Home Kent News Temple Ewell: The beautiful riverside village once owned by a world-feared religious...

Temple Ewell: The beautiful riverside village once owned by a world-feared religious order

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Original article from Kent Live

These days the riverside village of Temple Ewell is best known for its beautiful parks and gardens.

The recently refurbished Kearsney Abbey and Russell Gardens are a hugely popular local spot for families.

Located in the Alkham Valley, a couple of miles outside Dover, both can be traced back to the 19th century.

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They were carefully designed, thousands of tonnes of earth moved and trees planted to create the slopes, woods, water courses and lake.

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The River Dour, a spring-fed chalk stream and a waterfall flow through.

There are also the ornamental lakes, grand country houses, tea rooms and play parks.

The falls at Kearsney Abbey and Russell Gardens

Follow the River Dour down Lower Road, you will soon stumble upon the quaint heart of one of the area's most beautiful villages.

A place where stone and brick cottages and watermills abound, it's full of well-preserved architecture.

The Fox Inn on the High Street is well-rated and dates back to the 18th century.

High Street, Temple Ewell

There's also a village hall, a primary school and a local shop and post office.

It's also served by Kearsney railway station, the Kearsney viaduct towering over the middle of Lower Road.

The Kearsney viaduct, Lower Road

Yet one of the most impressive things of all about Temple Ewell is its history.

Recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 simply as named Ewelle, the village was owned by Bishop Odo, the half-brother of William the Conqueror.

Brookside, Temple Ewell

It assumed the Temple moniker some time after, thanks to its association with the world-feared religious order the Knights Templar.

The organisation was granted the manor of Ewell by the crown in 1163, in recognition of its various military operations against the Islamic world.

The church of St Peter and St Paul, Temple Ewell

It later became a wealthy, powerful and mysterious order that has fascinated historians and the public for centuries.

Dan Brown novel and subsequent Hollywood blockbuster the Da Vinci Code is perhaps the most famous recent example in popular culture.

It postures that the Templars went underground and could remain in existence in some form to this day.

It also looks at the widespread belief that the knights discovered and kept religious artifacts and relics such as the Holy Grail.

It even presents a theory that the Templars were involved in a conspiracy to preserve the bloodline of Jesus Christ.

In Temple Ewell, they founded a Preceptory in the village, and around 1170 built the Norman church of St. Peter and St. Paul.

The church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Temple Ewell

In 1213 King John surrendered the crown to the Pope, and it is thought that this may have taken place at the Preceptory in Temple Ewell.

By the early 1300s though, the growing influence of the Templars saw them attract enemies and the order was dissolved amid a European-wide campaign of arrests and executions.

Temple Ewell passed out of their possession in 1314, when it was given to the Knights of St John of Jerusalem.

It was retained by them until King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1540.

During the 18th and 19th centuries and right up until the 1960s, Temple Ewell had two of several watermills along the stretch of the River Dour.

The River Dour, Temple Ewell

Still standing today as private residences, they produced flour and supplied the English troops at Dover during the Napoleonic wars.

Its history then is a long and fascinating one.

The church, with its ancient stonework, surrounded by a dark, tree-covered, tightly packed graveyard, seems to feel particularly eerie and mysterious.

The grounds of the church in Temple Ewell

It's easy to imagine Da Vinci Code enthusiasts walking around it, wondering if maybe this was the place the famous order hid the famous Holy Grail.

For the rest of us, it's just a particularly charming riverside village.

And it has to be one of the very best around.

With its parks, water features and well-preserved buildings, it's well worth a visit on a balmy summer's day.

Original Article