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Templecombe in 2008.jpg
Grid reference: ST709223
Location: 50°59’60"N, 2°24’54"W
Population: 1,560  (2011[1])
Post town: Templecombe
Postcode: BA8
Dialling code: 01963
Local Government
Council: South Somerset
Somerton and Frome

Templecombe is a village in Somerset, situated on the A357 road five miles south of Wincanton, twelve miles east of Yeovil, and 30 miles west of Salisbury. The village has a population of 1,560.[1] Along with the hamlet of Abbas Combe it forms the parish of Abbas and Templecombe. The parish forms part of the hundred of Horethorne.[2]


Prior to the Norman Conquest, Combe was held by Leofwine Godwinson.[3]

One part of the village was known as Abbas Combe which was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086–7 as Cumbe, when it was held by the church of St Edward, Shaftesbury.[4]

The other manor within the parish was held by Earl Leofwine but after the Norman Conquest was given to Bishop Odo of Bayeux. It was his descendant Serlo FitzOdo who granted it to the Knights Templar.[5]

Templecombe derives its name from Combe Templariorum, after the Knights Templar]who established Templecombe Preceptory in the village in 1185.[6][7] After they were suppressed in 1312 it was granted to the Knights of St John who held it until the Dissolution of the Monasteries,[5] after which it was acquired by Richard Duke (d.1572) of Otterton, Devon. An attempt to discover 'the village of the templars' was made by the Time Team television series, in a programme first shown in 1996. Late in the investigation, an old tithe map revealed the location of the Templar site, and an old stone boundary wall was found to be still standing seven feet high.[8]

The Manor House in the high street was built in the 17th century on the site of a medieval building.[9] The 1st Earl of Cork Richard Boyle bought Temple Coombe Manor in 1637 for £20,000. The Earl already owned Stalbridge Manor in Dorset close by. The Earl of Cork also purchased Annery House near Bideford in 1640 for £5000.

Somerset by G.W. Wade and J.H. Wade (circa 1904) states, "Templecombe (or Abbas Combe), an inconsiderable village at the S.E. extremity of the county, with an important station on the S. & D. and L. & S.W. lines. The church is ancient but uninteresting, and seems to have been considerably altered. It contains a curious E.E. font. The tower is somewhat peculiar, and forms the S. porch. On the rising ground at the S. of the village are the remains of a preceptory of the Knights Templars, founded in the 12th century by Serlo Fitz-Odo. From this foundation the place takes its name. A long building, which was perhaps once the refectory, but which is now used as a barn, will be noticed abutting on a farm-house along the road to Milborne Port. In an orchard at the back of the farm are the ruins of a small chapel."

It was found by Time Team that the long building post-dated the Preceptory, having timbers dated to circa 1620; but that the chapel, since demolished, and with only footings remaining, was authentically Templar.


The railway station is served by trains on the London Waterloo to Exeter St Davids main line, originally built by the London and South Western Railway. When the village was served by the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway, trains had to reverse into Templecombe station. This unusual characteristic was shared with Limerick Junction in County Tipperary and also previously with Dorchester South. The station closed in 1966 due to the Beeching Axe, but re-opened due to local pressure in 1983.[10]


Templecombe's largest employer is Thales Underwater Systems.

Religious sites

The parish church of St Mary dates from the 12th century, but was largely rebuilt in the 19th century. It has been designated as a Grade II* listed building.[11] The church contains a panel painting discovered in a local cottage which has been carbon dated to around 1280 which is believed to be linked to the period when the Knights Templar held the village.[12]

In Templecombe stands the United Reformed Church (next door to The Templars Retreat, formerly The Royal Wessex, Public House) This building has been on the site for over 150 years and was originally a congregational church.[13]

Notable residents

General Sir Richard McCreery GCB KBE DSO MC (1898–1967), Chief of Staff to Field MarshalHarold Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis, at the time of the Second Battle of El Alamein and later commanded the British Eighth Army in Northern Italy during 1944–45, died in Templecombe.


("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Templecombe)
  1. 1.0 1.1 "Statistics for Wards, LSOAs and Parishes – SUMMARY Profiles" (Excel). Somerset Intelligence. http://www.somersetintelligence.org.uk/files/Somerset%20Census%20Key%20Statistics%20-%20Summary%20Profiles.xls. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  2. "Somerset Hundreds". GENUKI. http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/SOM/Miscellaneous/. Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  3. Faith, Juliet. The Knights Templar in Somerset. The History Press. p. 26. ISBN 9780752452562. 
  4. Williams, Ann; Martin, G H. Domesday Book: A Complete Translation. London: Penguin. pp. 247; 1303. ISBN 978-0-14-143994-5. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Bush, Robin (1994). Somerset: The Complete Guide. Dovecote Press. pp. 206. ISBN 1-874336-26-1. 
  6. 'House of Knights Templar: The preceptory of Templecombe', A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 2 (1911), pp. 146–147. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=40936. Date accessed: 27 January 2008.
  7. Grand Priory of Knights Templar in England and Wales
  8. "1996 – 03 – Templecombe, Somerset". Unofficial Time Team Site. http://www.timeteam.k1z.com/index.php?pid=45. Retrieved 28 January 2008. 
  9. National Heritage List England no. 1056356: Manor House (Historic England)
  10. The Directory of Railway Stations R.V.J. Butt Patrick Stephens Ltd 1995 ISBN 1-85260-508-1
  11. National Heritage List England no. 1366329: Church of St. Mary (Historic England)
  12. Faith, Juliet. The Knights Templar in Somerset. The History Press. pp. 34–37. ISBN 9780752452562. 
  13. "Templecombe United Reformed Church". Templecombe United Reformed Church. http://www.templecombeurc.org.uk/index.html. Retrieved 3 July 2009.