Death of ‘Documents relating to the Military Orders’

It was warned of long ago, and now it has come: the ‘Documents relating to the Military Orders’ are no longer available online. Cardiff University has closed down the links.

However, here comes Google cache to the rescue! All the files are still on google cache! So here they are:

Documents relating to the Military Orders online

Document One: contemporary reactions to the foundation of the military orders:

Dccument Two: How William Became a Monk

The Siege of Ascalon:

Extracts from the Chronicles of Matthew Paris:

Document Three: The Fall of Acre (1291):

Document Four: The Iberian Peninsula and the ‘Reconquest’:

Documents relating to the Baltic Crusade:

Charters of donation to the Military Orders

The Monastic Day and the Templars’ Day

Jacques de Vitry: Sermons to a Military Order

Literature of the Military Orders

Relations with Rulers

The Military Orders and Economic Growth

Crusade Planning in the late thirteenth century

The Trial of the Templars

Some of them also appear on other websites, e.g. Paul Halsall’s Online Sourcebook and the De Re Militari site.


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And the index …

Everyday Life of the Templars coverThose awaiting the book will be pleased to read that the index was completed and sent back last week. As I had to do the index in the middle of exam marking there are probably some ‘issues’ with it. But possibly some index is better than no index at all.

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Kalamazoo 2017

Cardiff University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion sponsored a very successful session at the 52nd Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo ( earlier this month. Twenty scholars turned out early on Sunday morning to hear papers on various aspects of ‘The Knightly Lifecycle’ and ask lots of interesting questions. Here’s a photo of us to prove that we all got there: from the left, Dr Elizabeth Terry of Austin College, Texas; myself, as organiser of the session; Nicholas McDermott of the School of History, Archaeology and Religion; Greg Leighton, of the same; and Pierre Gaite, of the same.IMG_3682

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Everyday Life of the Templars coverThe proofs of the book are here. I’m checking through them.

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Blogger’s news

The latest news from Gawain’s Mum is that I’ve been elected to be a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales (see )

There’s a list of the new members at:

So I can now add FLSW to the end of my name, after the MA(Oxon), PhD and FRHistS . I don’t know whether there is a Welsh version to use as appropriate; perhaps someone will let me know?

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Everyone loves a mystery …

… but let’s remember that most of them are fiction. Over the last two days, I’ve been asked to comment on news reports about a man-made network of caves at Caynton, near Beckbury in Shropshire. Because the origin of these caves is not immediately obvious, it has been suggested that they belonged to the Templars — who were not noted in their day for being subterranean.
So here’s my answer to the queries:

The Knights Templar did not own land at Caynton (where the caves are) or in the Beckbury area, where Caynton is.

There is an excellent summary of the locations where the Templars held land in Shropshire online at: ! (– this is the Victoria County History, the authoritative scholarly history of the English counties).

House of Knights Templars: Preceptory of Lydley | British …

HOUSE OF KNIGHTS TEMPLARS 14. THE PRECEPTORY OF LYDLEY. The Templars, who had acquired estates in Shropshire by 1158, owed their original endowments to William …

As you will see elsewhere on this blog, I have studied the Templars’ records for Shropshire in detail and I’ve been around their major sites in Shropshire. They did have extensive lands in Shropshire, but not in the area in question.

Shropshire is a big county (by English standards), and many religious houses held land there. The Victoria County History page for Beckford ( reveals that Wenlock Priory held land in the area, so if anyone reading this blog is looking for religious connections for Caynton Caves, these would be the people to look at. By the twelfth century Wenlock Priory belonged to the Cluniac order, which (as many readers of this blog know) was based at the Abbey of Cluny in central-eastern France (the Victoria County History page for Wenlock Priory is at: — and see the Cluny Abbey webpage at:

Houses of Cluniac monks: Abbey, later Priory, of Wenlock …

5. THE ABBEY, LATER PRIORY, OF WENLOCK. The only pre-Conquest religious house in Shropshire was St. Milburga’s monastery at Wenlock, and this had given way to a …

Beckbury | British History Online

BECKBURY. The small rural parish of Beckbury lies on the Shropshire–Staffordshire border c. 6 km. south of Shifnal. In the Middle Ages (perhaps from the 12th …

However, I think it is much more likely that these caves were created in the 18th or 19th century by a landowner interested in the Gothic Revival movement. There are various examples around England and Wales of underground complexes created by landowners – there’s another one at Dewstow, near Caerwent in the County of Gwent in south Wales:

Dewstow Gardens & Grottoes

Dewstow, Garden, Gardens, Grottoes, Gardens to visit. Gardens in Wales, Best British Gardens, James Pulham, Caerwent, Caldicot, Welsh Gardens, Wales Gardens, best …

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The book has a cover

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