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John Templer of Lindridge

b.1751 m.1778 Jane Line (nee Routledge/Shubruck) d.1832

John was the second son of James Templer, the builder of Stover House. He was born in 1751 in Rotherhithe in Kent where his father was a building contractor in a partnership with John Line and Thomas Parlby (the brother of his mother Mary).

We know little of his early life in what is now South East London, but his father was determined for him to climb the social ladder and therefore gave all his children the best possible education and start in life. This was in direct contrast to his own beginnings where he had started as a runaway carpenter's apprentice whose ancestors had been 'in trade' in Exeter, but finished up a wealthy, respected and prosperous landowner.

About 1760 when John was 9 years old, his father and partners won the contract to build the new Naval dockyard in Plymouth.  That made it necessary for the partners and their families to move to Devon. (See notes on James Templer I of Stover for the details and ramifications of this). In need somewhere to live, John Line (James Templer's partner) in 1765, bought Lindridge House and the estate for £10,000 from John Baring. The other partner, Thomas Parlby, (John Templer's uncle) bought Stonehouse near Plymouth.  James Templer had already rented Stofford Lodge, and was in the process of negotiating its purchase, a task he completed at about the same time as John Line made the purchase of Lindridge. It is likely that John Line was married twice as the banns for his marriage to Jane, he is declared as a widower. No record of this previous marriage has been found and it can be assumed that there were no surviving children since there is no mention of them in his will. John Templer was sent to Westminster School for his education, and must have been able, because he was Kings Scholar in 1766. He then went on to Trinity College, Cambridge.

John Line died in 1777 leaving Lindridge to his wife, Jane.  On 2 May 1778 John Templer then aged 27, married the widow Jane Line, some two years before he was ordained in 1780.  We do not know Jane Line's exact date of birth, but she was reputed to be 62 years old when she died, which would have made her the same age as her new husband John Templer.

John Templer's marriage to Jane Line is interesting. There is suppose to be a record that her previous surname, before her marriage to John Line, had been Routledge, but the records show that she was the daughter of Richard Shubruck of Charleston, South Carolina, USA. Indeed the banns between John Line state that she is Jane Shubruck, spinster. Unless this record comes to light we have decided that this previous marriage to a Routledge is an error.

However, John Templer's marriage at least provided him with a home for as long as his wife was alive,  because under the terms of John Line's will, Lindridge was left to his wife for her lifetime only, and on her death it was to pass to his godson, Henry Line Templer, the younger brother of John Templer and 5th son of John Line's partner James Templer.

After John Templer took Holy Orders we do not know how or where he was he was employed if at all.  After all, he was living at Lindridge which was a self-sufficient estate and perhaps he did not need any other occupation to fill his time? However, on 19 June 1783, because of his brother's patronage, he was able to succeed the Reverend Gilbert Yard as Rector of Teigngrace. (The 'living' at Teigngrace was controlled by the owner of the Stover estate - and that was his brother, the second James Templer of Stover, who had inherited the estate on his father's death in 1782)  He was to remain Rector of Teigngrace for 45 years!

The death of Reverend Gilbert Yard was itself unusual. He had apparently employed one John Greenslade as his servant, but was not satisfied with the performance of his duties and therefore discharged him.  On being asked for a reference, he wrote in Latin (which Greenslade could not understand) the words 'gone from me and fit for no man'. Needless to say, Greenslade was not able to find employment, and after a number of rejections he became suspicious of the reference and had it translated.  In his subsequent anger, he waylaid his former employer (then aged 70) at Whiteway near Lindridge, robbed him and clubbed him to death with a holly bludgeon.  This took place on 24 May 1783, and on Monday 18 August the same year John Greenslade was hanged at Haldon for his crime and his body given for dissection.

The Lindridge estate also included the 'Lordship of the Manor of Paignton' and with it the 'living' of that Parish.  The Reverend John therefore became the Vicar of Paignton on 2nd January 1793 when the post became vacant, and he is also shown in the records as having been the Vicar of Maldon, although how that came about is not clear.

John Templer outlived his wife by some 19 years, but sometime after his marriage in 1778, he must have been concerned about his fate if his wife should die before him.  In those circumstances Lindridge House would pass to his brother Henry Line.  (Perhaps Jane had poor health and he feared this might happen?) His brother Henry was in the army, and already had a house in Teignmouth, and probably spent some time away from home as part of his military duties. Henry's interest in Lindridge as a residence or an investment was therefore minimal, but to John it was his home.  He therefore negotiated with his brother the purchase of the 'reversionary interest' in Lindridge, so that on his wife's death the property would pass to him and not to Henry. We do not know what this cost him, but in due course, on the death of his wife on 20 June 1813, he, at the age of 62, became the owner of the Lindridge in his own right.  Jane was buried in Teigngrace on 26 January 1813.

