Rothley Camera, formerly known as Rothley Temple lies about seven miles north of Leicester in the valley of Rothley Brook, a west bank tributary of the River Soar. The Knights Templar had held land at Rothley since the beginning of the 13th century and when Henry III granted them the manor of Rothley in 1231 they established a preceptory there. With the suppression of the Templars in 1309 the manor was granted to the Hospitallers who maintained it as a camera. The extant remains comprise the preceptory chapel and part of the preceptory hall, now incorporated within Rothley Court Hotel. Both are Listed Grade 1.
Apart from its tenurial history little is known about the Templars' preceptory at Rothley until 1309 when an Extent was drawn up at the time of the dissolution of the Order. This document, preserved in the Public Record Office, has been translated and printed in full by Fosbrooke in his account of the site published by the Leicester Archaeological and Historical Society in 1922. It is an interesting document, giving an account of the site only three years before it was handed over to the Hospitallers and just a generation before the 1338 Extent.
ROTHLEY PRECEPTORY IN 1309
The Extent does not describe the preceptory buildings as such but enumerates their contents beginning with the chapel. The assessors then moved into the hall and from there into the kitchen. Other rooms or buildings assessed were the brewhouse, the bakehouse, the pantry and buttery. The picture gained is of the chapel and the hall as the main preceptory buildings. The other components mentioned may have been adjoining the hall or free-standing structures - particularly the latter in the case of those that constituted a fire hazard. The Extent goes on to list various agricultural buildings - ox stalls, a sheepfold and a piggery. There was also a chart shed and a granary. The Extent concludes with details of property held by the Templars at other locations. It is remarkable how similar this account is to that of the Swingfield Preceptoryin 1529, nothwithstanding the passage of more than two hundred years.
ROTHLEY CAMERA IN 1338
The entry for Rothlee lists a manor house (manerium) and garden valued at approximately eight marks but apparently let out. Other facilities listed include both a watermill and a windmill and a dovecot. The Reprise enumerates expenditure on wine, oil and other necessaries for the chapel and a sum for annual repairs to the house. Personnel listed are two chaplains, a steward, and a swineherd. There is also a charge for robes and shoes for the servants. A custodian is not mentioned. According to Fosbrooke (1922, 6) by 1352 Rothley had been united with the Hospitaller properties at Heather and Old Dalby, with the preceptor in residence at Old Dalby and this may also have been the case in the mid 14th century.