Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Temple, James
TEMPLE, JAMES (fl. 1640-1668), regicide, was the only son of Sir Alexander Temple of Etchingham in Sussex by his first wife, Mary, daughter of John Somers and widow of Thomas Peniston. Sir Alexander (d. 1629) was younger brother of Sir Thomas Temple, first bart., of Stowe (d. 1625), and of Sir John Temple, knt., ancestor of the Temples of Frampton in Warwickshire. He was knighted at the Tower on 14 March 1604, and represented the county of Sussex in the parliament of 1625-6. His second wife was Mary, daughter of John Reve of Bury St. Edmunds, and widow of Robert Barkworth of London, and of John Busbridge of Etchingham in Sussex.
James was captain of a troop of horse in the parliamentary army in 1642, serving under William Russell, earl of Bedford. In 1643 he was made captain of the fort of West Tilbury, a post which his father had held before him (cf. Commons' Journals, iii. 202, 206, 242, 284). He was appointed one of the commissioners for the sequestration of the estates of delinquents for the county of Sussex in 1643. In December 1643 he defended the fort of Bramber, of which he was governor, against an attack by the royalists. In February 1644-5 he was made one of the commissioners for the county of Sussex for raising supplies for the Scottish army. In September 1645 he was elected a 'recruiter 'to the Long parliament, representing the borough of Bramber, and in May 1649 he was made governor of Tilbury fort.
Temple was one of the king's judges, and attended nine sittings of the trial. He was present on the morning of 27 Jan. 1649 when sentence was passed, and signed the warrant on 29 Jan.
On 9 May 1650 he was added to the militia commission for the county of Kent, and in September of the same year was replaced in his post of governor of Tilbury fort by Colonel George Crompton. In 1653 Temple's pecuniary difficulties led to a temporary imprisonment. He sat as a recruiter in the restored Rump of 1659, and was granted a residence in Whitehall in the same year.
At the Restoration Temple was excepted from the act of oblivion on 9 June 1660, and attempted to make his way into Ireland. He was, however, taken prisoner at Coventry, where he 'confessed that he was a parliament man and one of the late king's judges,' and was detained in the custody of the sheriff of Coventry. He surrendered himself on 16 June in accordance with the king's proclamation of 4 June, and was received into the custody of the lieutenant of the Tower. He was excepted out of the indemnity bill of 29 Aug. with the saving clause of suspension of execution until determined upon by act of parliament. On 10 Oct. he was indicted at the sessions house, Old Bailey, when he pleaded 'not guilty.' On 16 Oct., when again called, he begged to see his signature on the warrant, adding 'If it be my hand I must confess all, the circumstances must follow.' Acknowledging the hand to be his, he presented a petition to the court. He was pronounced 'guilty,' when he begged for the benefit of the king's proclamation. In his petition he stated that before 1648 he came under the influence of Dr. Stephen Goffe [q. v.] and Dr. Henry Hammond [q. v.], who 'came to him as from the said late king,' urging him to take part in the trial for the purpose of providing them with information as to the probable result. Accordingly he furnished them with an account from time to time. He was afterwards suspected by Cromwell of concealing royalist papers and fell out of favour, losing the command of his fort at Tilbury and all his arrears. He produced certificates from various friends of the late king as to his constant willingness to serve them and preserve to them their liberties and estates.
Temple was not executed, but remained in confinement in the Tower for some years, and was in the Old Castle in Jersey in 1668. It is not known where or when he died. By his wife Mary he had five sons and at least one daughter, Mary.
Chillingworth (Cheynell, Chillingworthi Novissima) speaks of Temple as 'a man that hath his head full of stratagems, his heart full of piety and valour, and his hand as full of success as it is of dexterity.' On the other hand, Winstanley (Loyal Martyrology, p. 141) pronounces him ' not so much famous for his valour as his villainy, being remarkable for nothing but this horrible business of the king's murther, for which he came into the pack to have a share in the spoyle.'
Letters from Temple to Sir Thomas Barrington on military matters, written in July and August 1643, have been printed by the historical manuscripts commission (App. 7th Rep. pp. 554, 461).
[Nichols's Leicestershire, iv. 960; Lipscomb's Buckinghamshire, iii. 35; Berry's County Genealogies (Sussex); Metcalfe's Book of Knights, p. 152; Official Return of M.P.s, i. 472, 494; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1623-60 passim; Nalson's Trial of Charles I; Peacock's Army Lists, p. 50; Masson's Milton, ii. 445, v. 454, vi. 43; Trial of the Regicides, pp. 29, 266-7, 271, 276; Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. pp. 101, 155-6; Sussex Archaeological Society's Coll. v. 54, 56, 58, 154; Commons' Journals, v. 572, vi. 238, viii. 65, 139; Lords' Journals, vii. 226, xi. 52, 66; Cal. of Comm. for Comp. pp. 1245. 2370-1; Kennett's Reg. pp. 179, 238; Addit. MS. 6356, f. 45 (par. reg. of Etchingham).]