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- ^p»,'*teflll!l'M«'.'t J- 






.- BY 






Herbert Railton 

New Edition 



Essex Street, Strand 




I. The Site i 

The Ward of Farringdon Without— The First Settle- 
ment of the Templars — Some Geographical Notes — 
The Opening of Ludgate — The Three Temples — 
The Bishop of Exeter in the Outer Temple — 
Lincoln and his Inn — Portpool — The Inns of 
Chancery — The Greys of Wilton — The Murder of 
the Bishop of Exeter — The Earl of Essex — The 
Elector Palatine — Barbon and Essex Street — The 
Temple Church — Vandalism — The Suppression of 
the Templars — The Hospitallers and the Temple 
— The Lawyers — Chancery Lane — The Bishop of 
Chichester — Gray's Inn — Summary. 

II. The Chapels 31 

The Chapels — The Templars — Their Round 
Churches — Restorations — The Temple Church as 
it is now — Dimensions — Vaulted Chambers — The 
Monuments — Hooker as Master — The Effigies in 
the Round Church — Were the Templars Assassins ? 
— The Chamber of Secret Mystery — Geoffirey 
Mandeville — William, Earl Marshal — Lord Ros — 
The Bodies Discovered — MonumentsintheTriforium 

vi The Inns of Court 


— Horace Parodied — The Master's Office — Weale's 
Opinion of the Restorations — The Chapel of 
Lincoln's Inn — The Chapel of Gray's Inn — The 
Chapel of the Rolls — The Dean of York. 

III. The Inner Temple . . . .69 

The oldest Hall — The Arms — Origin of the 
Pegasus — Plan of the old Temple — The Lord 
Prior of St. John — A Manciple — The Serjeants — 
The Second Hall — Population of the Inner Temple 
— The Buildings — The New Hall — The Library. 

IV. The Inner Temple {continued) . 89 

Eminent Inhabitants — Charles Lamb a Native of 
the Temple — Thackeray — Cowper — Shirley — Bos- 
well — ^Johnson — Officials of an Inn of Court — Old 
Usages — Eating Dinners — The Menu — Pass the 
Bottle — Laundresses — Ladies in the Temple. 

V. The Inner Temple {concluded) . 106 

Eminent Benchers — The **Black Finches" — A Royal 
Bencher — Old Names — Thurlow — Tenterden — 
Lamb's Benchers — Hon. Daines Barrington — 
Baron Maseres — Ellenlx)rough — ^Jekyll and Sydney 
Smith — Thesiger — Inner Temple Hall — Paper 
Buildings — King's Bench Walks — The Dials — The 
Blackamoor — The Last Revels — What is an Utter 
Barrister ? 

VI. The Middle Temple . . .127 

Beauty of the Two Temples — The Literary Associa- 
tions of the Middle Temple — The Fire of 1679 — 
The Gate— Brick Court— Oliver Goldsmith— His 
Funeral — I lis Grave — The Fountain — Described 
by Dickens — Lines by ** L. E. L." 

Contents vii 


VII. The Middle Temple {concluded) . 146 

• The Hall — Manningham's Diary — Shakespeare's 

Twelfth Night— ThQ Revels— The Moots— The 

Masques — The Rival Roses — Edmund Burke — The 

Library — The Garden —The Dials — Great Lawyers 

— The Norths — Jeffreys — Blackstone — Eldon. 

VIII. Lincoln's Inn 173 

Vandalism at Lincoln's Inn— The Old Gate — The 
Old Hall — Thurloe — New Square — Stone Building 
—The Drill Hall—" The Devil's Own "—The New 
Hall — The Arms — The New Library — Scott's 
Work — The Old Library — Picturesque Aspect of 
Lincoln's Inn. 

IX. Lincoln's Inn {concluded) .198 

The Great Men — Sir Thomas More — William Rastell 
— ^John Donne — Egerton — Cromwell — Lambarde 
— Prynne — Hale — Murray, Balhurst, and Brougham 
— Miss Brougham's Grave and Monument — The 
Preachers — Bishop Heber. 

X. Gray's Inn 226 

Origin — A Faulty Theorj' — Dugdale's Account — 
The Chapel — The Ground Plan — Opening to 
Holborn — The Hall — Attacks of ** Restoration " — 
Chaplains and Preachers — The Arms — The Masque 
of Flowers — Eminent Members — The Cecils — The 
Bacons — The Gardens. 

viii The Inns of Court 


XI. The Inns of Chancery. 251 

The Inns of Chancery are abolished — Their Number 
— Other Inns — Our Lady's Inn — Stow's Account 
— Fumival's Inn — Clifford's Inn and the Inner 
Temple — The Dinner and Grace — The Hall — A 
Curious Region — Serjeants' Inn — The Rolls — The 
Record Office — A walk from Fleet Street to 
Chancery Lane. 

XII. The Inns of Chancery {concluded). 276 

Clement's Inn — New Inn — Lyon's Inn — Cursitor 
Street — Staple Inn — Dr. Johnson — Barnard's Inn 
— Survey of the whole Subject— Its Architectural 
Features — Its Associations. 


The Temple Church. By H. Railton 

Middle Temple Gateway from the Strand. By H 
Railton . . 

Temple Church. By H. Railton 

A Knight Templar — William Mareschal, Earl of 
Pembroke. By H. Railton . 

Interior of Temple Church. By H. Railton . 

Interior of Temple Church. By II. Railton . 

Turret Stairway to Triforium. By H. Railton 

The Master's House from the Inner Temple. By H 
Railton ........ 

Tomb of Dean Young in the Chapel of the Rolls 

The Cloisters. By H. Railton .... 

Old Doorway, Lamb Court. By H. Railton 

Oriel in the Hall. By H. Railton . 

The Inner Temple Library. By H. Railton 

Cut-brick Portal in King's Bench Walk. By II 

Corner in Hare Court. By H. Railton . 

Goldsmith's Grave. By H. Railton . 












The Inns of Court 

Middle Temple Lane. By H. Railton 

Middle Temple Hall and Fountain Court. By H 

The Fountain in the Temple. From an Engraving 
BY Fletcher after Nichols, 1710. 

Brick Court. By H. Railton .... 

A Bit from Essex Court. By H. Railton. 

Middle Temple Hall. By H. Railton 

Portion of Screen in Middle Temple* Hall. By H 

Gateway of Middle Temple. By H. Railton . 

Bridge and Porch of Middle Temple Library. By 
H. Railton 

Middle Temple Library. By H. Railton . 

The Gate-house, Lincoln's Inn, Chancery Lane. By 
A. E. Pearce 

The Chapel and the Old Hall, Lincoln's Inn. 
A. E. Pearce 


Screen in the Old Hall, Lincoln's Inn. By A. E 

New Hall and Library, from New Square. By A 
E. Pearce 

Oriel Window in Hall. By H. Railton . 
Interior of Lincoln's Inn Hall. By A. E. Pearce 
Pews in the Chapel. By A. E. Pearce 
Entrance Porch. By H. Railton 
Chambers in Old Square. By A. E. Pearce 
Lincoln's Inn from Carey Street. By H. Railton 
Arches of Crypt. 'By H. Railton 
New Square, Lincoln's Inn. By A. E. Pearce 
Area in New Square. By A. E. Pearce . 


















List of ///iisiraiioHS 

Lincoln's Inn Library and Halu By H. Raili\>n 

Searl£*s Gate, Lincoln's Inn. By A. E. 1^\kck 

Gateway of Lincoln's Inn. By H. Railton 

Field Court. By H. Railton .... 

-Gray's Inn. By H. Railton .... 

South Square, Gray's Inn. By H. Railfon 

Wrought Iron Gates, Gray*s Inn. By H. Railton 

New Inn. By H. Railton 

Old Furnival's Inn, Holborn. From Wilkinson* 

Court of Old Furnival's Inn. From Wilkinson* 

Corner in Clifford's Inn. By II. Railton 

Clifford's Inn. By II. Railton .... 

Staple Inn. By II. Railton .... 

Staple Inn from Southampton Buildings. By II 

A Peep from the Garden, Staple Inn. By II. Railton 

Gateway of Staple Inn. By II. Railton . 

Courtyard, Barnard's Inn. By II. Railton 








The Ward of Farringdon Without— The First Sclllemeni of the 
Templars — Some Geographical Notes — The Opening of Lud- 
gate— The Three Temples— The Bishop of Jixclor in the Outer 
Temple — Lincoln and his Inn — Portpool — The Inns of Chancery 
—The Greys of Wilton— The Murder of the Bishop of Exeter— 
The Earl of Kssex — The Elector Palatine — IJarbon and Essex 
Street— The Temple Church— Vandalism— The Suppression of 
the Templars — The Hospitallers and the Temple — The Lawyers 
— Chancery Lane— The Bishop of Chichester — Gray's Inn — 

1 T is a curious fact that 
all the Inns of Court 
and Chancery are 
within the boundaries 
of the city of London, 
or within a stone's 
throw of the bound- 
aries. They are, in 
fact, all either within, 
or just beyond, the 
borders of one city ward, that of Farringdon Without. 

2 The Inns of Court 

There must be a reason for this, and it is the business 
of the historian to find out what that reason is. 

We must first get hold of a date to start from, a 
chronological " from which," and then work down the 
stream of time as steadily as we can. We know 
that Farringdon Without was made a city ward in 
or before 1223, but long before that time Fleet 
Street had been reckoned a suburb, and was undef 
civic rule and governance. It is referred to as early 
as 1 1 15, under the designation of " Ultra Fletam," 
and the names of four tenants there of the Dean 
and Chapter of St. Paulas — and the occupation of 
one, a lorimer, or maker of bits and stirrups — are 
mentioned. The great man of the region was 
named Theobald, and Theobald had a daughter 
who married Fulcred, and Theobald gave her a 
piece of land as a marriage portion. But Fulcred 
was dead, and his son William succeeded to the 
land. I cannot date the document exactly in which 
these names occur, but it must have been written, 
as I have said, in or before 11 15. Three years 
later a great event happened in the region " Ultra 
Fletam," an event which has continued to mark its 
history ever since : the Knights Templars settled in 
Holborn in 1 1 1 8. 

It may be well to make some geographical 
notes before proceeding farther. We remember 
that the Thames was then, and long after, the 

The Site 3 

great highway between the city of London and 
the King's court and the royal abbey at West- 
minster. But there was also a street or road 
which led from the city to the palace. It was 
not, however, as we might suppose at first sight, 
the street which we know now as Fleet Street, 
with its continuation, the Strand. In many books 
you will find it stated that this roadway is very 
ancient ; that it was first made by the Romans, 
and that it entered the city at Ludgate. But no 
such roadway could have existed — there was no 
Roman gate at Ludgate. In stating this, I am 
met by a single fact, which, in the minds of people 
not thoroughly acquainted with the geography of 
the district, might be taken as conclusive. There is 
an undoubtedly Roman building, or part of one, in 
a lane leading southward from the Strand. But if 
you start from the Roman bath and go northward, 
you ascend a steep slope to reach the roadway, and 
you perceive that a little way off, upon your right, 
there is a slope downward down Fleet Street ; and 
a little way farther, on your left, there is another, 
but slighter, slope down the Strand. You perceive, 
in fact, that you are on a ridge, and, if you pursue 
it, you will be led to High Holborn, and will 
perceive there also a decided slope to the right, and 
a slighter one to the left The Roman bath, thus 
used, teaches us, not that there was a gate at 

4 The Inns of Court 

Ludgate, and a road leading westward from it, but 
that the Romans coming out of the city by their 
gate near where Newgate is now, crossing the Fleet 
by their bridge in the hollow, and ascending Hol- 
born Hill, made their way down the ridge I have 
mentioned to a place where it jutted into the 
Thames. There they built their bath, and there, 
no doubt, they took boating for Westminster, if 
they desired to go so far, for a pavement has been 
discovered to show that the Romans built at 
Westminster as well as in the Strand. The first 
settlement, then, " Ultra Fletam," after the Conquest, 
in all probability was in High Holborn, and neither 
Fleet Street nor the street of the Strand could exist 
until the opening of Ludgate, whose name is good 
Anglo-Saxon for a postern, and has no more to do 
with King Lud than it has with the Luddites ; and 
until a bridge had been made at what we call 
Ludgate Circus, over the lower, wide, tidal reach 
of the Fleet ; and until enough dry ground had 
been made by deepening the Thames and em- 
banking, to give room, first, for houses on the 
west side of the Fleet about Bridewell before the 
ridge was climbed, and, secondly, for draining and 
rendering habitable the land between Fleet Street 
and the river. These conditions did not exist in 
Roman times. They did not exist when the 
boundary between the city of London and the 

The Site 5 

manor of the Abbot of Westminster was called 
London Fen (see Westminster Abbey ^ li. 34), in 
the middle of the tenth century, a little more than 
a century before the Conquest. They did not 
exist when, before the year 11^15, the four tenants 
of St Paul's lived beyond the Fleet ; and they did 
not exist when the Knights Templars began to 
build in 1 1 1 8 in High Holborn. But when seventy 
years or so had elapsed, these conditions did exist. 
Ludgate had been opened ; the road had been 
carried, presumably by a bridge, across the lower 
Fleet ; the city had begun to claim land which the 
Abbot said was his ; much engineering work had 
been carried out ; and, finally, the Templars — 
wanting more room than they could get in Holborn, 
with new houses rising all round in Fetter Lane, in 
Show-well Lane (which we call Shoe Lane), in 
Chancery Lane — obtained the fine open meadow 
sloping down to the Thames on the southern side 
of the new street, and there built a great house and 
the church, part of which is still standing. They 
also rented a field on the other side of the new road 
along the Strand. It was called Fickett's Field, 
and squared with the Outer Temple, or that part of 
their own domain which was not within the city 
boundaries. This field was used for tilting, and 
doubtless * The Forge,' for which the city still pays 
a rent to the Crown, was the place where the armour 

6 The Inns of Court 

of the Templars was fitted and riveted, and their 
horses shod. 

