Temple Grafton is a village and civil parish in the Stratford district of Warwickshire, England, situated about 4 miles (6.4 km) east of Alcester and 14 miles (23 km) West of the county town of Warwick. The place name is misleading, the Knights Templar never having any association with the place but owing to a naming error made in the time of Henry VIII the mistake has been perpetuated. During the reign of Richard I the estate in fact belonged to the Knights Hospitaller. During the reign of Edward III in 1347 the village was recorded as Grafton Superior while neighbouring Ardens Grafton was named Inferior.
Temple Grafton was alleged to have been granted to Evesham Abbey by Ceolred King of Mercia in 710. But it is also said to have been given by Edward the Confessor in 1055, and is included among the 36 manors acquired by Abbot Ethelwig (1055–77); the 8th-century charter is probably a forgery made about this time to strengthen the title. Of these 36 manors, 28, including Grafton, were seized by Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, quasi lupus rapax, (like a ravaging wolf) after Ethelwig's death. The village is then recorded in the Domesday Book as part of the lands of Osbern son of Richard, having been given to him by Odo, where the entry states, "In Ferncombe Hundred Gilbert holds 5 hides in (Grastone) Temple Grafton. Land for 5 ploughs. In lordship 2; 4 slaves; 6 villagers with a priest and 6 smallholders with 5 ploughs. Meadow, 24 acres. The value was £3; now £4. Merwin,Scroti, Toti and Tosti held it freely before 1066."
A small gallery of images from the Village of Temple Grafton.
- St Andrews St Andrews
- St Andrews Tower St Andrews Tower
- Side View Side View
- Rear View Rear View
- Notice re Shakespeare Notice re Shakespeare
- War Memorial War Memorial
- The Blue Boar Inn The Blue Boar Inn
- Cottages Cottages
- Old Rectory Old Rectory
The first mention of the Knights Hospitallers here occurs in 1189, when they received a grant of land from Henry de Grafton. In 1275–6 they were holding 2 carucates, formerly belonging to Ralph and Bernard de Grafton, which were declared to have evaded taxation for forty years. In 1316 they held the manor for a knight's fee of Guy de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. By 1338 they had a Preceptory here, which was united with that of Balsall, and they continued lords of the manor until the suppression of their Order in 1540 when the manor passed to the crown.
It is known as one of the Shakespeare villages. William Shakespeare is said to have joined a party of Stratford folk which set itself to outdrink a drinking club at Bidford-on-Avon, and as a result of his labours in that regard to have fallen asleep under the crab tree of which a descendant is still called Shakespeare's tree. When morning dawned his friends wished to renew the encounter but he wisely said "No I have drunk with "Piping Pebworth, Dancing Marston, Haunted Hillboro', Hungry Grafton, Dodging Exhall, Papist Wixford, Beggarly Broom and Drunken Bidford" and so, presumably, I will drink no more." The story is said to date from the 17th century but of its truth or of any connection of the story or the verse to Shakespeare there is no evidence. The hungry ephitet refers to the poverty of the soil.
Links to SWFHS Content about Temple Grafton
- Baptism Records Index
- Marriage Records Index
- Burial Records Index
- War Memorial Page [under construction]
Other Online Resources