Commandery, a species of benefice, or an honorary dignity, belonging to certain of the orders of chivalry, and conferred upon aged knights who had rendered worthy services to the order or to the state. The term was first used in the 13th century, and was applied to sums saved from the revenues of the order for the support of warriors fighting against the Mohammedans. It was afterward applied to benefices distant from the residence of the order, and over which a knight was set to collect the revenues. Subsequently, the system of benefices having been abolished with the decline of feudalism, the orders of chivalry preserved the name after they had lost the substance, and conferred the horforary dignity and the title of what had formerly been a revenue. Among the knights of Malta, those to whom commanderies were given were called commanders, and were rather the farmers than the beneficiaries of the order, since they paid a certain rent or tribute to the common treasury. The grand commander was the first dignitary of the order after the grand master. When the religious houses in England were suppressed by Henry VIII. there were more than 50 commanderies in the country.