Discover the Naval Temple at The Kymin
Believed to be the only one of its kind in the world, the Naval Temple at the Kymin, Monmouth, is a patriotic symbol of Britain’s naval supremacy at the height of the British Empire.
At a time when Britannia ruled the waves and Admiral Nelson was at the height of his career following his victory at the Battle of the Nile, the gentlemen of the Kymin Club and other local citizens were filled with national pride.
A tribute of respect
The Naval Temple was built by public subscription in 1800 to commemorate 16 of Britain’s most famous admirals and their naval victories in the Seven Years War and the war against revolutionary France.
It was dedicated to the Duchess of Beaufort, daughter of Admiral Boscawen and one of the admirals commemorated on the Naval Temple.
The neo-classical H-shaped temple was finished in 1801, and is topped with a triumphal arch supporting the figure of Britannia seated on a rock. Beneath the arch there are two paintings: ‘The Standard of Great Britain waving triumphant over the fallen and captive flags of France, Spain and Holland’ and ‘The Glorious and Ever Memorable Battle of the Nile’.
In 1802, Admiral Nelson himself visited The Kymin, along with the infamous Lady Hamilton and her husband Sir William.
Monmouth resident Charles Heath kept a written record of Nelson’s visit to The Kymin, and the Naval Temple in particular. Nelson’s visit to the Temple would have taken place not only because he was one of the 16 admirals honoured, but also to see the depiction of his victory at the Battle of the Nile beneath the arch.
Heath records that Nelson said: “'It was not only one of the most beautiful places he had ever seen, but, to the boast of Monmouth, the Temple was the only Monument of its kind erected to the English Navy in the whole range of the Kingdom.”
Restored to glory
The Naval Temple has undergone many changes since its inception, including three restorations, the last two by the National Trust in 1987, and again in 2012 as a result of severe weather damage.
Today, this unusual and unique Grade II listed building has been preserved for future generations and will continue to stand as a testament to Great Britain’s past naval supremacy.