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Great Limber ~ Knights Templar & More History

Great Limber in Lincolnshire was where I found myself today.
There was a Knight Templar Preceptory there but I suspect there’s much more to the place than there may initially appear.

Today, Great Limber is a lovely little village but I imagine most people experience it only when driving through on the way to Humberside Airport.
The question is what was it like 100s of years ago ?
My attention was brought to something by Cartographic Guru Neville Sisson. Looking at Speed’s 1610 map of Lincolnshire the symbols denoting towns change in stature.
This seems reasonable enough as it reflects the status of the town one presumes - but why then is Great Lymberghe, symbolically, the size of Grimsby and Caistor ?

I took this picture quickly from the far side of the village for those abroad who visit the site. It’s a fairly typical rural village scene - the local church, probably 800 years old or so looking out over the landscape and village it has so beautifully molded itself into

typical Lincolnshire countryside scene

Classic Lincolnshire Scene ~ A Medieval Church Peeping Out Over Trees

We know the Knights Templar had a Preceptory there so to my mind that suggests an area of reasonable importance anyway - but is there more ?
As to the Templar Knights, below are the earthworks of the original preceptory what a feeling it was standing there.
Back in the 12th century the Templars held the second biggest estate in Lymbergh. It was, as most of their property was, let out to tenants and this continued until the 14th century when the order was famously dissolved with this estate then passing to the Knights Hospitallers

Knight Templar Preceptory in Lincolnshire
The Site of a Knight Templar Preceptory

Below is a map of the entire site which is now a scheduled ancient monument and a beautifully kept site it is too.
There is public access and it has a superb ‘Conservation Walk’ so you can take in the whole place - really is worth a visit.
It’s on the left hand side of the road just as you enter the village heading towards the airport.
Here is the key to the spots marked on the map

A: Large rectangular banked enclosure thought to represent the site of the Hospitallers camera, where the main house, outbuildings, gardens and possibly a chapel were located between the 14th and 16th centuries The prominent wall foundations visible inside the enclosure mark the site of the 16th and 17th century house

B: Remains of a large, rectangular barn

C Closes defined by banks associated with the occupation of the Templars in the 12th and 14th centuries and reoccupied in the 14th - 16th centuries by the Hospitallers. The closes contain traces or earlier ridge and furrow cultivation. A further enclosure to the east is occupied by the farmyard.

D: Village remains marking the former eastern extent of Great Limber. This part of the village was depopulated gradually: only two houses were occupied in 1676, and the whole area had been abandoned by 1812.

E: Remains of houses and yards.

F: Former village streets visible as hollow ways.

G: Traces of late medieval ridge and furrow cultivation, known as Stone-Pit Furlong in the 17th century.

H: Site of Great Limber House and gardens, bounded on the south side by the earthwork remains of a ha-ha (a ha-ha is a sort of trench marking a boundary with spoiling a view), which formerly separated the gardens from adjacent pasture land.

Great Limber Map
Great Limber Map

The Domesday Book
Listed in the 1086 book as Limberge / Linberge it’s King’s Land and the only names mentioned are the Archbishop of York, Ivo Tailbois, Hugh FitzBaldric, Drogo de Beuriviere and Rayner de Brimou.
The only place noted is half a slaughter house so it’s clear in 1086 there wasn’t a great deal going on there - so why the status on some maps ?


Another shot of the earthworks

The final shot above is an attempt to show you how impressive the earthworks are on the site. As always, in my experience, it’s very difficult to get this across in a photograph. The above shows it a bit better than normal so perhaps it gives you some idea.

Obviously there’s plenty more to go at here but I’m concerned this has already got quite long so I think it may be better to cover anything else in the form of comments.

If you know of anything else or you’ve visited the village then please do leave a comment - likewise subsequently there will be a lot more valuable information in the comments that will surely build over time so please do scroll down for more - thank you

All the best

See also: Magna Limbergia Document ~ Helby ~ The Mausoleum ~ The Templars at Limber ~ St Peter’s Church


  1. Rod said,

    April 18, 2010 @ 6:46 pm

    Great Limber Priory ~ Limber Magna
    There was Norman priory there affiliated to the Abbey of L’Aulnay in Normandy.

