Possible Site of Knights Templars' Manor at Bermuda
The possible site of a Medieval manor house belonging to the Knights Templar. The site has been excavated and lies 300m south west of Bermuda.
1 The Knights Templars held land in Chilvers Coton in 1185, which passed to the Knights Hospitallers when the former order was disbanded. The land possibly still belonged to the Hospitallers in 1529. After 1481 the property is always recorded as a manor and in the Post Medieval period a manor house called ‘The Temple’ existed on the site (PRN 6255).
2 1967: An excavation on the possible site of the Templars’ manor. Scattered traces were found of timbered farm buildings probably Medieval in date but there was no sign of any dwelling house.
3 1970: An area of 1000 sq yards was stripped in the search for the former Manor House of the Knights Templars. A timber-framed building was found erected on an area artificially levelled. The building comprised three bays and was 6.7m by about 14.6m. It had a circular oven in its SW corner and two fireplaces at its E end. Several reused blocks of dressed red sandstone and three pieces of moulded white limestone from doors and windows were reused in the building. A paved yard lay to the N and E and a small building, probably a drying kiln, was also found. All the structures date to after 1314. The presence of roofing slates, fragments of decorated floor tile and large quantities of 13th century pottery in rubble beneath the timber building indicates that a substantial structure had been destroyed or drastically modified before the 14th century building was constructed. The exact location of the Templars’ manor house is still uncertain.
5 Archaeological fieldwork was undertaken in order to re-locate and record the medieval site, previously part-excavated in 1970. The excavation recorded deposits dating from the 13th to 17th centuries, which appeared to survive as islands in an otherwise heavily disturbed area. The remains of the medieval building discovered in 1970 were identified. This appeared to have been occupied during the 15th to 17th centuries but incorporated earlier building stone. It was interpreted as a domestic dwelling. Rubbish pits beneath the building dated to the 13th century and contained an important assemblage of pottery. Elsewhere across the exposed area was a spread of medieval building rubble, which was considered to be of 13th century origin.
6The land is known from documentary sources to have been within the demesnes of the monastic military order of the Knight Templars between 1185 and 1314 and subsiquently the Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, until the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in 1540. The lans formed part of the manorial estate of Chilverscoton and was used for farming purposes. During this time buildings on the site included a hall, chapel, granary and several other agricultural buildings.
7 Analysis of field names and land conveyances proves that the 1567 document refers to a site centred at SP353898. The land did remain the property of the Hospitallers, but it was leased in the 14th cenury to both Erdbury Priory and Sir Edward Grey.
9 Correspondence from 1989.