Westerdale At The Time Of The Knights Templar

WhereIngleby Greenhow Village HallType of EventTalk
WhenThursday 13th July at 7.30pmTutor Carol Wilson

Carol Wilson explained that she had decided to focus her talk on the village of Westerdale in the time of the Knights Templar from the early thirteenth to the early fourteenth century.

The Knights Templar , though a religious order following St Benedict, were also a military order and were known for their business acumen, being the first international bankers.

Westerdale parish lies within the old wapentake of Langbaurgh, and was given to the Knights Templar by de Bovincourt, an under tenant of the de Balliol family. 

The Templars established a preceptory in the village of Westerdale probably on what is now the site of Westerdale Hall. Their records of 1307 describe a hall, chamber, kitchen, stable, granary and cattle shed, enclosed within an area extending to six and a half acres.

 Important for any medieval settlement was the mill – this was situated just west of the hall – and under the control of the Lords of the Manor i.e. the Knights Templar, along with the manorial communal oven for baking the essential bread. Whilst the demesne farm, Town Farm, meant that the peasants worked several days a week providing free labour.

The Court Leet was held in the Hall, under the jurisdiction of the Knights Templar, thus giving them control over the administration of payment of tithes, minor criminal offences as well as such matters as local road repairs.

Carol suggested that under the Knights Templar, due to their good business sense and organising ability, Westerdale flourished during their tenure, and there are suggestions that the population increased necessitating the farming of more land.

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