) a considerable benefactor of many religious houses in Lincolnshire.

This commandery does not, however, seem to have been a very large one. Its master was accused in 1275 of unjustly citing his men before the warden of the hospital in London, and of wearying them out with trouble and expenses until they were willing to do whatever he pleased. He was accused at the same time of appropriating a free warren in Tathwell. (fn. 2)

In 1338 there was still a 'Bailiwick' at Maltby, having a squire as preceptor, and with him two brethren, a knight, and a squire; there were three corrody-holders as well, dependent upon the revenue of the commandery, which amounted to 174 mks. 6s. 8d., and the expenses of the house and hospitality, and other outgoings being 75 mks. 6s. 6d., there were 99 mks. 10s. 2d. clear, to pay into the common treasury. (fn. 3)

The smaller commandery at Skirbeck was, it is supposed, afterwards united with that of Maltby.

The original endowment seems to have included the parish church of Maltby, with lands at Maltby and Tathwell, and half a knight's fee at Rauceby. (fn. 4) At the dissolution the preceptory of Maltby, with the advowson of churches and of the chapel of Skirbeck, was valued at £34. (fn. 5)

Preceptor of Maltby

William de Hambleton, (fn. 6) occurs 1338.


The commandery or bailiwick of Skirbeck is said to have been founded originally as an ordinary hospital, and to have been handed over to the hospitallers about 1230 by Sir Thomas Moulton. (fn. 7) In 1338 twenty poor people were maintained in the infirmary; there was a preceptor in charge, and a chaplain to serve the house. It was stated at that time that the endowment of the bailiwick consisted of the manor of Skirbeck only, with the chapel of the manor, and of Winstow (then let to farm); that its revenues amounted only to 126 mks. 11s. 7¾d., of which 118 mks. 11s. 8¾d. went in expenses and the support of twenty poor according to the ordination of the lord of Moulton, the founder of the house; and that it had been difficult even to raise sufficient for this during the last sixteen years, because of severe inundations. (fn. 8) There were two corrodyholders attached to the house, both chaplains. It seems that the revenue had already diminished, if it had really a few years before sustained four priests as well as the twenty poor in the infirmary and relieved as many as forty who came every day to the gate. (fn. 9) As time went on, and the value of land became still less after the great pestilence, this house apparently ceased to have a separate existence, and became merged in the preceptory of Maltby. (fn. 10)

The only preceptor whose name survives is John of Steeping, who occurs 1338. (fn. 11)


In a charter dated 1257 (fn. 12) mention is made of a house which was of the fee of the hospitallers of Lincoln. This would seem to imply the existence of a bailiwick or commandery there at the beginning of the thirteenth century, but if this is correct, it had ceased to be when the survey of 1338 was taken.


  • 1. Dugdale, Mon. vi, 835-6.
  • 2. Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), i, 336. Only the accusation is entered, as is usual on the Hundred Rolls; it may or may not have been true. There is nothing to show.
  • 3. L. B. Larking, Knights Hospitallers, 59.
  • 4. Dugdale, Mon. vi, 835; Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), i, 278; Larking, Knights Hospitallers, 57.
  • 5. Mins. Accts. London and Middlesex, 31 and 32 Hen. VIII, No. 114.
  • 6. L. B. Larking, Knights Hospitallers, 57.
  • 7. Dugdale, Mon. vi, 804. The original dedication is said to have been to St. Leonard.
  • 8. L. B. Larking, Knights Hospitallers, 60.
  • 9. Dugdale, Mon. vi, 804.
  • 10. It was granted probably as parcel of the preceptory of Maltby to Charles duke of Suffolk in 1542 (L. and P. Hen. VIII, xvii, 137 [22]).
  • 11. L. B. Larking, Knights Hospitallers, 60.
  • 12. Cal. of Chart. R. i, 460.