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Knights Templar: Saddlescombe Farm and Preceptory

Knights Templar: Saddlescombe Farm & Preceptory

The Order of the Knights Templar were originally founded with the express purpose of protecting Christian pilgrims on route to the Holy Land, following the capture of Jerusalem by the Crusaders.  A Christian Army in the employ of the Pope, doing God’s work.

Saddlescombe Farm, some four miles north-west of Brighton was given to the Templars in the 1220’s by Geoffrey de Say, the 5th Earl of Warenne.  William de Warenne, the Earl of Surrey added a grant of forty shillings rent from Lewes.  Around that time Simon le Counte gave them the churches of Southwick and Woodmancote along with its tithes.

The Order of the Templars turned it into a Preceptory, it was here where profits from farm and other Templar properties in the area would be collected and used for the knight’s adventures overseas.

The Order of the Knights Templar, were a religious order, and Saddlescombe Preceptory would have been run by monks, for no knights would have lived here at that time.

Alan Trenchmere granted them land in Shoreham, upon which the Templars built a chapel which passed to the Carmelite Friars of Shoreham.  One Theobald de Englescheville granted them the Manor of Compton in Berwick.  In return all that was asked of them was to provide a chaplain to celebrate the souls of their donor: King Henry III and Queen Eleanor.

The 1308 survey of the Templars Preceptory consisted of much property bestowed upon them by those believing in the Order, was passed to the Order of the Hospitallers.  The Earl of Surrey was granted permission to use land and buildings for himself and his illegitimate son Sir Thomas Nerford up until 1397, when Saddlescombe was restored to the Hospitallers.

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