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Some History of Temple Old Kirk

A change of hands before the Reformation

The Other Order

The fate of the extensive Knights Templar buildings at Balantrodach after the dissolution of the order is uncertain; very little evidence of the presence of the Knights Templar around the village of Temple now survives beyond the name, which was not adopted until the 17th Century. 

A Papal bull of 1314 granted the estates confiscated from the Knights Templar to a rival order, the Knights of St John, or the Knights Hospitaller as they were also known. They were centred at Torphichen in West Lothian, and they retained these estates until the mid-16th Century when the Reformation led to their dissolution.


It seems likely that the buildings associated with Balantrodach were allowed to fall into disuse, and the masonry re-used for various building projects, among them the building of the church now known as Temple Old Kirk. Soon after the Reformation these estates were sold to George Dundas and came to form the core of the Arniston estate, much of which remains owned by the Dundas family today.  

Last Days at Balantrodach

Another major building project in Temple c.1630 was Temple House by Stephen Boyd, who also repaired and remodelled Temple Old Kirk around the same time. It seems likely that any masonry left from Templar buildings on the site of the Old Kirk was recycled and repurposed for both its own repairs as well as Temple House.

However this structure was short-lived, as it was pulled down by Robert Dundas in the 18th Century. All that remains is an isolated archway in a field to the east and behind the line of houses in the village.


Temple House, Gateway Arch

A rare map depicting Arniston lands, which seems to correspond roughly to the Templars' holdings. The map was prepared in order to resolve a boundary dispute in 1586.

South is towards the top of the map, with Temple village in the top right corner, Arniston House below the centre. 

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