The Templars’ Scottish charters

The 1308 inventory of the Templars' house at East Cowton in Yorkshire mentions 'all the charters of the Temple of Scotland'. Photo by Nigel Nicholson.

The 1308 inventory of the Templars’ house at East Cowton in Yorkshire mentions ‘all the charters of the Temple of Scotland’. Photo by Nigel Nicholson.

Whatever happened to the Templars’ Scottish records? There is no evidence that King Edward II’s officials took inventories of the Templars’ two Scottish commanderies: if they did, the records have been lost. But in fact it appears that the Templars had moved their valuable documents south before the king’s officials moved in. The inventory of the Templars’ house at East Cowton in North Yorkshire, taken on Wednesday 10 January 1308 by Robert Ughtred, states that in the camera sunt omnes carte templi scocie sil’ cum diversis cartis quorumdam ten’ in Angl’ in una arca sigillo predicti Roberti Ughtrd signat’ (in the chamber are all the charters of the Temple of Scotland similarly with various charters of certain tenements in England, in one chest sealed with the seal of the aforesaid Robert Ughtred).

So the Templars’ Scottish charters had been taken to Yorkshire. Presumably the brothers hoped that they would be safe there from the Scottish wars. On 1 October 1314 a chest, four coffers and a hanaper containing charters, writings and other muniments relating to the Templars were passed by the keepers of the Templars’ lands in Yorkshire to the king (Calendar of the Patent Rolls for the Reign of Edward II, A.D. 1313-1317 (London: HMSO, 1898), p. 184) — perhaps these also included the Scottish charters. But these documents don’t appear to have survived. Unless any of you out there know where they are?

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