Temple History – Detailed

Archie Young posted this article on the discussion form and it has been reproduced here. Many thanks to Archie for taking the time to compile this.


In the early years the area of temple was a wilderness, it was probably uncultivated and marsh land, around the year 300AD the Romans had an outlook post at Great Law, this is just past the Braidwood Farm on the left, there was one just of to the right of Clerkington and one by Castleton, these Romans would have been in touch with the main Roman base at what is now Mayfield, as history tells us the Romans departed from here in 400AD and the local Roman soldiers would have left with them.

(Stead Of The Warrior)

Balantrodach was the name of the area in which the main Temple Parish was situated, in the year 1128 a Knight Templar by the name of Hughes de Payen visited Scotland and was granted a meeting with King David I of Scotland, the King was very pleased with Hughes that he granted the Knights Templar the Chapelrie and Manor of Balantrodach.

They built a church with a round tower, and on the West side along by the river to the bridge would have been the main buildings, the Cistercian Monks would have built 12 foot walls as this was part of their policy, there would also have been a cloister. They never stopped there, they built the Mill as well, and later on started the Coal Mine tunneling under the field to the left as you cross the bridge.

One Kight in particular was stated as being wicked, his name was Brian de Jay, there was a serious incident at Esperston that he was involved in and it is recorded at an inquest. Brian de Jay was the Master at Balantrodoch and came here around 1226, he was then promoted to be Master of England in 1228, he was only in the post a few months when he joined up with the English Army of King Edward to fight the Scots. The history tells us that he was slain by William Wallace on the field of battle, another Knight from Balantrodach joined de Jay and his name was John de Sutre ( Soutra ), he must have escaped as nothing else is reported of him.

In 1307 the Knights Templar were arrested in France on false charges, this included the overall Grand Master Of the Templars called Jacques de Molay. Through this in 1309 the Templars in Scotland were told to come forward and face trial, only two Knights turned up, Walter de Clifton and William de Middleton, the others could not be found, it is believed that they may have joined up with Robert the Bruce, at the end of the trial in Scotland they were found not guilty.

In 1314 the Templars in France were burned at the stake, Jacques de Molay also, the orders went out that the all the Templars property was to be handed over to the Knights of St. John the Hospitallers, in Scotland they helped the Templars by running the offices but never took overall control. The Dundas family had an ancestor who became Master of the Knights of St John in Scotland, around 1515 Sir George Dundas took up the post.


John Knox started the reformation in Scotland in the mid 1550’s, one of his best friends was Sir William Sandilands who at this time was Master of Scotland of the Knights of St. John, he was present at the first proper sermon and communion of John Knox. Sandilands had done his homework, In 1553 Sandilands had now embraced the reformation and turned to the Protestant side. He handed over the lands to Mary Queen of Scots, who in return granted him all the lands in feu, he paid in todays money £1,100 pounds sterling and an annual rent of £500.00. in 1560 the Templars and Knights of St. John were disolved and given their marching orders including the Monks.

In 1571 George Dundas purchased Arniston.

THE 1600’s

With the reformation now in control, many Roman Catholic properties were demolished, Balantrodach was by now known as Temple and seemed to be spared, we see the remnants of those days still in the church which was known as St. Mary’s. The interior shows a Piscina recess ( Where the Preist would wash his hands ), two Sedilia ( Priest seats ) and a 14th Century Easter Sepulchre, the Templar Cross was still admired and kept. From 1608 till 1620 there was no Minister at Temple and the Manse was empty, later 1n 1620 Mr.Thomas Copeland became Minister, near to this time the first Temple school was built, it is still there across from the old church at the entrance going down to the Mill House and Mill.


In 1618 the Parishes of Moorfoot and Clerkington came under the Parish of Temple, this now made the Parish larger by around 300 people. Burials at Clerkington continued right up to the end of the 1700s.

In 1624 Sir James Dundas of Arniston purchased Newbyres and the Castle built by the Bortwicks, this became the Arniston Dower House.


In the 1630’s a new Laird of Temple came on the scene, he was Stephen Boyd, he would be the man to make all the changes. The congregation complained about the roof leaking and the doors were draughty. Boyd offered to repair the roof and extend the church, in the same year the Patrons of Dalkeith agreed to let Boyd go ahead with the revamp, Boyd pulled down the church tower and the monastic buildings, this would be for his own use. He used the stones to build Temple House, he then set about the church extending it and adding two Lofts, one at the West end an the other at the North side, at about the same time the Bell tower was built. After it was completed someone bitterly complained about the stone used with the lettering ( VÆ SAC MIHM ), the ( RI ) at the side is of a different hand and may have been done on the rebuild.

