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Knights Templar: Sandford

St.Andrews Church - Sandford

St.Andrews Church – Sandford

Queen Matilda (Maud) wife of King Stephen of England, gave the Manor of Temple Cowley to the “Order of the Knights Templar.”  The Templars built a house for their Order along with a Preceptory.

During the reign of King Stephen, in 12th century England, Robert de Sandford knight to the Abbot of Abingdon, founded the Benedictine Priory with Saint Nicolas as its patron saint, on land called Cherley in Sandford.  With his daughter, Christine as one of their nuns.

Thomas de Sandford, descendant of Robert de Sandford, Chamberlain to King John of England, and a member of the Order of the Knights Templar.  These Templars by 1200 had become a league of rich and powerful warriors with Temple Courts and Preceptories across Southern Christendom.  In 1239 the Manor of Sandford passed to his fellow Templars for the creation of their headquarters, the Preceptory of the Templars of Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Berkshire and patrons of Littlemore Benedictine Priory.

The political power and wealth of the Templars grew at an alarming rate, until King Philip IV of France and the Pope stepped in, calling for the arrest of the Order of the Knights Templar in 1307 on charges of heresy.  Mass arrests started in France and spread across Europe.  Hundreds were captured, executed and their Grand Master burnt at the stake in Paris.  Goods seized, land and buildings confiscated.

William Sautre member of the Knights Templar and preceptor of Sandford, suffered the fate of fellow Templar’s being arrested and brought to trial on charges of heresy.

The Manor and Littlemore Priory along with 250 acres of land passed to the Order of the Knights Hospitallier.  In 1520 the Hospitalliers refused to accept the Royal Act of Supremacy, and were evicted from their lands.

In 1525 Littlemore Priory was dissolved by Papal Bull.  Then the Manor at Sandford along with the Priory passed into Cardinal Wolsey’s hands.  Wolsey died in 1530, the Preceptory and Priory lands, passed into the King’s hands.

In 1542, Edmund Powell a Welsh Catholic purchased the Preceptory and lands, and went on to build a Tudor Manor House, out of the old stone building on the site.

In 1549 Edmund Powell acquired the Mynchery at Littlemore.  The Powell fortune was noted, as they became the Lords of the Manor of Salford and patron’s of St.Andrew’s Church.  This Catholic family used the old chapel of the Knights Hospitallier as their private chapel within St.Andrew’s Church.

The Powell’s held onto the Manor until 1760 when it passed to the Walter family and then to the Duke of Marlborough.  In 1902 the property known as Manor Farm Temple Farm, was purchased by Magdalen College.  The college carried out many improvements to the building, using old materials, original walls and beams.

Within St.Andrew’s Church, two black marble tablets located in the Chancel floor.  They are to commemorate Sir John Powell who died in 1678 and Anna Betham, Sir Richard Powell’s widow who died in 1692.  A black and white wall tablet, located in the tower was to commemorate the Powell family, in memory of Sir William Powell from Tutbury who died in 1656.  A cornice of white marble above a black tablet, with latin inscription, bears a winged cherub and the Powell family arms.  Supported by two black marble columns resting upon carved brackets with cherubs each side of a winged skull.

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