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An Extraordinary Order: The Little Temple at Temple Newsam

Article Index

  1. An Extraordinary Order: The Little Temple at Temple Newsam
  2. Background
  3. Description
  4. Commentary: Context
  5. Commentary: Precedents from Architectural History
  6. Commentary: Purity of Style
  7. Commentary: Non-Architectural Models
  8. Designer: Possible Designers
  9. Designer: Other Hypotheses
  10. Designer: The Model Used
  11. Condition
  12. Conclusions
  13. Appendix 1
  14. Appendix 2
  15. References
  16. Illustrations
  17. All Pages


TN 2 Distant view of LTThis paper examines the Little Temple at Temple Newsam near Leeds, built between 1763 and 1770 as part of the estate parkland re-landscaping works by Lancelot “Capability” Brown for Frances Ingram and Charles Ingram (the 9th Viscount Irwin). While at first glance a conventional 18th century classical garden building, the Little Temple has a most unusual architectural order, but its fabric is now very dilapidated and “at risk”.

Possible precedents for the design of the strange order are considered, and the most likely source is determined as taken from Batty Langley’s book “Ancient Architecture Restored…etc” of 1742 as reissued in 1747 as “Gothic Architecture, improved by Rules and Proportions…etc”, and specifically his “Fourth Gothic Order” with “the Second Gothic Entablature” only very slightly modified. The political, cultural and architectural context is considered and also why this peculiar combination in one small building of Gothic detail within a classical pedimented temple form may have been chosen by the designer and his well-educated clients.

The paper argues that consideration should be given to upgrading the Little Temple’s current statutory listing from Grade II to II*, in recognition of its rarity, and also for urgent grant-aided action to conserve and repair it.

Michael Devenish is a retired conservation architect, formerly in private practice in London and then Leeds from 1975 to 2013, and who took a Masters degree in History & Theory of Architecture at Cambridge University in 1984-5. He is a member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) and Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).