We now leave geography and return to history. 
We find the Templars settled on the extreme verge 
of the city territory, but inside the boundary. A 
brief examination of a plan of the ward shows a 
kind of semi-circular projection just at Temple Bar, 
extending a few yards to the west, and marking, 
no doubt, where there was at some remote period 
a semi-circular outwork to protect the city entrance. 
North of this point the boundary runs so as almost 
to surround the holding of the Bishop of Chichester, 
and then slopes away eastward, reaching Holborn at 
Staple Inn. The Ward of Farringdon was not yet 
so called, but was the Ward of Holborn and Fleet 
Street, and in 1222 the city hold on it was 
tightened by the Mayor and the Abbot coming to 
an arrangement by which the city was to retain the 
land, but the abbey was to have the two new 
churches of St. Bride and St. Dunstan. Henry HI. 
soon took St. Dunstan's from the Abbot, but to 
this day St. Bride's is in the gift of the Abbot's 
successors, the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. 
A few years later, the boundaries of the ward 
were settled. An arbitrary division was probably 
made then, a division which still exists. We all 
know there was, and is, an Inner Temple. This 
was probably the ground on which the domestic 

The Site 7 

buildings stood, the nearest part to the city, and 
abutting on the precincts of the Carmelites or White 
Friars, whoTiad settled eastward of the Templars in 
1 24 1. The Templars, in addition to these buildings 
which ended on the west with the church, had 
probably gardens or orchards beyond and a gateway 
into Fleet Street, and this is now the Middle Temple. 
But the word " Middle " implies the existence of at 
least three entities, so to speak. There was an 
Inner Temple, and the adjoining space was not the 
Outer, but the Middle Temple. We know two 
further things about the ground. The city boundary, 
more or less fortified, ran outside — that is, to west- 
ward of the Middle Temple — and cut off a field 
which the Templars possessed. This was the Outer 
Temple, and sloped gently to a certain stream 
which here crossed the Strand, and, before it fell 
into the Thames, worked a mill. The roadway ran 
through the brook by a ford, commemorated by 
Milford Lane, and the Templars had a bridge, or 
what we should call a floating wharf, where, until 
the making of the Thames Embankment, there 
were stairs and a landing or embarking place. 
The Outer Temple never belonged to the lawyers, 
but was leased to Walter Stapledon, Bishop of 
Exeter, by whose tenancy hangs a tragic tale, 
to be told presently. Finally, it belonged to the 
Devereuxes, Earls of Essex, and so we have, 

8 The Inns of Court 

marking its site, Devereux Court and Essex Street, 
where this chapter on its history is now being 

Soon after the Templars and the Carmelites had 
established themselves south of Fleet Street, Henry 
Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, and the Bishop of Chichester 
settled themselves on territory which layover against 
the Temple, on the north side of the new street, and 
just outside the extreme verge of the city defences. 
Beyond it, as beyond the Temple, there lay a 
paddock, and beyond that again the open common 
still known, though no longer open nor common, as 
Lincoln's Inn Fields. This estate takes us up to 
Holborn, and across the way, but also outside the 
city boundary, is Gray's Inn, a much later addition. 
At the time of which I am writing, the thirteenth 
century to wit, if there was a house here it must 
have been the manor house of a canon of St. Paul's. 
But it is more likely that the incumbent of the 
prebend of Portpool, his estate being so near the 
city, preferred to have his house within the protection 
of the city wall, or at least within the boundary. 
There is, therefore, some difficulty about the manor 
of Portpool, and I remember, some years ago, that 
my lamented friend, Mr. Benjamin Webb, when he 
told me he had been presented to the prebend of 
Portpool, asked if I could tell him where Portpool 
was. But the " port," which means, in this connection. 

The Site 9 

rather an extra-mural market than a gate, may be 
found, perhaps, in the neighbouring Staple Inn, 
which is not " Staple's Inn," as it is sometimes 
erroneously called, but a name which denotes, by 
another old word, the existence of a market ; and 
the pool — well, what can be more natural than that 
a horse-pond adjoined the market-place ? However, 
the market-place ha5 become an Inn of Chancery, 
and the horse-pond the site of an Inn of Court. 
/_ These, then, are the four Inns of Court, namely, 
the Inner Temple, the Middle Temple, Lincoln's Inn, 
and Gray's Inn. The Inns of Chancery were subject 
in certain matters to the Inns of Court ; but by 
degrees all have been dissolved and are Inns of 
Chancery no longer. They were, under the Inner 
Temple, Clifford's, Clement's, and Lyon's ; under 
the Middle Temple, Strand and New ; under Lin- 
coln's Inn, Furnival's and Thavies'; and under Gray's 
Inn, Staple and Barnard's^ Besides the regular Inns 
of Chancery there were several whoUy independent 
bodies, such as two Serjeants' Inns, and the com- 
paratively obscure Dane's Inn. In early times we 
read of other societies of lawyers, which, in their 
origin at least, might have claimed to be Inns of 
Chancery, if Dugdale is right in saying they derived 
this name from being " Hospicia for the clerks of the 
Chancery." There was also a hospice, known as 
Scroope's Inn, adjoining the palace of the Bishops 

lo The Inns of Court 

of Ely in Holborn, and some of small duration seem 
to have subsisted still farther east, about Smithfield 
and the Old Bailey. 

It will have been perceived that all these rookeries 
of the lawyers are close to the city boundaries except 
Gray's Inn. The reason for this may be found in 
the fact that the two Temples and Lincoln's Inn 
are older than Gray's Inn. When students of the 
law betook themselves to the monastery of the mili- 
tary order and to the palace of the last of the Lacies, 
there was no security except in cities. It was danger- 
ous as well as inconvenient to be at any distance from 
the walls. But when, in the year 1516, an associa- 
tion, consisting of two Serjeants and four barristers, 
took out a lease at ten shillings rent of the manor of 
Portpool from the Prior of Shene, public security had 
been so far ensured by good government that many 
people considered it perfectly safe to live in houses 
built all along the Strand as far as Charing Cross, and 
much farther west than the old manor house of 
Edmond, Lord Grey de Wilton. In the older days, as 
we have seen, the lawyers never took to the Outer 
Temple, but, as has often been observed, the pioneers, 
the first colonists, so to speak, of the Strand were 
the bishops, who, perhaps, thought themselves suffi- 
ciently protected by their sacred office. Accordingly, 
the Bishop of Exeter ran the risk and built his palace 
outside the city boundary. The result, though it 

The Site 13 

really had little or nothing to do with the palace in 
the Outer Temple, was not encouraging. 

Walter Stapledon was appointed to govern the 
See of Exeter in 1308. He speedily built himself 
" a very fair house," afterwards known as Essex 
House, and in 1320 was Treasurer to Edward H. 
In the contests between the King and his Queen, 
whom Gray has commemorated in the title, " She- 
wolf of France," Bishop Stapledon sided with the 
King, who, however, leaving his Treasurer to defend 
London, fled to the west on the news of Isabella's 
landing. This was in the autumn of 1326. But 
the London citizens, impoverished by the malad- 
ministration of the weak Edward, did not care to 
obey his nominee. The Bishop was mobbed in the 
streets. He had been peaceably riding to dine at a 
hostelry in Warwick Lane, then called Old Dean's 
Lane, and when the tumult broke out he turned his 
horse in order to take refuge in the adjacent church 
of St. Paul. But before he reached the sanctuary he 
was torn from the saddle, and hustled by the crowd 
through the network of lanes — of which Paternoster 
Row survives, among others — until he reached the 
church of St Michael-le-Querne, where Peel's statue 
is now. Here, at the foot of the Cross of Cheap, 
lay ghastly evidence of the temper of the rioters. 
Earlier in the day, John Marshall, a citizen who 
opposed the Queen's party, had been seized in his 

14 The Inns of Court 

house by the Wallbrook, carried into the market- 
place, and beheaded. Here the unhappy Bishop f 
shared the same fate, and with him two of his > 
adherents, William Walle and a certain John of ) 
Paddington, who, as we read in the French 
Chronicle^ "was warden of the manor of the afore- 
said Bishop, without Temple Bar, and was held in ? 
bad repute." The rest of the story more nearly ■ 
concerns the Outer Temple. " Upon the same day," 
continues the chronicler, ** toward vespers, came the 
choir of St. Paul's and took the headless body of the 
said Bishop, and carried it to St. Paul's Church, 
where they were given to understand that he had 
died under sentence ; upon which the body was 
carried to the church of St. Clement, without Temple 
Bar." The people of the church, however, were 
afraid to receive it, warned by the attitude of the 
mob, who had already plundered the Bishop's house, 
close by. The body of the Bishop and the bodies of 
his servants were buried in a heap of sand behind the 
house, all naked as they had been dragged from the 
city — " mes qe une femme luy dona un ancien drapiau 
pour coverer le ventre." Some time later, the Queen 
and her son, repenting of the deed done in their name, 
punished the citizens who could be identified as con- 
cerned in the murders, and took the body of the Bishop 
to Exeter, where his effigy still lies on the north side 
of the choir, under a curiously painted canopy. 

The Site 15 

Nearly three hundred years elapsed, and once 
more the Outer Temple is concerned with a city riot. 
Robert Devereux, " Queen Elizabeth's Earl of Essex," 
here made his plans for raising London against the 
Queen's government. The measures of Burghley had 
been too carefully matured, and Essex, discomfited, 
unable to raise the citizens or to obtain arms from 
the armourers in Gracechurch Street, turned to make 
his exit by Ludgate. This the Bishop would by no 
means permit, and the baffled conspirators, when 
" Paul's Chain," then a reality, had been lifted to let 
them pass, descended to Paul's Wharf and took a 
boat to the landing-place at Essex House. In the 
evening they were arrested here and taken over to 
Lambeth. When, in the following reign, the Elector 
Palatine, or Palsgrave of the Rhine, came to wed the 
King's daughter, he was lodged in Essex House. A 
court in the Outer Temple afterwards bore the name 
of Palsgrave Place. The Parliamentarian general, 
Essex, was born and also died in Essex House. 
Finally, Barbon, the brother of " Praise God Bare- 
bones," bought it, and built Essex Street on the site ; 
this was in 1680, but a portion of the old house 
remained until 1777. And so the Outer Temple 
disappears from the page of history. 
\ There are but three specimens of Norman archi- 
tecture above-ground in London. One of the three 
is the round part of the Temple Church. True, in 

1 6 The Inns of Court 

addition to the Tower and its chapel of St. John, 
and to the grand church of the Canons of St. 
Bartholomew, there is a crypt in Cheap, under the 
church of St Mary-le-Bow ; also a crypt exists in 
the precincts of the Hospitallers at Clerkenwell. 
But we have to go far into the country to find 
another specimen of Norman, west of the walls of 
London, and even ordinary Gothic only exists in the 
Savoy at Lincoln's Inn and Westminster. During 
the first outbreak of the so-called "great Gothic 
revival," the fell spirit of " restoration " laid a heavy 
hand on the sole relic of the Templars. The work 
carried out in 1845 at this place would alone justify 
a recent suggestion, namely, that in writing or 
speaking of modern, or mock, Gothic, as distinguished 
from the real thing, the term Vandal or Vandalic 
might be used. The name of Gothic was certainly 
bestowed by our not very remote ancestors on 
mediaeval, and especially on pointed architecture, as 
a term of reproach. When we see how the modern 
architect has used what he would persuade us is 
Gothic — as Smirke used it at the Temple, as Mr. 
Pearson has used it at Westminster, as Salvin used 
it at the Tower, and as Lord Grimthorpe is now 
using it at St. Albans — what name can we think of 
more appropriate? Nothing else, as we shall see, 
will adequately describe the alterations made in 
the chapel of Inigo Jones in Lincoln's Inn. And 

The Site 17 

certainly, when we compare the Temple Church as 
it now is with what we can judge it to have been 
fifty years ago from numerous engravings and 
descriptions, we cannot but assert that the changes 
have well deserved the name of Vandalism. The 
monuments, which comprised many great names, 
and showed many fine old figures in judicial robes 
and shields of multitudinous quarterings, have been 
broken to pieces, or removed to a kind of garret, 
and the effigies of the knights have been arranged 
symmetrically in groups. 

