The documentary history of the preceptory is summarised in Page (1913, 261), Miller et al ​ (1982, 52) and Evans (1997, 71-74).  It appears to have been established soon after 1201 when Sybil de Beverley, the wife of Lord percy, gave to the Hospitallers the manor of the Holy Trinity, east of Beverley. In 1540 it passed into secular hands at the Dissolution and 1585 it had been sold to the Corporation of Beverley.



BEVERLEY PRECEPTORY IN 1338


The account for the Bajulia de Beverlee lists a manerium edificatum (manorial building) with a garden and courtyard worth 6 shillings. There were also two dovecots worth 13 shillings and 4 pence, two others, presumably elsewhere, worth 6 shillings and 8 pence and a watermill worth 13 shillings and 4 pence. The entry also includes details of property at five other locations but these are listed as sources of revenue, as are entries in respect of agricultural lands, rents, court dues and voluntary contributions.

The Reprise ​lists two ordained brothers as knights, one serving as preceptor and a third brother as a sergeant-at-arms. Stipends are listed for two chaplains, a steward, three clerks and a reeve. Other personnel mentioned are a chamberlain, a cook, a bailiff, a baker,  grooms, a gate-keeper, a swineherd and two pages. There is also a record of 4 shillings and 1 penny being spent on wine, wax and oil for the chapel.


Other documents, summarised in the source cited above, add to the tenurial history of the preceptory but add nothing to the study of its physical remains.


CARTOGRAPHIC AND PICTORIAL SOURCES FROM THE 18th, 19th and 20th CENTURIES


The earliest pictorial ​representation of the preceptory is William Burrow's map of Beverley in 1747 (Miller et al 1982, 16).  This shows a roughly square enclosure orientated south-west to north-east with an apparent entrance on its north-west side. The enclosure is outlined by two parallel lines which can be understood, from later sources, to demarcate a moat. In the 18th century the area appears to have been occupied by market gardens. By the middle of the following century it had been largely built over and the preceptory site was occupied by the platforms and sidings of Beverley station.


However, one side of the moat survived long enough to be recorded on large scale Ordnance Survey maps from the 1850s through until the 1930s. First, these maps indicate that Burrow's orientation was incorrect and that he site lay precisely on a north-south orientation. Second, both the northern and southern ends were recorded as turning to the west, establishing that the surviving section was the east side of the moat and that its maximum dimension in this direction was about 150m.


The last piece of evidence to be considered in this context is an anonymous, undated drawing purporting to show the gateway to the preceptory (Evans 1997, 110), which we know from the Burrow map lay on the west side. The illustration shows a brick or stone bridge crossing the moat in front of two substantial brick and stone gate piers. However, these do not look like medieval work and probably date from post-medieval activity on the site when it was used by the Corporation as a pest house for plague victims.


BEVERLEY PRECEPTORY; documents

Beverley Preceptory (TA0385139676), also known as the Preceptory of the Holy Trinity, lay approximately 350m north of Beverley Minster. It is often referred to as a rare example of an urban preceptory, but this is not strictly correct as it lay a short distance outside the urban area of the medieval town and, as such, occupied a similar suburban position to the Franciscan Friary.  Today, no trace of the preceptory survives above ground level but archaeological investigations in the 1990s established that significant features and deposits do survive and the site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

​BEVERLEY PRECEPTORY, EAST YORKSHIRE 

(NHLE 1013402)