Aslackby village – the preceptory was to the south-east of the church
|Location||The Temple Farm|
|OS grid reference|
|Founded||1164 or earlier|
|Demolished||After 1536 and before 1892|
Aslackby Preceptory in Lincolnshire lay to the south-east of Aslackby Church. Until about 1891 a tower, possibly of the preceptory church, together with a vaulted undercroft, survived as part the Temple farmhouse. Temple farmhouse was subsequently rebuilt and a 15th-century window and a stone pinnacle remain in the garden
History of the preceptory
The preceptory was, according to William Dugdale, founded either in or before 1164. This is recorded in Dugdale’s Monasticom, which states that Hubert de Rye presented the Templars with church of Aslackby with its chapel "in the year when Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury departed from the King [Henry II] at Northampton" – i.e., 1164. After the order was suppressed in the first decade of the 14th century, the property passed to Temple Bruer.
The word preceptory is used for the community of the Knights Templar which lived on one of the order's estates in the charge of its preceptor. From that its meaning was extended to include the estate and its buildings. The one at Aslackby was founded in 1192. Little of its structure survives, but early descriptions and sketches indicate that its church was like that at Temple Bruer Preceptory, a chancel with an apsidal east end and a round nave to its west. This was a standard design for Templar churches, in imitation of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The best-known example in England is the Temple Church at the western end of the City of London. Later, towers were built at both the Lincolnshire churches, the one at Aslackby apparently around 1200, on the south side of the round nave. In 1192 there was already a village with a small castle. The honour of Craon was divided, and one third of a knight’s fee was granted to the Templars who managed it from Aslackby CW - U.T.
When the order was disbanded in 1312, most of the property was transferred to another order, the Knights Hospitaller. Whereas the Templars had been established to protect people on pilgrimages to Jerusalem, the Hospitallers had the additional concern of providing accommodation for them. Under the Hospitallers, the equivalent of a preceptory was a commandery, but Aslackby was not managed by the Hospitallers in this way. After 1312, the property was managed by leasing it out. Until the dissolution of the Hospitallers' order in England in 1540–41, the Aslackby estate was supervised from Temple Bruer, so the buildings lost their higher status use from the early 14th century, unlike most English monastic buildings, which were in use until the 16th century. In 1539, the buildings were said to be in ruins. After the Hospitallers' houses in England were dissolved, the Aslackby lands were transferred into the secular hands of Lord Clinton.
Evidence for the Medieval Preceptory
In 1789 Richard Gough in his revision of Camden states that the Preceptory might only have commenced when John Le Marshall, the heir to Hubert de Rye granted a messuage or principal dwelling in 1193. He goes on to state ‘‘Here was round church, now rebuilt as a farm house, and still called the Temple’. This would suggest that there was a local memory of a round church, similar to Temple Bruer Preceptory and that it may not have been finally demolished until the 18th century. Shortly after this in 1791John Byng the diarist, who later became Viscount Torrington, visited Temple farm. He records a turreted building and I was civilly shewn into the lower room , now a dairy, curiously arch’d with stone, and with coats of arms in the centre. Around this house was a great park, well timber’d and stock’d with deer, which was destroyed about eighty years ago. Byng also made a sketch of the tower with an arched doorway at ground level. In 1808 John Moore, the historian of the nearby town of Bourne, Lincolnshire published a note about Aslackby Preceprtory in The Gentleman's Magazine and promised a engraving of the Preceptory in the second part the History of the Hundred of Aveland. This was not published, but about 1835 an engraving of the village of Aslackby by W.Watkins from a sketch by J. B. Topham was published. This shows the Temple Farm and the Preceptory tower.
Towards the end of the 19th century its condition was giving concern and Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) attempted to get the owners to restore the building, but demolition took place as it was thought to be too dangerous. Detailed drawings of the tower were made. It is noted that a number of architectural fragments were taken to a garden in Horbling. These fragments must be the arch from the lower floor of the tower which are at the Old Rectory, Horbling, and are now a Grade II listed structure.
See also other Lincolnshire Templar Preceptories
- Aslackby Preceptory, Kesteven ( )
- Eagle, Kesteven ( )
- Temple Bruer Preceptory
- Witham Preceptory, Kesteven ( )
- Willoughton Preceptory, Lindsey ( )
'Lincolnshire Templar Camera and Granges
- Bottesford, Lindsey . Cell of Willougton( )
- Temple Belwood, Belton, North Lincolnshire
- Grantham Angel and Royal
- Gainsborough, Lincolnshire
- Great Limber, Lindsey ( )
- Horkstow, Lindsey ( ) Cell of Willoughton.
- Mere, Branston and Mere. Probably a grange of Willoughton.
- "Antram, (1989), 107
- Dugdale Monasticom, Vol. IV, p. 835, quoted by "Sister Elspeth", p. 212.
- Historic England. "Temple Farm (348725)". PastScape. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- White, A. Lincolnshire Museums Archaeology Series No.25 (1981)
- ”Camden’s Britannia”, (1806 ed.), Vol ii, pg 355.
- ‘‘White” (1981) pg. 5. The original diary of John Byng with the drawing is in Lincoln Central Library
- ‘‘White” (1981) pg. 5.
- Archway Approximately 15 Metres South of the Old Vicarage, Horbling
- Antram N (revised), Pevsner N & Harris J, (1989), The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire, Yale University Press.
- Charles G. Addison The History of the Knights Templars (1997) ISBN 0932813402
- Larking, L B. and Kemble, J. M (1857), The Knights Hospitallers in England: Being a Report of the Prior Philip de Thame to the Grand Master Elyan de Villanova for A.D. 1338 Camden Society, pp. 153–156
- Mills, D. The Knights Templar in Kesteven North Kesteven District Council (c.1990)
- Sister Elspeth (1906) in Page, William,(ed). A History of the County of Lincoln Volume 2. Victoria County History. pp. 210–213 Houses of Knights Templars: Willoughton, Eagle, Aslackby, South Witham and Temple Bruer.
- White, A. (1981) The Knights Templar of at Temple Bruer and Aslackby', Lincolnshire Museums Archaeology Series No.25.