Templars and Essex

You might not automatically associate the much maligned county of Essex – north east of London – with the Knights Templar. But by virtue of the many landholdings in that county that came under the estate of Boulogne, the Templars received a large number of bequests including the preceptory at Cressing Temple. That turned out to be a very productive agricultural estate and the barley and wheat barns are still standing to this day. The reason for the bequests was that the estate of Boulogne came in to the hands of Matilda, wife of King Stephen – not to be confused with the Empress Matilda (or Maude as she also referred) who set out to overthrow Stephen and was a constant thorn in his side. Stephen and hsi queen Matilda got loyal support from the Templars in the ensuing ‘Great Anarchy’. And they reciprocated with gifts like those in Essex.


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