The suppression of the Knights of the Holy 
Sepulchre is among the many obscure passages in 
the history of Edward II. They first settled in 
England in 1 1 1 8, and the narrative of their sojourn 
here closes in torture and spoliation as early as 1 3 1 3. 
They made, considering the short two centuries of 
their stay, a very indelible impression on our 
topography and architecture, if not on our history. 
The Order grew out of one of the numerous con- 
fraternities to which the Crusades gave birth, and 
Hugh Payne, or * de Paganis,' with Godfrey of St. 
Omer, are named as the founders. Only seven other 
knights joined at first in their vows of poverty, 
chastity, obedience, and succour of the Holy Land ; 
but within a year they had so grown and prospered 
that they were able to establish a house in London, 
and built a round church in Holborn, where now 



1 8 The Inns of Court 

stand Southampton Buildings, and where, a hundred 
and fifty years ago, the foundations were laid bare. 
There was a bar at this, the old Temple, as well as 
at the new ; for when the knights removed to the 
meadows by the Thames, they still kept their build- 
ings within the lines of the city defences, while 
the other military knights, those of St. John, pre- 
ferred to be wholly in the country, at the village of 

\ Some curious documents are extant as to the 
crimes and confessions of the Templars. Their fall 
may, however, be attributed to several influential 
circumstances which worked together against them. 
They were reputed very wealthy. They had done 
nothing for many years to redeem their vows of 
" succouring Jerusalem," or protecting pilgrims. The 
Hospitallers were envious of them. And, finally, the 
Pope himself turned against them, and their doom 
was decreed. In Wilkins's Concilia^ some of the 
confessions are reported, and seem certainly to have 
been extorted from the weaker members of the 
Order by fear, if not by actual torture. Leading 
questions were put to them, especially as to heretical 
doctrines ; the answers were twisted, and every form 
of inquisitorial terrorism was employed. One knight 
in particular, who seems to have been weakly in 
body, as we read that he could not attain to the 
highest rank owing to his lameness, showed no courage. 


The Site 19 

and answered "Yes" to any accusation, however 
absurd. He was Treasurer of the Temple. The 
Treasury of these devotees of poverty was one of the 
chief features of the house, and was used by King 
John and King Henry HI. as a safe place of deposit 
for the regalia on several occasions. Stoke's con- 
fession won him absolution. But Thomas de la 
More, grand master in England, with six knights and 
twenty - two subordinate members of the Order, 
confessed nothing but the orthodox faith, and made 
a noble and pathetic appeal to their prejudiced 
judges. The Templars were sent to the Tower, 
but many or most of them, having been degraded, 
were eventually released, and some of them were 
pensioned. Very different was the treatment they 
received in France, where they were prosecuted with 
the utmost severity, and their grand master put to 
death by a slow fire. The Kings of both France 
and England, if they had moved against the Templars 
from motives of cupidity, must have been dis- 
appointed, for the decree of the Council of Vienna, 
convoked by Clement V. in 13 12, gave their 
possessions to the rival Knights of St. John, who 
continued in England to hold them, including the 
Middle and Inner Temples, till the dissolution of 
the monastic orders, under Henry VHI. We have 
more to say about the Templars in the next chapter, 
as -their beautiful church contains most interesting 

20 The Inns of Court 

memorials of some of them. The Hospitallers must 
have found such a palace as the Templars had built 
in Fleet Street rather of the nature of a white 
elephant, and it was long before they were enabled 
to let it to any advantage. In the meanwhile, it 
seems to have been occupied, at the King's instance, 
by Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke. Some 
say he had a grant of it from the King, which seems 
unlikely. In any case Aymer did not long occupy 
it, for Edward next gave it to Thomas, Earl of 
Lancaster, — " Saint Thomas," as the people called 
him, — who was murdered, under judicial forms, at 
Pontefract, in 1322. At his death it was supposed 
to revert to the Crown, with 'Pickett's Field, on which 
the Law Courts stand now, which, as we have seen, 
had been a place of exercise and perhaps a tilting- 
ground for the Templars. But in 1324 the decree 
of the Pope's council was enforced, and the house 
became absolutely the property of the Knights of St. 
John, lest, as the decree ran, " the same should be 
put to profane uses." The new owners interpreted 
the clause for themselves, and as, no doubt, the 
majority of lawyers and many of the judges were in 
orders, they may have thought they were carrying 
it out to the letter when they leased the house at 
ten pounds a year to a certain society of students of 
the law. The date of this transaction must be placed 
somewhere between 1338 and 1377, but the deeds 


The Site 23 

were lost when the rebels of 1381 destroyed the 
records of the new Templars. The rebels seem to 
have acted as the Irish holders of notes issued by an 
obnoxious bank acted when they put them in the 
fire and made the banker's fortune ! Certainly, 
though their deeds perished, the students of the law 
held their house even until the Dissolution, when the 
ground passed into the possession of the Crown. 
Even then, as we shall see, they were not disturbed, 
and eventually became owners of the freehold. As 
to whether they are within the city and its jurisdic- 
tion, opinions differ. There can be no difficulty 
as to their geographical position. The Inner and 
Middle Temples are certainly within the boundaries 
of the Ward of Farringdon Without. 

When " the students of the law " had obtained 
settled possession of the Temple, another and similar 
society had already established themselves at the 
other side of Fleet Street. The Dominicans, or 
Black Friars, came into the kingdom in 1215, 
and had gradually settled themselves on a piece of 
ground facing into the roadway of Holborn, at the 
western side of the northern end of what we know 
as Chancery Lane. Here, according to their custom, 
they added field to field, and garden to garden, by 
purchase, exchange, testamentary and eleemosynary 
gift, and by incessant, tireless begging. At last 
they amassed a large territory, reaching from 

24 The Inns of Court 

Holborn down to the house and coney garth of the 
Bishop of Chichester. This " piecea terrae," to quote 
the elegant Latinity of an old document, did not 
content them, and, in 1278, they removed to what 
we know as Blackfriars, a place just within the city 
wall, where an embankment of the Fleet had left a 
space vacant at high as well as low tides. Their 
holding in Holborn came into the market, so to 
speak, and was bought by Henry Lacy, Earl of 
Lincoln and Salisbury, in 1286 — a man of learning 
and law, as well as of military prowess, who filled 
several high judicial offices, and in 13 10 was one of 
the " Lords Ordainers of Reform." He gave the 
friars 550 marks, to be paid in instalments, "for all 
their place, buildings, and habitation near Holebourn," 
to be held by all the accustomed secular services 
due to the lord of the fief The grant was read and 
enrolled in the Hustings of London on the 4th 
March, and about a year later received royal con- 
firmation. From these transactions we may gather 
that there was at that time at least a doubt as to 
whether it was in the city or not. 

There are tales in many books as to the wonderful 
gardens and orchards Lincoln had here, and what a 
large sum, in 1295, he was able to make in the 
market by the sale of his fruit. Mr. Wheatley 
assesses it at ";^i35 in our currency." 
( Another tale is that Lincoln was so fond of law 

The Site 25 

and lawyers that he had his house full of students, 
and had already arranged for them to take it over 
entirely when he died, early in 1311* The particulars 
of this transfer seem never to have been ascertained. 
Herbert, who is a fair authority, says tradition reports 
that Henry Lacy, the great Earl of Lincoln, who, in 
the next age, had a grant by patent from King 
Edward L of "the old friar house juxta Holborn, 
being a person well affected to the study of the laws,? 
assigned the professors of them this residence, but 
we are not told whether by gift or purchase. 
Dugdale mentions this tradition as being current 
" among the antients here," and adds, " direct proof 
thereof, from good authority, I have not as yet seen 
any." The modern boundaries of Lincoln's Inn 
include "a house in a garden," near the foot of 
Chancery Lane, which belonged to the Bishops of 
Chichester, one of whom, the last who lived here, 
was Chancellor of England in 1292 and 1307. 
After him, it is said, Chancellor's Lane, now Chancery 
Lane, is called. He was allowed, owing to the state 
of the lane during the wardenship of John le Breton, 
to put up bars to prevent the passage of heavy traffic. 
These bars were removed as soon as the lawyers 
obtained their hold on the place, but their tenure 
was still dependent on the pleasure of successive 
Bishops of Chichester, the leases reserving a residence 
for the Bishop when he should visit London, and it 

26 The Inns of Court 

was not until 1536 that Bishop Richard Sampson, 
with the consent of his Dean and Chapter, finally 
parted with it to a tenant. In addition to the 
buildings there was an open space called the Coney 
Garth, and sometimes CotterelFs Garden. The new 
proprietors, however, William and Eustace Tyliard, 
were private persons, and it was not until 1580 that 
the benchers of Lincoln's Inn obtained the freehold 
for ;^S20. 

The whole of the buildings and gardens of 
Lincoln's Inn are without the present boundary of 
the city, and Gray's Inn, although geographically 
its longitude is east of that of Lincoln's Inn, is not 
within Farringdon ward, although it is within the 
parish of St. Andrew, Holborn, part of which only is 
reckoned in the city. The manor of Portpool was 
leased to the Greys of Wilton. John, Lord Grey of 
Wilton, in 1315 gave lands in the manor to the 
canons of St. Bartholomew that they should keep a 
chaplain for him, for " his chapel of Portpole, without 
the bar of the Old Temple." He died in 1323. 
Edmund, ninth lord, succeeded about 1505, and soon 
after, " by indenture of bargain and sale, passed to 
Hugh Denys, Esquire, his heirs and assigns, the 
manor of Portpoole, otherwise called Gray's Inn, four 
messuages, four gardens, the site of a windmill, eight 
acres of land, ten shillings of free rent, and the 
advowson of the chantry of Portpoole aforesaid." 

The Site 29 

Some eight years later, the prior and convent of 
Shene, that is Richmond, in Surrey, bought the 
manor from Denys' trustees, and let the place to 
certain " students of the law," for £6 :13:4a year. 
It came to the Crown at the Dissolution, but Henry 
VIII. renewed the lease, and the Inn has long ago 
bought the freehold. 

We have thus traced, in places somewhat 
uncertainly, the history of the lands on which the 
four great Inns of Court were destined to rise. We 
have seen that at first men crowded into the city for 
mutual protection, and that those who, like the 
Bishop of Exeter, lived without the defences, did so 
at the risk of having their houses plundered. We 
have further seen that in more settled times a great 
noble like Grey was not afraid to build his house 
outside the boundaries, and that by the time of 
Henry VII. even the unwarlike students of the law 
could live there securely. That the lawyers should 
have selected this particular region for their special 
settlements, that they should have preferred it to the 
neighbourhood of the King's courts at Westminster, 
and by what means their institution of Inns was 
originated and grew up, it is difficult to say. We 
only know that all conformed more or less exactly toi 
the same model, and it was neither that of a monastery/ 
nor yet of a college at a university. In the succeeding 
chapters I propose to seek out and record whatever 

30 The Inns of Court 

may be found entertaining in the further history of 
each Inn, but jiot to neglect the small Inns of 
Chancery and those inhabited by the Serjeants. To 
these, also, I must add something about that singular 
institution known as the Rolls, but formerly a refuge 
for converted Jews ; and it may be well, also, to give 
some notes on the King's courts at Westminster, the 
city courts at Guildhall and their transfer to a new 
building, partly situated on Ficketfs Field, the 
Templars' old tilting-ground, and partly within the 
boundaries of the city at "the bar of the New 



The Chapels — The Templars — Their Round Churches — Restorations — 
The Temple Church as it is now — Dimensions — Vaulted Chambers 
— The Monuments — Hooker as Master — The Effigies in the Round 
Church — Were the Templars Assassins ? — The Chamber of Secret 
Mystery — Geoffrey Mandeville — William, Earl Marshal — Lord Ros 
— The Bodies Discovered — Monuments in the Triforium — Horace 
Parodied — The Master's Office — Weale's Opinion of the Restora- 
tions — The Chapel of Lincoln's Inn — The Chapel of Gray's Inn — 
The Chapel of the Rolls— The Dean of York. 

The Inns of Court have chapels — that is to say, 
there are three for four Inns. The Inner and 
Middle Temples equitably divide the church of 
St. Mary between them, and the visitor will see 
the prayer-books on one side marked with the 
Pegasus, and on the other with the Paschal Lamb. 
At Lincoln's Inn the chapel was pronounced too 
small, and a bay was added to it some years ago. 
At Gray's Inn the chapel is of great antiquity, but 
has no features of the slightest interest, unless we 

32 The Inns of Court 

except some of the darkest and ugliest stained glass 
in London. The Rolls Chapel is only interesting 
for the monuments it contains and for its curious 
history. There are no chapels attached to the 
Inns of Chancery. 

