Preceptory at Dukes Place


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Tonbridge and Malling (District Authority)
West Peckham
National Grid Reference:
TQ 64847 52678

Reasons for Designation

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 important.

The preceptory at Dukes Place, West Peckham survives comparatively well, with the area around the standing buildings almost completely undisturbed by later construction. Documentary sources combined with the archaeological remains and environmental evidence contained within the site can provide an insight into the economy and way of life peculiar to a preceptory of the Knights Hospitallers.


The monument includes a preceptory of the Knights Hospitallers situated on the eastern edge of the modern village of West Peckham. The preceptory includes a 15th century timber-framed building, Listed Grade I, the buried foundations of associated medieval buildings and other associated medieval remains below ground level, contained by a moat of which one arm is still visible. The standing remains, which are excluded from the scheduling, comprise an L- shaped range of half-timbered buildings on a stone plinth, with close-studding and plaster infill. The back range has been dated to the early 15th century while the north range, including the hall and solar, was rebuilt in about 1500 after being burnt out. To the south is a section of ditch 40m long aligned north east to south west. This has become partially infilled over the years but is visible as a slight earthwork up to 4m across. The area around the building, which has remained undisturbed since its construction, contains the buried remains of activities undertaken during the medieval period and directly associated with the use of the preceptory. These are likely to include the remains of outbuildings such as workshops, barns and stables, as well as the gardens. Documentary sources record that lands at West Peckham were granted to the Knights Hospitallers in 1337 by Elizabeth de Burgh. These lands were then incorporated into the magisterial camera. The preceptory is believed to have been founded in 1408. Excluded from the scheduling are the inhabited building, fences, gates and posts, although the ground beneath all these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Tipton, C L, 'Archaeologia Cantiana' in The Origins of the Preceptory of West Peckham, , Vol. 80, (1965), 92-97
Wadmore, JF, 'Archaeologia Cantiana' in The Knights Hospitallers in Kent, , Vol. 22, (1897), 271-274


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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