(The undernoted facts along with the extracts from the Temple School Log books will form the base information of a book which I am now in the process of writing on ‘The Life and Times of Temple School’. Hopefully this will be published later this year and it is possible that the Moorfoot Community Council will sponsor the book. Proceeds from sales of the book will go towards School funds).

Temple Parish School up to 1872

Prior to the 1872 Education (Scotland) Act, schooling in Scotland had been largely in the hands of churches, administered at Parish level and run by the local Church Minister or dominie but Episcopalian and Catholic schools operated separately.

Temple Parish School seems to have fared better than most, in that it has had its own Headteachers throughout its history. The first ‘known’ Headteacher was Mr Laurence Forrest who took up this position in 1675.

There have been Schools in Temple since the Reformation when it was deemed that there should be A School in every Parish maintained by the Heritors (Landowners). There was a School in Clerkington (around 1627) subsequently transferred to Temple (at a site very close the new 1703 School see below) in 1675.

The Parish School was situated at the foot of Temple Brae (Appendix 1) at the entrance gate of the Mill House, directly opposite the former Temple Manse (now occupied by Mr Phillips) was built in 1703 at a cost of £46 (Scots).

The Parish Schoolhouse was the first cottage in a row of terraced cottages next to the then Ministers Barn (where he stored his ‘tithed’ products from his parishioners- farm produce, fowl, hay etc). These buildings, still standing today, have been restored by Mr Phillips.

When Temple House (also known as Deuchar House) was demolished around 1759/60 the stones from the ‘old’ house were used to build many of the cottages fronting the east side of Main Street, Temple (Appendix 2). The former entrance to Temple House, in the field behind the present School, known as the ‘Deuchar Arch’, still stands today and attracts many visitors.

The two level building, at the entrance of the present School, known locally as the ‘Schoolhouse’ was built in 1760 (see initials, date and trade symbols on lintel above the front door), but from 1760 to 1803 the ‘Schoolhouse’ was not connected to the School. (At that time the upper floor area would have been occupied by people connected with the locals farms with the ground floor used for housing farm animals, especially over the then harsh winters).

In 1803 the ‘Schoolhouse’ was purchased by Robert Dundas and the Parish School at the foot of the brae was moved to the ground floor of the ‘Schoolhouse’ with accommodation above, by an outside stair, for the Schoolteachers. The first occupant was Mr Robert Blaikie who was Headteacher from 1803-1813.

In 1821 due to demographic changes etc and with 110 pupils the ground floor of the ‘Schoolhouse’ was no longer viable for the purpose and a brand new school was built (Appendix 2). The Headteacher in 1821 was Mr A McIntosh who presided over the School for 24 years up 1842.

The Disruption

Following the ‘Disruption’ of the Church of Scotland (1843), and subsequent establishment of the Free Church of Scotland, a new ‘Free’ Church was built in 1844 (Tradoch Hall). A year later a new ‘Free’ Church School was built behind the Church but this was closed around 1865. (Appendix 2). Therefore during 1845 – 1865 there were two schools operating in the village.

(It is worth a mention that following the ‘Disruption’ Temple villagers were divided into 2 camps- those that went ‘doon the brae’ to the established Church and those that went ‘up the brae’ to the ‘Free’ Church with their children following suit, attending either the Parish School or the ‘Free’ School. In this day and age all of this might seem amusing especially when this all related to two facets of the same Church, but, please be assured there was nothing amusing about this state of affairs at that time when feelings throughout the whole of Scotland were running very high).

Temple School – 1872 to date (2007)

The 1872 Education (Scotland) Act made schooling compulsory for all children between the ages of 5 to 13 and this Act brought the existing Parish and Burgh Schools under the State control of a Scottish Education Dept (based in London) and many jobs, particularly for single women were created first professional opportunities for females.

As a direct result of this Act, Temple School had to be extended to accommodate the increased number of pupils and this extension (Appendix 2), completed in 1873, at a cost of £432, was able to accommodate an additional 40 pupils. The Headteacher who dealt with this major change and transition was Mr James Low (see below).

In 1877 a cottage situated at what is now the main entrance to Temple School was purchased (£25) and demolished to allow better access to the School and creating a better playground (Appendix 2)

In 1901 an Education Act was passed which raised the school leaving age to 14 and made attendance for under 12s compulsory, with exemptions still possible for children aged 12 – 14.

In 1911 Mr James Low, Headteacher (1872-1911), built a large 2 level house, (latterly sometimes known as South Esk Lodge), for his retirement and a cottage had to be demolished to make way for this.

In 1923 a new room for woodwork and domestic subjects, including cooking, was built and this greatly enhanced the overall viability and attraction of the school. The Headteacher at this time was Mr John Poustie, who lived in the ‘Schoolhouse’, his daughter was a pupil at the School.

It’s amazing to think that until 1953 (Coronation Year) there was no electricity in Temple and up to this time all heating and lighting was a combination of coal, candles and oil lamps, bearing in mind that the climate then was much colder and harsher than nowadays.

Up to 1980 the south facing school grounds hosted an apple orchard and vegetable garden interspersed with rows of raspberries (enjoyed by pupils). The garden was cultivated by Mr Porteous Peacock (history teacher at Greenhall), and he and his family occupied the ‘Schoolhouse’ up to about 1981/2, followed by the new Headteacher, Miss Linda Bowman (later Mrs Hutt) took over residence of the Schoolhouse.

Following Mr Peacock’s departure the garden was cleared/ grassed over and this newly developed area created a safe playground within a walled area. Shortly after this a new pathway/exit gate was erected at the south facing boundary wall so that the children could enter and alight School buses in safety, but was never used for this purpose.

All of the buildings erected in 1821,1873 and 1923 make up what is now Temple Primary School and the present Headteacher is Jane Lambley, and, the old 1703 Schoolhouse is still standing at the foot of the Brae.

Following the continuous and high standard of education made available in Temple School it is very sad that shortly, this long episode of School life in the Village will be lost forever and the joy of having the School, and all its related activities, which have been the heartbeat and lifeblood of the community,will be sorely missed.

Looking back over the years, and, all within a few miles of the present Temple School, we have had Schools at Clerkington (1627), Esperston (1698), Maudslie (1700), Temple Parish (1703),Temple ‘Free’ (1845) and Carrington (Closed 1984) and, each School in turn closed and for good reasons at that time, and, so now it is the turn of Temple School to follow this route.

Changes however sad, nostalgic and painful they may be must be accepted and the ‘new world’ embraced and it is within this spirit that all good wishes are passed on for the success of the new School at Middleton – Headteacher, teachers, back up staff etc. but most importantly the children it’s all about their future. Schooling in Temple will be a hard act to follow but I am certain that all will rise and succeed in the challenge.

WA Brown,
25 Temple Village, Midlothian
30 April 2007.