Moat surrounding Stydd Hall, site of the Preceptory of the Knights Hospitallers at Stydd. (1, 2)
In the township of Stydd was a preceptory of the Knights Hospitallers. It was one of 36 into which the possessions of the Order in England were divided, and was usually known by the title of the Preceptory of Yeaveley, but the alias Stydd was frequently added; and latterly, when the other possessions of the Order in Derbyshire had been added to it, it most frequently called the Preceptory of Yeaveley and Barrow. In the reign of Richard I (1189-1199), Ralph Foun gave a hermitage at Yeaveley, with lands, waters, woods, mills and other appurtenances, to the Hospitallers. More land and tenements were granted in the following centuries. The chief duties of the preceptories, in addition to supplying general funds for the militant portion of the Order, were those of hospitality. Following the Dissolution, the site of the confiscated preceptory was given in 1543 to Charles, Lord Mountjoy. Since then the property has repeatedly changed hands. Ruined remains of the chapel survive [see SMR 28202]; this was not an isolated building but connected with the other parts of the preceptory. The foundations of many of these buildings can still be traced [in 1877], but a considerable portion has apparently been levelled away when Stydd Hall was erected [see SMR 28207]. (3)
Around Stydd Hall, on the site of the old Preceptory of Stydd or Yeaveley, are the irregular remains of the old square moat which formerly enclosed the extensive precincts. (4)
References in the original description of this site to excavations carried out in the vicinity of the chapel in 1912 and again in 1971 and 1972 (see Authority 5) are incorrect, as these excavations were actually at Stydd near Ribchester in Lancashire.
The Preceptory at Yeaveley had its origins in a hermitage given, along with lands, water, woods and a mill, to the Knights of St John of Jerusalem. Accounts of the Preceptory survive from 1338 and name two brothers at that time, Brother Henry de Bakewell, the chaplain and preceptor, and Brother Thomas de Batheley. A layman, two corrodaries and two pensioners are also named. Other personnel are referred to but not named, such as the chamberlain, the bailiff, the steward, the cook and the washerwoman. The estate at Yeaveley was managed as a farm and included a dovecote that appears to have been a steady source of income. Following the dissolution of the preceptory, the buildings fell into disuse and became ruined, with some of the stone being used to lay the base of the present Stydd Hall. (6)
The site is scheduled. It comprises a platform measuring c. 80m square surrounded by a moat which is c. 12m wide across the top and up to c. 2m deep. On the platform are the standing remains of the 13th century chapel of St Mary and St John the Baptist (see SMR 28202) and the present Stydd Hall, built on medieval foundations (see SMR 28207). Other buildings of the preceptory probably survive as buried remains. The moat, which acted as a drain for the site and may also have been utilised as one or more fishponds during the Middle Ages, is fed by a stream. Well-preserved organic and environmental remains, such as wood, leather, bone and plant material, may survive in the water-logged deposits of the moat. (7).