The 1338 Survey of Hampton
Prepared for the Knights Hospitallers
To the Master of the Order of the Knights Hospitaller
In 1338 a survey was sent by the Prior of the Hospital of St. John, owner of the Manor of Hampton, to the Master of the Order of the Knights Hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem concerning their possessions in Hampton and other parts of the country.
The Order, whose headquarters were at that time in Rhodes, was a military monastic foundation created in the 11th century, purportedly for the protection of pilgrims visiting holy places in Palestine. To support themselves the Hospitallers set up an international organisation to gather funds. The English branch, formed in the twelfth century, bought the Manor of Hampton from Henry de St. Albans in 1236.
The manor house with land
The survey provides a good idea of land use in Hampton at that time. The manor house was known as a 'camera' that is to say a small establishment with land.
There were several timber-framed buildings (some with tiled roofs), houses, barns, a chapel and a kitchen with accommodation for visitors and a hall. All were probably arranged around a courtyard. These buildings are thought to have stood on the site of Hampton Court Palace.
Crops, meadow and pasture land
The amount of land was substantial. According to the survey it extended to 800 acres, probably mostly rented out for barley and rye. This covered much of the extent of modern Bushy Park (which today has 1099 acres).
There were also 40 acres of meadow by the Thames. In addition there was pasture for 24 oxen, 18 cows, 10 store cattle and 2000 sheep. There was also a fish weir in which were set nets or fish traps and a pigeon house.
Peter Foster, The Hospitallers at Hampton Part 1 - Income and Land Use, Borough of Twickenham Local History Society Paper No 26, 1973
Peter Foster, The Hospitallers at Hampton Part 2 - Expenditure, Borough of Twickenham Local History Society Paper No 30, 1975
John Sheaf and Ken Howe, Hampton and Teddington Past, Historical Publications,1995, page 10