    “An alien priory of the Cistercian abbey of Aunay-sur-Odon in Normandy Grange of Carthusian Abbey of St Anne 1157-1393″

  2. Rod said,

    April 18, 2010 @ 7:03 pm

    Very Early History
    A Neolithic stone axe was found at Little Limber in 1958. It is in Scunthorpe Museum.

    Romano British cinerary urn and a 3rd to 4th century jar were found in the vicarage garden at Great Limber in 1949. The finds are in Lincoln Museum

    Spearheads and Rapiers from the Bronze Age.

    Later History
    World War II decoy site

  3. chris keyworth said,

    April 18, 2010 @ 8:53 pm

    far to much to post up on this place and well scattered but there is everything here from bronze age to more recent times ive seen large amounts of roman and medieval finds the odd celtic and saxon coin and a large viking presence…

  4. Rod said,

    April 19, 2010 @ 8:43 am

    you hit the nail on the head there re far too much to post.
    It’s a tremendous historical spot which makes me wonder if there’s not a little more to theplace than is immediately obvious
    All the best

  5. bev stegeman said,

    July 16, 2011 @ 8:15 am

    Dear Rod The site is great I am doing a One Name Study on the name Quickfall and they were in Gt Limber from 1550. this site helps me see where they lived when I am on the other side of the world.

  6. Chris Keyworth said,

    October 28, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

    I was just Trawling through some old Air Photos of great limber and have just noticed somthing that may be of concirerable interest, its always been there but just stairing us all in the face.. THE CHURCH IS ALINED WRONG….
    This is shouting out to me that this is not the original site of the church Perhaps there is another hidden away, i dont doubt there has always been somthing on the spot but i could be a converted chaple…


  7. Rod said,

    October 28, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

    this is well worth looking into - very intriguing indeed, hmmm I wonder how many churches are off the standard axis ?

  8. Steve... said,

    October 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

    I wonder what you think the standard axis is and why? There is a lot more to the layout and siting of ancient churches than you might think.

  9. Rod said,

    October 29, 2011 @ 8:11 am

    Chris will speak for himself I’m sure but my presumption was that the church doesn’t face east.
    That said, I’ve just looked into the ‘all churches face east rule’ . . .

  10. Chris Keyworth said,

    October 29, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

    My understanding was that not all churches face the same way as some where aligned to the sunrise of a certain feast day of the dedicated saint of that church most churches face towards the rising sun over jeruselem, Great limber is dedicated to saint Peter so you would think as it is on a different axis it would point to the sunrise on st peters day, 29th of june, but as i am never up at half four in the morning to witness or record this i am unsure what direction this is, any ideas?. its an interesting topic and one worth further investigation.

  11. James Smith, 12 said,

    December 20, 2011 @ 8:01 pm


    There was a Romano-British burial found in the back garden of the Vicarage in 1949.


  12. Chris Keyworth said,

    December 20, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

    Hi James
    thats news to me but it does make sense as there is a very large Roman Cemetary in the area not far from the vicarage, ive looked into great limber in some depth and there is far more going on there than that is apparently evident on the ground…

  13. Rod said,

    December 21, 2011 @ 8:23 am

    great addition, many thanks - I’ve just looked into it and it was a Romano British cinerary urn and a 3rd to 4th century jar, they are now held by Lincoln Museum.
    Great stuff James.
    All the best

  14. Sue and Steve Clark said,

    March 4, 2012 @ 6:22 pm

    Wow what an interesting amount of research you have completed, well done.

    We purchased the property as Victorian, many years ago, after a medium visited us, she told us who was here and the age, since then I have been looking on the net for information which is coming on more and more.

    We own 3/4 of the Aunay Sur odon, estate, the former home of the bishops/abbots etc… standing as if built yesterday, by the saxons, it’s very plain, I have been lightly researching the link to Gt Limber, owned by the same person earlier, than 1550 1160 on, Henry II’s chief constable. While he was based in the Uk he was constantly travelling signing and witnessing documents throughout the Uk, returning rarely to Aunay,,which was the main benificary of any monies and running on a skeleton of Monks the others busy in the Uk building places like Croxton Abbey etc and renting lands, all the wealth came back here hence the walls everyhere. Aulnay is another village nothing to do with Aunay just a spelling error like so many names..

