Ancient Monuments

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Preceptory at Old Dalby

A Scheduled Monument in Broughton and Old Dalby, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.8034 / 52°48'12"N

Longitude: -0.9989 / 0°59'56"W

OS Eastings: 467585.754506

OS Northings: 323342.161208

OS Grid: SK675233

Mapcode National: GBR 9M1.690

Mapcode Global: WHFJR.MSJQ

Entry Name: Preceptory at Old Dalby

Scheduled Date: 5 February 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009174

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17097

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Broughton and Old Dalby

Built-Up Area: Old Dalby

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Old Dalby St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


The monument at Old Dalby is situated on a spur of land, south of the village,
8km north-east of Melton Mowbray, and includes the below ground remains of the
Preceptory buildings.

The below ground building remains are represented by earthworks standing to a
maximum of 0.5m high. On the south-east side is a square enclosure, with an
internal dimension of about 20m. There is a long mound to the north of the
enclosure. To the west of this are the earthwork remains of a rectangular
building 70m long and approximately 15m wide and divided in two places at
the north end. A late 18th century writer recorded the location and remains of
the preceptory. The function of the various buildings has yet to be

A preceptory of the Knights Templars was founded in the early years of Henry
II reign and was in use until the suppression of the order in 1312. Ten years
later the site was granted to the Knights Hospitallers, whose order was
dissolved in 1540. A 13th century pilgrim flask from an abbey at Burton on
Trent and a late 15th century pilgrim badge from Walsingham were found on the
site in 1980.

The earthwork remains of stock enclosures surround the buildings of the
preceptory but do not survive well and are not included in the scheduling.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A preceptory is a monastery of the military orders of Knights Templars and
Knights Hospitallers (also known as the Knights of St John of Jerusalem). At
least one preceptory of the Knights of St Lazarus is also known to have
existed in England. Preceptories were founded to raise revenues to fund the
12th and 13th century crusades to Jerusalem. In the 15th century the
Hospitallers directed their revenue toward defending Rhodes from the Turks. In
addition, the preceptories of the Templars functioned as recruiting and
training barracks for the knights whilst those of the Hospitallers provided
hospices which offered hospitality to pilgrims and travellers and distributed
alms to the poor. Lazarine preceptories had leper hospitals attached. Like
other monastic sites, the buildings of preceptories included provision for
worship and communal living. Their most unusual feature was the round nave of
their major churches which was copied from that of the Holy Sepulchre in
Jerusalem. Indeed their use of such circular churches was unique in medieval
England. Other buildings might include hospital buildings, workshops or
agricultural buildings. These were normally arranged around a central open
space, and were often enclosed within a moat or bank and ditch. From available
documentary sources it can be estimated that the Templars held 57 preceptories
in England. At least 14 of these were later taken over by the Hospitallers,
who held 76 sites. As a relatively rare monument class, all sites exhibiting
good survival of archaeological remains will be identified as nationally

The preceptory at Old Dalby is one of only four such sites in Leicestershire.
The earthworks will contain the below ground remains of the buildings which
were recorded in the 18th century.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hartley, R F, The Medieval Earthworks of North-West Leicestershire, (1987), 12,38

Source: Historic England

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