The preceptory is said to have been founded in the mid 12th century when KIng Stephen (1135-1154) granted the manor to the Templars. In 1312 it passed to the Hospitallers who maintained it as a preceptory for about a generation. However, by the 1350s it was administered along with Temple Bruer and Beverley, probably as a camera.
EAGLE PRECEPTORY IN 1338
The entry for the Bajulia de Eycle (Larking and Kemble 1857, 157-159) lists a manerium with a garden worth 20 shillings and a dovecot worth 10 shillings. Also listed are two windmills and a watermill, but these are unlikely to have been on the preceptory site. Other revenue came from various agricultural lands, woodland, labour services, court dues and church appropriations.
The Reprise lists two ordained brothers, one a knight serving as the preceptor, the other a chaplain brother, four pensioners only one of whom may have been resident, two chaplains, a forester, a cook, a baker, a treasurer, a porter, a washer-woman and two pages. Other expenses listed include provender for the preceptor's horse and a sum of 60 shillings for maintaining the various houses throughout the manor (totam bajuliam).
The site of the Eagle Preceptory (SK86515674) lies about 2km to the south-west of the village of Eagle. The remains consist mainly of the preceptory earthworks although traces of at least one stone building are recorded along with a number of inhumations. The site is partly built over by the 18th century Eagle Hall and associated farm buildings. The preceptory is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
EAGLE PRECEPTORY; references
.... 1906 The Victoria history of the county of Lincoln, Volume 2, 210-213
Larking, L B and Kemble, J M 1857 The Knights Hospitallers in England, Camden Society, 157-159
The site of the preceptory has never been the subject of an archaeological investigation and the following account is based on the study of 19th century Ordnance Survey maps, aerial photographs and comments recorded by field investigators in the 1950s and 1960s. The maps and aerial photoraphs show that the site took the form of an oblong moated enclosure measuring about 310m south-east to north-west by 160m. The south-east, south-west and north-west sides of the enclosure survive as a moat between 5m to 8m wide and upto 1.5 deep, though in places this appears to have been enhanced as a garden feature during the 18th or 19th centuries. Banks of upcast lie on either side of the moat. No trace of the north-east side survives, but this probably marked by the public road.
Most of the central area of the site has been built over by the 18th century Eagle Hall and associated farm buildings but it has been noted that these appear to lie on an elevated mound probably formed of the demolished remains of the preceptory buildings. Indeed, 30m south of the Hall are the earth covered remains of a rectangular stone building standing about 1m above the ground around and exhibiting fragments of masonry and tile. A number of inhumations have been reported nearly and the building in question may have been the preceptory chapel.
The only other features that can be attributed to the pre-Dissolution use of the site are a group of three fishponds in the north-west corner.
This picture of Eagle Preceptory is very limited but, as originally a Templar site founded in the mid 12th century, the fully excavated Templar Preceptory at South Witham (Mayes 2002 ) may give an indication of what the site originally looked like.
EAGLE PRECEPTORY; archaeology
EAGLE PRECEPTORY; documents