One of the numerous bands of Crusaders who, 
in the eleventh century, set forth to wrest Jerusalem 
from the infidel, was founded by Hugh de Payens 
and Godfrey de St. Omer. They bound themselves 
and those who joined them to a vow of poverty so 
severe that it was said they could afford but one 
horse for two knights, and they enrolled themselves 
under the name of " The Soldiers of Christ " {Milites 
Christi), or " The Poor Fellow-soldiers of Christ and 
of the Temple of Solomon " {Pauperes Commilitiones 
Christi et Tentpli Solomonis), In order to keep 
up a supply of recruits, they opened agencies in all 
the countries of Europe, everywhere* rivalling in zeal 
the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, called the 
Hospitallers, whose Order was founded about the 
same time. Their first house in London was in 
Holborn, for reasons set forth in the last chapter, 
and they speedily became wealthy enough to 
acquire a better site by the river's side. In fact, 
the vow of poverty resolved itself into one of 
community of goods, but there were many ranks 
and degrees among them. It is to be hoped the 
other vows — of chastity, obedience, and succour to 

The Chapels 33 

pilgrims — were better kept ; but to guard the 
rapidly increasing treasure there seems little doubt 
that they made their building, or some part of it, 
so strong that even the king's treasure could be 
kept safely in it. Of this building nought remains, 
but the round part of the church comes nearest to 
it in date. 

They had assumed the definite name of Knights 
of the Temple, or Templars, in 1 1 1 8, when King 
Baldwin gave them a house close to the traditional 
site of the Temple in Jerusalem. This site had 
been long, and is still, covered by a circular 
building, no doubt of Byzantine origin. We know 
it as the Mosque of Omar. The knights in 
England built a round church wherever their 
colony amounted to the size of a preceptory, 
sometimes called a commandery. Four of these 
round churches remain in England, but are not 
all to be attributed to the Templars. One of them 
is at Little Maplestead, in Essex, and another 
at Northampton ; but the best known, next to 
the Temple in London, is the church of St. 
Sepulchre's in Cambridge, the oldest of all. There 
are, however, no records to connect either it or 
Maplestead with the Templars, b.ut it was built, 
like St. Sepulchre's in London, during the enthusiasm 
of the Crusade, and was attached from the first to 
the Benedictine priory of St. Andrew at Barnwell. 


34 The Inns of Court 

The London church was completed in its first 
form in 1185, and dedicated to St. Mary by 
Heraclius, patriarch cjf Jerusalem, who happened 
to be in London on a begging tour. On a stone 
engraved in the time of Queen Elizabeth, and said, 
on the testimony of Stow, to be an accurate copy 
of an older stone, this event is mentioned, and an 
indulgence of sixty days promised to annual visitors 
— the earliest example of the kind known, says 
Pegge. The architecture has been so much altered, 
patched and restored, and so little that is really 
old has been left, that we cannot date the Round 
Church with any degree of certainty. Some of 
the ornate semicircular arches may have belonged 
to a building erected towards the end of the twelfth 
century. If so it must have been nearly rebuilt 
a few years later, and the rectangular addition 
made before 1240. The beautiful arcade, with 
the grotesque heads in the spandrels, only dates 
from the restoration of 1827. Three years earlier 
some ancient chambers on the south side, supposed 
to be remnants of a chapel of St. Anne, were pulled 

What the Temple Church has undergone in 
** restorations ** may be guessed from the following 
notes. In i666 it hardly escaped the Great 
Fire, which approached it as near as the Master's 
house. In 1685 it was repaired and ornamented. 

The Chapels zi 

and a handsome Corinthian screen or reredos was 
set up at the east end. In 1695 ^ fi^*^ destroyed 
some part of the south-western side, and the stone 
with the inscription of Heraclius was lost either 
then or at the subsequent " restoration." In 1736 
the north side and east end were repaired. It had 
comparative rest until 1 8 1 1 , when there was a 
"general reparation." In 1824 a further attack 
was made upon the unfortunate edifice, and the 
round part was almost rebuilt, the old carvings 
being all destroyed. Finally, the greatest Vandal- 
ism of all took place in ten years from 1830 to 
1 840. This disastrous performance, one of the first 
efforts of the so-called great Gothic revival, consisted 
in raising and vaulting in painted plaster the central 
part of the circular church ; in sweeping out all the 
old marble columns and replacing them throughout 
by new ones, for which purpose the old Purbeck 
quarries were reopened ; removing all the old 
wainscot and the beautiful reredos, and replacing 
them with tiers of pews, rising at the sides so as 
to hide the piscina, and the old effigy in the south 
aisle, and with a Gothic reredos of the poorest 
design ; painting the roof with shields and mottoes 
in a supposed thirteenth-century style ; darkening 
the windows, which already from their narrow 
shape let in too little light, with stained glass, of 
which we can only say it is a little better than 

38 The Inns of Court 

what would probably be put in at the present day, 
our glass-stainers having gone steadily backwards 
since the time of Willement ; and, finally, gutting 
out all the beautiful and precious monuments, 
with their quaint figures and gorgeous heraldry. 
This Vandalism, every step of which is calculated 
to take one's breath away, was carried out at 
enormous expense, its projectors and perpetrators 
being very much in earnest. It is said that, first 
and last, the "restoration " cost above ;^ 5 0,000, and 
any one who remembers that forty years ago few 
stone-carvers Existed, mouldings were unstudied, the 
principles of the old Gothic were imperfectly under- 
stood, and all the so-called " mediaeval arts," in 
wood, stone, marble, glass, and brass, were wholly 
unknown to a builder's workmen, will not be 
surprised at the sum. 

The church, as we now see it, was built, as I 
have said, about half a century ago, and follows in 
many particulars the outlines of an ancient church 
which stood on the same spot. We enter under 
what looks like a Norman porch, with carving 
almost all evidently modern, of a late and tran- 
sitional style ; so Romanesque, indeed, that it 
resembles the more florid ornamentation of an 
Italian building of the eighteenth century. Whether 
the old carving had this character, or whether it 
was imparted to the new by the ignorance of the 

The Chapels 41 

modern carver, I cannot undertake to say. A 
wide, low arch admits us to the Round Church, 
where the Norman look of the exterior is ex- 
changed for a first pointed or Early English effect, 
very light and pleasant to the eye, though staringly 
new. The Norman features recede into the upper 
part of the round building, where they consist of an 
interlacing arcade of round arches and of the 
windows. The lower windows are also round- 
headed, but are very small, and stand in pointed 
arches, and the transitional character of the building 
leads up well to the but slightly later design of the 
eastern part of the church. We can understand 
that the round part of the original building was 
finished for the celebration of Divine service, and 
the eastern proceeded with when the pointed style 
had prevailed finally over the Norman. It is 
possible, also, that the vaulting of the Round Church, 
so far as any of it is ancient, was not made until 
the eastern chapel was finished. A theory like this 
will account for everything that might be puzzling 
in the design. That the two were designed for 
each other and belonged to each other cannot 
reasonably be doubted, and, much as I dislike 
" restoration," I think the removal of the screen 
which separated the two parts of the church an 
unquestionable improvement. 

The design of the eastern building is peculiar. 

42 The Inns of Court 

but exceedingly fine. It consists of three aisles of 
the same length and the same height, bjut the centre 
about a third wider than the side aisles. The exact 
dimensions are as follows : — The round, 60 feet 6 
inches in diameter; the oblong, 85 feet 11 inches 
long, and 59 feet 5 inches wide. The round is 59 
feet high; the oblong, 37 feet; the aisles a few 
inches less. The total length from the door is 148 
feet, and the porch is 21 feet wide. That there can 
have been no projecting east end, or chancel, is 
proved by the fact that an aumbry or reliquary was 
found in the east wall when the Corinthian reredos 
made way for the present unmeaning altar-piece. 
The side aisles are lighted with lancet triplets to the 
number of five. Similar triplets are at the east end 
of the aisles, while the central nave has also a triplet, 
but considerably wider. The roof, of very light 
materials, is vaulted, and is supported on Purbeck 
columns of great elegance and delicacy, consisting of 
four shafts round a centre, with the usual moulded 
Early English capital. There is no carved foliage 
in these capitals, which are evidently imitated from 
a series of the earliest type. The seats on either 
side are of dark oak, arranged in tiers rising from 
the floor. Although not open, they can hardly be 
described as pews. Two modern doorways are on 
the oorth side, as well as the organ. The north- 
western side pier of the oblong part contains a 

The Chapels 45 

winding staircase, which ascends in a turret to the 
triforium of the round part. About half-way up 
this stair is a small vaulted chamber. The 
corresponding pier on the south side had also a door 
in it, which led to two vaulted chambers, probably 
of later date. They were destroyed in 1823. 

Among the principal Vandalisms of the" restorers " 
was the removal of one of the most interesting series 
of monuments in England. Beginning in the 
thirteenth century, it came down without a break to 
the nineteenth. The restorer ruled a line at the 
fourteenth century. Those monuments which were 
later were remoyed to the triforium already mentioned, 
or were broken up as valueless. A few were placed 
under the bellows of the organ, but were removed a 
few years ago, and, I presume, may be identified 
with some fragments now lying, not set up, in the 
same garret-like receptacle. The older monuments 
were then disposed in a tasteful pattern in four 
groups in the round part of the church, with the 
exception of the figure of a bishop, which is in a 
niche in the wall to the south of the altar, but is 
invisible from the church on account of the theatrical 
arrangement of the seats. One other exception was 
made. In the south aisle, at the west end, is a bust 
of Hooker, " the judicious Hooker," who was Master 
of the Temple from 1585 to 159S, when he was 
made Rector of Bishopsbourne near Canterbury. 

46 The Inns of Court 

The incumbency of Hooker is one of the most 
interesting episodes in the history of the Temple 
Church. Opinions at that time were much divided 
as to ecclesiastical affairs. The old English Church, 
so far, at least, as it was connected with Rome, had 
been abolished ; the new English Church was still 
in its infancy. There was a strong Puritan majority 
in London, who would have purged the Establishment 
as it was purged soon afterwards in Scotland, and 
who would have sent Prelacy after Popery. The 
opposite party had all the learning, but were the 
weakest in numbers. Between the two was Hooker, 
not by any means as a trimmer, but as one who 
held passionately to moderate views. The Master 
preached his moderate views in the morning. The 
Reader answered them, or thought he did, in the 
evening ; and it chanced that the Master and his 
assistant were not only connected by ties of office, 
but by matrimonial ties as well. They did not 
quarrel. There were no personalities. Travers did 
his best to answer Hooker ; but, in spite of the 
evident favour of full half the benchers and bar, he 
failed ; and his efforts are chiefly remembered now 
because they led Hooker to publish his noble essays 
on " Ecclesiastical Polity," a book worthy of the 
age which produced also Shakespeare and Bacon. 
Nearly a century later, there lived, over the way 
from the Middle Temple Gate, at the corner of 

The Chapels 47 

Chancery Lane, a man who kept a shop for the sale 
of hosiery and such-like goods. The house must 
have stood, so greatly has the thoroughfare, been 
widened, nearly in what is now the middle of the 
street. When he had made a competence he retired. 
He had married a wife who came of a family of 
bishops, like the Sumners and Wilberforces in 
England, and the Elliots and Potters in America, in 
our own day ; and whether because he liked clergy- 
men — -though he liked better fishing with an angle — 
Izaak Walton amused his leisure by writing about the 
sweet George Herbert, the good Bishop Sanderson, 
the judicious Mr. Richard Hooker, and other eminent 
divines ; and not until a later and greater biographer 
wrote about a later and greater Templar — not until 
Boswell wrote Johnson — were his delightful bio- 
graphies surpassed or superseded in interest. 

This is a digression, the less excusable because 
the little bust of Hooker is as nothing in comparison 
with the long series of supposed Knights Templars 
laid out for inspection in the Round Church, and the 
monuments of the great Cokes and Littletons, who 
are supposed to have created the British Constitution 
in the triforium. 

The recumbent effigies were the subjects of much 
futile guessing at the time of the great " restoration," 
fifty years ago. The mystery which has always 
enshrouded, and probably will now for ever enshroud. 

48 The Inns of Court 

the Templars, covered these figures too, and they 
became, with the whole church, the prey of the 
guessers and theorists who, in our day, have turned 
their chief attention to one of the Egyptian pyramids. 
There is a most diverting treatise by a Mr. Clarkson, 
" whose well-known familiarity with the subject of 
Egyptian masonry, and all the associations with 
which it is connected, does not call for any comment 
on my part." So says Billings in the preface to his 
book on the Temple Church. Clarkson's treatise is 
intended to answer the question, " Were the Templars 
gnostic idolaters, as alleged ? " The answer he 
expects to find in the "symbolic evidences of the 
Temple Church." I have not heard elsewhere of the 
" symbolic evidences " of the Temple or any other 
church. The Templars, it seems, had been identified 
by Von Hammer with the Assassins, and Clarkson 
thinks his arguments inconclusive. That they may 
have been accused of such a connection is not 
unlikely. Having, as he says, cleared the way, he 
proceeds gravely to show a close association between 
the Temple Church, the Temple at Jerusalem, the 
Temple of Solomon, the Mosaic Ark, and, of course, 
the Pyramids. This astonishing feat is performed 
by that universal solvent in such problems. Free- 
masonry. The " close affinity of masonic forms and 
ideal associations " — I confess I do not understand 
the sentence — has been fully proved, he tells us, by 

The Chapels 49 

the Irish Round Towers, by Stonehenge, and by the 

Mexican city of Palenque. It would be wearisome 

to go much farther. The reader will exclaim that a 

man who can see " the ideal association " of the Ark 

of Moses and Mexico can see anything. That was 

fifty years ago : but not five years ago I came on a 

new book, written, printed, and published to show 

that the hieroglyphics on Cleopatra's Needle relate to 

King David, and contain texts from the Psalms ; so 

we are not, in the aggregate, so very much wiser 

than they of two generations ago. Mr. Clarkson 

finds that there are seven inter-col umniations in the 

Round Church. When one of these people reaches 

anything containing this magical number, we know 

but too well what he can do with it. There is much 

about the staircase on the north side and the " little 

chamber of secret mystery," and other thrilling 

subjects, and the whole result is, that the reader, 

who may hitherto have looked upon Billings as a 

cautious and accurate architectural antiquary, finds 

him sadly wanting in judgment for admitting such 

stuff. Who can blame the people of the fourteenth 

century if they believed the seventy-three Templars 

in France who confessed, under shocking tortures, 

that they worshipped the idol Bahumeth? Mr. 

