Templeton

Templeton is on The Knightsway that takes walkers from Amroth on the coast inland to Blackpool Mill on the upper reaches of the Eastern Cleddau. Other paths also link Templeton to Canaston Woods walks.

For further information refer to The Knightsway and Canaston Woods Walks leaflets, part of The Country Walks series.

The Origins and Development of Templeton

The name Templeton is thought to derive from ‘The Templars Farm’ (‘Tun’). It is reputed that the Templars had some form of religious house here, but no evidence has yet come to light to corroborate this. The Order of Templars, founded about 1110, was dissolved in 1312. Their possessions were often taken over by the Knight’s Hospitallers of St. John, which had a commandery at Slebech, but this does not seem to have been the case with Templeton, which, by 1282 at least, had passed into the hands of the Mortimers, Lords of Narberth.

PlantsIn 1282 Templeton was called ‘Villa templaril’ – the ‘vil’ or settlement of the Templars and a year later, ‘Villa Templarorium Campestris’ – the vil of the Templars in the fields. In 1283 there is also reference to ‘burgesses’. These burgesses were ‘de vento’ – ‘of the wind’ meaning they were not property owners within the settlement but were permitted to come in and out to trade on a regular basis. Burgesses at Templeton are again recorded in the 16th century.

The layout of the present village may be interpreted as a classical example of deliberate planning in the Middle Ages, and one of the best surviving examples in west Wales. There is a single main street fronted by houses with their respective plots extending behind each dwelling. These houses and plots, the ‘burgages’ of the Middle Ages, form a coherent unit imposed on the landscape and set in a regular system of fields, which themselves still show the narrow strips representing more recent enclosures from an extensive medieval ‘open field’ agricultural system. Despite the name, it is not certain that the Templars were responsible for creating the planned settlement. It is possible that this was done by Mortimer incorporating an earlier agricultural holding or farm established by the Templars.

In the 17th century Narberth Mountain was stocked with red deer and covered by 873 acres of woodland. The establishment of The Tavernspite Turnpike Trust in the 1770′s led to a toll gate being built at Catershook to the south of the village. In the late 18th century the countryside continued to change with woodland disappearing, more land being enclosed and farming dominating the landscape.

Templeton Farm was built in the 1640′s and now has the only remaining ‘Flemish Chimney’ in the village.

get on my horseMerryvale has an inscription in the chimney that says – ‘T. L. Davies who caused this house to be replaced and rebuilt with the small remaining part of the stone of old Merryvale house, in honour to the ancient house of Merryvale and her stones raised up her wall, henceforth call me the house of Merryvale, 2nd September 1782′.

Martin’s Farm has a tablet over the door bearing the following – ‘Built by H. H. in the year 1783′. Its most famous inhabitant was Captain Martin, a solicitor and a seafaring man who accompanied Captain Cook on his West Indies exploration.

The Boar’s Head was built in 1831. The original two storey building had just two rooms, one of which was used only on quarter days by Picton and Henllan Estates for the collection of rents.

Allensbank was the union workhouse built in 1838 and closed in 1968.

Templeton Brickworks

The Brickworks was opened adjacent to the railway station in 1868 and employed up to 25 men and six boys. They made firebricks said to be the best in the world suitable for building fire ovens but not for house building as they absorbed water. The raw materials were mainly silica mineral stones carted from North Hill, Cleggars Castle and White House quarries.

The stones were crushed and mixed with water and burnt limestone. Once the ‘tender’ was satisfied that the mixture was correct, the mixture was put into a wedge shaped mould, levelled and the word ‘Templeton’ stamped onto the brick. Each moulder made 2,500 bricks per shift between 7am and 1pm! Drying and firing followed and finished bricks were transported by train all over the country. Production finally ceased in 1924.

Education

In a letter dated 26 October 1711, Sir John Philipps of Picton wrote that he had hopes of setting up a charity school at Templeton. A private school may also have operated in Tanner’s Lane. Early lessons were given in the room adjoining the Congregational Church. Templeton did not have a permanent school building until 1877. In 1969 extensive renovations were carried out to the school. A school bell from the church school in Narberth was also donated, the bell originally from the R.A.F. station on Templeton Aerodrome.

Templeton Railway Station

The Whitland to Pembroke line that runs through Templeton was officially opened on 4 September 1866, linking south Pembrokeshire with the main GWR network at Whitland. The limestone bridge over Tanner’s Lane dated 1865 is the highest on the line. In 1867 a single platform was built at the Begelly end of the village, and soon afterwards the brickworks opened alongside, but up to the turn of the century only trains carrying minerals for the brickworks used the station. In 1906 the refurbished station was finally opened to both passenger and freight trains.

A new platform was built and the existing platform enlarged to cope with the extra First World War traffic. At 400ft it was the longest platform between Whitland and Pembroke. The large sidings at the station also proved useful on two occasions for the Royal Train to stop overnight. On 16 June 1965, the mail train was the last train to stop at Templeton, and the buildings and platforms have since disappeared.

Templeton Fair

This was a cattle fair held annually on 12 November. In its heyday it was an event of considerable repute, with cattle lining the streets and filling the field at the entrance to Tanner’s Lane. The traditional food eaten on Templeton Fair day was ‘Katt’s Pies’, (Mr.
Katt owned a bakery in the village and developed this recipe). Katt’s Pies contained mutton, currants and sugar encased in suet pastry. The pies were only made for fair day, although some were sent to soldiers during the First World War. The fair ceased before the Second World War and, unfortunately, Katt’s Pies are no longer made in the village.

Wildlife

The buzzard quickly draws attention by its large size and leisurely, often soaring, flight on broad, rounded wings. Also its habit of sitting motionless on roadside telegraph poles, waiting for rodent prey to appear on the verge beneath. Kestrels, the male a resplendent mixture of chestnut and grey, hover into the wind as they seek their favourite food of beetles. By contrast the Sparrowhawk dashes low along the hedgerows and through woodland as it hunts for small birds.

Tawny Owls, with their loud calls on still winter nights, are more often heard than seen, their presence most welcome as their consumption of rats is prodigious. Welcome too is the Barn Owl, which has sadly declined in many parts of the country. Fortunately they still occur in Pembrokeshire, and we can aid their survival by placing nest boxes where traditional sites have been renovated or destroyed.