House of Knights Templar: The preceptory of Keele

A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1970.

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'House of Knights Templar: The preceptory of Keele', in A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 3, (London, 1970) pp. 267-268. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

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An estate in Keele worth £2 3s. 7d. was given to the Knights Templars by Henry II, probably in 1168-9. By 1185 the Templars were also holding land at Onneley (in Madeley) worth 2s., likewise a gift of Henry II. (fn. 2) Richard I confirmed Henry's gifts in 1189 as the vill of Keele and its appurtenances. (fn. 3) From at least 1206 the Templars were letting the Keele property. (fn. 4)

At some time during the 13th century Keele became a preceptory. By the 1250s the 'Templars of Keele' were holding half a virgate at Stanton upon Hine Heath in Shropshire (probably at Booley) by gift of Richard of Stanton and land at Adeney (in Edgmond, Salop.) by gift of Clement of Adeney, who had become their man. (fn. 5) A Preceptor of Keele occurs in 1271. (fn. 6) At the quo warranto proceedings of 1293 the Master of the Templars upheld his claim to view of frankpledge, assize of bread and ale, and 'theng' in Keele. (fn. 7) By 1308 the Templars held rents in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Onneley, Stanton, and Nantwich as part of the manor of Keele. (fn. 8)

In 1308, after the condemnation of the Order, the Crown seized Keele with the rest of the Templars' property, retaining it until 1314. (fn. 9) Although it should have passed to the Knights Hospitallers, Keele was in fact secured by Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, evidently as lord of Newcastle-under-Lyme, and on his execution in 1322 it reverted to the Crown. It was only in 1324 that Keele was granted to the Hospitallers. (fn. 10) Instead of establishing a new preceptory they made the manor part of their Commandery of Halston (Salop.). (fn. 11)


Roger de Boninton, occurs 1271. (fn. 12)

Henry Damary, occurs as commander in 1292 and 1293. (fn. 13)

Ralph de Tanet, occurs 1308. (fn. 14)

No seal is known.


  • 1. Thanks are due to Miss L. M. Midgley for providing details from documents in the British Museum and the Public Record Office.
  • 2. S.H.C. i. 55 sqq.; Beatrice A. Lees, Records of the Templars in Eng. in the 12th Cent. 31; Bk. of Fees, i. 143. The value of the Keele property is taken from the Pipe R. (which from 1190-1 give it as £2 3s. 4d.: S.H.C. ii(1), 11 sqq.); the Templars' own survey of 1185 gives the value as £5 6s. 8d. (Lees, op. cit. 31). This survey also mentions small properties elsewhere in Staffs. given by other benefactors than the king: ibid. 30, 31.
  • 3. Lees, Records of Templars, 141.
  • 4. B.M., Cott. MS. Nero E. vi, f. 167.
  • 5. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 55, 65. R. W. Eyton, Antiquities of Shropshire, ix. 293, suggests that Ric. of Stanton may have been the Ric. fitz Halufri who was living in the late 12th cent. Booley is mentioned from 1331, when Stanton has disappeared from the accounts: B.M., Cott. MS. Nero E. vi, f. 168. Adeney does not occur after the 1250s among the Templars' lands.
  • 6. See below.
  • 7. S.H.C. vi(1), 267.
  • 8. E 358/18, m. 4.
  • 9. Ibid.; /19, m. 36.
  • 10. E 358/15, mm. 11, 14; /16, mm. 8, 9; S.C 6/1146/11, m. 3. It was described as a member of the earl's manor of Newcastle-under-Lyme in an inquisition into his estates in 1327: S.H.C. 1913, 3. During this period the rents in Nantwich were evidently lost. Rents in Balterley (in Barthomley) occur by 1352: Univ. of Keele, Sneyd MSS., S. 2/44.
  • 11. Univ. of Keele, Sneyd MSS., S. 2/1, Ct. Roll, Mar. 29 Edw. III.
  • 12. S.H.C. vi(1), 49.
  • 13. Sel. Bills in Eyre (Selden Soc. xxx), 43-44.
  • 14. E 358/18, m. 4.