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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 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 houses in England and Wales.
The commandery possessed two mills and a quay on the eastern Cleddau and received lands and churches throughout west Wales during the medieval period. Some of these still stand, such as St Michael's Church in Rudbaxton. A literary source comments on the fine stained glass window at Slebech.

The Commandery was a stop over for pilgrims on their way to St David's and this requirement to offer hospitality was sometimes a burden to the community at Slebech.
Following the dissolution of the commandery the Barlow family took possession of the house which became Slebech Park and details of standing remains

Dedicated to: St John the Baptist Medieval Diocese: St David's
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

1148-1176Foundation - 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 headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller in West Wales. 
1155-1230Dispute - 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 1176Confirmation - The bishop David of St Davids (1147-76) intervened and issued a confirmation of those properties and lands belonging to the Knights at Slebech. 
1230Confirmation - Bishop Anselm issued a confirmation of the land in the Knights' possession. [1 source]
1312Acquisition - Slebach acquired land from the Knights Templar at Templeton when that community disbanded. 
1338Pilgrimage - 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]
1338Wealth - In 1338 Slebech had the largest income of all Hospitaller houses in England and Wales, bar Clerkenwell, near London. [1 source]
c.1420-81Pilgrimage - 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.1538Dissolution - 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)

Bibliographical sources

16 Printed sources

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4 On-line sources

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Archival sources

National Library of Wales, 'Slebech Estate Records', (Collection), (View website)

Pembrokeshire, OS Grid:SN03201392
View site details on COFLEIN (RCAHMW database)[new window]