Houses of Knights Templar: Preceptory of Shipley

Pages 92-93

A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1973.

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About 1125 Philip de Harcourt bestowed the manor and church of Shipley upon the knights of the Temple, subsequently, in 1154, adding the church of Sompting, with which apparently went the chapel of Cokeham in which, however, the family of Bernehus had certain rights which were the occasion of several disputes. Another chapel belonging to this house was that of Knepp in the neighbourhood, of which the monks of Sele claimed certain tithes; by an agreement made in 1181 the monks surrendered these claims, and undertook, that if any of their brethren should minister in the chapel of Knepp he should pay over all offerings received to the preceptor of Shipley, who should give him such remuneration as he saw fit. The advowsons of Woodmancote and Southwick, originally granted to the Templars of Saddlescombe, appear to have been taken over by the larger preceptory of Shipley—indeed, it is not improbable that at the time of the suppression of the order Saddlescombe may have been only a 'camera' of Shipley.

The inventory made in 1308 gives a long list of household and farming implements, a small quantity of armour, twenty silver spoons, and 'a book of Kings and a book of Beasts,' the value of which was unknown to the jurors. The manor of Shipley was returned at £8 18s. 1¼d., the church at £13 6s. 8d., and the goods at £73 12s. 3d. At Sompting, the lands and church together were worth £27 13s. 4d., and the goods £24 19s. 7½d. There was a further £6 arising from lands in Loxwood and Wisborough.

Among the knights examined with regard to the charges brought against their order were William de Egendon, who had been preceptor of Shipley for four years, William de la Fenne, a former member of this house, in the dormitory of which he had been admitted fifteen years earlier, and three others connected with Shipley. These all stood up staunchly for their order, but another Sussex templar, Richard de Kocfeld, said that John de Borne, confessor to Earl Warenne, said that he had ruined his soul by joining the order, while he further related that Walter, rector of Hoathly, had told him that he had heard that a certain Templar had said there was one article of the oath of admission which he could never reveal to any living creature.

Preceptors of Shipley

John de Hamedon, occurs 1247

Thomas de la Fenne, occurs 1288 (fn. 1) 1292 (fn. 2)

William de Egendon, 1304-8.


  • 1. The accounts of these two houses are taken, except where other references are given, from the article by W. H. Blaauw, in Suss. Arch. Coll. ix, 227–74, which is based upon the Cott. MS. Nero E. vi, and Wilkins, Concilia.
  • 2. Assize R. 924, m. 59.
  • 3. Magd. Coll. Oxon. D., 'Shoreham,' 18.