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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 present Bottesford Manor house is believed to have been the gatehouse to the preceptory.
Templars Bath, a spring in the field behind Bottesford manor is now hardly discernible, being simply a gathering of stones. The bath has been attributed to the Romans but others believe it was a dipping bath or well used by the Templar workers. It was in previous times used as a ‘magic’ health-giving spring. Travellers would drink its waters and leave cloth offerings (a ‘rag well’). This healing property was probably associated with the fact that a Templar hospital stood on or near the site. The only distinctive Templar artefact found here was an ancient gravestone with a large cross upon it. It was covering a body buried in a grave that had been placed at the angle formed by the north wall of the chancel and the east wall of the north transept, though this description does not indicate a normal Templar round church.
An inadequate dig was made in 1983 on the Templar fields nearby. Little was found and the land was backfilled. CW U.T.
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.
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