The Knights Templar in Brockley

Who says the media has dumbed down? In 1961, for no obvious reason, this is what the Kentish Mercury was writing about. Brockley Central has always attracted conspiracy theorists - now we know why:

The Kentish Mercury, May 12, 1961.

Monks at Brockley

"The ruins of the thirteenth-century Bayham Abbey, near Lambhurst, Kent, have an 800-year-old association with Lewisham and Deptford, for it was here that the Premonstratensian Order of Monks moved from Brockley in the year 1200.

Towards the end of the resign of Henry II (1154-1189) the manor of Brockley, or Brockele, as it was then called, was granted by Wakelin Maminot to his heir Michael de Turnham as an annual rental of 12d. Michael afterwards sold the land to Wakelin's wife, the Countess Juliana de Vere, that she might found a religious order and she duly gave the land to the Premonstratensian monks who had come from the Premonstre in France and settled at Ottham in Sussex in the year 1146.

Right of Might

On the death of Wakelin Maminot in 1191 Alice his sister and co inheritor of the estate, bestowed the land on the Knights Templar. In those days, when might was so often right, it was 23 years before the rights to the land at Brockley were regained by the monks, which land they then held until the dissolution of the monasteries in1526.

That part of the monastic land at Brockley which is in the borough of Lewisham passed to the Crown at the Dissolution, but in 1548 it was held by John Gaynesford, who conveyed it to Thomas keys for £200.

Noakes Estate

The manor of Brockley was then describes as consisting of one messuage (dwelling house), two barns, 284 acres of land and 12o acres of wood. It later became known as Forest place or Brockley Farm.

Many local residents will remember the Noakes estate, which, in 1932-1933, was built over, becoming Sevenoaks road, Brockley Hall road and others.


The other part of the monastic lands at Upper Brockley, in the borough of Deptford, descended from the Crown in the person of Queen Elizabeth I, to a Philip Conway. At the Restoration of King Charles II the land was vested in Sir John Cutler who later, in 1692, settled it on one Edmund Boulter, and through whom it passed to William Wickham, after whom the road is named. Later still it passed to one of his heirs Thomas Drake, a distant kinsman of Sir Francis Drake.


No monastery ever stood at Brockley, but around the year 1860 grassy mounds in a meadow belonging to a Mr. Joseph Myatt of Manor Farm, Brockley, marked the site of the remains of a small monastic building. Upon excavation of a building 344ft by 21 and a half feet (can't do the symbol for half on my computer), with walls 2ft thick, was uncovered.

When the foundations of St. Peter's Church in Wickham-road, Brockley, were being dug in 1870 an old well was discovered on th eland once owned by the monks and across which now runs the railway bewteen Lewisham and Nunhead. " [R.W.ELKIN.]

With thanks to JPM for his painstaking research!