Knights Templar Chapel

Chapel with base of coffin to north and body just to south

Photo by SWAG

Chapel with base of coffin to north and body just to south

Building 18 - The Chapel

The Chapel 12.8m x 5.0m was one of the most important buildings on the site. Built around 1200-1220 its construction meant the site was officially a preceptory, as Templars had to follow the religious day. The Chapel was [photo] rectangular, unlike a lot of templar churches, which were round to imitate the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem.

A stairwell in the northwest corner probably went to bell tower and may have given access for the Templars from the Great Hall via the porch. To the east was the altar, finds of lead came from holding stained glass, one piece of which had a templar cross, were discovered here. To the north of the altar were two large footings, these could have been an Easter Sepulchre and a wall safe respectively. Plaster was found usually creamy white with black, pink, red and yellow designs on it. In France it was not uncommon for them to plaster the wall then outline the bricks in red and have a frieze around the doors and windows.

A gilded ring and a kings head belt buckle were found here along with some pottery plus unrelated items such as arrowheads and horseshoes. Burials were discovered, one to the north and another to the south. The one to the south had been buried in a wooden coffin that had disappeared with time, but leaving the skeleton. The one to the north was a fine stone coffin, though the lid was missing and only bone fragments remained. In the Church at South Witham is a coffin lid that was used as a footbridge over the river Witham from 1550-1905 when it was moved into the church. The lid has been dated between 1250 and 1350 though the source of this dating is unknown. Could this be the lid to the coffin on the site?

Could the coffin be the last Templar on the site? These things are still to be discovered.