English Monastic Life – Knights Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem

Knight HospitallerArticle

The Hospitallers began in A.D. 1092 with the building of a hospital for pilgrims at Jerusalem. The original idea of the work of these knights was to provide for the needs of pilgrims visiting the Holy Land and to afford them protection on their way. They, too, followed a rule of life founded upon that of Saint Augustine, and their dress was black with a white cross upon it. They came to England very shortly after their foundation, and had a house built for them in London in A.D. 1100. They rose in wealth and importance in the country; and their head, or grand prior as he was called, became the first lay baron in England, and had a seat in the House of Peers.

Upon many of their manors and estates the Knights Hospitallers had small establishments named commanderies, which were under the government of one of their number, called the commander. These houses were sometimes known as preceptories, but this was a term more generally used for the establishments of the other great Military Order, the Templars. An offshoot of both these orders was known as “The Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem.” There were a few houses of this branch in England, which was founded chiefly to assist and support lepers and indigent members of all the Military Orders. They are, however, usually regarded as hospitals. The Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem had their headquarters at the Hospital of Saint John, near Clerkenwell, to which were attached some fifty-three cells or commanderies.

MLA Citation

  • Dom Adrian Gasquet. “Knights Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem”. English Monastic Life, 1904. CatholicSaints.Info. 28 November 2018. Web. 21 April 2021. <>