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The village of Templeton

with a supplement on Calverleigh

The following table gives comparable populations for several villages close to Templeton. By the 20th century they had all lost population, some more than others, as people moved into the towns.

  1801 1851 1901
Calverleigh 70 95 69
Templeton 200 218 175
Washfield 420 452 332
Cruwys Morchard 556 732 523
Loxbeare 132 129 100

Maps of Templeton through the 19th century show it as having changed little over 150 years! It is 'off the beaten track', buried among deep combes about midway between Dartmoor and Exmoor, both of which can be seen on a clear day from a vantage point above the village though not from the one below! It is sometimes known just as 'Temple'.

View of Templeton Access to the village is from several directions though the most dramatic is through a ford and up a very steep narrow lane with grass growing in the middle and the hedges meeting overhead, shutting out the light - where you hope not to meet a milk tanker coming the other way!

Above the village on this side is Temple Cross, site of an ancient cross which could have been a marker for the route taken by the Knights Templar on their way to or return from the Crusades. Stories about this are more theory than fact as little is known about them.

The church of St Margaret which can just be seen in the photo above, belonged to the Knights Templars. It was first built in 1335 - by or for them - but the one seen here is a rebuilding of the original in the same style. Some more details can be found on the GENUKI site for Templeton. If you visit this site now use your back arrow to return here. There are now no resident clergy, the parish being part of a circuit of parishes with a group ministry.

Kelly's directory of 1866 states that the church living was in the gift of Sir John Reeve de la Pole, Bt. and that it was held at the time by the Rev. Edward Pole M.A. of Exeter College, Oxford. The church was said to be very dilapidated at the time.

St Margaret's Church, Templeton

Rectors of the parish during the 19th century were:

1821 Thomas Hobbes (under Sir William Templar Pole)
1833 Edward Pole, the first resident for nearly a century.
1840 John Roberts
1841 Edward Pole

Kelly's directory says that "Templeton Manor was purchased of Sir John William de la Pole of Shute, (Bt.?) by Charles Joseph Chichester Esq. on 29th April 1794."

In the directory of 1906 Lt.Col. A.G.Chichester of Godmanchester and Capt. Nugent Chichester of Calverleigh were named as lords of the manor and principal landowners.

There is a graveyard some of which can be seen here. Details from some of the gravestones are included on pages for Farms and Cottages and Families where relevant.

Nutcombe Cornwell (see Families) was recorded as parish clerk in Morris's directory of 1870 and in Harrod's of 1873.

The village of Templeton was in Witheridge Hundred. The village of Witheridge itself was under the jurisdiction of Charles Chichester's father-in-law, Newton Fellowes, (Wallop family) who himself lived at Eggesford then Wembworthy and became 4th Earl of Portsmouth.

There is a Visitor's Book and several descendants have been contacted by this means. Unfortunately some addresses were illegible which is a pity as Templeton - and the account book - was full of their ancestors!

The village itself is scarcely more than a handful of houses round a long narrow patch of grass - it can hardly be described as a village 'green', - with the church at one end, here seen with just its tower coming into view. Perhaps someone can confirm if there was or is an old hand water-pump on this grass verge. There was some rebuilding of old cottages in progress (or rather pulling them down in preparation for rebuilding) at the time these photos were taken, in 1994. The workmen claimed they might once have housed the village school or that it could have been there. Bovett's Historical Notes on Devon Schools describes Cloggs as being "immediately to the east of the later purpose built school " so this is unlikely. Mary Cottrell with her daughter as assistant was the first schoolmistress. Her schoolroom was in Cloggs itself as it had the large room used very occasionally as a court since the middle ages.

Bovett says that a daily school for ten pupils was begun in 1827 in Templeton. It was supported by both the Rector and the Curate and was given a boost by Lady Chichester (see the Chichester family) who was much involved in the school. Bovett's book states that Cloggs, said to be the oldest house in the village, was listed as the Court House in the Tithe Apportionment of 1842 and it was again referred to as Cloggs Court in the 1861 census. It adds that it was "occupied by a land steward, presumably the Estate Steward." (For a photo of the house and the Steward himself along with more details see the Jackson family) Emma Jackson who later became a schoolmistress herself in Sussex on another estate (belonging to a family who were probably friends of the Chichesters) must have been one of the early pupils and Albert Jackson probably attended in the 1840s.

The Cottrells taught in this school from 1854 to some time after 1864, though it is probable that Mrs Cottrell ran it earlier in Mill Village where she lived at the time. Kelly's directory of 1866 states that the school was in the gift of Sir John Reeve de la Pole, Bt. "There is a school for children of both sexes, which is principally supported by the Rector and the small payments of the children." The following details of the teachers at this school need to be adjusted by subtracting at least six months to a year from the date given in the directories as they would be out of date by the time they were printed. The census dates are of course the correct ones.

The population of Templeton in 1861 was 217 (and the acreage 1,908 acres in all) and the school was still held in a room in 'Cloggs Court.' Mrs Martha Stevens (see Families was the schoolmistress listed in Kelly's directory of 1866. George Jackson the land steward 'closed' his account book in 1864. Whether he left the village immediately or later is not known but by1864 his daughter Emma was living in Sussex and his son Albert was in the army in India. There is no record of George and his wife from then until they appear on the 1871 census in Sussex, living close to Emma.

