Temple Bruer emerged in the middle of the vast Lincoln Heath, which spread out southwards from the city of Lincoln. The heath sparsely populated, and during the Templar times, would have been desolate and forbidding.
The Order of the Knights Templar, were bequeathed the land by William of Ashby in the mid 12th century. The Templar’s with their renowned vigour and enterprise built a great preceptor and established a productive estate.
As the Templar’s built their property, rumours spoke of a tunnel running under the heath, from the preceptor to the village of Wellingmore, some two miles away. Templar properties were often associated with such clandestine features.
The Temple Bruer estate would have been some 4,000 acres in size, featuring a round church, with a number of smaller buildings huddled around it, complete with a defensive wall and gatehouse. The people living within would fall into four categories: Knights – Sergeants – Servants – Chaplains.
The village of Temple Bruer did not exist before the Templar’s arrived; it was built to house the workforce needed by the Order; labourers, builders along with their families, who would become the Templar’s tenants. In 1259, the village was granted a charter to have its very own market.
The original Templar estate extended to the west, to an area known as Lincoln Cliff, where the knights typically exploited the climate and built a windmill. They were in fact the first recorded users of windmills in Europe.
Ermine Street, the old Roman road, runs along the top of the cliff and would have been used by the Templar’s as they travelled up from London, and onto Lincoln and York. It also follows the same route they would have taken to and from their training grounds at Byard’s Leap, which marks the southernmost limit of their property.
Temple Bruer made the change from arable farming to sheep farming, with the breeding of Lincolnshire Longwool sheep. All wool produced on Templar farms in the immediate area, was collected at Temple Bruer, shipped in Templar vessels, from eastern ports, bound for the continent. An extremely efficient system had been created, and Temple Bruer evolved into a wealthy preceptor in England.
Byard’s Leap, located to the south of Bruer’s estate, with sizeable stretches of level heath land, provided the Templar’s with tournament areas. It was here they held war games… engaging forces would take part in simulated battles.
When the Knights Templar were dissolved, Temple Bruer passed to the Hospitaller’s who retained it until the Dissolution of the Monasteries, by King Henry VIII, who then sold the estate to the Duke of Suffolk.
Temple Bruer remains consist of a square, three-storey tower with a spiral staircase, constructed out of Lincolnshire oolitic limestone. The tower underwent partial restoration in the early 20th century. Interior walls consist of inscriptions, believed to be associated with the Templar’s.
(Image) Temple Bruer Church: Papa Donkey
(Image) Temple Bruer Tower: Papa Donkey
(Image) Temple Bruer Chauch Plan: Papa Donkey
(Image) Longwool Sheep: Wikipedia