Wednesday 19 November

by Hans du Moulin and Sam Osmond


Hans DuMoulin and Sam Osmond spoke to a packed house on Sir William and Dorothy Temple, who created Moor Park House in the late seventeenth century. The audience learnt how William Temple and Dorothy Osborne came from families on opposing sides during the civil wars, and having met at the age of about twenty, chose to marry, in spite of parental attempts to arrange a marriage to someone ‘more suitable’. The couple conducted a lengthy correspondence, and although William’s letters have not survived, Dorothy’s letters are held in the British Library. But the lecture encompassed international politics as well as their love affair.

William, later Sir William, worked in diplomatic roles during the time of the Anglo Dutch wars, and was instrumental in achieving an alliance between the two warring nations, to form a united opposition to Louis XIV. The alliance was sealed by the marriage of Princess Mary to William of Orange in 1677. Their story continued with the Glorious Revolution of 1688, and important step on the route to a modern constitutional monarchy.

Sir William was offered a government post on several occasions, but he declined each time, and eventually retired to Farnham. He and Dorothy acquired a house near the village of Compton, which they renamed Moor Park, after the house in Hertfordshire where they had spent their honeymoon many years earlier. They laid out the gardens, canalising a stretch of the River Wey. It was during this period that they engaged the young Jonathan Swift as secretary.