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Celvertesberie is an unidentified Domesday holding, probably in Templeton parish and Witheridge hundred.

The Hundred Rolls of 3 Edw I (1274) record that 'aforetimes' it was a tithing in the hands of Regine de Reygni and Nicholas de Acastre, owing normal fealty to the Crown. Then the Knights Templar, a monastic order of knights founded in 1112 A.D. to protect the pilgrims along the path from Europe to the Holy Lands (Jerusalem), brought a writ superseding them, obtaining its benefit by default, whence the name Templeton. Quite why the Templars chose to come to Templeton is unknown, but one possible reason may have been in connection with Wool. The Templars had a license to export their own wool and the Order ran a flourishing wool exporting trade. They had a considerable fleet and wool exports from Britain were a very important part of the Templar economy, and the ports of North Devon, Barnstaple and Bideford, were especially important in the export of wool.

After the dissolution of the Order of the Knights Templars by Pope Clement V in 1312, their lands fell to the Crown, but by 1335 the Manor passed by grant to the Master of the Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, who, in 1540, were also suppressed by Henry VIII, and their lands forfeit to the Crown. On 10 July 1545, George Lowsemore of Tiverton, clothier, along with his wife Margaret and John Strangman, were granted the lordship and manor of Templeton in Witheridge Hundred together with the advowson of its church, following his application to purchase dated 8 June of that year. Templeton cost him £432.10s.10d, plus £5.3s.4d for 86 acres of woods there; the remaining properties at £146.15s.0d brought the total cost to £597.5s.10d, a very substantial sum in 1545.

An example of George Losemore's exercise of his rights as lord of the manor and owner of the advowson of its church is to be found in a list of the Rectors of Templeton. The second entry reads: 'John Rede, adm[itted] 21 July 1554, certo modo vacantem pat[ron] George Lowsemore of Tiverton, clothier.

The Chapel of St Margaret is the Parish Church of Templeton, but the Chapel dedicated to St Peter and St Paul has long since vanished. Chapple knew of three ancient chapels at Bradford, Myll and West Yeo, and in his time the last named remained and was in use as an ox-house. The sites of the other two are shewn by field names.

The original church of St. Margaret, formerly belonged to the Knights Templars, and was built in 1335, either by them, or for them, in the decorated style, and rebuilt in the same style in 1876. The register of baptisms dates from the year 1556 and the Devon Record Office holds registers dating back to this year, whilst marriages and burials date from 1578. In 1882, the tower was restored and the bells re-hung. Historically the Manor of Templeton formed part of The Hundred of Witheridge and many considered it as being part of Witheridge parish. Occasionally the Rector of Witheridge or his deputy performed a service in St. Margaret's chapel. However, the date when it obtained distinct parochial rights of its own remains unknown.

By 1362, the Rectors were presented by the Prioress and Convent of Cannington in Somerset, and, in 1417 Pope Martin V recommended to the Prior of Plympton that the Church should be appropriated to Cannington Priory whose possessions had suffered greatly on account of the flux and reflux of the sea, and other various misfortunes. Robert, the last Rector resigned and the convent obtained possession on June 5th 1428, whereupon Bishop Lacey hastened to set down on paper the responsibilities of the convent to their vicar and to the parishioners.

The Prioress affixed her seal to the Appropriation in her Chapter House at Cannington on December 13th, and Bishop Lacey at his Manor of Clyst on December 16th. Cannington and Witheridge are about forty miles apart, and the deed shares the title between Prioress and Vicar and declares the duty of the latter.

"He shall perform" all Divine Services and Offices in the said "Church and Chapels of Saint Margaret and Saint Peter and Saint Paul as have of "ancient custom and usage been performed "within the same, and shall take upon him "the continual repair of the church, and if need be he shall restore and rebuild the same. He shall also pay and discharge the Cathadraties, Synodals, Archdeacons, Procurations and Processional Pennies: and the said Vicar shall also acknowledge and undergo all burdens, ordinary and extraordinary, under what name so ever the same shall be imposed, that do not properly belong to the parishioners to discharge."

The Chapel of St Margaret is the Parish Church of Templeton, but the Chapel dedicated to St Peter and St Paul has long since vanished. Chapple knew of three ancient chapels at Bradford, Myll and West Yeo, and in his time the last named remained and was in use as an ox-house. The sites of the other two are shewn by field names.

The original church of St. Margaret, formerly belonging to the Knights Templars, was built in 1335, either by them, or for them, in the decorated style, and rebuilt in the same style in 1876. The tower was restored and the bells re-hung in 1882. The register of baptisms dates from the year 1556; whilst marriages and burials date from 1578. Parish Registers going back to 1556 are held in the Devon Record Office.

The Witheridge - Templeton Case 1440

Dr Oliver has translated the proceedings in this case from the register of Bishop Lacey.

