TEMPLE, William (c.1555-1627), of London; later of Trinity College, Dublin.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1555, ?s. of Anthony Temple (d.1581), of Coughton, Warws.1 by Jane, da. of one Bargrave. educ. Eton; King’s, Camb. 1573, BA 1578, MA 1581, fellow 1576-83. m. Martha, da. of Robert Harrison of Derbys., 2s. 3da. Kntd. 4 May 1622.

Offices Held

Schoolmaster, Lincoln g.s. 1583; provost, Trinity, Dublin 1609-d.; master in Chancery [I] 1610-d.2


Temple became known for his publications in support of Peter Ramus, who had attacked the logical system of Aristotle. His first two works were dedicated to the Earl of Arundel, and later Sir Philip Sidney became his patron. When Sidney was appointed governor of Flushing in 1585, Temple accompanied him as his secretary, and subsequently received an annuity of £30 in his will. In the years after Sidney’s death Temple was secretary in turn to William Davison, secretary of state; Sir Thomas Smith, clerk of the Council; and in 1594, the Earl of Essex, who was behind his return for Tamworth in 1597. He accompanied the Earl to Ireland in 1599. Temple’s admiration for Essex may be seen in a letter he wrote at this time to Edward Reynolds, another of the Earl’s secretaries, describing Essex as the noblest and worthiest lieutenant that Ireland had ever seen.3

Temple was under heavy suspicion at the time of the Essex rising. From February to June 1601 he was in the Gatehouse, and he was one of those listed, 26 Feb., as indicted and fit to be arraigned. He was given the liberty of the prison in June 1601, and at the end of that month he was let off with a £100 fine. However, it was some years before he could get another appointment. He asked Cecil in 1602 to write ‘a line or two of recommendation to Lord Zouche’, whose service he was trying to enter, apparently without success. In an effort to regain favour at court he published A Logical Analysis of Twenty Select Psalms in 1605, dedicated to Henry, Prince of Wales. ‘Of late’, he wrote in the dedication, ‘in this time of my idleness, under hope of pardon at the hands of our professed theologians, [I have] attempted by the direction of the said art [logic] an analysis of certain choice psalms’. It was not until 1609 that he obtained employment, and then he had to go to Ireland. As Cecil was chancellor of Trinity College it is possible that he used his influence on Temple’s behalf. His salary as provost was, after 1611, £100 a year, but by 1626 he had supplemented this with the annual rent income from lands held on lease in several Irish counties. Temple died in 1627. In his will, made in December 1626, he bequeathed the leases to his wife and his eldest son John and asked that he should be buried without pomp.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A. M. Mimardière


  • 1. Both DNB and Temple Prime, Some Account of the Temple Fam. (3rd ed. 1896), 24, suggest this parentage, but Anthony Temple does not mention a son William in his will, which names his son Peter, not then 18, as executor. As William must have been older than Peter, it is doubtful whether Anthony Temple was his father.
  • 2. Al. Cant. i(4), p. 213; J. C. Wedgwood, Staffs. Parl. Hist. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), i. 406-7; DNB.
  • 3. DNB; Neale, Commons, 240 n.; HMC Hatfield, ix. 161.
  • 4. APC, 1600-1, pp. 160, 434, 483, 488; CSP Dom. 1601-3, p. 61; HMC Hatfield, xi. 33; xii. 195; J. W. Stubbs, Hist. Univ. Dublin, 27; Temple Prime, 109.