Temple Ewell

3 or 4 miles inland from Dover lies the picturesque village of Temple Ewell. The Parish church of St. Peter and St. Paul is the only known Templar remains in the area. However it is known that the preceptory at Ewell was very wealthy, and very important. It could well have been a staging post for knights on their travels to and from the continent.

There is very little of the original church building left to see, the narrow window to the right of the porch in the picture below, being probably the only feature left.

Inside the porch is an interesting tomb lid featuring a cross on a stepped base. This is similar though not as ornate to the lid kept at South Witham. (see the South Witham page for comparison) The other difference between this lid and the Witham lid is its size. The Ewell lid is much more the size one would expect a 12th/13th century tomb lid to be, around 5ft 8in. This means that the occupant would have been around 5ft to 5ft 4in. A little different to the 6ft 10in Witham slab.

The Master of the Temple in England was the patron of this church between 1185 and 1308, appointing the priests. The church was not far away from the preceptory, which was excavated in 1964-66. The preceptory was established before1164 on land given to the order by two benefactors; William, brother of Henry II, and William de Peverell Constable of the impressive Dover castle. In the 1185 survey it was recorded that the estate here was in excess of 300 acres. It is recorded elsewhere that King John visited here making his submission to the Papal legate, Pandulph, on the 15th May 1213. Not a great deal else is known of the history of this undoubted important site.

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