Clarkson, the Egyptologist, identifies Bahumeth with 

Behemoth, and both with Apis ! After this, we may 

go on to the monuments. It would not have been 


50 The Inns of Court 

right to pass wholly by Clarkson and his mystery, 
because it partly helps to account for a certain 
curious, almost superstitious, interest which any one 
who remembers London fifty years ago will recognise 
as having existed about the Temple Church. A 
similar fascination cannot be said to be wholly ex- 
tinct as to the Great Pyramid. Both have their 
value in that colossal work, the " history of human 
error," which Mr. Caxton has not yet published. So 
we may, I think, contemplate these strange effigies 
without any misgivings or fears that the men they 
represent were Assassins, or Bahumethians, or even 

They are ten in number, not counting the Bishop's 
coffin at the east end. A very careful account of 
them all was written and published in 1845 by 
Edward Richardson, a sculptor. The Bishop's coffin 
was opened in 18 10, and again in 1841. The 
remains are supposed to be those of Sylvester 
Everden, Bishop of Carlisle, who was killed by a fall 
from his horse in 1254. A coffin was found under 
the t.^^^ and within it a human skeleton wrapped 
in sheet lead. The skull was perfect, but the bones 
were scattered and disordered, and it is supposed 
that the tomb had been violated by the rioters of 
1 3 8 1. Strange to say, part of the skeleton of a baby 
was in the same coffin, probably a son of Henry III., 
who died in 1256. 

The Chapels 51 

Of the effigies in the Round Church, some bear 
shields with arms on them, and so can be identified. 
People acquainted with London history may re- 
member that one of the prominent causes of the 
failure of the Empress Matilda to seat herself firmly 
on the throne afterwards occupied by her son, the 
great Henry II., was her conduct in respect of 
GeofTrey Mandeville, whom King Stephen had made 
Earl of Essex. She alienated London from her 
cause by appointing GeofTrey Constable of the Tower, 
and placing the city, and with it both Essex and 
Middlesex, the old heptarchian kingdom of the East 
Saxons, under his jurisdiction as justice and sheriff. 
Even the Conqueror had respected the liberties of 
the city. Matilda threw away her last chance by 
putting it, in the language of the day, "in ferme." 
Although Stephen was actually a prisoner at the 
time, her cause was lost. No person, says the 
chronicle, could hold pleas either in city or county 
without permission from the Earl of Essex. This 
state of things could not last long, and, as soon as 
Matilda's back was turned, Essex had to surrender 
the Tower, his dominion was superseded, and he 
retired to the north on a military expedition, in 
which he received an arrow-wound, from which he 
died. The Templars received his body in their 
house in Holborn, but, it being represented to them 
that he died excommunicated, they hesitated to bury 

52 The Inns of Court 

it According to one account, they suspended the 
coffin to a tree in their garden. When they moved 
to the Strand they took it with them, and when at 
last absolution was obtained, it was laid in the 
Round Church, there to rest until Smirke dug it up. 
Contemporary writers are very unanimous about 
Essex. True, the author of the Gesta Stephani 
speaks leniently of him on one page, but on the 
next says he was " savage and turbulent." William 
of Newburgh says he was " most ferocious." The 
effigy, which must be one of the oldest in the church, 
is of Sussex marble. It formerly lay between " the 
first and second columns immediately on the left of 
a person entering the Round through the western 
doorway." Richardson says, " The features are hard, 
the nose long, the eyes deeply sunk, and the mouth 
fretful." But we cannot easily believe that this ^^^y 
is a portrait any more than its companions. Identi- 
fication is secured by means of the shield, on which 
what heralds call an " escarbuncle " is carved. The 
arms of Mandeville, or " de Magnavilla " family, were 
"quarterly, or and gules, an escarbuncle, sable," and 
here it is in bold relief, with " flowery rays extending 
in all directions to the outside rounded edge of the 

Beside this effigy is a rudely carved figure in low 
relief, reputed, from its appearance, to be the oldest 
in the church. The legs of Essex are crossed, so 

The Chapels 53 

that their posture cannot be taken to denote a 
Crusader, as some have supposed. In this figure 
they are straight Another straight-legged effigy 
rests its feet on two grotesque human heads, presum- 
ably those of Saracens. In a monument at Lingfield, 
Lord Cobham rests his feet on a whole turbaned and 
bearded Saracen. The next effigy, also unidentified, 
has his legs crossed. Among the figures lies a coffin- 
lid, without any mark but a slight coping and some 
carving, which has been taken to represent the heads 
of a lion and a lamb. On this ground, the stone is 
supposed to cover the body of a Master of the 
Temple. On the south side are three figures of the 
Marshal family. They had for several generations 
been great fighting folk, and took their name from 
the hereditary office they held. Their arms were, 
" Per pale or and vert, a lion rampant gules," and 
lions are on their shields. They were specially dis- 
tinguished for exploits against the savage Irish, 
among whom a predecessor of these three earls is 
still remembered under the name of " Strongbow," 
and his broken effigy is shown in the cathedral of 
Christ Church, in Dublin. Much more authentic are 
these figures in the Temple Church, and Camden, 
writing in the reign of James I., speaks of the inscrip- 
tion on one of them as then still partly visible. This 
William was Earl of Pembroke, Earl Marshal, Earl 
of Striguil, Lord of Longueville, of Leinster and of 

54 The Inns of Court 

Orbec. He assumed the cross, as deputy for " King 
Henry the Younger," the son of Henry H., who was 
crowned but never reigned. He served with Richard 
I. in the Holy Land, and, though constantly loyal 
to the despicable John, he was so highly respected 
that the Barons accepted his surety for the King's 
performance of his promise. John was actually 
living in the house of the Templars at the time, and 
the Master of the Temple, Amaric, was with the 
Earl Marshal at Runnymead when the King finally 
yielded. It is always said that this same earl, when 
he was guardian to the youthful Henry HI., extended 
the Great Charter to Ireland. He died in May 
1 2 19, and was buried on Ascension Day in the 
Temple Church. Few characters of that age come 
out so well. Shakespeare makes him plead for 
Prince Arthur in a well-known passage. He was a 
great benefactor to the " brethren of the chivalry of 
the Temple." His eldest son, William, succeeded 
him, and also lies buried here, as does Gilbert, a 
younger son, who was also Earl Marshal. The 
second Earl William died in 1231, and Henry III., 
whose sister he had married, attended his burial in 
the Round Church. Earl Gilbert was killed in a 
tournament at Ware, in June 1242. Both brothers 
had given lands to the Templars. Two more 
brothers remained, succeeded to the earldom, and 
died without children, when their family became 

The Chapels 55 

extinct, in accordance, says Matthew Paris, with a 
curse pronounced upon the first Earl William by a 
Bishop of Ferns, in Ireland, whom he had deprived 
of certain lands. Next to Earl Gilbert lies the 
f^^^ of an unknown knight, with his legs crossed. 
Near him is the figure of Lord Ros, or Roos, of 
Hamlake, one of the Magna Charta barons. He sat 
in the Parliament of 1264, and his barony, after 
passing through the Manners, Villiers, and Boyle 
families, is still extant. Lord Roos gave lands to " the 
brethren of the chivalry of the Temple of Solomon," 
and some accounts make him to have joined the 
Order. This, however, is probably an error. His 
benefactions would secure his burial here. 

Among the Vandalisms of the restorers was the 
destruction of the bodies of all these old heroes. 
In the process of rebuilding the Round Church 
they were all dug up and put in a shed, where, 
in the delicate words of Mr. Addison, "exposure 
to light and air unfortunately soon produced an 
unfavourable effect upon them." The corpses were 
visited by thousands of people, but before the dis- 
gusting exhibition was closed had crumbled into 
dust, which was heterogeneously thrown into a 
vaulted grave dug in the reconstructed Round 
Church. Not one of the effigies now marks the 
resting-place of the knight for whom it was made. 
Having been thoroughly "restored" by Richardson 

56 The Inns of Court 

they were neatly disposed in four groups, and we 
may be thankful they were preserved at all, for all 
the thirteenth and fourteenth-century monuments 
were cast out and perished at the same time. 
They are all, evidently, of about the same date, 
and possibly, with one exception, by the same 
sculptor or school of sculptors. One is very 
inferior to the rest, and has therefore been some- 
times accounted the oldest. It would be quite as 
just to argue that it is the latest. In any case, 
^11 but two wear the same chain mail, with very 
long surcoats. All have long shields of what 
is known as the heater shape. It would not be 
extravagant to assume that ten years do not 
separate the earliest from the latest. They clearly 
belong to the first half of the thirteenth century. 
A connecting link between them and the fourteenth 
century is the ^^^y of the bishop at the east end, 
and among the memorials destroyed was one of 
1382. Richard Tulsington, who died in that year, 
was a clerk in Chancery. An earlier, but undated, 
clerk in Chancery was William Burgh, and the 
semi-Norman form of the epitaph induces us to put 
with his tablet one to Edmond Berford " d'Irland." 

Of the fifteenth century were tablets to chaplains 
dated 1420 and 1442. Of the sixteenth, at least 
two examples are to be seen in the triforium. One 
of them is represented in ChiircJus of London as 

The Chapels 57 

standing on the north side of the altar, where it 
must have had an admirable effect in mitigating 
the stiff coldness of the Early English building. 
Camden describes it as a " fair raised monument 
adjoyning to the wall, whereon is the statue of a 
lawyer in his robe." It commemorates Edmund 
Plowden, an eminent jurist, who died in 1584, at 
the age of sixty-seven. In Camden's time there 
were many brasses, which he enumerates. There is 
not one now. A great many other monuments and 
tablets have also disappeared. Richard Martin, 
who was Recorder of London in 161 8, may still 
be seen on "a fair tomb of Alablastar," with a 
Latin epitaph ; and there is a tablet to John 
Selden. I looked in vain, at my last visit, for 
the verses on Anne Littleton, in which occurs 
the well-known couplet : — 

" For while this jewel here is set, 
The grave is but a cabinet." 

But they may be on the Littleton monument. The 
not very sentimental Pepys, in 1666, just after the 
Great Fire, records a visit to the Temple Church, 
and speaks of " looking with pleasure on the monu- 
ments and epitaphs." The tablets that remain are 
chiefly remarkable for their heraldry, and probably 
no church in London was so rich in the coats of 
quarterings in which they of the seventeenth 

58 The Inns of Court 

century did so greatly delight. Among those 
preserved, the tablets of Edward and Arthur Turner 
(1623 and 165 1), of Vaughan, Busk, and Dodd, 
and some others, are well worth the climb to the 
triforium. The epitaphs are disappointing. There 
is not one now visible worthy. of the talent of the 
presumably clever men who are commemorated. 
Camden has preserved this one : — 

" Here lieth a John, a burning, shining light ; 
His name, life, actions, were all White." 

And on Plowden's monument, after a quotation 
from the Burial Service, there is a single line : — 

" Vixi in freto. Morior in portu." 

At Corsham Church, in Wiltshire, before its 
restoration, there was a brass, dated, if I remember 
rightly, in 1703, and consequently one of the latest 
examples. It commemorated a Templar, and is 
worth quoting for its curious parody of Horace : — 

" Integer vitae, scelerisque piirus, 
Hie jacet corpus Georgii Downes, 
De Interiore Templo armigeri," etc. 

There is nothing in the Temple Church now so 
funny as this. 

The office of the Master has been a subject of 
much inquiry. There is a house not far from the 
church which bears the impress of Wren's hand. 

