Robert Temple - Author of The Sphinx Mystery


Taken from The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester by John Nichols, London, 1811, Vol. IV, Part 2 (Sparkenhoe Hundred), pages 958-964.

I am fortunate to own my own copy of this volume of John Nichols’s remarkable work (in size it is what booksellers call an ‘elephant folio’), the volume concerning Sparkenhoe Hundred, which is the part of Leicestershire where Temple Hall was situated. As a result, it has been possible to scan this five-page pedigree and post it on the web, for the benefit of anyone interested in Temple family history. Few can be expected to have access to this rare book, of which only 200 few copies were printed, and most of those were destroyed in a fire in the 19th century`. It is so huge and heavy that it takes a lot of effort just to lift it!

The following are the spelling errors or old-fashioned spelling variations occurring on page 1 (page 958), in this pedigree which was compiled in 1619 by a visiting herald as part of the Visitation of Leicestershire of 1619 (a ‘Visitation’ being the name given to the genealogical reports of heralds who ‘visited’ the different counties from time to time and interrogated families on their pedigrees, marriages, births and deaths, so that it was a kind of genealogical census of the nobility and gentry; the original copies of all of these Visitations are preserved in the library of the College of Heralds in London):

Brasbridge = Bracebridge (this family were of Kingsbury, Warwickshire, and were one of the few families of indisputable noble Saxon descent; this marriage brought Crowe Hall at Kingsbury into the Temple family as a dowry; the Bracebridge marriage is omitted from the alternative pedigree which follows)

Kingescott = Kingscott

[Notes to this page: Peter Temple of Temple Hall was elected as a ‘recruiter’ Member of Parliament in 1645, as recorded here, in place of Thomas Cooke, who had been ‘disabled’ to serve in Parliament because he was a Royalist in the recently concluded Civil War. Peter Temple was a Puritan and a strong supporter of the Parliament against the Royalists, and had been an active Colonel in the Leicestershire Militia during the War. Later, as an M.P., he signed the Death Warrant of King Charles I, and thus became a ‘regicide’. He supported the Republican form of government, and was not a supporter of Oliver Cromwell’s military coup in 1653. Peter Temple’s father Edmund had also been a leading Puritan of the previous generation.

The mention of Sir William Temple (Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, Secretary to the Earl of Essex, and in whose arms Sir Philip Sidney died at Zutphen) is ironical, because his son Sir John Temple had as his mistress a daughter of the prominent Leicester family of Herrick (also spelled Heyrick), and their illegitimate son was the author Jonathan Swift.]

The following are those on page 2 (page 959):

Burgoine = Burgoyne (they were a Warwickshire family)

Dicie = Dixie (a Leicestershire family)

(There are two engravings of Bosworth Hall, the seat of the Dixie Family, opposite pages 497 and 500, and opposite page 497 is also an engraving of an oil portrait of Sir Wolstan Dixie, who was Lord Mayor of London in 1585.)

Gayring = Geering (they were a London family)

‘Merston Boteler’ = Marston Butler, Warwickshire

‘Derset’ = Burton Dassett, Warwickshire

Stow = Stowe, Buckinghamshire (now a public school of that name)


The following are those on page 3 (page 960):

Chandwell – Chadwell (pronounced ‘Shadwell’, near Tilbury); the family house there was called ‘The Long House’. Sir Alexander Temple and his eldest son Colonel James Temple, M.P., the regicide, were hereditary Captains of Tilbury Fort on the River Thames. Sir Alexander bore all the expenses of fortifying Tilbury Fort against the coming of the Spanish Armada personally, and was never repaid by the government. An oil portrait of him is currently owned by Viscountess Cobham. Sir Alexander’s younger son Miles Temple was Captain and Governor of Dover Castle during the Civil War, which he successfully held against the Royalists throughout the entire War, as his brother James had done as Captain of Bramber Fort in Sussex. These Temples also owned the manor at St. Mary Hoo on the other side of the Thames, on the edge of the marshes, and within walking distance of the ancient church made famous by Charles Dickens in his novel Great Expectations.

[Note: The house at Haremare near Etchingham is called Haremare Hall, and it is still standing.]

Staunton Barry = Stantonbarry, now absorbed in the new town of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. A detailed description of this Estate, many pages long, is preserved in the Bulstrode Whitelocke MSS. at Longleat House in Wiltshire.

Rous Linch = Rous Lench in Worcestershire


Those occurring on page 7 (page 963) are:

Purefey = Purefoy (a family of the Warwickshire-Leicestershire border)


© Robert Temple 2009-2022