Thursday, 23 October 2014

Chibburn Commandery

The small commandery of Chibburn, between the village of Widdrington and Druridge Bay on the Northumberland coast was donated to the Hospitallers in 1313. The site was located on the main route used by pilgrims visiting Holy Island and Lindisfarne. These ruins are the best preserved commandery of the Order of St John in England. The site is enclosed by a wall and was originally surrounded by a moat,  now filed in.


The commandery buildings at Chibburn are arranged around a courtyard and consist of a chapel, hall and living accommodation for the three members of the Order who lived there including the commander.


There was once a tower on the north side of which little remains. On the west side of the courtyard are the remains of the great hall. The fireplaces have massive lintels.


The chapel on the south side of the courtyard is the best preserved part of the commandery.


Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540 Chibburn was sold by the Crown in 1553 to Sir John Widdrington.  He used  it as the dower house for Whittington Castle. The site was abandoned after being razed by French troops who raided the Northumberland Coast in 1693.