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1154-1348, the reign of Henry II to the Black Death

Land and the Church continued

The order of the Knights Templar was founded in 1120 to protect Christian pilgrims visiting Jerusalem.  Its popularity brought it gifts including in 1185 land in the Lea marshes, mainly in Hackney but touching Leyton at a point where the Templars built (or possibly rebuilt) water mills to grind wheat into flour.  By 1278 they had built a mill on the Leyton side of the boundary with Hackney.  This became the Temple Mills, with one mill on the Leyton side of the River Lea, one on the Hackney side.  After the dissolution of the Order of Templars in 1312 the mills passed to the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, Clerkenwell, until they were taken with the rest of that organisation’s property by Elizabeth I.  Water mills were an important source of income in the Middle Ages and a lord of the manor might insist that all grain be ground in his mill.

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