The Chapels 6l 

and was probably built immediately after the 
Great Fire, and here, from time immemorial, the 
Master has resided. Although he bears this title, 
he can lay claim to no authority except in the 
church, which, not being strictly speaking parochial, 
is not in the Bishop's jurisdiction, and the Master, 
on appointment by the Crown, is admitted without 
any institution or induction, simply on the receipt 
of the royal letters-patent. Before the Dissolution 
the Hospitallers appointed what they called the 
Custos of the church. By the Act of 1540 the 
Crown reserved the presentation, and the Custos 
then in office, William Ermsted, is styled " Master 
of the Temple." But Henry neglected to provide 
for his stipend and living as the Lord Prior of St. 
John had done, and the Master was thrown upon 
the mercy of the two societies. " There are certain 
buildings," says Camden, " on the east part of the 
churchyard, in part whereof he hath his lodgings, 
and the rest he letteth out to students. His dyet 
he hath in either house at the upper end of the 
Benchers' Table, except in the time of reading, it 
then being the reader's place. Besides the Master, 
there is a reader, who readeth Divine service each 
morning and evening, for which he hath his salary 
from the Master." Before the Dissolution the costs 
and charges of the clergy and the church were 
defrayed out of the rents accruing to the Hos- 

62 The Inns of Court 

pitallers from Fickett's Field and Cotterell Garden. 
In the reign of James I., the Master, Dr. Mickle- 
thwaite, laid claim to such honour and jurisdiction 
as were held by both Temples to be incompatible 
with his position. The Master and the Benchers 
quarrelled accordingly, and the matter being referred 
by the Council to the Attorney-General, Noy, he 
decided against Dr. Micklethwaite. 

The more eminent Masters since the time of 
Hooker have been — Brownrigg, afterwards Bishop 
of Exeter ; Gauden, who is believed to have 
written the Eikon Basilike^ also Bishop of Exeter, 
and afterwards of Worcester; William Sherlock, 
Dean of St. Paul's ; and Thomas Sherlock, his son, 
who became Bishop of London in 1748. 

That I have not been unduly severe against 
the senseless destruction wrought in the Temple 
Church before 1850 will appear from the following 
note, which I extract from Weale's Survey of 
London^ published in 1853 • — 

" Restorers have no right to destroy the world's records (or 
their evidence) and oblige us to take their word only. We 
may have evidence that the church in Temple Lane is like 
that of the Templars ; but what is the next generation to do ? 
For them the church of the Templars exists no more. They 
have only an authorised copy." 

The chapel of Lincoln's Inn is, or was, by Inigo 
Jones, but has been enlarged. It has suffered even 

The Chapels 63 

more than the Temple Church. Although the 
chapel was already too large for any congregation it 
ever contained, it was handed over to a noted 
Vandal, and the old proportions were utterly and 
needlessly destroyed. Before the recent changes, 
it was remarkable for its "boldness, stateliness, and 
harmony." The competent critic already quoted 
says of it : — 

" We know of no mediaeval work even in which apertures 
of so low and broad a proportion produce, as here, no 
ungraceful or mean effect ; and though most of the works of 
this scenic architect differ from his masques only in being 
composed of more durable materials, there is an uncommon 
verisimilitude arising from every deception being carried out 
as if it were a reality. Thus, the buttresses here are as 
prominent and massive as if they sustained a real vaulting. 
To this, and the concavity of their outline, seems due much of 
the stately effect of this building." 

The building is raised on arches, which form a 
cloister, a picturesque effect in itself. It was built 
in 1623, and Dr. Donne preached the first sermon 
on Ascension Day. The old coloured windows are 
very good, and were probably designed by Bernard 
van Linge, a Fleming, but the actual glass was made 
by Hall, a glass-painter of Fetter Lane. They are 
of Jones's period, and were set up by subscribers, 
such as Noy, the Attorney-General, and Southampton 
and Pembroke, the friends of Shakespeare. Bishop 
Heber was preacher of Lincoln's Inn, and since his 

64 The Inns of Court 

time Lonsdale, afterwards Bishop of Lichfield, and 
Thomson, afterwards Archbishop of York. It is 
said that the daughter of the great Lord Brougham 
was the only female ever buried here. She died in 
1839, and her epitaph, in Latin, is by Lord 
Wellesley. The grave of Prynne is unmarked. 
These vaults are mentioned by Butler in Hudibras^ 
and by Pepys. There was an older chapel, but not 
on the same site, which was pulled down when this 
one was built. It was dedicated to St. Richard of 
Chichester, and must have been originally erected 
by one of the bishops of that see. The Chaplain of 
Lincoln's Inn fills a place very much like that of the 
Master of the Temple, and attends in hall during 
term-time — a seat at the first bar table being 
assigned to him. The office was in existence as far 
back as the reign of Henry VI., but the Preachership 
only dates from I 5 8 1 . 

The chapel of Gray's Inn vies in antiquity with 
either of the others ; but however ancient the fabric 
may be, it is devoid of interest, and contains no 
monuments worth mention. A proposal was recently 
made for its destruction, but it is being remodelled 

The chapel or church of the Rolls has little to 
recommend it. That part which retains a trace of 
antiquity is of poor and late style. The monuments 
are of great interest and beauty. The principal is 









!|| .:......:l. 




'"■■'■"• ■■■M 






'• ' ■' ' 


The Chapels 67 

that of John Young, whose name frequently occurs 
in the annals of Henry VIII. He had been made 
Master of the Rolls when Dean of York, in the reign 
of Henry VI L, and retained the office in the next 
reign for some ten years, when he died. The tomb 
has been attributed by all good judges to Torrigiano, 
and is of terra-cotta. The Dean, who is not to be 
confounded with his contemporary and namesake, 
the Bishop of Gallipoli, is represented lying on an 
altar-tomb, with his hands crossed and an expression 
of devotion on his face. He died in 1 5 1 6, and the 
monument was put up by his executors in the same 
year. Behind the figure is a relief showing the face 
of the Redeemer between two angek' heads. The 
extreme beauty of the figure and its accessories must 
be seen to be appreciated. There are two other 
fine monuments in this chapel : one to Sir Richard 
Allington (died 1 561), and one to Lord Bruce of 
Kinloss, Master of the Rolls in the time of James I., 
who died in 1610. Some very eminent men have 
been " Preachers at the Rolls," among them the late 
Dr. Brewer, so well known for historical research. In 
his time it was that Sir George Jessel, a Jew, was 
Master, which, when we remember that the house was 
originally founded by Henry III. for the reception 
of converted Jews, seems a curious coincidence. It 
is said that on one occasion, at least, the Master 
went to hear Dr. Brewer preach. Bishop Burnet 

68 The Inns of Court 

held the office in this chapel in the time of Charles 
II., and, having preached on a "Guy Fawkes" day, 
in 1684, on the text, " Save me from the lion's mouth, 
for thou hast heard me from the horns of the 
unicorns" (Psalm xxii. 21), was, it is said, dismissed 
for a sermon levelled at the royal arms. Butler's 
Sermons at the Rolls are still read. It was 
rumoured that the chapel was condemned lately by 
the people who go about to destroy churches in the 
city ; but we are told now that it has been reprieved, 
and is to be made into a kind of museum. 

Stow's few lines about the Rolls are worth quoting 
whole : — 

"It standeth not farre from the old Temple, but in the mid- 
way betweene the old Temple and the new, in the which house 
all such J ewes and infidels as were converted to the Christian 
faith were ordayned and appointed (under an honest rule of 
life) sufficient maintenaunce, whereby it came to passe, that in 
short time there weere gathered a great number of converts, 
which were baptized, instructed in the doctrine of Christ, and 
there lived, under a learned Christian appointed to governe 
them: since the which time, to wit, in the year 1290, all the 
J ewes in England were banished out of the realme, whereby 
the number of converts in this place was almost decayed ; and 
therefore, in the year 1377, this house was annexed by Pattent 
to William Burstall, Clearke Custos Rotulorum, or Keeper of 
the RoUes of the Chauncerie, by Edward III., in the one and 
fiftieth yeare of his raigne : and this first Maistre of the RoUes 
was swome in Westminster hall, at the table of marble stone : 
since the which time, that house has been commonly called 
the Rolles in Chauncerie Lane." 



The oldest Hall — The Arms — Origin of the Pegasus — Plan of the old 
Temple — The Lord Prior of St. John — A Manciple — The 
Serjeants — The Second Hall — Population of the Inner Temple 
— The Buildings — The New Hall — The Library. 

We have seen in a previous chapter why this part 
of the Temple is called " Inner." But a different 
question, and one not so easily answered, relates 
to the separation of the Inner and Middle Temples 
as corporate bodies, or Societies. It is further 
complicated by the fact that the Hall of the 
Middle Temple is ancient — that is to say, it was 
built before the Gothic tradition was quite extinct 
— while that of the Inner Temple is new — a 
"Vandalic" building of very poor character. But 
as is so often the case in matters of this kind, 
appearances are wholly deceptive. It would seem 
that when the lawyers first came to the Temple, 

70 The Inns of Court 

the hall of the Templars was standing, and was 
used by them as it was. But the Society grew 
larger and larger, until it overflowed the Templars* 
hall, and a new one had to be built, for what at 
first were the junior members of the Society. So, 
by degrees, they drifted apart ; and the new hall 
was built on the land — previously, it is probable, 
only a garden or orchard — of which I have already 
spoken as the Middle Temple, within the city 
boundary, but to westward of the Templars' original 
house. We thus arrive approximately at the cause, 
but not at the date, of the separation. When we 
come to treat of the Middle Temple, we may be 
able to show its origin more distinctly ; but so far, 
in treating of the Inner Temple only, we may assert 
as a general conclusion, a working hypothesis, that 
it represents the original colony of " students of the 
law," who first settled themselves in the old build- 
ings of the Knights of the Chivalry of the Temple 
of Solomon. Another and very similar question is 
that of the coat -of- arms. Here heraldry would 
deceive us as architecture might have done. The 
arms of the Middle Temple, like its hall, are 
ancient. The arms of the Inner Temple, besides 
being bad heraldry, are modern. But, here again, 
we must not trust the evidence of our senses. It is 
the Middle Temple coat that is new, or compara- 
tively newly assumed, and the Inner Temple coat 

The Inner Temple 71 

that is old — that is, it was assumed before the Middle 
Templars had assumed theirs. The difference in 
age is not very great, but there is a difference. 
When the Order was first founded, as we know, 
heraldry can hardly be said to have existed. The 
Templars' vow of poverty was observed. The 
saying that they could only afford a single horse 
for two knights was probably true ; and their 
badge, the badge of poverty, was a horse bearing 
two riders. It hardly amounted to a coat-of-arms. 
Stow (first edition, page 326) says correctly: 
" Matthew Paris crieth out on them for their 
pride, who, being at the first so poore as they had 
but one horse to serve two of them, in token 
whereof they gave in their seale, two men riding 
upon one horse, yet suddainely they waxed so 
insolent, that they disdained other orders, and 
sorted themselves with noble men." It is evident 
that Stow did not account this a coat-of-arms ; 
yet it partook, as far as a badge can, of the heraldic 
character. If we look in such a book as Burke's 
General Armouryy we see how the question is 
further complicated by carelessness, ignorance, or 
stupidity, or a mixture of all three. There we find 
" Temple Hospital " and this coat-of-arms, " Gules, a 
cross argent." " Temple Hospital " seems a " con- 
tradiction in terms." The Templars and the 
Hospitallers had both crosses in their arms, but 

72 The Inns of Court 

if anything is certain about such early heraldry, 
it is that " Gules, a cross argent," is the arms of the 
Knights of St. John, or the Hospitallers. Whether 
in the Inner Temple they continued to use the 
horse and two men I cannot say. In any case, 
in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, just about the 
time when Stow was writing his Survey ^ " Master 
Gerard Leigh, a member of the College of Heralds," 
persuaded the authorities to abandon their old 
device, and to assume that of a Pegasus — about 
the most inappropriate symbol they could possibly 
have found. It may, however, have grown out of 
"azure, a horse bearing two men, argent." The 
two men became the wings of the Pegasus. The 
Society of the Middle Temple continued to bear 
the arms assigned to the Templars, a red cross 
on a white ground, with a paschal lamb in the 
centre. Thus, as I have said, the arms, like the 
halls, are deceptive, and the Inner Temple, with 
its new hall on the old foundation, has, it may be, 
the old badge furbished up as Pegasus. 

Taking the Inner Temple Hall as representing 
that of the Knights, we can reconstruct, to a certain 
but limited extent, the old military monastery. The 
Chaplain, or Master, still lives to eastward of the 
church, only that his house has been moved back to 
the end of his garden instead of forming part of the 
irregular quadrangle. At right angles to it would 

The Inner Temple 73 

probably be the strong place of which we read. 
This treasury was at least twice robbed by a needy 

king In 1232 Henry IH took from it the money 
and jewels of Hubert de Burgh whom m gratitude 
for his guardianship of the realm and long devotion 
durmg the Kings minority he had imprisoned in 

74 The Inns of Court 

the Tower. Edward I., in 1283, visited the 
treasury of the Temple, and, by way of seeing 
to the security, as he said, of his mother's jewellery, 
he broke open the coffers of such as had laid their 
money up there, and took away a thousand pounds. 
I should be disposed to put this treasury where the 
library is now, and the house of the Treasurer 
next to it, as it is still. From this point, parallel 
with the church, was the cloister, which turned the 
corner, and led up to the church porch. Between 
the cloister and the garden was the great hall 
parallel, as is the present one, with the church. 
North of the church porch, extending towards Fleet 
Street, were the lodgings of the Bishop of Ely, 
including a chapel of St. Thomas of Canterbury 
This would form one side, probably the east, of 
Inner Temple Lane, and east of it again, north of 
the church, was the cemetery. Much of this we can 
gather from a survey made by the Mayor of 
London at the King's command soon after the 
dissolution of the Templars. We further learn that 
there were at least two gates, and that between 
the cemetery and Fleet Street there were thirteen 
houses, and that the precincts were bounded on 
the east, presumably near where King's Bench 
Walk is now, by a wall, which ran northward up 
to the street. In the year 1337 there was a 
further inquiry, and from it we learn that by that 

The Inner Temple 75 

time a second hall and four chambers had been built, 
together with a kitchen, and a stable, and a house 
outside the great gate. These buildings I take to be 
the beginnings of a Middle Temple ; but it will 
be best to treat of them separately in their proper 
order. The old gate was evidently the gate to Inner 
Temple Lane, and opened nearest to the church. 

