History

Temple Fields Cemetery may be new to the area, but its soils tell an interesting history, dating back hundreds of years.

Temple Balsall derived its name from the Knights Templar, who fought for the ideology of Christian faith, resulting in their winning of gifts, new recruits, land and money. The Manor of Balsall was just one gifted donation. Temple Balsall became the headquarters of all the land the knights owned and quickly became famous for its farming capabilities - the very ground Temple Fields inhabits today.

1291 saw the fall of the Templars as they were driven out by Christian forces. During their shining years, they made many enemies within the church and beyond, causing their imprisonment and torture and consequently forcing them to plead their mercy to the church. The Pope abolished the order of the Templars in 1312, transferring the properties to the knights of St John, the Hospitallers.

By 1470, the Hospitallers had left Temple Balsall and their property was leased. Eventually, King Henry VIII repossessed the land and properties, giving the manor of Temple Balsall to his sixth and final wife, Katherine Parr. After her death, it was reverted back to the crown.

Subsequently, it fell to Queen Elizabeth I’s hands and she presented it to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. After his death, he left the manor to his brother, Earl of Warwick, with a remainder to his illegitimate son, Robert Dudley, whom went on to have four daughters with Alice Leigh of Stoneleigh.

The manor was passed on to two of Dudley’s daughters. Lady Anne Holbourne used her power to restore the church, opposite Temple Fields Cemetery, leaving £500 in her will to ensure the work was completed and an endowment of £50 a year for a minister. His other daughter, Lady Katharine Leveson of Trentham Hall, left numerous legacies in her will, insisting on a hospital or almshouse to be built and for a minister to teach twenty of the poorest boys of the inhabitants of Balsall Parish. Her work has been continued, creating the caring community that exists today.

Temple Balsall’s charitable roots ensures a contented, peaceful resting place at Temple Fields.