Open main menu

Commandry (British English), or commandery (American English), was the smallest division of the European landed estate or manor under the control of a commander of a military order. The word is also applied to the emoluments granted to a commander in an order of knights. They were the equivalent for those orders to a monastic grange.



The word derives from French commanderie or commenderie, from mediaeval Latin commendaria or commenda, meaning "a trust or charge", originally one held in commendam.[1] [2]

Originally, commandries were benefices, particularly in the Church, held in commendam. Mediaeval military orders adopted monastic organizational structures and commandries were divisions of the Order of Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, and later the Order of Teutonic Knights and other knightly orders were organized along similar lines.[2] The property of the order was divided into "priorates" (or priories), subdivided into "bailiwicks," which in turn were divided into "commanderies" or "commendæ"; these were placed in charge of a "commendator" or commander. The word is also applied to the emoluments granted to a commander of a military order of knights.[1]

A commandry of the Teutonic Knights, each headed by a Komtur, was known as a Komturei or Kommende. The equivalents among the Knights Templar were "preceptor" and "preceptory".[dubious ] In 1540, the possessions in England of the Knights Hospitaller - the commanderies to which the English term first referred - were seized as crown property.[2]




In the Near East and throughout Europe:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Chisholm 1911, p. 765.
  2. ^ a b c "commandery | commandry, n." OED Online, Oxford University Press, December 2018, Accessed 9 December 2018.


  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Commandery" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 765.