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Knights Templar: Temple Ewell

In the mid 1100’s, the Templar’s tore down a former wooden Saxon Church, and replaced it with the Church of SS Peter and Paul, whereupon they founded the preceptory at Ewell in Kent.

King John the Plantagenet King had attended Ewell, a few years prior to signing the Magna Carta.  It is said John disagreed with the then Pope, as to who had the right to appoint the Archbishop of Canterbury; Pope or an English King.  In 1207 the Pope proclaimed an interdict against England, which meant England had no church or lifeline to Rome.  John retaliated by seizing church property.  In 1209 John was excommunicated, and in 1213 was told to submit himself to the Vatican or face stern consequences.

John’s actions led to his excommunication from the church, leaving him open to attack by ambitious barons.  John had no choice, he had to make his submission to the papal legate, which he did so on the 15th May 1213.

According to Mathew Paris, renowned historian of St. Albans, King John and the legate met in a Templar House near Dover, but which house is unclear.  Temple Ewell or Western Heights?

Following the suppression of the Knights Templar in 1314, “The Order of the Knights Hospitaller” took over Temple Ewell as ordered by the Pope.   

In 1864 the Reverend Hales undertook a survey of Temple Ewell preceptory, upon which he discovered remains of several buildings and a tiny chapel, measuring 15 feet x 15 feet.  Evidence indicated buildings had been enlarged and extensions built.

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