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Question Date :
Tuesday 21st October 2003 10:51
I live in Templars Firs:I'm told the name results from John Templar who planted the trees in the small wood here:Is this true and if so for what original purpose.
There seems to be no information on this in any source that we have been able to consult. All that we can find is that the route of the Wilts and Berks canal passed through here and the site was later used for MoD housing. The name does not appear on 18th or 19th century maps, there is no mention of its origin in 'The Place-names of Wiltshire' or in any printed work on Wootton Bassett.
The only mention of the name Templar that we have found is in the christenings in the parish registers. In the late 1820s and 1830s the christenings of 4 daughters are recorded to Francis and Mary Templar. Francis was a farmer and if a farming Templar planted these trees they are likely to have been a shelter belt. Conifers would not have been suitable for providing cover for pheasants and as firs would have been a little unusual in this part of Wiltshire I imagine that this is the reason it was called 'Firs' and not 'Belt' or 'Copse'.
You may be able to obtain further information from the Wootton Bassett Historical Society. The Secretary is Mr W. Ineson, 20 The Broadway, Rodbourne Cheney, Swindon, SN25 3BT
Andrews and Dury's Maps of Wiltshire for 1773 and 1810
Ordnance Survey 6 inch to one mile and 1:10,000 maps, 1880s to date
The Place-names of Wiltshire, by J.E.B. Gover, Allen Mawer and F.M. Stenton.C.U.P., 1939
The Victoria History of Wiltshire, Volume 9, OUP, 1970
The History of Wootton Bassett, by P.J.Gingell, Wootton Bassett Historical Society, 1977