Ribston, North Yorkshire

map ref SE 392 538

William de Grafton was named as the Preceptor of Ribston at the suppression, he also served as the Preceptor of Yorkshire a position thought to be unique to the county. After his trial by inquisition at York he was sent to Selby Abbey to undertake one year of Penance, years later something strange occurred, he was given secular release by the Master of the Temple, (This document apparently survives and sets a puzzle as it is dated 1331, long after the official suppression). Below is a translation from the original Latin of part of the document as described in "The History of Temple Newsam" by Weater 1889 Edition page 97 it reads:- "The Master of the Temple with the assent of his brethren absolves from his vow William de Grafton one of the brethren of the Order and granted that having laid aside the habit of the Temple he may be allowed to turn himself to the secular state which King Edward II and the present King have confirmed".

Though most of the of the Preceptory complex has long since disappeared, the original Templar chapel still exists and is incorporated into the end of the present Ribston Hall, this unfortunately is a private residence so access is restricted. Some of the surrounding Templar Churches still exist and the Church of St Andrew in Ribston village has a pair of Knightly effigies either side of the alter that are supposed Templars. Interestingly the Church of nearby Spofforth has two stones "hidden" in its outer walls, one high up above the North aisle roof the other near ground level at the East end, these stones are a totally different composition to the stone used on the rest of the Church, a glance at the accompanying picture of the East one saves a thousand words.

Carved Cross

Though little of the fabric of the Preceptory survives there is probably more documentation from this site than any in England, many Templar inventories still exist. Some of these have been translated and published last Century notably in "The Gentleman's Magazine" of 1857 page 519 and "The Yorkshire Archaeological and Topographical Journal of 1882 vol vii (part one) and vol viii (part two).

Copy and Pictures: Dennis Garner

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