In 1673 Patrick Murray of Deuchar became the new Laird of Temple.

THE 1700’s

An Offering House was added and built by the gates, at first the poor of the Parish would stand outside the doors begging, when the Offering House was built they were told to stand inside, when the Parishioners came out they would throw money in the doorway, in 1741 a Chimney was added. This was also used as the Session House in 1753. worthy of note is the Bell Rope, looking at the where the Bell was you can make out the grooves the rope made, the rope lasted about three years and cost around £2.00.

Whatever happened to Parick Deuchar’s money is uncertain, it seems that in 1748 he handed over Temple House to Robert Dundas provided he would have ( Life Rent ), he died in 1761, his son Andrew lived in the old Manse for a while.

At one time the road to the South was via Carrington, Arniston and Esperston.


With Robert Dundas being left with Temple House he decided to pull it down, it now became a Quarry for the stonework, he sold the stones to people who wanted to set up home in the upper part of Old Temple, we can still see today above the doorways of a couple of wonderful little cottages the dates, one is dated as 1760 and the other 1761, this was the start of a new beginning.

In 1812 they diverted the River, there is a dog leg shape as you walk down to the river from the old church, when you look at it in the winter time it is shaped like a huge Gully, as I walked further up I saw a large stone wall built from huge stones down to small ones. It looks like they used everything they could find, it’s about 30 to 40 feet wide and would have been around 40 feet in length, I took photos of it, it seems the Villagers were afraid of the River washing away the land, where the wall is, it is directly in line of the then Corslet that had around 4 or 5 dwellings, the building of the Dyke itself would have been time consuming.

The Gully I mentioned may have been the Millrace at one time or even a Mill Dam it has to be around 30 feet wide, it is shown in the 1850’s Map, by the time it reached the old ruined church it was narrowed down to a small stream, it was also fed by a small stream coming down by Corslet and may have come from an old Well there.

This may also have been the time when they changed the Mill Lade, the water for the wheel ran past the old cottages that were behind the original school and very close to the Mill house, this would have taken a lot of work to infill the grounds and a lot of earth.

In the same year there used to be four Farms at one time in Temple, Braidwood Farm was not mentioned, there was Temple Farm, Corslet Farm, Temple Mill Farm and Deanhead, they are listed that in 1812 they were all merged into one, what is now Temple Farm. The original Temple Farm was situated on the corner as you enter the village, on the road from Arniston, it was to the left of Temple House.

By 1832 the graveyard was full, the high ground in the graveyard used to be the Ministers Stack Yard, this was taken over to add to the graveyard. Mr Creak or other times known as Creech was the builder of the new church across the road which may have been called St. Andrew’s, he sold the old church to the new Free Church of Scotland for £3.00. They had hoped to use the stones to build their new church at the top of Temple, but they changed their minds for some reason.


The new people of Temple would have various trades, Carters, Mill workers, Tailors, Masons, Wrights, Weavers, Blacksmiths, Shoemakers and Joiners, the Mill House would have been Thatched, but in 1710 it was revamped and an upper floor was added as it is today, this may have been done by a James Hastie who was resident there in 1708 and he was a Mason by trade. The Mill House was was a common meeting place it seems, where the Millers wife presided over the company of the local men and women, in 1730 the Minister and the Laird were sent by the Kirk Session to rebuke her for entertaining, and allowing people to drink in the excess during the Sunday Service. The Mill house was suposed to have been a dwelling place for Cattle Drovers to stay overnight, perhaps on their way to the Market in Edinburgh.

In 1760 James Laurie built a house, there is one next door built in 1761, possibly by William Afleck he built two houses, he was a Joiner at Middleton, In 1776 a house was built by John Hastie, In 1767 there were two houses built by a Weaver called George Ligertwood, he must have had a well run business. In 1784 a house built by David Wilson who was a Gypsy and made horn teaspoons, he was related to, possibly a brother called John Wilson who also built a house in the village, they were well to do people, there was a cottage built in the 1800’s on what was known as Widow Jardine’s Land.

Eventually the village would have Pubs and Inn and various shops, everyone had a living and must have done fairly well. in the 1870’s Navvies arrived probably Irish to build the Reservoirs, seemingly there was a lot of trouble with groups of them getting drunk at Wilsons Pub and fighting, to combat this the Police Station in Carrington was moved to Temple with two Police Officers.

The more modern local people worthy of mention are, Robin Morton, Alison Kinaird, Sir William Gilles (1898 – 1973) Alisdair Anderson (1943 – 2001) Designer of the gate at Temple Graveyard, and to the local villagers for keeping their village the way it should be.