In 1340 Edward III. gave any of the royal 
property or rights that remained in his hands to 
the Lord Philip Thane, then prior of St. John, for 
;£^ioo, which the Lord Prior promised to pay 
towards his expedition into France. This Lord 
Prior granted to Hugh Lichfield, a priest, who 
was custos of the Temple Church, the rents of 
Cottereirs Garden or Pickett's Field, as already 
mentioned, and there is further mention of a place 
whose very identity was long forgotten. Thane 
allowed Lichfield a thousand faggots a year, to be 
cut in his wood at Lilleston. Where was Lilleston ? 
The name survives in the shortened form of Lisson, 
the northern district of the parish of St. Marylebone ; 
while the wood is commemorated in St. John's 

That the inhabitants of the Temple at this time 
kept commons, or dined together in hall, is proved 
incidentally by a passage in Chaucer, quoted by 
Addison. The manciple, or purveyor, in the 
Canterbury Tales, purveyed for the Temple : — 

76 The Inns of Court 

" A gentil manciple was ther^ of^emple, b C 

Of whom achatours mightenj^e ensample, 
For to ben wise in buyingdof vitailler^"^ 

The number, even, of those for whom he bought 
" vitaille " is given : — 

" Of maisters had he mo than thrice ten, 
That were of law expert and curious." 

In the time of Henry VIII. the wages of the 
purveyor, or manciple, of the Temple were xxxvj^ 
a year. But in the time of Chaucer there were, 
besides the lawyers, a number of survivors of the 
retainers and servants of the old Templars. Some 
of them had pensions allowed them, and others 
seem to have retained a residence, but to have 
worked for their living. Robert Styfford had been 
a chaplain. On condition he continued to take 
services, he had certain allowances. Others are 
named, and to some was assigned " a gown of the 
class of free serving brethren of the order of the 
Temple each year ; one old garment out of the 
stock of old garments belonging to the brethren ; 
one mark a year for their shoes," and so on ; and 
their sons, if any, were to be offered employment 
at the daily work of the house. 

In the same reign of Edward III., in the year 
1333, judges were first knighted, and about the 
same time an order was formed by the professors 


I. , 

The Inner Temple 79 

of the common law, who had the exclusive privilege 
of practising in the Court of Common Pleas. 
These practitioners imitated the second degree of 
the old Templars. The word serjeant means briefly 
servant, and is supposed to translate exactly the 
Latin serviens. The new order were "the King's 
servants-at-law," servientes domini Regis ad legem. 
Under the old Knights Templars their fratres 
servientes were armigeri or esquires. The serjeants- 
at-law took this honourable name, and marked their 
rank by red caps, under which, as in the East at 
the present day, a linen coif was worn. No Arab 
or Egyptian puts on a fez without a linen cap 
under it. Some have conjectured that the lawyer's 
coif was intended for the concealment of the tonsure 
of such practitioners as had taken orders. Until 
the recent abolition of the Serjeants, every judge 
assumed the coif on appointment, and addressed 
and was addressed by other Serjeants as " brother." 

Whether the second hall grew out of an 
overcrowding of the first, or represents the retainers 
and other persons of second rank, is a question 
for future discussion. What is certain is not much ; 
but, in 1337, one of the two halls was kept for the 
representatives of the serving brethren. When the 
lawyers came in, we only know at first of their 
using one hall, that now denominated of the Inner 
Temple. The numbers grew so rapidly that, in the 

So The Inns of Court 

reign of Henry VI., they were organised into two 
bodies, who at least profess an absolute equality. 
At first all dined together in one hall ; then the 
division came — but still, in memory of their former 
union, the benchers of one Temple dined with the 
benchers of the other every year. The charter by 
which James I. granted the site to the lawyers is 
addressed to both societies, and they have, therefore, 
an equal interest in the document. A deed of parti- 
tion with a plan annexed was signed in 1732. 

The population of the Inner Temple is con- 
siderably larger than that of the other society. 
According to the day census made of the city 
in 1 89 1, there were 982 employers in the Inner 
Temple, as against S^J in the Middle Temple, 
and these 982 gave employment to 444 men, 92 
women, and 42 children. 

The Inner Temple is divided by a very arbitrary 
line from the Middle, and it would be quite impos- 
sible for a stranger to be sure of any building 
belonging to one or the other* unless it is marked. 
Roughly speaking, the church may be taken as a 
common centre, but Lamb Building, which is con- 
siderably to the eastward of any imaginary line 
drawn north and south through the church, belongs 
to the Middle Temple. The Master's house is 
common property, and the gate at the foot of Middle 
Temple Lane is divided between the two societies. 

The Inner Temple 83 

Geographically speaking, it would seem almost 
certain another division of Temple territory took 
place when Serjeants* Inn was built, because it lies 
within the line of the straight eastern wall, which 
stretched right up to Fleet Street, and separated the 
Temple from the Whitefriars. 

The buildings are extensive, but the hall and 
library are hardly worthy of a society so great and 
wealthy. The hall was built on the ancient site in 
1869, and was formally opened by one of the 
princesses. It has a singularly mean appearance 
which I cannot easily account for, but it must be 
owing to the want of proportion. It is not very 
easy for an architect to make a building look larger 
than it is ; but a good many modern architects, and 
especially those who profess what they think to be 
" Gothic," have contrived to make their buildings 
look smaller than they really are. This is the case 
with Mr. Sydney Smirke*s Inner Temple Hall. The 
interior, with a fine open-timber roof, is much better. 
It is ninety-four feet long, forty-one feet wide, and 
forty feet high to the springing of the hammer-beams. 
There is a good bay-window at the dais end, with 
heraldic glass. Pegasus figures everywhere. The 
screen, over which is the minstrels' gallery, is very 
handsomely carved. In fact, so successfully has the 
architect disguised his exterior, that one rubs one's 
eyes and wonders where all the size and magnificence 

84 The Inns of Court 

of the interior are packed away. There is an 
interesting crypt under the north, or rather, north- 
western end, but "thoroughly restored." The old 
hall had been restored, and partly rebuilt, and 
otherwise altered and improved by successive 
generations of treasurers, until there was nothing left 
but a stucco painted edifice in the pointed style as 
understood about 1816, the date of the last 
operations. There was nothing for it but a 
completely new building, and we can only be sorry 
the result is so disappointing. 

The library is similarly disguised. It looks as if 
it consisted of an ordinary set of chambers, but the 
interior is spacious, extensive, and convenient, though 
wanting in any one good central hall, like the library 
of the Middle Temple or that of the Guildhall. 
Selden's wonderful library was housed, after his 
death, in the Temple, and the society might 
doubtless have secured it by a little liberality and 
vigilance. But the opportunity was let slip, and the 
collection was allowed to go to the Bodleian at 

The best architectural effects in the Inner Temple 
are to be found in a remarkable series of doorways, 
chiefly in King's Bench Walk. They look as if 
they must have been designed by Wren. All this 
part of the Temple was burnt in the Great Fire. I 
do not know for certain that Wren was employed 

;^-l4f '•"'s^- 

The Inner Temple 87 

here or on the Master's house : the work is very like 
his. As, owing to some rule or regulation, I have not 

been accorded leave to examine the manuscripts in the 
library, I am obliged to leave the question unsettled. 
No doubt, if Wren was employed, there must be a 

88 The Inns of Court 

record of the fact. What may be done by pure 
proportion, without any ornament, is well exemplified 
by the house, which is simplicity itself, yet produces 
a pleasant and restful impression, especially on an 
eye fatigued by the fussy and meaningless irregular- 
ities of the hall. The Inner Temple Gate, built 
about 1609, has on it the badge of Henry, Prince of 
Wales, eldest son of James I. ; and on the front of a 
very much " restored " building above it is a ridiculous 
inscription about Henry VIH. and Cardinal Wolsey. 
It is called the Little Gate in some early documents. 
The best view, perhaps, in the Inner Temple is 
obtained by standing at the foot of King's Bench 
Walk, and looking towards the north-west. 



Eminent Inhabitants — Charles Lamb a Native of the Temple — 
Thackeray — Cowper — Shirley — Boswell — Johnson — Officials of an 
Inn of Court — Old Usages — Eating Dinners— The Menu — Pass the 
Bottle — Laundresses — Ladies in the Temple. 

The eminent inhabitants of the Inner Temple have 
been numerous. But so far as I know, only one 
person who attained to fame was born in it. Charles 
Lamb writes, in the Essays of Elia^ " I was born 
and passed the first seven years of my life in the 
Temple." He goes on to praise its church, its halls, 
its gardens : — " its river, I had almost said, for in 
those young years what was this King of Rivers to 
me, but a stream that watered our pleasant places ? " 
He adds fervently, " A man would give something 
to have been born in such places." Elsewhere, he 
is not so complimentary. " Our place of final 
destination — I don't mean the grave, but No. 4 
Inner Temple Lane — looks out upon a gloomy. 

90 The Inns of Court 

churchyard-like court, called Hare Court, with three 
trees and a pump in it" Johnson's Buildings are on 
the site. In 1817 he finally left the Temple. He 
wrote to a friend from lodgings near Covent Garden, 
" Here we are, transplanted from our native soil. I 
thought we never could have been torn up from the 
Temple. Indeed, it was an ugly wrench, but like a 
tooth, now 'tis out, and I am easy ! We can never 
strike root so deep in any other ground." 

Just as only one man of the first eminence seems 
to have been born in the Temple, so, too, I only 
meet with the name of a single man of the highest 
genius who died there. This was Oliver Goldsmith, 
but he lived and died in Brick Court, which is in the 
Middle Temple, as we shall have occasion to see by 
and by. Lamb also lodged for a time at 16 Mitre 
Court Buildings, a pistol-shot off Baron Maseres 
(who used to walk about in the costume of George 
IL). The court was rebuilt in 1830. Lamb lived 
in the top storey. " Bring your glass," he writes, 
**and I will show you the Surrey Hills. My bed 
faces the river, so as by perking upon my haunches, 
and supporting my carcase with my elbows, without 
much wrying my neck, I can see the white sails 
glide by the bottom of King's Bench Walk as I lie 
in bed." 

He seems to have gravitated to the Temple, and 
certainly had a genuine fondness for the place. " I 

The Inner Temple 91 

repeat to this day," he says, " no verses to myself 
more frequently, or with kindlier emotion, than those 
of Spenser when he speaks of this spot : — 

* There when they came, whereas those bricky towers. 
The which on Themmes brode aged back doth ride. 
Where now the studious lawyers have their bowers. 
Where whilome wont the Templer Knights to bide 
Till they decayed through pride.' ^' 

" Indeed, it is," he continued, " the most elegant 
spot in the Metropolis." 

Another delightful essayist loved the Temple and 
lived for some time in, or to speak more strictly, 
" occupied " chambers which have now disappeared, 
at 10 Crown Office Row. William Makepeace 
Thackeray had been called to the bar in 1834, and 
he shared his apartments with Tom Taylor. He 
often speaks of the Temple, in which the scene of 
so much of Pendennis is to be found. In the first 
volume he sums up its memories in a well-known 
passage, not too long to quote : — 

" Nevertheless, those venerable Inns which have the 
* Lamb and Flag ' and the * Winged Horse ' for their 
ensigns, have attractions for persons who inhabit them, and a 
share of rough comforts and freedom, which men always 
remember with pleasure. I don't know whether the student 
of law permits himself the refreshment of enthusiasm, or 
indulges in poetical reminiscences as he passes by historical 
chambers and says, * Yonder Eldon lived ; upon this site 
Coke mused upon Lyttleton ; here Chitty toiled ; here 

92 The Inns of Court 

Barnwell and Alderson joined in their famous labours ; here 
Byles composed his great work upon bills, and Smith compiled 
his immortal leading cases ; here Gustavus still toils with 
Solomon to aid him.' But the man of letters can't but love 
the place which has been inhabited by so many of his brethren, 
or peopled by their creations as real to us at this day as the 
authors whose children they were ; and Sir Roger de Coverley 
walking in the Temple Garden, and discoursing with Mr. 
Spectator about the beauties in hoops and patches who are 
sauntering over the grass, is just as lively a figure to me as old 
Samuel Johnson rolling through the fog with the Scotch 
gentleman at his heels on their way to Dr. Goldsmith's 
chambers in Brick Court, or Harry Fielding, with inked ruffles 
and a wet towel round his head, dashing off articles at mid- 
night for the Covent Garde?i Journal while the printer's boy 
is asleep in the passage." 

