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LOW CHIBBURN HOSPITALLERS PRECEPTORY

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A medieval/post medieval hospitallers preceptory, moat and potential pond are visible as earthworks and ruined buildings on air photographs. The ruined building is still extant on the latest 1989-1998 Ordnance Survey vertical photography. The earthwork moat and pond have been destroyed due to open cast mining (UID 14468219). The Preceptory of the Knights of St John was defended by a moat enclosing an area circa 100 yards diameter. The buildings formed a parallelogram having a courtyard in the middle, a dwelling house on the west, a chapel occupying the entire south side and various offices on the north and east sides. Most of the buildings on the North side have disappeared. The principal entrance was by an arched gateway on North side. The dwelling house is of 2 stories with 3 compartments on each floor. A piscina remains in South-East angle of the chapel; human bones have been found and a grave slab forms the threshold of the door leading from courtyard into a stable. The upper portion of a stone coffin is in one of the windows. The present dwelling house was erected after the Dissolution possibly by Sir John Widdrington, who was granted the manor of Chibburn in 1553. The walls of the western range and what little remains of the northern range are of rough dressed masonry with rubble filling. This part of the building represents the remains of the 16th century Manor House. The walls of the chapel are of much finer workmanship, and represent the sole remains of the Preceptory of the Knights of St John. The remains are in a ruinous condition and the whole building is now roofless. The moat is now infilled. The chapel was used as a pillbox during the Second World War, (see NZ29NE10).

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