Houses of Knights Templar: Preceptory of Balsall

A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.

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'Houses of Knights Templar: Preceptory of Balsall', in A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 2, (London, 1908) pp. 99. British History Online [accessed 1 March 2024]

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The manor of Balsall was granted to the Templars in the reign of Stephen, by Roger Mowbray. A number of other gifts were made to them, including the manor of Sherborne and lands in Tysoe and elsewhere in the county. Henry II granted the hermitage of Fletchamstead and also the township of Keele in Staffordshire, and a preceptory was duly established at Balsall. (fn. 1) In 1248 a charter of free warren over their demesnes at Balsall was granted to the Templars, (fn. 2) and in 1268 a weekly market on Thursday and two fairs of three days each at the feasts of St. Gregory and St. Matthew. (fn. 3)

When the order was suppressed in 1308, there were amongst the brethren arrested eight who had been received into the order in the house of Balsall. Of these, John de Coningeston had been admitted some thirty-six years before, and would seem to have remained at the Warwickshire house most of the time, as he is mentioned as present, with others, at the reception of Thomas le Chamberlayn, William de Warewyk, chaplain, William de Burton, Robert de Sautre, John de Euleye, and Roger de Dalton. Next to him in seniority was John de Stoke, chaplain, admitted at Balsall seventeen years since; he was one of the few to bear witness against his order, saying that he was upon one occasion compelled to abjure Christ. (fn. 4)

The name of the preceptor and the number of the brethren resident here in 1308 are alike unknown, but several persons are recorded as being in receipt of various corrodies and pensions. John de Sibeford received 5s. yearly, his sustenance at the squire's table, and a tunic made from the cloth given by the preceptor to his retainers, and so did John de Bovyngton. In the latter case the privileges had been granted in return for his long and faithful service, but Adam de Westerdale paid 20 marks for a similar allowance, while a grant of food, half a mark yearly, and a tunic of the style of the free servants, was made to Richard le Carpenter of Balsall, on condition that he should serve as carpenter so long as he was able. Another pensioner was Richard de Poleford, who was first granted bread and water and poor clothing, but was subsequently admitted to the squire's table and given an allowance of 5 marks. (fn. 5)

The only preceptor whose name has survived appears to be 'Frater Ern[isius]' who acted as arbitrator in a suit between the priory of Nuneaton and the lords of Marton, c. 1224. (fn. 6)


  • 1. Dugdale, Mon. vi, 835.
  • 2. Chart. R. 32 Hen. III, m. 4.
  • 3. Ibid. 52 Hen. III, m. 1.
  • 4. Wilkins, Concilia, ii, 335, 341, 343-6.
  • 5. Memo. R. K.R. Hil. 1 Edw. III, m. 25, 26 d, 28.
  • 6. a Add. Chart. 48313.