Lying between the City of Westminster and the City of London The Temple is home to two of the country’s four Inns of Court – the Inner Temple and Middle Temple and has been for over 700 years.
In the middle of the 12th century, the Military Order of the Knights Templar built a fine round church by the Thames, which became known as the Temple Church. Two centuries later, after the abolition of the Order in 1312, lawyers came to occupy the Temple site and buildings. They formed themselves into two societies, the Inner Temple and Middle Temple.
The lawyers of Inner and Middle Temple were well established in the Temple by the 15th Century and in the years that followed a huge expansion took place. In 1608 their occupancy was secured by the grant of Letters Patent from King James I. The two Inns were granted the land on condition that, in addition to the education of barristers, they maintain and keep the Church at their own proper cost forever for the celebration of divine service.
Jumping forward to the more recent history, the 20th century saw another large expansion for the Inns as they started to welcome members from across the Empire and in 1919 women. Today there are over 50 chambers situated within The Temple providing offices for 100s of lawyers and many support staff, and residences for members of the legal community. However the past century also saw the biggest destruction within The Temple, when during the Blitz almost half of the buildings in the Inner and Middle temples were destroyed. The subsequent rebuilding saw many of the buildings restored to their original appearance whilst also allowing for the enlargement of many of the open spaces, courtyards and gardens leading to the Temple we all know and love today - an oasis of calm with music at its heart, as it has been for many centuries.
For more information about the history of The Temple visit www.innertemple.org.uk/who-we-are/history/ and www.middletemple.org.uk/archive/history