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BEVERLEY HOSPITALLERS PRECEPTORY

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Site of Preceptory of the Holy Trinity (Knights Hospitallers). Founded soon after 1201, when Sybil de Valloines gave the Order the manor of the Holy Trinity. At the Dissolution in 1540 the Beverley preceptory was one of the wealthiest in England. Although much of the site was buried by the construction of the Hull-Bridlington railway in the 1840s, the North and East sides of the enclosing moat were still visible in 1856 and the East arm, eventually filled in to make way for sidings, is shown on an OS 1:500 plan of 1892. No remains of the site are now visible above ground but evidence from elsewhere in Beverley suggests that building foundations are likely to survive beneath the railway track and associated goods yard, which are slightly embanked. The Preceptory complex included residential and service buildings, a church and a
burial ground, enclosed by a moat and entered by a formal gateway. Trial excavations for the Humberside Archaeological Unit succeeded in locating the main ditch on the North and East sides of the moated enclosure; it was found to be a massive feature at least 1.9m deep. Sections cut across it suggest that it was kept clean for most of the Middle Ages by regular scouring. On the East side of the enclosure a second, internal ditch was located, possibly marking a hitherto unsuspected foreshortening of the enclosure during the later Middle Ages. None of the preceptory buildings were located during the excavations. Natural silting of the ditches suggests that the site may have been abandoned following the Dissolution. This and earlier small scale excavation work has succeeded in more closely defining the preceptory area and establishing the depths of archaeological survival within it. The moat enclosed a rectangular island circa 83m East-West by 121m North-South and circa 1 ha (2.48 acres) in area, in keeping with the status of a middle-ranking house of the Order.

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