The Knights Hospitaller

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This book is a Gazetteer, recording the churches and commanderies in Great Britain of the Knights Hospitaller at the time of their dissolution by Henry VIII in 1540.

The military organisation of the Knights of St John (the Hospitallers) in the east Mediterranean in the Middle Ages required a vast network of lands in Western Europe to support it. Commanderies were set up to supervise these lands.

This book in its introduction briefly analyses the medieval history of the Hospitallers before looking in greater detail at the setting up of commanderies in Great Britain from the 12th century onwards. In the early 14th century the demise of the Templars and the papal grant of their land to the Hospitallers doubled the wealth of the latter so that in the later Middle Ages they seem to have become the greatest individual landowner after the Crown. Such wealth inevitably attracted the interest of Henry VIII and the Order was dissolved in England in 1540. It was briefly revived under Queen Mary but then dissolved again under Elizabeth I.

The bulk of the book is a photographic Gazetteer looking at the possessions of the Hospitallers (including churches) in the individual counties of England and Wales with shorter entries on Scotland and Ireland.