John Templer's ecclesiastical responsibilities must also have extended in some way to the Church at Highweek, because, there, on 27 December 1816, he privately (and probably in secret) baptized two of his nephew George's illegitimate children by Anne Wreyford, namely Amelia Ann and George, without realizing that Amelia Anne had already been baptized on the day of her birth in Chulmleigh on 22 May 1815.  Perhaps Highweek was chosen for this event because it was the Parish Church of the Wreyford family, who were local farmers. The Reverend John was obviously scandalized by the activities of his nephew, and in due course this must have weighed heavily in the decisions he had to make about his own will.

The Reverend John Templer was reputed to have been 'a well informed, polite and accomplished scholar', and amongst his many interests he organized in 1827/28 the Mechanics Society which was based at the London Inn in Paignton. This was probably an early example of a Mechanics Institute which had been encouraged by Brougham and Birbeck and which had begun in London in 1825.  He was also reputed to have been a keen fox hunter, which was unusual for a clergyman in those days, even a landed one!

Around 1830 the Reverend John Templer must have had a dilemma. He had no children of his own, and the custom of the day would have been to leave his estate back into the family, that is to the eldest son of the eldest son.  This, however, would have meant the property going to his nephew George, whose life style was notorious and had already 'blown' one fortune. George had been forced, in 1829, to sell Stover and the estate to the Duke of Somerset, and this would have been a major blow to the morale of the entire family and hardly endeared him to his uncle.  Furthermore, George had probably already upset his uncle's Christian principles by having 6 illegitimate children by his mistress Anne Wreyford, and although he eventually married her and had all the children baptised (1826), it was probably too late to have a significant impact on his uncle's perception of him. Fate then took a hand.

The Reverend John had another brother, George who had been the owner of Shapwick House in Somerset and an MP, but had died in India in 1819.  George of Shapwick had had 3 sons, two of whom were clergymen like John Templer and the other a Civil Servant in Bengal. At that point in time (approximately 1831) only one of these sons had sons of their own, and that was the youngest, James Acland Templer, who had taken Holy orders in about 1820, and was Vicar of Puddletown in Dorset. This alone would have put him at an advantage with his uncle.  The Reverend James Acland Templer and his wife Ann (nee Mason, whom he had married in 1828), were frequent visitors to Lindridge, and they had a son, James George John Templer, then aged about 2, who, on a visit to Lindridge with his parents to see his great uncle, totally captivated the oldman who promptly left everything to him in his will. The following year on 5 February 1832, the Reverend John Templer died aged 81, and was buried on 14 February the same year, in the very church where he had been Rector for so long, and which he and his brothers James and George had rebuilt in 1787 in memory of their parents.  John was tended in his final illness by his adoring sister Anne (Lady de la Pole), and probably also his sister-in law Jane (nee Paul) the mother of James Acland Templer, and widow of his brother George of Shapwick, who was living at the de la Pole home at Shute at the time.  They may also have had some influence in the Reverend John Templer's decision to leave his property to the baby James George John Templer.

John Templer was reputed to be a practical joker.  He apparently, many years before his death he made it a practice, when in personal conversation with his relatives (of whom there were many) of saying to them: "Look here! If anything should happen to me, it will be all right for you. You are in my will, but remember, not a word to anyone; keep it perfectly secret and I rely on you to do this".  When he died the attendance at his funeral was the largest and most representative of the family that had ever been seen in the district. The number of carriages and pairs attending were such that one old workman from the Lindridge estate, describing it, said  "It was grand." Many of those who had been told they were "in the will" came in person, and also other members of their families.  After the last rites were over, and the time came for the reading of the Will, a large gathering of relatives assembled to hear about their good fortune. When the lawyer commenced reading the Will, there was a deep silence and great attentiveness by those listening, but before he had finished, it had become clear that although their names were in the will, he had in fact left all his property to a little boy, his great nephew.

The Reverend John Templer's death when his heir was only 3 years old, resulted in the estate being placed in the hands of trustees until such time as James George John Templer reached his majority, and for a number of years Lindridge was let. James George John did not finally take possession of Lindridge until about 1850, 18 years after the death of his great uncle John Templer, and he did not bring a wife to Lindridge until 1854.

Justin Templer - Updated 14 February 1995

Updated 29 December 1999


John Templer entered Trinity College, Cambridge, 14 June 1770. Scholar 1771. Matriculated 1772. BA 1774. MA 1778. Rector of Teigngrace, Devon, 1783-1832. He and his brothers James and George Templer rebuilt Teigngrace Church at their own expense in 1787. Also Rector of Paignton with Marldon, Devon, 1793-1832.

