The history of the Shingay Preceptory has been set out in full in theVictoria County History volume while an earlier account was provided Shimield (1891). The preceptory was one of the earliest to be established in England between about 1154 to 1159. In the 1338 Extent it is recoded, along with its members, as the fourth most wealthy preceptory to make a return. Later in the 14th century it was the scene of two important events. In 1371 it hosted a meeting of the Grand Chapter of the Order. This was presided over by Raymond de Berenger, the Grand Master and attended by the Prior of England and preceptors of five other preceptories in addition to Shingay. The location of Shingay, only about 4km from the Great North Road, may provide a partial explanation for this gathering. Ten years later, in 1381, the preceptory was sacked during the course of the Peasants' Revolt. The extent of the damage at that time is not known but it is likely to have been substantial.


SHINGAY PRECEPTORY IN 1338

The entry for Shingay in the 1338 Extent has been fully transcribed by Larkin (Larkin and Kemble (1857) 75-77) where it appears as Bajulia de Shenegeye along with its members Wendeye, Arnyngton and Cranden.

At the preceptory, in addition to the usual valuations of landholdings, rents and court dues, the assets are listed as a manor house with a garden worth 20 shillings and two dovecots worth 13 shillings and 4 pence. There were also a water-mill and a wind-mill worth 50 shillings, but these are unlikely to have been at preceptory site.

The expenses listed include an allowance for the preceptor's horse and those of visitors, implying stabling and expenditure on repairs to the house and cancellarum which  translates as 'chancel' but may refer to the preceptory chapel. The following personnel are listed: The preceptor (S) and two brothers (M,C), a local priest (vicario loci), two secular chaplains, a clerk, a pensioner, the preceptor’s valetti , a key keeper, a baker, a cook, two boys and a steward. An establishment of 15 in total.

The VCH provides some details of the property in the post-Dissolution period. In 1601 there is a record of substantial alterations being made to a building referred to as Shingay Hall, presumably the former preceptory building. The building is described  as consisting of a hall, dining room, a great chamber and a two-story porch. In 1674 it is recorded as having 25 hearths, a large number.  Shimield (1891, 142) quotes an earlier source stating that the 'Old Commandary (sic) stood at the west end of the chapel'. The chapel continued to function into the mid 17th century and was finally demolished in 1697. However, a new, probably more modest chapel was erected on the site before 1747 and that survived until 1801. Shingay Hall continued to be the principal residence until the new manor house was built in 1720. However, the old building survived until 1796 and some architectural fragments are reported as having been incorporated into the farm buildings.

Edwards, W and Kemp S 1991 ‘Manor Farm, Shingay, Earthworks Survey Cambridge County' Council, Cambridge Archaeological Reports

Larking, L.B. and Kemble, J.M. 1857 The Knights Hospitallers in England Camden Society, 75-77

Salzman, L.F. 1948 'Houses of Knights Hospitallers: Preceptory of Shingay',  A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely:  Volume 2,  pp. 266-269. 

Shimield, W. H. 1891 'On Shengay and its Preceptory' Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society  Volume 7, XXXII, 136-147

The First Edition of the OS Plan marks an area as the site of St Mary's Chapel. This is roughly 'L' shaped and is reminiscent of the footprints of preceptories at SwingfieldandRothley. However, it needs to be born in mind that the most recent feature on the site was the 18th century chapel and some of the area indicated may belong to this.

The principal archaeological feature at Shingay Preceptory  is the moated enclosure. This defines a sub-rectangular area measuring 225m by 160m overall with the longer axis on a north-east to south-west alignment. The ditches are partly water-filled and their up cast stands about 0.5m high. There remains an entrance causeway on the south-west segment.

SHINGAY PRECEPTORY, CAMBRIDGESHIRE (NHLE1006852)

SHINGAY PRECEPTORY; archaeology

​OS plan c.1880

The remains of the Shingay Preceptory (NGR TL31034732) lie in the valley of the River Cam about 6km north-west of Royston and a kilometre west of the village of Wendy. They consist of a rectangular moated enclosure within which an area of uneven ground may mark the position of some of the preceptory buildings. The site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument (1006852).

SHINGAY PRECEPTORY; documents

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