Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Temple, Peter
TEMPLE, PETER (1600–1663), regicide, was third son of Edmund Temple (d. 1616) of Temple Hall in the parish of Sibbesdon, near Whellesburgh in Leicestershire, and of his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Burgoine of Wroxhall in Warwickshire. Peter, who was born in 1600, was apprenticed to a linendraper in Friday Street, London, but, his elder brothers Paul and Jonathan dying, he inherited the family estate of Temple Hall.
In December 1642, when the association for the mutual defence and safety of the counties of Leicester, Derby, Nottingham, Rutland, Northampton, Buckingham, Bedford, and Huntingdon was formed, Temple was chosen one of the committee. He was at that time the captain of a troop of horse. He was an original member of the committee for the management of the militia for the county of Leicester, formed on 17 Jan. 1643. On 19 Jan. 1644 he was elected high sheriff of Leicestershire (having been appointed to the post by the parliament on 30 Dec. previously), and was deputed to settle the differences between Lord Grey and Richard Ludlam, mayor of Leicester. He was placed on the committee for raising supplies for the maintenance of the Scottish army in the town and county of Leicester, when it was formed in February 1645. His bravery as a soldier has been doubted, and he has been accused of attempting to dissuade Lord Grey from fortifying Leicester and of retiring with his troops to Rockingham on the intelligence of the enemy's advance on the town in May 1645. Even his supporters were unable to advance an adequate reason for his departure for London just before the siege of Leicester (29 May 1645). On 17 Nov. 1645 he was chosen a freeman of the town of Leicester, and elected to represent the borough in parliament, vice Thomas Cooke, disabled to sit on 30 Sept. previously. At about the same time he was military governor of Cole Orton in Leicestershire.
Temple was one of the king's judges. He attended all the sittings of the court save two, was present on 27 Jan. 1648 when sentence was passed, and signed the death warrant on the 29th. On 13 June 1649 he was added to the committee for compounding at Goldsmiths' Hall, and was elected to serve on a sub-committee of the same on 23 June. On 21 July he was petitioning parliament for redress for losses during the war, and was voted 1,500l. out of the sequestrations in the county of Leicester. By 3 Jan. 1650 1,200l. had been paid, and further payment was ordered out of the Michaelmas rents. In December 1650, being then in London, Temple was ordered by the council of state to return to his duties as militia commissioner for the county of Leicester. In July 1659 he was again in London, and was assigned lodgings in Whitehall.
At the Restoration Temple was excepted from the act of oblivion. He surrendered himself on 12 June, in accordance with the king's proclamation of 4 June 1660, and was committed to the Tower. He was excepted from the indemnity bill of 29 Aug. with the saving clause of suspension of execution awaiting special act of parliament. He pleaded ‘not guilty’ when brought to the bar of the sessions house, Old Bailey, on 10 Oct., and when tried on the 16th was condemned to be hanged. Temple then pleaded the benefit of the king's proclamation. He was respited, and remained in the Tower till 20 Dec. 1663, when he died a prisoner. His estate of Temple Hall was confiscated by Charles II, who bestowed it on his brother James, duke of York. It had been in the possession of the Temples for many generations.
Temple married Phœbe, daughter of John Gayring of London, by whom he had three sons, Edmund, John, and Peter (b. 1635). Winstanley (Loyal Martyrology, pp. 141–2) gives a poor character of Temple, as one ‘easier to be led to act anything to which the hope of profit called him,’ and considers him to have been ‘fooled by Oliver into the snare.’
The subject of this article has been confused alike with Sir Peter Temple, the contemporary baronet of Stowe [see Temple, Sir Richard, (1634–1697)], and with Sir Peter Temple of Stanton Bury, knt., nephew of the baronet.[Nichols's Herald and Genealogist, iii. 389–391; Noble's Spanish Armada; Official Lists of Members of Parliament, i. 490; Noble's Lives of the Regicides; Masson's Milton, iii. 402, vi. 43, 54, 93, 115; Nichols's Leicestershire, i. 461, iii. App. 4, 33, iv. 959; Commons' Journals, iii. 354, 576, 638, vi. 267, viii. 61, 63; Nalson's Trial of Charles I; Calendar of Committee for Compounding, pp. 144, 165; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1650 p. 468, 1659–60 pp. 30, 96, 325, 1663 p. 383; Thompson's Leicester, pp. 377, 381, 386; Trial of the Regicides, pp. 29, 267, 271, 276; Innes's An Examination of a Printed Pamphlet entituled A Narrative of the Siege of the Town of Leicester, p. 5; An Examination Examined, p. 13.]