from Somerset, Devon and Dorset
© Andrew Templer 2023
Records show that many of the early Templers were associated with churches in Exeter. These include
St Mary Steps
St Mary Major
St Peter’s Cathedral
St Mary Steps is one of the ancient churches of Exeter where the Templer family worshiped. It has a proud history, serving the West Quarter, a deprived area of the city which was demolished after the war when the inhabitants moved to better housing. Being built on the side of a hill means that it is only possible to enter by climbing steep steps, but once inside the church is beautiful and atmospheric. It benefits from a stunning West Window put in in the 1960’s, and from an ancient clock on the tower. It is set rather away from the heart of the city, next door to 'The House that Moved' and while a great number drive past it, few would walk past it normally. But those who do come in are rewarded with a lovely building, and a prayerful and inspiring interior.
Two theories have sprung up to explain the name by which the church is known locally. It is dedicated to St Mary but at some point acquired the epithet of St Mary Steps, probably to distinguish it either from the great church of St Mary near the Cathedral or the church of St Mary in Mary Arches Street. Cresswell stated that the name derives from the close proximity of Stepcote Hill, with its sequence of steps either side of what was once an open gutter. Jenkins however thought that the name originated from the fact that the church was built into a steep slope. The floor of the church is therefore elevated above street level and accessed via a flight of steps beyond the entrance door at the base of the tower.
There has been a church on the site since at least 1199.
Inns of Exeter
Mary the wife of Richard Templer (1631-
The Bare (Bear)
The Kings Head
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