Knights Templar

The Templars in Northamptonshire

SC 12-13-47 Northamptonshire rentals with placenames short

The Templars did not have any large estates in Northamptonshire, but at the start of 1308 they did have a number of tenants scattered across twenty-one locations in that county, who each held a small area of land and perhaps a mill too, and paid regular rent: a list survives in the National Archives at SC 12/13/47. Rent was generally paid on two days of the year: 25 March and 29 September, although one pair of tenants at Great Houghton also paid rent on St John’s Day in midsummer. Total rent due from the tenants in Northamptonshire amounted to £11 16 s. 8½ d., plus two hens and a cockerel at Christmas from one tenant in Aldwinkle. This was not big money: to put it into some perspective, total income after expenses at the commandery of Garway in Herefordshire for the nine months from 10 January to 29 September 1308 was £31 13 s. 10 d — that is, nearly three times as much as income from Northamptonshire in just three quarters of the time.

So, who were these Northamptonshire tenants? Were they just small freeholders or were they larger landowners who happened to be renting land from the Templars as part of their wider estates? A few preliminary searches on the National Archives catalogue suggests that at least some came into the second category, but this is for further research.

Update on 15 December 2015: I’ve now added a translation to my transcription of this rental on Wattpad.

Update on 12 January 2016: I have now transcribed and translated the enrolled accounts recorded at the Exchequer for Northamptonshire. These are inserted at the end of the Oxfordshire, Berks. and Wilts. accounts for 1311–12, 1312–13 and 1313–14, and simply summarise the rent received. They show that the total rent remained the same each year, except in the final few months before the property was handed over to the Hospitallers — when nothing was paid at all. TNA E 358_18-20 accounts for Northants 1311-14

Update on 11 February 2016: the accounts for the Templars’ estates in Bedfordshire during April–July 1308 also include some accounts for Templar property in Northamptonshire at Easton Maudit and Bozeat. I have put a transcription and translation here.

Comments

  • Mike Crouch

    Good morning – I don’t know if you are still reading these…
    I am Churchwarden of the church in Quinton, Northamptonshire.
    There is a large stone in the churchyard (5 ft tall by 2 ft wide) which has a Fleur de Lise at the top and a full length ‘sword’ or ‘cross’. Could this have anything to do with the Knights Templar (I’ve found similar stones in Scotland on the internet).

    • Helen Nicholson

      So far as I can ascertain, the Templars did not have any land or tenants in Quinton. You will have looked at the document I uploaded to the internet and seen that Quinton is not listed. The Victoria Country History for Northamptonshire doesn’t mention any Templar involvement in Quinton (https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/northants/vol4/pp282-285). The parish church was under the control of the priory of St Andrews in Northampton, which was a community of Cluniac monks and nothing to do with the Templars: see https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/northants/vol2/pp102-109. You don’t include a photograph of the stone and I haven’t been able to find one on the internet, but the fact that the stone is not mentioned by either the Victoria County History or by Nikolaus Pevsner in The Buildings of England: Northamptonshire suggests that it isn’t medieval. The Scottish stones with this design were not created by or for the Templars. In short, the answer to your question is: no, on basis of the evidence I have, this is nothing to do with the Knights Templar.

  • Wendy Page

    Hello Helen,
    I am investigating Templar and Hospitaller lands in Cosgrove and Furtho for our local history website at http://www.cosgrovehistory.co.uk. I’m hoping you will agree to let me use your work, with appropriate references, to add to the material we already have – trying to build up a picture of land ownership in this very muddly period. Your work is our earliest reference yet – very exciting!
    I will have a look at the Templars book as well – any pointers to sources would be gratefully received!

    • Helen Nicholson

      Hello Wendy: thank you for your email. I’m very glad to read that you’ve found my material useful. Yes, I’d be very happy for you to use it, with appropriate references. Regrettably, I don’t have any information about what happened to these properties after 1313. If you like, I can pass your query on to contacts who study the Hospitallers in England in the later middle ages.

  • Leanne Allard

    My father Richard Valentine Jones sadly passed away a few weeks ago. He LOVED Northampton history etc and has so much stuff he’s collected over the years. Before him, his father of the same name also kept many things from his whole lifetime. My Grandfather and Grandmother ( Dorothea Jones) were part part of a ” Templar Lodge”. Have never really understood what it was all about, just know that they were very religious Methodists who frequented Queensgrove for many many years. My father, kept HIS fathers books from many Templar meetings, registers, minutes etc. Some are rather worn ! Some date back to the 1800s. We’re interested to know if anybody knows more about this, if these ” lodges” still exist and if there is anywhere who would be interested in the literature that we have. We will obviously always keep them as they’re written quite often, by my Grandfather, just trying to shed more light on them.
    Thank you for reading. ( I have many photos of the literature in my possession, for example Temperance Mirror 1884- 1886)

    • Helen Nicholson

      Regrettably, I cannot help you with your enquiry. From what you write, it appears that your grandparents were members of one of the Temperance organisations, founded in the nineteenth century, which called themselves ‘Templars’ — a pun on ‘temperance’ and the fact they fought the good fight against the evils caused by alchol. These groups did not and do not have any historical connection with the medieval Knights Templar. I’m sorry to say that I don’t know who is conducting research into these groups, so I can’t advise you on whom to ask.

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