Hospitallers in Western Europe 1261–91

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Map Code: Ax00560

In the last half of the 13th century the Hospitallers, like the Templars, were steadily losing their raison d’etre. The Mamluks were mopping up their strongholds in the Holy Land and the fall of Acre in 1291 would deprive the military orders of their founding mission. In the preceding two centuries, the crusading period had enabled the Hospitallers to build a formidable pan-European property portfolio, with an equally effective organization. The main regional subdivision was the ‘priory’, some very extensive. For example, England, Ireland and Scotland each constituted a single priory. Each priory was divided into bailiwicks, and then individual commandries. In 1262, individual divisions were required for the first time to produce accounts of their finances, increasing central control. This resilience enabled them to reinvent themselves; in the early 1300s, they would capitalize upon the dissolution of the Templars, and build a new bulwark for Christendom in Rhodes.

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