Lindridge House, Kingsteignton, Devon, belonged to his wife when they married in 1778. They had no children. She died in 1813. When he died in 1832 he left Lindridge House to his two-year-old great nephew James George John Templer. Swete Family Tree

John Templer was baptized as the second son at Rotherhithe on 13 January 1750 aged 18 days. In 1778 he married Jane Line (nee Shubrick), the widow of his father’s old partner, John Line, who had died the previous year. In 1765 the year James bought the Stover estate, John Line bought the manor and house of Lindridge in Bishopsteignton and resided there until his death in 1777. There being no issue of his marriage, he left Lindridge to his godson Henry Line Templer, 5th son of James. Jane Line, however, Jane had a life interest in Lindridge and so she, on re-marriage to John, lived there  until her death in 1813. When Henry Line Templer died in 1818, his heirs sold Lindridge to the Reverend John Templer, who in the records thereafter was described as Reverend John Templer of Lindridge.

In 1783 John Templer became Rector of Teigngrace which he held for nearly 50 years. He also had the living of Trusham. At his induction he was described as ‘Petit John Templer’ which gives us some idea of his appearance.

That year, and no doubt blessed by the inheritance received from his Line marriage five years earlier, he acquired the first of several properties which he accumulated throughout his life, namely the manor of Sherford. This was followed in 1787 by John acquiring the manor or nominal manor of Moore and Perry in Highweek from the Pole family. (His sister Anne had married Sir John William de la Pole in 1779).

Some further property activity took place in 1790 when by a Private Act (30 George III c31) John exchanged his ‘settled estate in Kent for another in Devon to be settled in lieu thereof’. The detail of this transaction is not known but it is likely the property in Kent was one acquired by old John Line when he and James Templer were in partnership together and which subsequently was handed down through Jane Line his widow. On the other hand, it may have come from the Parlby family who had settled at Gravesend in Kent in 1660 or thereabouts.

John also undertook from 1793 until his death the living of Paignton-cum-Maridon, in those days a modest village and hardly the thriving seaside resort we know today.

One of John’s interests was bee-keeping, and in 1800 the Exeter Flying Post reported him as being a member of the Beekeeping Society. Earlier in 1785 and in 1787 when the same journal gave lists of individuals to whom Game licences had been issued, the name of Reverend John is found among them. Truly a sporting parson who we suspect also hunted the hare and fox as did at least one of his nephews, George  and also the Reverend Charles Templer of Honiton. The last named was reported by the Flying Post on 16 January 1817 to have followed a hare for thirty miles.

The question of tithes early in the 19th century was a thorny one. About 1805, however, the inappropriate tithes of Bovey Tracey were sold in lots by the Rev. John and purchased by the landholders. It seems that the Honychurchs, who were then just embarking on the ill-fated adventure of the Pottery did not take advantage of the offer. In 1840 a charge of £1-0-3 to the Vicar and £1-10-0 to the impropriators was levied on them.

Some 26 years later, on 27 January 1831, the Exeter Flying Post gave an illuminating insight into the pleasant relationship existing between the Rector of Paignton and his flock, with particular reference to the issue of tithes. ‘During the late unpleasant feelings which have been excited in some distant counties and has at length we regret to say shown itself partially in this district, we are happy to state the inhabitants of the parish of Paignton and its neighbouring villages are all enjoying the utmost repose. On 13th inst. at a numerous and very respectable tithe meeting of the inhabitants of that parish, the Reverend John Templer, of Lindridge, vicar, presided, and on the cloth being removed from the table where a profusion of good old English fare had been displayed, the health of his Majesty was drunk after which the health of the most worthy and venerable rector was proposed and enthusiastically drank with three times three amidst loud and repeated cheering. How proud we should be to see this example followed up, not only by the clergymen of our neighbouring parishes but become a general thing at this crisis throughout the United Kingdom. Would it not even entail a blessing over this our beloved country, thus to see the Clergy and their parishioners so perfectly united’.(This was the year of general disturbance preceding the Reform Act of 1832 when civil commotion, such as the Bristol Riots, was directed not only against an unrepresentative Parliament but also against the clergy on the question of tithe burdens.)

The Rev John added further to the family property in 1806 in acquiring the Barton of Holdridge in Idiford parish.

He held the living of Trusham from 1782 to 1793.

Rev. John Templer died in 1832 at Lindridge. He is buried in Teigngrace church. At his funeral procession were the carriages, of the Duke of Somerset, Viscount Exmouth, Mr Sarjeant Praed, C H Munro Esq. to the amount of 30 in number, the tenantry and tradesmen being on horseback. The pall was borne by 8 clergymen and besides the numerous servants of the family, there were 13 labourers and their wives in mourning.

Ron Lewin - 1983


JOHN TEMPLER, who became Rector of Teigngrace, he built, with his brothers James II and George, the present Parish Church of Teigngrace in 1787, "built upon holy ground, consecrated for ages to the worship of God". There is a complete list of rectors since 1380. The church originally had a spire which was described in 1869 as rising to an immense height. This is no longer standing having been blown down in a gale. In the church there is a interesting organ made by Davis of London. It is said that before 1860 it was one of only three organs in the churches of Devon. John Templer remained rector for forty-nine years, and it appears that he re baptised many of the family at this church. He lived at Lindridge, having married the widow of his brother Henry line's son John.

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