Temple: St Catherine, Temple
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Welcome to the parish church of Temple: St Catherine in the Anglican Diocese of Truro and county of Cornwall England.
History of the Church
St. Catherine's Church is located in the tiny hamlet of Temple, on Bodmin Moor, and stands on the site of what was the earlier Templar chapel. It formed part of the medieval Preceptory of Trebeigh
Local tradition has it that pilgrims travelling from Ireland were in the habit of avoiding the hazards of sailing round Lands End, by going up the Padstow estuary, probably as far as Wadebridge, and then overland to the Fowey river. Padstow was an important port and Fowey probably the busiest harbour on the South coast, from which many travellers from the West Country would have embarked for Europe. So, perhaps it was natural for the Templars to build their church and refuge on the moor to accommodate travellers who passed over this wild stretch of country on their way to the Holy Land.
It is not known exactly in what year the 12th c. church, dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria, was built. It stands today on the site of the earlier Templar chapel and after 1312, the Templars were no longer at the property and it was turned over to the Hospitallers.
Later, particularly in the 16th c., this church became famous as a place where marriages could be performed without banns or license, e.g., similar to Gretna Green up until recently. In 1753 such marriages became illegal and after this point, the Temple church lost its congregation and fell into serious disrepair; no services were held for nearly a century.
In 1850 a fund was started for its restoration. The new plans followed as closely as possible those of the original Templar church. The ancient tower arch was kept and wherever possible, relics and other stones were used. The base of the old Norman font is preserved in the inner doorway, and various stones bearing the engraved crosses of the Templars and the Hospitallers can be discovered in the fabric of the building. 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. The new church was opened and consecrated on 30th May 1883 by the Bishop of Truro.
In 1934, the parish of Temple was incorporated into the parish of Blisland.
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The current editor is: Richard Cavin