17 Upper Kinneddar
KY12 9TR

The Temple

Historical Feature


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The Temple, an Act of Folly?
This tower, known locally as the Temple, is located on high ground above Saline Golf Course. A footpath, starting at
the bus shelter by the road through Steelend, leads close to the Temple. The octagonal tower is built of stone blocks
and stands on a four-stepped, circular platform. Of its two vertical rooms - linked by a stone staircase - the lower
chamber resembles a summerhouse, with a stone seat. The wooden fl oor and roof are now gone, but the exterior
stonework is still in good condition. The 24-foot structure faces south, and one can easily imagine an ancient mariner
poking a telescope through its lancet windows to keep an eye on river traffi c. But, as with many such follies, the tower
is something of a mystery. Some historians have suggested that the structure was built to commemorate the Battle of
Trafalgar; and recent evidence has come to light that definitely adds some credence to this connection.
From a document supplied by Miss Elizabeth Grahame whose great-grandfather, Archibald Hogg, owned Bandrum during the early years of the nineteenth century, we are informed that the foundation stone to the temple was laid on the 7th July 1845 and that the architects were Henry Laurance and Lewis Mercer. We know from the 1851 census that Lewis Mercer was a mason who was born and raised in Saline. The
document also tells us that this stone structure was built to replace an earlier wooden tower built in about 1805 by David
Black, the previous owner of Bandrum. This information adds weight to the story that the Temple was originally built
to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar. In the Object Name Book, however, Mr. Hogg states that his 1845 tower was
built as an observatory but that it was generally used as a summerhouse.
From family papers and information passed down by Miss Grahame’s mother, Archibald Hogg was a retired sea
captain who had served with the East India Company. He was known locally as the Admiral. Archibald apparently
enjoyed teasing his wife by saying that the Temple was somewhere for him to go following quarrels with her. To his
amusement some of the locals believed this to be true, but in fact they were a most devoted couple. He died in 1866.


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