The site of Aslackby Preceptory, Lincolnshire is now occupied by the village of Aslackby. The structure of one of the houses includes parts of a Templar building. Temple Farm is built on the site of, and using material from, the ruins of the round church.
The Preceptory dates to the reign of Henry II. In 1164 the church of Aslackby with its chapel was presented to the Templars by Hubert de Rye. After the order was suppressed in the first decade of the 14th century the property passed to Temple Bruer.
The word 'preceptory' is used for the community of the Knights Templar which lived on one of the order's estates in the charge of its preceptor. From that its meaning was extended to include the estate and its buildings. The one at Aslackby was founded in 1192. Little of its structure survives but early descriptions and sketches indicate that its church was like that at Temple Bruer, a chancel with apsidal east end and a round nave to its west. This was a standard design for Templar churches in imitation of the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The best-known example in England is the Temple Church at the western end of the City of London. Later, towers were built at both the Lincolnshire churches, the one at Aslackby apparently around 1200 and on the south side of the round nave.
In 1192 there was already a village with a small castle. The honour of Craon was divided and one third of a knight’s fee was granted to the Templars who managed it from Aslackby CW - U.T.
When the order was disbanded in 1312, most of the property was transferred to another order, the Knights Hospitaller. Whereas the Templars had been established to protect people on pilgrimages to Jerusalem, the Hospitallers had the additional concern of providing accommodation for them. Under the Hospitallers, the equivalent of a Preceptory was a Commandery but Aslackby was not managed by the Hospitallers in this way. After 1312, the property was managed by leasing it out. Until the dissolution of the Hospitallers' order in England in 1540-41, the Aslackby estate was supervised from Temple Bruer so the buildings lost their higher status use from the early fourteenth century, unlike most English monastic buildings which were in use until the sixteenth. In 1539, the buildings were said to be in ruins. After the Hospitallers' houses in England were dissolved, the Aslackby lands were transferred into the secular hands of Lord Clinton.
Until their disbandment in 1312, the Knights Templar were major landowners on the higher lands of Lincolnshire where they had a number of preceptories on property which provided income while Temple Bruer was an estate on the Lincoln Heath, believed to have been used also for military training. The preceptories from which the Lincolnshire properties were managed were:
- Aslackby Preceptory, Kesteven (TF0830)
- Bottesford, Lindsey (SE8907)
- Eagle, Kesteven (SK875672)
- Gainsborough, Lindsey (SK8189)
- Great Limber, Lindsey, (TA1308)
- Horkstow, Lindsey (SE9818)
- South Witham, Kesteven (SK928205)
- Temple Bruer, Kesteven (TF0054)
- Willoughton, Lindsey (SK9393)
- Byard's Leap (SK990494) was part of the Temple Bruer estate.
- White, A. Information Sheet Archaeology Series No.25 (1981)
- Map sources and aerial photos for TF086304.
- The site of knights' small castle shows at the centre of this photograph.