The temple was built by George Ward, an ex-mayor of Birmingham and a lifelong bachelor known for his toga-clad garden parties. He was so enamored of classical architecture that he built his home as if it were a Roman temple. That was in 1925. Four years later he built the small Temple of Sibyl on a hilltop of his estate, Vestivia. He wanted it to be his headstone, and be buried in a cave beneath it.