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Knights Templar

Temple Bulstrode: cheese, butter and tallysticks

15 January 2016

The Templars’ manor of Temple Bulstrode was in Hedgerley parish in Buckinghamshire. Today the site is part of Bulstrode Park, open to the public only once a year, and famous for its lovely gardens and trees. In the early fourteenth century the trees provided an important source of income: fallen trees were cut up into tally sticks, which were used to keep a record of financial translations. In the first three months of 1308 the manor made a profit of nearly £11 producing and selling 7,600 tally sticks. There was also income from rents, the dovecote, the water mill and the sale of grain. But the largest sum in 1308-9 came from the sale of 157 cheeses and eight gallons of butter — that’s a lot of butter!

Update: there’s more on Templar cheese at Bulstrode here.

The estate also produced 350 sheep’s fleeces and 56 lambs’ fleeces, but these were not sold: they were handed over to the king’s agent.

Bulstrode was not one of the Templars’ larger estates in England: in 1308 the farmworkers reaped 145 acres of grain, in contrast to (for example) 460 acres of grain at Upleadon in that year, or 644 acres of grain at Garway four years later. But the manor seems to have been much better off than the Herefordshire houses: more of this in a later post.

(The accounts for Temple Bulstrode in 1308-9 are in The National Archives at E 358/18 rots 6 and 7 dorse and E 358/20 rots 12 and 24.)

Note to readers: since I uploaded this page, its contents have been ‘borrowed’ by the Bulstrode Camp Limited Residents’ Association. You’ll find their page here: