I didn’t complete District V in one day partly because of the cold, and partly because Mr Bradshaw walks too fast for me! So I returned and started where I left off, in Chancery Lane, which Pevsner refers to as ‘..the backbone of the legal quarter..’. The road was built in c.1160 (nearly 1,000 years ago) by the Templars through their farmland to link their buildings in Holborn (the site of the Southampton Buildings) to the buildings in The Temple on the river. (This link offers interesting documents and much more information.)
The Rolls, the records of the Court of Chancery from Richard III (1377) to the present time, and are housed in the Public Records Office (PRO) under the control of the Master of the Rolls. Originally the Rolls were kept in a house on this site for Jews who had converted to Christianity. There was also a Chapel on the site (now demolished but remnants are displayed in the Weston Room in the Maughan Libary).
The PRO existed from 1838-2003 when it was merged with the Historical Manuscripts Commission to form The National Archive. From 1851 the PRO was housed in the building which is now the Maughan Library of Kings College London.
The Law Society was founded in 1825 as ‘The Society of Attorneys, Solicitors, Proctors and others not being Barristers, practising in the Courts of Law and Equity of the United Kingdom’, only shortening its title in 1903. Women were first admitted in 1922 – we forget sometimes the discrimination against women, based only on gender.
Lincoln’s Inn was named after the Bishop of Lincoln who acquired the original Templars’ property in the 12th century. This lies outside the City and is not on Mr Bradshaw’s route but it was a beautiful day and a peaceful place and so I diverted.
And just by changing to black and white I could easily move back in time –
But it was a beautiful day, to be enjoyed in full colour –
The Bishop of Chichester had his town house in Chancery Lane and Chichester Rents, a small shopping arcade, is now on the site. The Bishop apparently rented property to Lincoln’s Inn.
Clifford’s Inn lies behind St Dunstan’s in the West. It was an Inn of Chancery, founded in 1344 and dissolved in 1903, and mainly demolished in 1934. The Chancery Clerks used these buildings as both offices and accommodation and they offered training to those wishing to become barristers. These buildings were named after their landlords. Only the gatehouse remains today.
The Temple is a magical place about which Mr Bradshaw writes: ‘..There is in the tranquil retirement of these buildings, more especially such as look down upon a patch of greensward or strip of garden, embowered by shadowing trees, and enlivened by the cool melodious plash of the well-known sparkling fountain, an appearance of the most delicious quietness and study-inviting solitude..’.
But I must enter through a gate, the Inner Temple Gate on Fleet Street. The Temple is named after the Knights Templar. In 1313 the property was given by the King to the Earl of Pembroke and after his death it passed to the Knights of St John of Jerusalem. They let the buildings of the Inner Temple to Common Law students, and the buildings of the Outer Temple were leased to Walter Stapleton, Bishop of Exeter. In 1608 King James granted the buildings to the students of law and this has remained the case ever since.
Middle Temple Lane leads off Fleet Street, a plain building which was built by Wren in 1684.
Corners and courtyard bring to mind the many famous people associated with the buildings: Thomas Cromwell had a chamber in Hare Court; Chaucer and Raleigh were associated with the Temple; Congreve and Oliver Goldsmith in Brick Court
The Edmund Burke, Dr Johnson Cowper, Charles Lamb and many others were associated with the Temple.
The Temple Church belongs to both the Inner Temple and the Middle Temple. The round Templar church was consecrated by the Patriarch of Jerusalem and imitated the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The church has been restored several times, and has been renowned for its music for a long time – this tradition continues to the present times.
The Temple Gardens are on the Embankment and it was here that the roses of York and Lancaster originated.
The Temple Bar designed by Wren is now relocated to Paternoster Square and the entry to the City is today marked by a pedestal of 1880 surmounted by a dragon or gryphon. This marks the boundary between the City and Westminster, and here I finally end my tour of the City with Bradshaw. Next we will be venturing beyond the City boundaries.
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