from Somerset, Devon and Dorset
© Andrew Templer 2023
The Templer family with which we are concerned, is first found in the 16th century as farm workers, or perhaps yeomen, in the North Petherton area of Somerset. Births, marriages and deaths there are profuse for about 50 years from when Parish Registers started in 1558 and it is from the marriage of Alexander Templer (possibly being born in 1548) to Agnes Symons in 1573 that our line of Templers descend. Our branch migrated over the county border into Exeter in Devon in the late 1500’s and established itself in trade.The movement to Devon may be as a result of the dissolution of the monasteries or the general movement from a feudal or agricultural economy, but Exeter would have been a thriving port at that time.
Exeter Parish Registers, Tax Records and Apprentice Records for the 17th century reveal that Templers (variously spelt Templer and Templar for the same person) then existed in that city. Many were apprenticed to artisans such as feltmakers, haberdashers, skinners, cordwainers and chandlers. In the following century they were apprenticed to such trades as butchers, braziers, watchmakers, cordwainers, needlemakers, joiners, fishhook makers and blacksmiths. After their apprenticeship, many became Freemen of the city and are recorded in the Mayor’s Court Book. Some Templers paid the Subsidy of 1629, the Poll Tax of 1660 and the Hearth Tax of 1671. In 1679 a Thomas Templer was the Overseer of the Poor Rate for St. Johns Parish and himself paid a 6d Poor Rate. In 1650 a Richard Templer was ‘presented’ for being absent on the Lords Day (from church) and his wife Ann was charged with attacking Commonwealth soldiers throwing the “crubbes” off their horses.
Salmon Pool -
Between the two families, there were Magistrates, J.P.s, Deputy Lieutenants and one M.P. Many Templers went abroad, particularly to India and Ceylon, playing their role in the development and establishment of the Indian Empire. Some were members of the Honourable East India Company and being in the East India Company’s Civil Service or on the military side. A number joined the Royal Navy or the Merchant Navy. Several died at sea. Of those remaining at home, a number joined the ranks of the clergy. By no means, however, was it always the case of the youngest son. Wealth and property were earned and acquired ceaselessly by the family from about 1750 for at least a hundred years. Some notable marriages were made with notable families of the country.