The documentary history of Temple Bruer is fully set out in the Victoria County History entry and need only be summarised here. Founded by the Knights Templars as a result of a grant from William Asby  during the reign of Henry II it had become a significant establishment by 1185 when it is recorded as a full manor with 37 tenants, 34 crofts and a weekly market. That its status remained high is indicated  by the fact the Templars were granted in 1306, a license to crenellate 'a certain part and strong gate at their manor of Heath (de la Bruere) in Lincolnshire' (Patent Roll 34 Edw.I m.9). The survey of Templar estates in 1308 records Temple Bruer as the second wealthiest in England. With the suppression of the Templars the preceptory was passed to Knights Hospitallers in 1312.



TEMPLE BRUER PRECEPTORY IN 1338


The account for the Bajulia de Bruere lists a manor house (manerium) with a garden and court (curtilagio) valued at 10 shillings, a dovecot worth five shillings, a henhouse worth 29 shillings and eight pence and a windmill worth 20 shillings. Other revenues include the value of labour services by the tenants, agricultural lands, court dues, rents and various church appropriations. The valuation also included a credit of 4 pounds, 6 shillings and 8 pence for the free use of the chapel. Two membris - Rouston and North Kirkeby - are also listed and included in the Reprise.


Personnel listed in the Reprise include the preceptor (M) and a brother (S) along with five corrody holders. Others consist of a steward, the preceptor's squire, two secular chaplains, eight servants 'at the table', six boys, also 'at the table'  and three pages. The costs of the bailiffs at Rouston and North Kirkeby are also listed. Other expenditures include repair to the house and the cancel (cancellarum) of the church. There is also an entry for 10 shillings being expended on wine, wax and oil for the chapel.


A short time before its dissolution in 1541 the preceptory was visited by John Leland during his tour of Lincolnshire. He commented that


      " ... there be great and vaste buildinges but rude at this place, and the east end of the temple is

      made opere  ciruclaria de more." (Toulmin Smith 1907, 28).


The Latin can be translated as 'a work of circular character' and clearly refers to the nave of the Templars' church. The preceptor had not been in residence since 1534, the accommodation being described as ruinous. A senior official of the Order, he died in Malta in 1539 before repairs could be effected.


The remains of the preceptory at Temple Bruer (TF00855370) lie about 4km east of the village of Welbourn and 1.75km east of the line of Ermine Street. They occupy a level site at about 50m OD. Originally founded by the Knights Templars in the mid 12th century it passed, on the suppression of that Order, to the Knights Hospitallers in 1312. One of the two towers of the preceptory church constitutes the only upstanding element, though archaeological work in the 19th and early 20th centuries established the full ground plan of the church and identified some of the preceptory buildings. The site is both a Listed Building (Grade 1) and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

The south side of the nave,  presbytery and the surviving tower were recorded in 1726 in an engraving by Samuel Buck, but by the early 19th century only the tower remained. Limited archaeological investigations took place in the 1830s and a more comprehensive study during the first decade of the 20th century.

​TEMPLE BRUER PRECEPTORY; documents

TEMPLE BRUER PRECEPTORY, LINCOLNSHIRE

 (NHLE 1254328, 1007686)