REFERENCES


Larking, L.B. and Kemble, J.M. 1857 The Knights Hospitallers in England Camden Society, 84-86


Page, William 1907 'House of Knights Hospitaller: Preceptory of Battisford', A Victoria History of the County of Suffolk: Volume 2 , pp. 120-121.

1989 'Archaeology in Suffolk 1988' Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History ​37/1989/1:70

1990 'Archaeology in Suffolk 1989' Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History 37/1990/2:158


1990 'Excursion 1st July 1989' Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History 37/1990/2:170-171

The only visible remains of the Battisford Preceptory are parts of the northern, eastern and southern arms of the moat that originally enclosed the site. Although the western arm has been destroyed the original enclosure measured about 100m N-S and is unlikely to have been more than 130m E-W. The moat was fed at its north-east corner by a stream and early maps show that this watercourse also had a channel running east of the moat. This may simply have been a means of by-passing the moat but it might indicate a subsidiary enclosure to the east. 

Limited archaeological investigations were carried out by the Suffolk Archaeology Unit in 1988 and 1989 and although these have never been published in full summary accounts did appear in the Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute for Archaeology and History in 1989 and 1990. Most of the features excavated consisted of brick-built cellars to the south of the existing house and appear to date from a late phase in the history of the preceptory, although mention is also made of a flint rubble wall and adjoining floor surface of 12th century date.

The house currently occupying the site and known as St John's Manor House,  dates from the late 16th century. However,  a structural survey undertaken at the time of the archaeological work identified a 'great many timbers' taken from an older house, including a number of soot stained rafters. These imply an open hall; probably the 1338 manerium​.

​BATTISFORD PRECEPTORY; archaeology

The history of the Battisford Preceptory has been described in detail by Page in the VCH for Suffolk and only the broad outlines need to be mentioned here. The preceptory was established during the reign of Henry II as that king granted land at Bergholt to the Hospitallers at Battisford, and further grants followed 1271 and 1275 during the reigns of Henry III and Edward I. The site passed into the  hands of the Gresham family in 1544 as part of the dissolution of the monasteries.


BATTISFORD PRECEPTORY IN 1338


The account for the Bajulia de Batesford lists a manerium with a garden valued at 15 shillings and a dovecot valued at 6 shillings and 8 pence. Other sources of revenue consist of arable lands, pasture, meadow and woodland. There were also assize rents, voluntary contributions and labour services. There was also a windmill, but this is unlikely to have been on site. The preceptory also had two membris, at Codenham and Melles.


The Reprise lists two ordained brothers, both knights, one serving as the preceptor and also a pensioner (corrodario). In addition there was a chaplain, a chamberlain, a treasurer (clavigeri), a cook, a baker, two boys, a page and a steward.

​BATTISFORD PRECEPTORY; documents

The remains of Battisford Preceptory (TM 04635418) lie about 4.5km south of Stowmarket and 1km west of the village of Battisford. All that remains at the site today, apart from the place-name 'St John's Manor House', are two and bit arms of the original moat, shown in green on the plan.

BATTISFORD PRECEPTORY, SUFFOLK (NHLE 1352138)