Sir William Temple
1609 – 1627 (c.1555–1627)
Sir William Temple was elected on 14 November 1609.1 He descended from an old Warwickshire family, and had held a fellowship at King’s College, Cambridge. Eminent as a scholar and logician, he was also experienced in public affairs, having been secretary to Sir Philip Sidney (who died in his arms at Arnheim) and then to the second Earl of Essex. He was a keen Ramist, who had published as early as 1584 an edition of the Dialectica with notes. This had soon become a popular textbook, and we may be sure that it was the basis of logical teaching in Dublin in the early seventeenth century. The first layman to hold the provostship, Temple was also a married man, and may have had his wife and family with him in his College lodgings, though there is no direct evidence of this. He defined the duties of various College Officers, including the Bursar and the Deans, on the Cambridge model. Temple confined participation in the government of College to the seven most senior fellows. He was therefore responsible for introducing the distinction between Senior and Junior Fellows, which is still a significant feature of Trinity’s constitution.2 Temple came under pressure from the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Abbot, who had been appointed Chancellor in 1612, to conform more strictly to Anglican ritual.3 Abbot reflected the Church of England’s increasing dismay at the nonconformist path being followed by the College. Temple was the first Provost to die in office, on 15 January 1627, at the age of 72.