The SBPT's third restoration
The Temple, an 18th century folly, is a replica of the 1st Century BC Temple of Fortuna Virilis in Rome. The Temple of Harmony was built by Sir Charles Kemeys Tynte in 1767 to designs by Thomas Prowse, with features by Robert Adam and Thomas Stocking.
The Temple stands in the grounds of Halswell House, which was a small manor recorded in the Doomsday Book. A grander house was built in 1536 with Tudor, parterre-style gardens. The north range was rebuilt in 1689 and this is what you see today. The transformation of the landscape and gardens into true, Georgian Pleasure Gardens was accomplished by Sir Charles between 1740 and 1785.
The SBPT acquired the Temple in 1993. By then the surrounding parkland had been sold to a farmer and building was in a desperate state of repair, having been used for many years as a cattle shelter. The SBPT restored it with grants from English Heritage and others. The SBPT also arranged for Philip Thomason, a sculptor, to make a copy of John Walsh's marble statue of Terpsichore, the Muse of joy in the dance and lyric poetry. This stands in the Temple. The SBPT helped Taunton Museum to acquire the original statue.
The Temple is open to the public from time to time from Easter through to September. It is now managed by its own Trust, the Halswell Park Trust. For details of opening times please contact Tessa Howard, telephone number 01278 662167.