In this post I’ll tell you about this church and the whole marvelous area around it that impressed me co much.
Whether or not you’ve read The Da Vinci Code and subsequent thrillers, you may have heard of the Knights Templar. A few facts can be confirmed about the Knights. A group of pilgrims traveled to Jerusalem in 1119, and some of them were armed and followed a strict, religiously inspired code. Here’s where the facts get muddy. According to the story, nine among them took vows to become monks and were trapped in the Temple of Solomon.
Named Knights Templar because of the Temple of Solomon, their group quickly blossomed as more pilgrims began traveling to Jerusalem from Europe. Muslim–Christian tensions in Jerusalem rose, and it became very expensive to protect the Christian pilgrims. Funds were raised from Europe as the Knights grew in number and prestige.
Back in London, the Knights began to influence politics. With wealthy friends and their Church in central London, the Templars became intertwined in the financial and domestic concerns of the burgeoning English nation. The Master of the Church was an member of Parliament: separation of Church and State was more than five hundred years away.
With a distinct round nave, the Temple Church was consecrated in 1185. The round church is modeled on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
But by the late 1200s, the Crusades weren’t going so well, and, with other troubles in France, the clout of the Knights waned. When they eventually fell in 1307, their land was seized by the Crown. King Edward II used the land and buildings for law colleges that developed into the present-day Inns of Court.
During World War II, German firebombs damaged the roof of the Temple Church, but it has since been restored.
Opposite of the church is the Inner Temple The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, commonly known as Inner Temple, one of the four Inns of Court (professional associations for barristers and judges) in London. To be called to the Bar and practice as a barrister in England and Wales, an individual must belong to one of these Inns.
The Inn is a professional body that provides legal training, selection, and regulation for members. It is ruled by a governing council called “Parliament”, made up of the Masters of the Bench, and led by the Treasurer, who is elected to serve a one-year term. The Temple takes its name from the Knights Templar, who originally leased the land to the Temple’s inhabitants until their abolition in 1312. The Inner Temple was a distinct society from at least 1388, although as with all the Inns of Court its precise date of founding is not known. After a disruptive early period (during which the Temple was almost entirely destroyed in the Peasants’ Revolt) it flourished, becoming the second-largest Inn during the Elizabethan period.
The Inner Temple expanded during the reigns of James I and Charles I, with 1,700 students admitted between 1600 and 1640. The First English Civil War’s outbreak led to a complete suspension of legal education,[ with the Inns close to being shut down for almost four years. Following the English Restoration the Inner Templars welcomed Charles II back to London personally with a lavish banquet.
After a period of slow decline in the 18th century, the following 100 years saw a restoration of the Temple’s fortunes, with buildings constructed or restored, such as the Hall and the Library. Much of this work was destroyed during The Blitz, when the Hall, Temple, Temple Church, and many sets of chambers were devastated. Rebuilding was completed in 1959, and today the Temple is a flourishing and active Inn of Court, with over 8,000 members.
The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, commonly known simply as Middle Temple, is one of the other four Inns of Court exclusively entitled to call their members to the English Bar as barristers.
The Middle Temple owns 43 buildings and the ones in the Temple itself are still held under the 1608 letters patent of James I. Some buildings are modern, replacing ones which were destroyed in The Blitz, but others date back to the 16th century. The Inn is also jointly responsible, with Inner Temple, for Temple Church and the Master’s House next to the church, a Georgian townhouse built in 1764.
One of the most famous one is the Middle Temple Hall, which construction began in 1562 and was completed in 1572, although it was officially opened in 1576, by Queen Elizabeth I. Its hammerbeam roof has been said to be the best in London. One of the tables at the end of the hall is made from the timbers of the Golden Hinde, the ship used by Sir Francis Drake to circumnavigate the world. Above the table is a massive painting of King Charles I by Anthony van Dyck, and also portraits of Charles II, James II, William III, Elizabeth I, Queen Anne and George I. On the walls are panels bearing the coats of arms of Readers (senior members) dating back to 1597.[
The hall survived the Great Fire of London in 1666, but was damaged by bombing in the Second World War.
Middle Temple Hall is at the heart of the Inn, and the Inn’s student members are required to attend a minimum of 12 qualifying sessions there. Qualifying sessions, formerly known as “dinners”, combine collegiate and educational elements and will usually combine a dinner or reception with lectures, debates, mooting, or musical performances.
If you want to visit any of the buildings you have to check their websites since they are not always open to public. Some of them are participants in Open House London, but you can wander around the alleys in the area any time you like.
Here’s the location :