Newland Preceptory


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


Ordnance survey map of Newland Preceptory
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Wakefield (Metropolitan Authority)
Newland with Woodhouse Moor
Wakefield (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SE 36513 22468

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.

Newland is one of only two preceptories established in West Yorkshire and was the only one established by the Knights Hospitallers. The other, at Temple Newsam, established by the Knights Templars, has been largely destroyed by open cast mining and gravel extraction. The Newlands site has suffered only limited disturbance in the post-medieval and later periods and will retain significant evidence relating to its medieval occupation.


The monument is situated on the banks of the river Calder and includes the remains of a preceptory established in about 1180 by the Knights Hospitallers. No medieval documentation specifically relating to the preceptory survives but analysis of information contained within documentation relating to the wider estates of the house, along with limited field investigation, has confirmed that the main preceptory buildings lay in the area now occupied by the post- medieval hall and its outbuildings. The medieval buildings included a chapel not demolished until the mid-eighteenth century which was located in the south-western quarter of the site, just south-east of the seventeenth century hall which was demolished in 1917. Other buildings would have been located in close proximity to this chapel but, like it, these now survive only as buried features. Three small fishponds are also known to have existed to the north of the buildings. The form of the enclosure within which these buildings were contained is not known but its position, which provides the boundaries for this scheduling, has been reconstructed from the evidence contained in various medieval land grants to the house. The creation of the preceptory is marked by a series of land grants in the period 1180 to 1230. In 1338 a survey indicates that the preceptory was occupied by the preceptor himself (a knight), a monk, a chaplain, and a man- at-arms, representing all three grades of the Order. Additionally, payments in the form of clothing and livery, are noted to a chamberlain, cook, baker, bailiff, groom, two pages, a boy servant, and various agricultural workers. In the early fourteenth century the knights cultivated their lands at Newland directly, including 200 acres of arable and l6 acres of meadows. From the mid-fourteenth century the estate was farmed out on a condition that hospitality was provided for the preceptor whenever he held court there. The post-medieval buildings on the site appear to have replaced rather than incorporated their predecessors. The derelict eighteenth century house on the site, formerly a stables or coach house, is Listed Grade II, as are a group of 17th and 18th century farm buildings enclosing a rectangular yard. All buildings on the site are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath all of them is included. The embankment for the now disused railway running along the river bank is similarly excluded although the ground beneath it 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
Wrathmell, S, Adams, M, Newland Preceptory, (1991)
Crossley, E W, 'Yorkshire Arch. Soc. Record Service' in The Preceptory of Newland, , Vol. 61, (1920), 1-83


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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