Templar Houses and local society in Britain

"This article has set out a small selection of the evidence surviving in the records of the ‘Templar’s affair’ in the British Isles that may deepen scholars’ knowledge of the Templars’ relations with society at large.

It appears that at least some Templar houses were integrated into their locality, with travellers passing through the house on a regular basis, lodging there or visiting the chapel. Many local people were employed by a Templar commandery, on a full-time basis all year round or on a part-time seasonal basis. In addition, through the provision of corrodies and charitable giving, a Templar house could be a significant local provider of care to the elderly or needy. The evidence set out here indicates that the level of provision varied from house to house, and that some houses were more significant to their locality than others.

However, as this article has barely scratched the surface of the surviving evidence, there is great potential for further research in this area(....) The documents relating to the investigations into the Templars in the British Isles between 1308 and 1312 contain many examples of contact between the brothers and their local communities which, taken together, suggest that the relationship between the order’s houses and their localities could be close, even though this relationship might infringe the letter of the order’s privileges and regulations."

This blog quotes from the text of the paper "Relations between Houses of the Order of the Temple in Britain and their local communities" by Helen J. Nicholson published in Knighthoods of Christ: Essays on the History of the Crusades and the Knights Templar Presented to Malcolm Barber, ed. Norman Housley (Aldershot etc.: Ashgate, 2007), pp. 195-207. Published article Copyright © 2007; this edition © 2015; Illustration adapted from this source

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