Leper Knights: The Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem in by David Marcombe

By David Marcombe

Probably the most strange contributions to the crusading period was once the belief of the leper knight - a reaction to the scourge of leprosy and the dearth of struggling with males which beset the Latin state within the 12th century. The Order of St Lazarus, which observed the assumption turn into a truth, based institutions throughout Western Europe to supply crucial help for its hospitaller and armed forces vocations. This publication explores the $64000 contribution of the English department of the order, which by way of 1300 controlled a substantial property from its leader preceptory at Burton Lazars in Leicestershire. Time proved the English Lazarites to be either tricky and tenacious, if now not regularly preoccupied with the care of lepers. Following the autumn of Acre in 1291 they persisted a interval of sour inner clash, purely to emerge reformed and reinvigorated within the 15th century. even though those overdue medieval knights have been very diverse from their twelfth-century predecessors, a few ideologies lingered on, although subtly readapted to the necessities of a brand new age, until eventually the order was once ultimately suppressed by means of Henry VIII in 1544. the fashionable refoundation of the order, a charitable establishment, dates from 1962. The ebook makes use of either documentary and archaeological proof to supply the 1st ever account of this little-understood crusading order.DAVID MARCOMBE is Director of the Centre for neighborhood historical past, collage of Nottingham.

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Barber, ‘St Lazarus’, p. 447. Ibid, p. 451; Jankrift, Leprose, pp. 73–4 See also, D. Z. E. C. Smale (eds), Outremer. Studies in the History of the Crusading Kingdom of Jerusalem presented to Joshua Prawer (Jerusalem, 1982), pp. 205–17. Barber, ‘St Lazarus’, p. 451; Shahar, ‘Lépreux’, p. 26; Jankrift, Leprose, p. 79. Shahar, ‘Lépreux’, p. 36. 12 LEPER KNIGHTS Map 2: Acre in the thirteenth century. 63 This new role, the origins of which are obscure but which Shahar believes date from the twelfth century, was certainly being clarified by the mid-thirteenth century.

101. Ibid, pp. 91–3. E. Tentzel, Supplementum Historiae Gothanae (Jena, 1702), pp. 66–7. 102 Some of these hospitals, for example St Mary Magdalene and La Lande d’Airou, were associated with patrons who were crusaders, making their gifts easier to understand. No doubt they had an expectation that the order would take care of lepers in Europe just as it did in the Holy Land. The Pope, by endorsing this belief, evidently wished to support the Lazarites and to rationalise an untidy situation, but he was building his edifice on very slender foundations.

See Chapter 4, pp. 103, 105–7. The word ‘preceptory’ was another detail borrowed from the Templars, and it is noticeable that after their suppression the word ‘commandary’, favoured by the Hospitallers, tends to be used in France to describe these local outposts. The relationship between the order and the English province is discussed in Chapter 3, pp. 66–7. Jankrift, Leprose, pp. 102–11, 132–50. Ibid, p. 106. 123 These two factors demonstrate that, even before the fall of Acre, the Lazarite vocation was undergoing significant change, brought about by the beginnings of the decline of leprosy and the difficulty of attracting men to the cause.

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