The preceptory of Arville

Translation : Andrew Zolnai

The Preceptory of Arville
Diaporama at the bottom of the page
France, department of Loir-et-Cher

France, department of Loir-et-Cher, around 30km west of Chateaudun and 15 km north of Montdoubleau.

Founded by Templars at the beginning of the 12th century, the preceptory of Arville remains, considering the extent of the existing buildings, an unique site and one of the better preserved preceptories in France.

Templars settled in Arville around 1128 or 1130 on a wooded domain of about 1000 Ha (2470 Acres) put at their disposal by the Lord of Montdoubleau, Geoffroy III(1). Thus was settled the preceptory, which became a place of farming, religious life, recruitment and military training of knights awaiting their departure for the Holy Land.

After the abolition of the Templar Order, the preceptory became the property of the Hospitaliers of Saint John of Jerusalem, who became the Knights of Malta in the 16th century, and maintained ownership of this place until the French Revolution of 1789.
Then it was sold as national property and bought by farmers.

In 1979, a part of the buildings was bought by an association of 10 communes in the region, which began the restauration of the site and the organization of the visits.
In 1999, the Association of the « Communes des collines du Perche » launched the Center for the History of the Chivalric Orders, with interactive exhibits of the epic story of the Crusades and Templar life.

Maquette de la commanderie
Model of the commandery displayed at the local museum.

Description of the remaining buildings :

  1. The porch :
    The central part is of Templar age of the 12th century The turrets were added during Hospitaler Age, during the 15th and 16th centuries. The pinnacles are covered with chestnut tiles also called shingles.
  2. The Center of Chivalric Orders :
    This building, rebuilt during the 16th century was originally a stable holding 50 horses. The framework and the roof, destroyed by a fire due to a thunderstorm in 1983, were restored in 1984 except for the type of wood used, oak today instead of chestnut in the past.
  3. The Tithe barn :
    Rebuild by Hospitaliers, restored to its original state after demolishing a house built inside by farmers. The 16th century frame is in chestnut.
  4. The Church
    Built during the 12th century as a Templar Chapel, it was of Roman style, topped by a steeple with three semicircular archways, symbolising the trinity. Below the window, lies a Maltese cross, symbol of the Hospitaliers. The church is build in « Grison », a local stone (conglomerate of silex, quartz, clay and iron ) and in another typical stone frequently used in the region, the « Roussard ».
  5. The Dovecote :
    It comprises 2000 nesting bays representing each one 'arpente' (1000 hectares), which was the extent of the Templar farm. Nice square frame built in chestnut

Notes :

(1)Sometimes referred to as Geoffroy IV of Mondoubleau or Chateaudun. He was the son of Henry III, Viscount of Chateaudun. He was born around 1090. In 1110, he married Avoise (Helvise or Havise) of Mondoubleau and became the lord of the seigniory. He participated in an expedition to the Holy Land and died on his way back to France, in Chartres in 1140.


More references on the Web... Web sources
  1. ""
Webmaster : Christophe Staf
Translation : Andrew Zolnai
© 1997-2020