Historians aim to uncover village's Templar connections
Students and staff from Keele University are set to investigate the Knights Templar connection to a North Staffordshire village.
Members of the public are invited to join Teresa Gilmore, of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, Staffordshire county archaeologist Stephen Dean, the Keele History Society, the University’s geoscience team and members of Lichfield’s Three Spire Search Society to search for the Templar preceptory – or local headquarters – known to have been based in Keele village.
Landowners have given permission to carry out the search – including some geo-phys work – on their farmland, in the area where the preceptory is thought to be located.
The group also plan to use metal detectors along the old medieval road that runs from the back of the St John’s Church and cuts through the adjoining field. There will be an opportunity to try out metal detecting under the instruction of the Three Spires Search Society.
Mature student Chris Mannion, of Keele History Society, said: “Our aim is to find the buildings that made up the Templar Preceptory at Keele, which was given to the Knights Templar between 1162- 1169 by King Henry II. Thomas of Lancaster later took it back in 1308 after the dissolution of the Knights Templar, though in 1322, after Lancaster’s execution, the land was given to the Knights Hospitaller, and remained in their hands until the 15th Century.”
The event will take place on Thursday, March 28, from 10am. Anyone interested in taking part can meet the group at St John’s Church in Keele village.