THE 1338 EXTENT


" EXTENTA TERRARUM at TENEMENTORUM HOSPITALIS SANCTI JOHANNIS JERUSALEM in ANGLIA -

  facta per fratrem Phillippum de Thame, ejusdem Hospitalis in Anglia, anno Domini millesimo

  trescentesimo tricesimo octavo."


The Extent provides details of 204 properties held by the Hospitallers, of which 112 had formerly been held by the Templars. However, out of the total, 82 had been demised, that is let to various individuals usually, but not always, for life. These properties, not being Hospitaller sites, are excluded from the archaeological part of this study.

The Extent provides details of three types of properties:


  1. preceptories, usually the centre of a manor,

  2. camerae, the centre of smaller estates, farms or granges, and

  3. membris, or members which were subsidiary to a preceptory or camera.


Details are provided of 40 preceptories, 35 camerae and 47 membris. The entries for each preceptory and camera​ are divided into two sections, while details of the membris are provided with the preceptory or ​camera to which they were attached. The first entry deals with the revenue that may be raised from the estate. The second, termed the Reprise ​or deduction, details the expenditure necessary for its maintenance. The difference between these two values was the sum to be passed on to the treasury of the Order to fund its work. Detailed scrutiny of the Extent provides an indication of what the physical and structural remains of these sites might consist.


  • Each entry begins with a reference to the buildings on the site, variously described as a dwelling-house (mansum), manor house (manerium), or a house or holding (both referred to as mesuagium). It is unclear what this distinction implies, in that all three forms can be found in entries for preceptories and camerae, although membris only ever have a mesuagium. The Reprise entry only ever refers to repairs to the 'houses' (domorum). A clue as to the nature of these 'houses' is provided by the personnel recorded in the Reprise in terms of their stipends and allowances for robes and mantels. In addition to the brothers of the Order, and there were rarely more than three of these at preceptories and ​camaerae and none at membris, ten or more officials and servants are often recorded. The latter usually included a cook, a baker and grooms or stable boys all of which are likely to have been on the site permanently and imply the presence of kitchens, bake houses and stables. Others listed include woodwards, agricultural workers and washer-women who were not necessarily residents. The buildings on the site had no value other than saving the need to pay rent.

  • Many entries include a reference to one or more dovecots or columbaria as a source of revenue. This presumably represents the surplus production once the needs of the community had been met. In a few cases where dovecots survive they are either within the confines of the preceptory or close-by, whereas other facilities like wind- and watermills were situated close to the power supply, usually off-site.

  • ​Occasionally a barn (grangia​) is mentioned as a source of revenue, perhaps from rents.

  • A chapel (capella) is also occasionally mentioned as a source of revenue, probably through endowments or chantry services. Otherwise the presence of a chapel on sites is indicated  by entries in the Reprise listing expenditure on oil, wax and wine for the chapel, and for repairs. 

  • Each principal building is usually associated  with a garden for which a value is given. Like the dovecots, this was presumably from produce that could be sold once the needs of the community had been met.

  • Mention of a courtyard (curtilagio or curia) implies a formal enclosure and stipends regularly appear in the ​Reprise for a door-keeper or porter (janitoris​).​

​​From the document's evidence it would seem that a preceptory would consist of a principal dwelling, perhaps like a conventional manor house, and a chapel. There would also be a kitchen, bake house and stables, and various other ad hoc ​facilities and accommodation for lay personnel. Barns were probably usually a component but do not regularly feature in the Extent as they were not normally a source of revenue. The whole complex was enclosed and there was a formal gatehouse. A dovecot, if not actually situated within the enclosure was to be found nearby, as were fishponds. ​