    We have found a number of Templar links on the estate but never believed they were real, we do now..
    The reason this place survived is simple, is was hidden in a very thick forest and no one except the monk knew of it’s exisitance, its only in the past few hundred years since the french have used the timber for fires have cleared the land to create stunning fields all around. We have just found the tunnel which goes from the bishops home to the mother church so they did’nt get wet.. on their way to prayer.

    Rod if you want to come out for a look, email us.. we are out there early summer.

  15. Rod said,

    March 4, 2012 @ 7:12 pm

    Sue and Steve,
    thanks for the comment and welcome to the site - sounds like an absolutely fabulous place you have and thanks for the kind offer - best of luck with your research and hope you find more lincolnshire connections

  16. Sue N Steve said,

    March 5, 2012 @ 8:03 pm

    Pardon me for being stupid, but the writers on the net use many names meaning the same thing and it’s very confusing for the novice, I did geography, I should have done History then I would not be asking…
    Carthusians is this same as the Cathars the small religious sect, we found a plaque in the wall 1661 family crest it belonged to Bishop/Monk Rance he was head of the priory st Anne I think and he was a Templar, still unsure of the roll of these Templars and how active they were at Gt Limber mother church in Aunay… anyone know…
    Rod your a very talented photographer, love your picys,, don’t stop.
    We have a lot in common, my partner did the same as you, he went into farming for his hobby and loves it, having the engineering background means he can fix everything that breaks, so we don’t wait weeks for an engineer.
    he loves learning about areas and this place is a mecca for more information coming to the surface…
    The Panzer div stopped here in WWII, and left all their junk, which we gave to the museums, after they left, we bombed the village of Auney to nothing 1 person survived, sadly, it’s one of our blunders we never mention.
    The history prior to this is mind blowing, there are things we have found I cannot mention, a bit like meeting the queen no one believes you untill they see the photos. or meet her themselves.. till then… sue
    Grateful for any observations/links of interest of Gt limber…

  17. Rod said,

    March 6, 2012 @ 7:14 am

    Sue N Steve,
    the Cathars are hugely important and there are plenty of books with a lot of information in that will make fascinating reading.
    To be associated with them is really rather exciting though I warn tough things will get worse :)
    It’s not just the Templars now . . . with the Cathars you’re right in the middle of all the Holy Grail theories and conspiracies etc :)

  18. Kate Brett said,

    June 28, 2012 @ 1:23 am

    Just to clarify: Carthusians were/still are an order of Catholic monks who live a strict rule of silence and solitude, and (being cut off from ‘the world’) are fairly obscure. The name is derived from the ‘Chartreuse’ mountains where the first group lived. Cathars, on the other hand, were a Manichean sect whose name derives from a Greek word for purification. They also led rather strict and self-denying lives (and were persecuted as heretics for their trouble - see for instance the novel Montaillou). I ended up reading quite a bit about them while I was studying the medieval period at university. Alas the holy grail didn’t come into that part of the course, though it did turn up elsewhere on the reading list. All good fun. Kate

  19. Rod said,

    June 28, 2012 @ 5:31 am

    don’t start on the Grail :)
    I’ve thus far managed to avoid it here on the site, though read a good deal about it, I’m fearful of starting an online Lincolnshire Grail Quest :roll:

  20. Gary said,

    February 13, 2013 @ 7:41 am

    Lived in Great limber most of my life spent my childhood exploring the woods, and tunnels, and hidden things around the woods and area’s here. There’s a few tatles of secret tunnels to the Yarbrough estate and they are mapped out. People have seen the map of the wood and where tunnels are. Not sure if they are still used or have been blocked up. Its strange coming on to this website and seeing everything i grew up seeing. Like the tree that got hit by the plane.. i couldn’t beleive it when we found it when we was younger.
    Their is also remains of a aircraft in the woods near the brickyard road (Which i’m sure you already knew was a brickyard years back) but nothing remains in the woods. The woods im talking about is on the right of the farm where you took these pictures. Theres also a bomb shelter just accross the way from this aswell.

    Had to leave my peace :) keep it up, i’d love to come back on here in a while and find something i never saw growing up.

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