HOUSE OF KNIGHTS HOSPITALLERS
29. THE PRECEPTORY OF LITTLE MAPLESTEAD
The charters under the heading of Maplestead
fill about a fifth of the great chartulary (fn. 1) of the
Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in England, and
those relating to other possessions of the Hospitallers and Templars in Essex about the same
space. This large proportion was no doubt
partly due to the accident of preservation, but it
is clear that the grants made to the Hospital in
Essex considerably outnumbered those in any
other county. Moreover, the chief house of the
Hospital at Clerkenwell was itself founded,
probably in the first half of the reign of Stephen,
by an Essex man, Jordan Briset. (fn. 2)
The town and church of Little Maplestead
were granted to the Knights Hospitallers by
Juliana the daughter of Robert Dosnel. Her
husband, William FitzAudelin, the dapifer of
Henry II, confirmed the grant, and he also made
another grant to them of the church by a later
charter, apparently after the death of Juliana,
dated 16 March, 1186. The establishment of the
preceptory probably took place somewhere about
this date; it may have been any time after the
first grant of the town.
Nearly 600 charters are transcribed on the
pages (fn. 3) headed Maplestead in the chartulary; and
the authority of the preceptory probably extended
over the possessions to which these relate. Some
of the grants are made specifically to Maplestead
and some to the Hospital in general. Several are
earlier than the foundation of the preceptory, and
one grant (fn. 4) of land in Lambourne is dated as far
back as 1148. There is mention (fn. 5) of a seal of
the preceptory, though no examples of it are
Morant says that to this preceptory belonged
a 'farrye clark,' whose business it was to officiate
in divine things, and quotes a memorandum from
a rental of the manor that 'The vicar of Bornam
payeth by yere to the Farrye Clarke 40s. or else
the Farrye Clarke may goe to Downmow Priory
and take the challys or the masse book or any
other ornament for his dewtie.'
A full account of the bajulia of Maplestead is
given in the report (fn. 6) of the possessions of the
Hospital in England made by Prior Philip de
Thame to the Grand Master in 1338. There
was a messuage with a garden worth 10s. yearly;
380 acres of land worth £12 13s. 4d. and at
Odewell (fn. 7) 180 acres of land worth £6; 16 acres
of meadow worth 32s.; 30 acres of pasture
worth 30s.; profits of underwood amounting to
8s.; rents amounting to 26½ marks; a dovecote
worth 3s. 4d.; perquisites of court and fines worth
20s.; the tenth of the church of Maplestead,
worth £6; and lands farmed for 100s. at
Bobbelouwe and for 66s. 8d. at Assebrugg.
Besides this there was the fraeria or voluntary
contribution from the neighbourhood, which
amounted to £22. The total receipts for the
year thus amounted to £77 16s. 8d.
The expenses amounted to £37 16s. 8d. Of
this £7 16s. 0d. was paid for 52 quarters of
wheat for baking bread, £5 4s. 0d. for 52 quarters
of malt for brewing ale, £7 16s. 0d. for flesh,
fish and other necessaries for the kitchen, £3 9s. 4d.
for robes, mantles and other necessaries for the
preceptor and brother, 20s. for the stipend of a
chaplain, 40s. for the stipend of a chaplain celebrating thrice weekly in the chapel of Odewell,
13s. 4d. for the fee of the steward prosecuting
the business of the house, 40s. for the stipends of
four clerks collecting the fraeria, 26s. 8d. for the
stipends of a bailiff, a cook, a baker and a porter,
5s. for the stipend of a palfreyman, 3s. for a page
for the stable, 40s. on the visitation of the prior
for two days, 40s. on gifts to the sheriff, his
clerks and others, 20s. on the repair of the houses,
3s. for rent paid for lands in Maplestead and
5s. 2d. for lands in Odewell, 6s. 8d. for suits of
two courts, and 8s. 6d. to the archdeacon for procuration. Thus £40 remained to be paid into
the treasury. John de Haulee, esquire, was
preceptor and Edmund de Roos, esquire, brother.
In 1463 the 'hospital of St. John of Little
Mapulstede' was farmed by John Syday; (fn. 8)
which probably means that no more Hospitallers resided there.
In the Valor of 1535 the possessions of the
Hospitallers in Essex, including those which had
previously belonged to the Templars, were
valued at £432 2s. 1¼d. yearly. The Hospital
was dissolved in 1540. The manor of Little
Maplestead was granted (fn. 9) in fee to George
Harper on 18 April, 1542, in an exchange; and
two days later he had licence (fn. 10) to alienate it to
John Wyseman and Agnes his wife.
Preceptors of Maplestead (fn. 11)
Hugh de Fancote. (fn. 12)
Benedict de Hecham. (fn. 13)
Robert de Leycestre. (fn. 14)
Luke de Marisco, (fn. 15) occurs 1242. (fn. 16)
William de Nutstede, (fn. 17) occurs circa 1260.
Thomas de Lydegard. (fn. 18)
Roger Maulonell. (fn. 19)
William de Chelesham, (fn. 20) in 1275 and
Roger de Leycestre, (fn. 21) in 1281.
Richard de Wlfhale, (fn. 22) in 1283 and 1284.
Thomas de Otteford, (fn. 23) in 1289.
Alexander de Mitham (fn. 24) or Meccham, in
Adam de Hacham, (fn. 25) in 1304.
John de Attecoumbe (fn. 26) or Accumbe, in 1314.
John de Haulee, (fn. 27) in 1338.
John Whiltebery, (fn. 28) in 1365.