Slebech (Commandery)Order: Knights Hospitaller
The land at Slebech was donated to the Knights Hospitaller at some time between 1148 and 1176. It became a Commandery and was duly the headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller in West Wales. Slebech was the third richest of the religious houses in Wales and amongst the wealthiest of the Hospitaller's houses in England and Wales.
Standing remainsDedicated to: St John the Baptist Medieval Diocese: St David's
It is thought that the current Slebech house (eighteenth century) occupies the site of the former domestic buildings and includes part of the Commandery. Only the ruins of the church are undoubtedly medieval. The chancel arch is likely fourteenth century and the chancel fifteenth century. The bell tower of the church is the original Norman Watchtower.
Affiliated to: The Knights of St John headquarters in Malta
Lordship at foundation: Pembroke
Access: Private. The estate is now a guest house and restaurant.
Owned by: The church is still retained by the Order of St John, as it is owned by St John’s Ambulance. The estate is owned by Slebech Park Guest House and Restaurant.
Main events in the history of this site
1148-1176: Foundation - The land at Slebech was donated to the Knights Hospitaller at some time between 1148 and 1176 and became a Commandery.
This duly became the head quarters of the Knights Hospitaller in West Wales.
1155-1230: Dispute - A dispute between Worcester Cathedral and the Knights Hospitaller at Slebech over various possessions was resolved by Bishop Anselm in 1230, who confirmed the Hospitallers' rights to these lands and possessions in West Wales.
pre 1176: Confirmation - The bishop David of St Davids (1147-76) intervened and issued a confirmation of those properties and lands belonging to the Knights at Slebech.
1230: Confirmation - Bishop Anselm issued a confirmation of the land in the Knights' possession. [1 source]
1312: Acquisition - Slebach acquired land from the Knights Templar at Templeton when that community disbanded.
1338: Pilgrimage - Slebech hosted a number of pilgrims and in 1338 the preceptor complained that Welshmen flocked to the abbey from one day to another, placing a great strain on the commandery's resources. [4 sources]
1338: Wealth - In 1338 Slebech had the largest income of all Hospitaller houses in England and Wales, bar Clerkenwell, near London. [1 source]
c.1420-81: Pilgrimage - The poet, Lewys Glyn Cothi, described the crowds that flocked to the altar of St John, Slebech, hoping for healing and forgiveness. [2 sources]
c.1538: Dissolution - By 1538 the Barlow family was renting Slebech which was bought by Roger Barlow and Thomas Barlow in 1546. [2 sources][1 archive]
+ 7 minor events. Show minor events
People associated with this site
William Marshal , fourth earl of Pembroke (benefactor)
16 Printed sourcesshow sources
St David of Wales: Cult, Church and Nation, Studies in Celtic History, ed. J. Wyn Evans and Jonathan M. Wooding (Boydell: Woodbridge, 2007) p. 56
The Knights Hospitaller in England: The Report of the Prior Philip de Thame to the Grand Master Elyan de Villanova for AD 1338, ed. L. B. Larking (Camden Society: London, 1857)
Medieval Religious Houses, England and Wales, ed. R. Neville Hadcock and David Knowles (Harlow, 1971) p. 246
Abram, Andrew, 'Monastic burial in medieval Wales', in Monastic Wales: New Approaches, ed. Janet Burton and Karen Stöber (University of Wales: Cardiff, 2013) p. 107
Charles, B. G., 'The records of Slebech', National Library of Wales Journal, 5 (1947-8), pp. 179-188
Hurlock, Kathryn, 'Pilgrimage', in Monastic Wales: New Approaches, ed. Janet Burton and Karen Stöber (University of Wales: Cardiff, 2013), pp. 119-131
Lloyd, Thomas; Orbach, Julian and Scourfield, Robert, The Buildings of Wales: Pembrokeshire (Yale University Press: New Haven / London, 2004)
Ludlow, N. D., 'The Sisters’ House, Minwear, Pembrokeshire: a historical summary and structural description', Dyfed Archaeological Trust report (1997)
Nicholson, H., 'The Sisters' House at Minwear, Pembrokeshire: analysis of the documentary and archaeological evidence', Archaeologia Cambrensis, 151 (2005), pp. 109-138
Nicholson, Helen J., 'The Knights Hospitaller', in Monastic Wales: New Approaches, ed. Janet Burton and Karen Stöber (University of Wales: Cardiff, 2013), pp. 147-161
Parry, John Meredydd, The Commandery of Slebech in Wales of the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (Fairwinds Publications: Pembrokeshire, 1996)
RCAHMW, An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Glamorgan, vol. III: Medieval Secular Monuments, Part II: Non-Defensive (RCAHMW: Portsmouth, 1982) p. 150
Rees, J. Rogers, Slebech Commandery and the Knights of St John (Bedford Press: London, 1900)
Rees, J. Rogers, 'Slebech commandery and the Knights of St John', Archaeologia Cambrensis, 5th series, 14:54 (1897), pp. 85-107, 197-228, 261-284
Salter, Mike, Abbeys, Priories and Cathedrals of Wales (Folly Publications: Malvern, 2012) p. 80
Williams, Glanmor, 'Poets and pilgrims in fifteenth and sixteenth century Wales', Transactions of the Hon. Society of Cymmrodorion (1991), pp. 69-98
4 On-line sourcesshow online sources
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Pembrokeshire, OS Grid:SN03201392