There are no simple answers to where the TEMPLE name originated. I include here some views, but do not endorse any of them. Figuring out that mystery is nothing compared to the origins of Abraham of Salem, the original TEMPLE immigrant whose issue dominates the current population of TEMPLEs in North America, and whom the earliest TEMPLE genealogists attempted to relate (incorrectly) to royalty.
Finally, I included an interesting article about the Parkers, who are important to me. If you find others discussions about the TEMPLE name origin - please let me know, and I'll be glad to include them.
One English scholar's view of the name origin: W.H. Whitmore's "An Account of the TEMPLE Family"
An overview of the various branches starting in England: Temple Prime's "Some Account of the Temple Family"
Other thoughts on the English origins: Other Notes on the English Origins of the TEMPLE Family
From the Surnames Of Scotland: "The Surnames of Scotland - Their Origin, Meaning, and History"
Provenance of Abraham of Salem -- The Earliest TEMPLE Progenitor in North America:
Only one person with the TEMPLE surname predated Abraham in the New World, that being Dorothy Temple. Her story is included in the database for your reading, and she may have had issue, but the circumstances surrounding Dorothy have pretty well ensured her obscurity. The largest single source of TEMPLE surnames in North America was Abraham of Salem. At present, it seems that we will never know for certain exactly what Abraham's origins were in England. A popular line of reasoning is included in Albert Temple's and Danny Smith's views, below. A more probably correct version, though less pleasing for those who wish to tie into the line of Lady Godiva and the rest, is that Abraham's surname derives from his having been an orphan raised in the Temple District of London. Such an acquisition of a surname by an orphan was quite common. Read the following, and see what you think, since no proof exists for any case.
An optimistic view of Abraham of Salem's origin: Albert R. Temple's Version
A more judicious view of Abraham: Danny D. Smith's Version
Another view of the English lineage, including Abraham of Salem: Lucy Temple Temple's Version
The most likely view of Abraham: Dr. L. Parker Temple's Version
A View of the PARKERs - The Other Part of My Name:
Similar coverage for the PARKER Surname: A Bit About the PARKERs
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