Temple Ewell Downs

Temple Ewell Tourist Guide

Temple Ewell is part of the Dover district of Kent, and it is situated three miles North West of the town of Dover.

Located in the Dour valley, Temple Ewell is encircled by nature reserves and conservation areas. The village has a parish church, a village hall and a primary school. It also has a local shop and post office, and an 18th century public house.

Temple Ewell is served by Kearsney railway station, which is situated between the villages of Temple Ewell, Kearsney and River.
The name Ewell comes from the Old English word ǣwielm, meaning river source or spring, and is so called because one of the sources of the River Dour rises on the village outskirts at a place called Watersend and flows through the village towards Dover. The prefix Temple suggests that at one time the village was owned by the Knights Templar.

The village of Temple Ewell  was founded sometime before the 8th century, and is first mentioned by name in a charter of c.772 as Æwille. In the Domesday Book of 1086, it is named Ewelle or Etwelle, and is recorded as having a manor house, five watermills, and about fifty dwellings around a small wooden Saxon church. At this time, the village was owned by Bishop Odo, the half-brother of William the Conqueror.
In 1163, the Knights Templar was granted the manor of Ewell by the crown in acknowledgment of their role in the Crusades, and the word Temple became added to the village name. The Templars founded a Preceptory in the village, and around 1170 built the Norman church of St.Peter and St.Paul.
In 1213 King John surrendered the crown to the Pope, and it is thought that this may have taken place either at the Preceptory in Temple Ewell, or possibly in Dover.
Following the Templars' dissolution in 1312, Temple Ewell passed out of their ownership in 1314. The village was given to the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, and was kept by them until King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1540.
 During the 18th and 19th centuries, Temple Ewell had two of several watermills along the area of the River Dour. The two mills, which still stand today as private dwellings,  produced flour, and supplied the English troops at Dover during the Napoleonic wars.
The railway station at Kearsney was built in 1861, linking Temple Ewell with Dover and London, and resulting in an increase in the populace and wealth. Temple Ewell C.E. Primary School, a parochial primary school, was established next to the church in
1871, and the Victorian schoolhouse building was finished in 1872. Major restoration work was carried out on the church in the 1870s, and a parish hall was built in 1909.

Between 1940 and 1944, Temple Ewell was victim to several stray shells, which were fired at the Dover area across the English Channel from France during the Second World War. One of these destroyed the church's main stained glass window when it landed outside the school.

The Lydden and Temple Ewell Downs are a National Nature Reserve which borders Temple Ewell on one side, stretching up to the neighbouring village of Lydden. The reserve consists of an area of chalk downland which is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. The site is owned and managed by the Kent Wildlife Trust and is also listed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation. The reserve supports a rich flora and is notable for its orchids which include the nationally scarce Burnt Orchid (Neotinea ustulata) and Early Spider Orchid (Ophrys sphegodes). The chalk grassland is an important site for insects. It is the only site in Kent for the Wart-biter (Decticus verrucivorus) and also supports the Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma), Adonis Blue (Polyommatus bellargus) and Chalkhill Blue (Polyommatus coridon).

Disclaimer: The information in this Tourist Guide has been researched from a variety of sources including books, articles and online information. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information the reader should check any specific facts for themselves before making any decisions based upon the said information.

Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015