The Chapel of St Margaret was committed to the Vicar of Witheridge by the deed of 1428, and the Manor of Templeton had been considered part of the parish of Witheridge; also the inhabitants had invariably depended on the Mother Church in all cases of baptism, burials, banns and purification. However on St Barnabas Day, 1439, some pretended foreign bishop had presumed to consecrate a burial ground round the chapel and an Irish Curate had intruded himself to administer parochial services in both.

Bishop Lacy issued his mandate on Jan 6th, 1440, to the Archdeacon of Barnstaple "ad inquirendum super pertinentiis Ecclesiae Parachialis de Witheridge," and the inquiry took place.

1. Matthew Wonston, Rector of Calverleigh, aged 56 years and more, and beneficed for 21 years and living "three miles from Witheridge, and during all the time that he had himself been stationed at Calverleigh the Chapel of Templeton was, and is, within the bounds and limits of Witheridge, and dependent on the Mother Church there. The Incumbent of Witheridge, for the time being received all and every sort of great and small tithes, and even some oblations and profits of and from the Hamlet of Templeton, and from the chapel thereof. He was accustomed to have the same, as he had heard from his seniors, men of credit, knowledge and good faith, and had never heard anything to the contrary before the last two years.

2. Philip Staunton, Rector of King's Nympton, aged 60 years and beneficed there for 20 years and distant about 2 miles from Witheridge confirmed the evidence of the first witness.

3. Walter Gay, Rector of George Nympton, aged 60 years and beneficed 20 years and distant 3 miles from Witheridge corroborated.

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Other neighbouring clergy who agreed were:-

4. Robert Pruste, Rector of East Anstey, aged 50 years and more and beneficed there 13 years, and residing a distance of 6 miles from Witheridge.

5. Ralph Rowe, Rector of Thelbridge aged 40 and during 7 years the Incumbent there.

6. James Edmund, Rector of Meweshawe (Meshaw) once "clericus aquebaulus" or holy water bearer at Witheridge aged 35 years and beneficed for 8 years.

7. John Coles, Rector of Potington (Puddington)

8. Thomas Rugge, Rector of Washford Pyne for the last 6 years and once "aquebaulus de Witheridge."

9. Thomas Ford, Rector of Cheldon also a former holy-water bearer at Witheridge.

10. Wm Roddeston, Vicar of Northmolton and Nicholas Pilehead, Rector of Knowstone.

The depositions of the laity were equally conclusive.

1. John Webber, "libre conditionis" freeholder aged 75 and upwards, was born in Calverleigh parish, and residing in Witheridge parish during the last 60 years, upon his oath saith that the Prior of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem in England gave the Chapel of Templeton, as he thinks, to a secondary clerk of the name of Thomas Coggerstone. John Webber believed that the said Thomas left no proxy in the Chapel, or elsewhere to maintain his right in the same, and that he had known the said chapel for the last 60 years. He knew that the said chapel, with its hamlet and domain was in Witheridge, and within the bounds and limits of the parish Church. In addition, even for a longer period, as he heard from his elders, on whose testimony he could rely, and especially from John Certyn aged 100 years who was born in the town of Witheridge, and constantly there until his death about eighteen years ago. He further said that the people of Templeton were accustomed to burying their dead at the Parish Church and cemetery of Witheridge. However, about 5 years ago as he believes, John Whytefield senior buried the late wife of William Silke without any service or priest, of his own rashness, and then caused three or four graves to be prepared for the fraud of the Church of Witheridge, but that only one interment took place.

He added that the people of Templeton until the last 2 years had carried their children to Witheridge to receive Baptism, but that during the last mentioned period an Irish Chaplain had planted himself there, and baptised their children.

As far back as his memory could reach, the Rector of Witheridge was accustomed to celebrate Divine service in Templeton Chapel during 5 days of the year. Namely on the Feast of All Saints, On Christmas Day, and on Good Friday after the salutation of the Cross the Incumbent used to leave the place. Also on St Margaret the Virgin at the proper cost and charges of the Rector or Vicar, and afterwards on the Feast of Easter to attend to hear the confessions of the people, and to administer the Eucharist, and to receive and hold peaceably and quietly the offerings there made.

2. John Palfryman, aged 72, born in Witheridge, agreed with Webber's testimony but that he had heard from his father who had lived all his life in Witheridge that during the great pestilence (1348-9) the servants and household of William Wyngrave, its then Rector, in consequence of the scarcity of its surviving population.

"went with a cart to collect the bodies of the dead in Templeton for interment, and that at Bewyford a corpse fell from the cart in the night on account of being over-filled which corpse one William atteybere next day went in search of and brought to Witheridge and had for his pains one penny."

as deponent had heard from the lips of his own father, who was then servant to the Rector, and from other credible old men.

Richard Melhiwissh, of Witheridge, aged 45 years, agreed with the preceding witnesses, and added that he had acted as proxy for John Hody, the late incumbent. He said that in his name had sold all and every kind of great tithes in the said hamlet of Templeton, and of the inhabitants there and had received monies for the same on behalf of the Rector.

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