MORE THAN 900 YEARS AFTER KNIGHTS TEMPLAR FIRST MET AT TEMPLE BALSALL – OWNERSHIP OF SITE SETTLED
The Foundation of Lady Katherine Leveson, has registered one of Warwickshire’s hidden historical gems, Temple Balsall with Land Registry, thereby confirming ownership after hundreds of years of uncertainty over the site’s ownership. Registration means official ownership is now safeguarded by the state.
Temple Balsall has changed hands many times in its long and varied history which starts in the 12th century when it was the headquarters of Warwickshire’s Knights Templar. The preceptory, or ‘Old Hall’ was where the knights handed out instruction and punishment to the local population in equal measure. The Church of St Mary the Virgin was built around 1320 by the Knights Hospitaller, who succeeded the Templars. The church was later restored by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in 1849.
In 1674, Lady Katherine Leveson established a Foundation that would teach children and care for older people within a Christian context. And it is this work, more than 300 years later, the charitable Foundation of Lady Katherine Leveson continues. The charity, balances the need to celebrate the site’s unique heritage with the need to move forward and remain relevant to the 21st century.
The Foundation provides support and residential care for around 44 frail, older people in the fascinating historical alms houses; the education of children in the school; and the study of ageing, spirituality and social policy at the Leveson Centre.
Plans are underway for a £3.5 million development to provide a further 29 units to house more active, independent older people; the plans also include environmental improvements and landscaping
The Reverend Dr James Woodward, Master of the Foundation says:
“Temple Balsall has a long and fascinating history during which time ownership has changed hands many times – not always amicably. A few years ago, the title of Lord of the Manor for Temple Balsall was up for sale. This caused us some concern as we were unsure as to how this would impact on our legal status and our charitable work. Registering with Land Registry has meant that once and for all, we have secured and clarified the Foundation’s legal position regarding ownership of the site.”
By registering land, owners have title to their land underpinned by the state. It means owners can manage their land more effectively both now and in the longer term, they can consolidate complex legal information or historical data and protect their land against encroachment.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the fascinating history of Temple Balsall can come along to the Heritage Open Days on 13-14 September when there will be guided historical tours, special exhibitions and refreshments. For more information about Temple Balsall call Revd Dr James Woodward on 01564 772415