The history of Temple Balsall is comprehensively told in two readily
available books by Eileen Gooder. The first is 'Temple Balsall:
The Warwickshire Preceptory of the Templars and their Fate', ISBN
0 85033 936 7. The second is 'Temple Balsall: From Hospitallers
to a Caring Community, 1322 to Modern Times', ISBN 1 86077 102
5. (Both Library ref 942.497).
the 12th century, the manor of Balsall was gifted by Roger de
Mowbray to the 'crusading' monastic order, the Knights Templar.
They established a 'preceptory' there where members of the order
pursued the monastic life, but also raised money from rents paid
by the tenants of the manor to fund crusades. It is believed that
the present Old Hall is the original preceptory building dating
from the early 13th century. Under the ownership of the Templars,
Balsall became known as Temple Balsall.
the Pope abolished the Templars in 1312 he gifted all of their
assets to another monastic order, the Knights of the Hospital
of St John. So ownership of Temple Balsall changed and thus it
stayed until the 'Dissolution of the Monasteries' by Henry VIII
in 1540 and title was seized by the crown.
1566 Elizabeth I gave Temple Balsall to Dudley, Earl of Leicester.
A few generations and about a century later, two daughters of
Lady Alice Dudley, Lady Anne Holbourne and Lady Katherine Leveson,
were to set Temple Balsall on a remarkable course towards what
it has become today.
Lady Anne Holbourne died in 1663, she set aside in her will sums
to restore the church, which was a victim of the reformation,
and to ensure an ongoing ministry there and full ownership of
Temple Balsall passed to Lady Katherine Leveson. Lady Katherine
bequeathed in her will that:
almshouse for 20 of the poorest distressed widows or spinsters
be built at Temple Balsall,
minister be appointed to read scriptures and instruct these
minister should also instruct 20 of the poorest boys until they
could be apprenticed
matters should be overseen by 11 trustees.
her death in 1674, the emergence of Temple Balsall as it is known
today with care home, schoolhouse and Master's House to complement
the older Hall and Church, was begun.