Tiny village in the heart of the moor
Temple is a small village in the parish of Blisland high on Bodmin Moor, two miles south-west of Bolventor. The village is now by-passed by the A30 road which once ran right through the village which only consists of a few scattered farms.
Temple derives its name from the hospice founded by Knights Templars who built a refuge for pilgrims and travellers, en route to the Holy Land, in the 12th century. On the suppression of the Templars it passed into the hands of the Knights Hospitallers in 1314, who held it until the religious houses were suppressed by Henry VIII. In 1901 it was a curacy of Warleggan and in 1934, the parish of Temple was incorporated into Blisland parish.
Temple Church is a Grade II* listed building built c.1120 on land owned by the Knights Templar. It became famous as a place where marriages could be performed without banns or licence (similar to Gretna Green until the early 20th century). This came to an end in 1753 when the Marriage Act bought the church under episcopal jurisdiction. By the mid 19th century, it had become a ruin and was rebuilt by Silvanus Trevail in 1883. The church is dedicated to St. Catherine.
The church contains several references to its links with the Knights Templar, including a cross pattée in the east window and a depiction of a mounted knight in the north window of the church tower. There are stained glass windows to St. Catherine, St. Luke and St. Francis, and the east window depicts the shield of the Order. It is a most peaceful place where prayer should be made for all pilgrims and for the poor.
Arthur Langdon (1896) recorded the existence of eight stone crosses in the parish, including two cross slabs, all in the churchyard. Several of these crosses were subsequently incorporated into a stone outbuilding on the south side of the church.
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