In 1870 Mrs Charlotte Martin was the schoolmistress according to Morris's directory, then in the 1871 census Elizabeth Sargent is listed as a schoolmistress. Her niece Susan Toole, living with her, was a 'milliner/dressmaker' but perhaps she also helped at times.

After the 1870 Education Act all children were obliged to attend 'elementary' school though they usually left between the ages of 10 and 12. A National school was said to be 'founded' at Templeton in 1875, built for 50 children, boys and girls.. Bovett adds that this was a new school, purpose-built in stone but adjoining Cloggs. It consisted of just one schoolroom of 24 ft by 12 and may once have been divided by a partition. This house remained as the schoolteacher's residence as long as the school remained there and a nominal rent was paid to the Chichesters.

Templeton's school is again referred to as a 'Parochial School' in the Harrod's directory of 1873., Mrs 'Stephens' still being in charge. (see Families for the Stevens family). In 1878 Mrs C. Northam was the schoolmistress and in 1881 the post was held by Anna Dimond, 21, born Exeter, who was living at Paynes Cottage, Templeton. It was described as 'built for 70' in 1893, William Taylor being the schoolmaster.

However, whatever the size of the building and whether enlarged or not, the average attendance in 1906 under headmistress Mrs Rhoda C. Reese was only 38. Mrs Rhoda C. Reese became Head in 1906 and Miss E. Matthison in 1914 followed with an average attendance of 30. Full attendance was rare, especially in farming communities, and as the table above shows the village populations were falling. The school finally closed in 1947 when there were only 17 pupils left.

An interesting entry in the visitors' book, signed "Mennell", and dated 6/8/1975 states:- "My father was born in Church House and my great grandma was the schoolmistress (Mrs Kyte), who will be 98 years old this year."

This farm, Lower South Combe, also figures in the story of George Jackson the land steward. George Besley and his family farmed it throughout the whole period of the account book and probably many years before and after. There have been some changes with modernisation but substantially it appears to be the same as the building which is shown on the map produced for the Tithe Commutation Act (1836 but probably completed here about 1840).

George Jackson moved here from Washfield between 1828 and 1835 and occupied a 'dwelling' at the left hand end of this farmhouse. Whether it was part of the main building or additional to it is not known.
Lower South Combe Farm
Cloggs This is a repeat of a photo of the cottage called Cloggs which is also shown on George Jackson's page. It is situated at the end of the 'green' and more or less facing the church. It is no longer called Cloggs.

George Jackson lived here probably from 1847, until he left Devon between 1864 and 1871. It seems rather large to be entirely his residence but he probably occupied only one end of it, the other end being the courthouse.

Lower North Combe Farm is on a steep lane some way from Town Village. George Loosemore was the farmer at the time of the Tithe Commutation of 1836 and the 1841 census. The Tithe documents (in the PRO), dated probably 1842, give a full listing of the farm lands and use plus the farmer's name.
William Blake, one of a large family of farmers in both Templeton and the area round about, took over this farm before 1846 and is listed for the whole period of the account book, 1846 to 1864, and certainly longer. The only person paying more rent to the Chichester family was his brother, Henry Blake. Whether William lived in this actual house is not known as it is called throughout the account book "Higher and Lower North Combe" It is obviously modernised, if not completely rebuilt.
Lower North Combe

Other parts of Templeton:
Templeton Bridge, often referred to in earlier times as Mill Village. The two names were probably interchangeable., 'Coombe Mill' being right next to the bridge
Temple Cross, with its ancient cross marking the route across the higher - and drier - ground. These were common throughout the whole country and where they haven't survived are often remembered in place-names. A mile or two to the south is Partridge Cross and to the north Burches Cross, on the same road. A blacksmith's shop was probably here - an obvious place for travellers who might need to have their horses shoed! The road shown in the photo immediately above links Temple Cross with North Combe Cross, Lower North Combe being only just above another deep 'combe' with its stream and a bridge. (The word 'clieve' or 'cleave' is an old word for a 'cleft' or deep valley).

Col.Arthur Hugh Chichester, the second son of Sir Charles Chichester, married Alice Stainforth, 5th daughter of Richard Stainforth. The youngest son of this family was a popular and distinguished person. This was Hugh Aston Chichester born in 1879, Aston being a surname from the maternal line. He became a Jesuit priest and after a long career in which he had been in turn Rector of Beaumont College, he became Archbishop of Salisbury, Rhodesia in 1931. In 1962 he died on the steps on St Peter's in Rome during the Second Vatican Council. He was described as ungainly, untidy, with a cast in his eye, a crabwise gait and a portly figure - altogether rather a figure of fun to many people. He might even sometimes be found by visitors on the tennis courts at Beaumont acting as ball-boy! When he died a tribute to this extraordinary and unconventional person was written by Lord Russell for the Times newspaper.

This branch of the Chichester family died out as Aston's two older brothers had no descendants.

Other notes:

1878 "Letters arrive from Tiverton which is also the nearest money order office."

The photos above were taken in September 1994.

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