In another place in the same book (ii. 104) he 
writes : — 

" On the Sunday evening the Temple is commonly calm. 
The chambers are for the most part vacant. The great 
lawyers are giving grand dinner-parties at their houses in the 
Belgravian or Tybumian districts ; the agreeable young 
barristers are absent attending those parties, and paying their 
respects to Mr. Kewsey's excellent claret, or Mr. Justice 
Ermine's accomplished daughters ; the uninvited are partaking 
of the economic joint and the modest half-pint of wine at the 
Club, entertaining themselves and the rest of the company in 
the Club room with circuit jokes and points of wit and law. 
Nobody is in chambers at all except poor Mr. Cockle, who is 
ill, and whose laundress is making him gruel ; or Mr. Toodle, 
who is an amateur of the flute, and whom you may hear 
piping solitary from his chambers in the second floor ; or 

The Inner Temple 95 

young Tiger, the student, from whose open windows comes a 
great gush of cigar-smoke, and at whose door are a quantity 
of dishes and covers bearing the insignia of * Dick's ' or the 
* Cock.' " 

Of Dickens in the Temple we have something to 
note farther on. The memories of William Cowper 
here are of the most melancholy character. He 
came to live in the Inner Temple in 1754 or 1755, 
and his rooms had nearly been the scene of a dismal 
tragedy. He wrote in after years : — 

** Not one hesitating thought now remained, but I fell 
greedily to the execution of my purpose. My garter was 
made of a broad piece of scarlet binding with a sliding buckle, 
being sewn together at the ends. By the help of the buckle I 
formed a noose, and fixing it about my neck, straining it so 
tight that I hardly left a passage for my breath or for the 
blood to circulate. The tongue of the buckle held it fast. At 
each comer of the bed was placed a wreath of carved work, 
fastened by an iron pin which passed up through the midst of 
it ; the other part of the garter, which made a loop, I slipped 
over one of them and hung by it some seconds, drawing up 
my feet under me, that they might not touch the floor. But 
the iron bent and the carved wood slipped off, and the garter 
with it. I then fastened it to the frame of tester, winding it 
round and tying it in a strong knot. The frame broke short 
and let me down again. 

"The third effort was more likely to succeed. I set the 
door open, which reached to within a foot of the ceiling. By 
the help of a chair I could command the top of it, and the 
loop, being large enough to admit a large angle of the door, 
was easily fixed so as not to slip off again. I pushed away 

96 The Inns of Court 

the chair with my feet, and hung at my whole length. While 
I hung there, I distinctly heard a voice say three times, ' 'Tis 

over.' Though I am sure of the fact, and was so at the time, 
yet it did not at all alarm me, or affect my resolution. 1 hung 
so long ihat I lost all sense, all consciousness of existence. 

The Inner Temple 97 

When I came to myself again I thought I was in hell ; the 
sound of my own dreadful groans was all that I heard, and a 
feeling like that produced by a flash of lightning just be- 
ginning to seize upon me passed over my whole body. In a 
few seconds I found myself fallen on my face to the floor. In 
about half a minute I recovered my feet, and, reeling and 
struggling, stumbled into bed again. Soon after I got into 
bed I was surprised to hear a voice in the dining-room, where 
the laundress was lighting a fire. ... I sent her to a friend, 
to whom I related the whole affair, and despatched him to my 
kinsman at the coffee-house. As soon as the latter arrived, I 
pointed to the broken garter which lay in the middle of the 
room, and apprised him also of the attempt I had been 
making. His words were : * My dear Mr. Cowper, you 
terrify me ! To be sure, you cannot hold office at this rate. 
Where is the deputation ? ' I gave him the key of the 
drawer where it was deposited, and his business requiring 
his immediate attendance, he took it away with him ; and 
thus ended all my connection with the Parliament office." 

Eventually the future poet was removed to an 
asylum at St. Albans, and recovered the use of his 
faculties ; but he never returned to live in London, 
and even the place of his residence in the Temple is 

Other poets are more or less remotely connected 

with the Temple. We shall quote Shakespeare 

about it farther on. Here it is enough to note 

that Beaumont entered as a student of the Inner 

Temple, 3rd November 1600. He may have seen 

Shakespeare play in the Middle Temple Hall, 

thirteen months later. But, long before his time, 


98 The Inns of Court 

Gower and Chaucer are said to have been students 
of the Temple — there was probably but one in 
those days — and it has been recorded, but only on 
hearsay evidence, that Chaucer, while he was here, 
beat a mendicant friar in Fleet Street, and was 
fined for it — no very unlikely occurrence. Shirley, 
the dramatist, the author of " The glories of our 
blood and state," was burnt out of his house 
adjoining the Inner Temple Gate by the Great 
Fire of 1666. Edmund Burke, " commonly called 
the Sublime," in his early life in London had a 
lodging at the " Pope's Head," over the shop of one 
Jacob Robinson, bookseller and publisher, just 
within the Inner Temple gateway. 

Boswell found Johnson living at i Inner Temple 
Lane, and took lodgings near himself. " Johnson's 
house," says Mr. Laurence Hutton, from whose 
delightful Literary Landmarks of London I have 
already borrowed much, "has since been removed, 
giving place to the more imposing, but less in- 
teresting, Johnson's Buildings, which stand upon the 
site." In Boswell there is a diverting account of 
Dr. Johnson being visited by Topham Beauclerk 
and a certain Madame de Boufflers in 1763. The 
French lady was entertained by his conversation 
for some time, and then the visitors left. When 
they were making their way to the coach. Beau- 
clerk heard a sound like thunder. It was Johnson, 

The Inner Temple 99 

who, " on a little recollection, had taken it into his 
head that he ought to have done the honours of his 
literary residence to a foreign lady of quality, and, 
eager to show himself a man of gallantry, wa-s 
hurrying down the stairs in violent agitation." He 
overtook the pair before they reached the Gate, and 
brushing between them, seized Madame de Boufflers 
by the hand, and conducted her, bareheaded, to the 
coach in Fleet Street. 

He remained at No. i about five years from 
1760. There are many interesting contemporary 
notices of his stay there, besides the above. 

Boswell, in 1763, says that 

" Dr. Johnson's library was contained in two garrets over 
his chambers, where Lintot, son of the celebrated bookseller 
of that name, had formerly his warehouse. I found a number 
of good books, but very dusty and in great confusion. The 
floor was strewed with manuscript leaves in Johnson's own 
handwriting, which I beheld with a degree of veneration, 
supposing they might, perhaps, contain portions of the 
Rambler^ or of Rasselas, I observed an apparatus for 
chemical experiments, of which Johnson was all his life fond. 
The place seemed to be very favourable for retirement and 

Croker, in his Johnsoniana^ gives part of a 
letter written by Ozias Humphrey, R.A., describing 
a visit he paid to the rooms : — 

" The day after I wrote my last letter to you I was intro- 
duced to Mr. Johnson by a friend. We passed through three 

loo The Inns of Court 

very dirty rooms to a little one that looked like an old 
counting-house, where this great man was sat at breakfast. 
The furniture of the room was a very large deal writing-desk, 
an old walnut-tree table, and five ragged chairs of four different 
sets. I was very much struck with Mr. Johnson's appearance, 
and could hardly help thinking him a madman for some time, 
as he sat raving over his breakfast like a lunatic. He is a 
very large man, and was dressed in a dirty brown coat and 
waistcoat, with breeches that were brown also (although they 
had been crimson), and an old black wig ; his shirt-collar and 
sleeves were unbuttoned, his stockings well down about his feet, 
which had on them (by way of slippers) an old pair of shoes. 
He had not been up long when we called on him, which was 
near one o'clock. He seldom goes to bed before two in the 
morning ; and Mr. Reynolds (Sir Joshua) tells me he generally 
drinks tea about an hour after he has supper. We had been 
some time with him before he began to talk, but at length he 
began, and, faith, to some purpose ; everything he says is as 
correct as a second edition; 'tis almost impossible to argue 
with him, he is so sententious and so knowing." 

On May the 24th, 1763, a week after his first 
introduction, Boswell, for the first time, called on 
Johnson ; his account is, as usual, photographic : — 

"His chambers were on the first floor of No. i Inner 
Temple Lane. . . . He received me very courteously, but it 
must be confessed that his apartment and furniture and 
morning dress were sufficiently uncouth. His brown suit of 
clothes looked very rusty ; he had on a little, old, shrivelled, 
unpowdered wig, which was too small for his head ; his shirt- 
neck and knees of his breeches were loose ; his black 
worsted stockings ill drawn up, and he had a pair of 
unbuckled shoes by way of slippers. But all these slovenly 


The Inner Temple loi 

peculiarities were forgotten the moment he began to talk. 
He told me that he generally went abroad at four in the 
afternoon, and seldom came home till two in the morning. 
I took the liberty to ask if he did not think it wrong to live 
thus, and not make more of his great talents. He owned it 
was a bad habit." 

Bosweirs rooms were in Farrer's Building, opposite 
Johnson's, and, like it, have been rebuilt since. He 
seems to have given up his chambers when Johnson 
left the Temple in 1765. Boswell entered his name 
at the Inner Temple, intending, without his father's 
knowledge, to go to the English bar. This design 
he did not then carry out, though he again entered 
his name in 1775, and was duly called, but not 
until eleven years later. 

The ideal of life in the Temple is that of a 
monastery. But, as a fact, not many of the 
lawyers live where they practise. Even of those 
who actually live, or lodge, in the place, most 
have chambers elsewhere. One or two, to our 
knowledge, have residential chambers in the build- 
ing of one society, and chambers, or a chamber, for 
work in the other. These, however, must be few. 

The Inn consists of the annual Treasurer and 
his permanent deputy, and of a " Bench," constituted 
by the " Masters of the Bench," or briefly " Benchers." 
There are other officers, but these are the most im- 
portant ; the Reader, who usually becomes Treasurer 

I02 The Inns of Court 

in the following year, being the only one who need 
be named. It used to be the Reader's business to 
give a reading or lecture during the dinner in 
hall, but the practice has long died out. As in 
other professions now, examinations prevail, and 
the student finds that it is no longer enough to 
eat dinners. Immense numbers of men who can 
never intend to practise law come forward every 
year to be called to the bar, and then drift off 
into something else — the more easily as many 
official positions are open only to barristers-at-law. 

Old usages are strictly kept up in the Temple. 
As each afternoon wanes, the Porter goes through 
the Courts, winding his horn to tell of the approach 
of the dinner-hour, which is nominally 5.30. The 
student must dine three times in term to qualify 
for the bar, and likewise the bencher, who would 
be Treasurer in his year, must duly dine in 
hall. Benchers are self-elected among the senior 
barristers ; but what control they have over the 
Treasurer, in what way the ;£^40,ooo a year, which 
is said to be the income of the society, is expended, 
and in what proportion — these are matters shrouded 
in the most impenetrable secrecy. A barrister, 
once called, has neither rights nor duties in his Inn, 
but for four months in the year an excellent dinner 
at cost price is provided. At 6.30 the doors are 
closed. Six, sharp, is the usual hour. The gown 

The Inner Temple 103 

is necessary. A minute before six the senior 
Panier — panier is the law term for waiter — beckons 
to the barristers, who then form in procession and 
advance up the hall. They seat themselves in the 
order of seniority, and once set must not change. 
Next, the benchers issue from the Parliament 
Room, at the east side ^- the Treasurer and the 
rest of his fellow-benchers according to the date of 
their election. As they come in the two senior 
barristers rise in their places and shake hands with 
them.. When all are seated on the da'fs, with the 
Treasurer in the chair, the Panier bangs a big 
book for grace ; all stand up, there are two words 
of Latin, bang again goes the big book, and all sit 
down to trencher-work. There are rules for the 
eating and the drinking very anciently established, 
as intricate and as much guided by precedent 
as an ecclesiastical suit, or a bill in the old Court 
of Chancery — with one difference : no change is 
ever made, and no diner desires reform. You pay 
for your dinner beforehand, and the menu of the 
day is put up outside the Hall ; but you know 
that on every Thursday, whether it is June or 
December, there will be roast beef; and on every 
Friday there will be chicken and tongue. 

The first of the immutable precedents is seniority, 
but the second, that the wine goes round with the 
sun, prevails over it. All are divided into messes of 

I04 The Inns of Court 

four. At the top table are eight diners, so it forms 
two messes, and each has a double allowance of 
wine, namely, two bottles of port and four of claret ; 
but all lower messes have but one bottle of port and 
two of claret Besides these allowances there is 
excellent draught beer at discretion. Each member 
of a mess helps himself, and .passes the dish on. 
There are various ceremonials connected with ** pass- 
ing the bottle," which need not be detailed here ; 
and at seven grace is said as before, and the two 
senior barristers stand up and bow to each bencher 
as he passes out. 

Another standing institution must be mentioned. 
The service of the chambers is performed by 
" laundresses." These women must be of a certain 
age ; they are generally widows, and, as a class, 
they are discreet, honest, and sober, though not 
highly paid ; but why they are called laundresses 
has never transpired, as they seldom wash them- 
selves, and never anything else. They, with the 
clerks — many of them mere boys — form the bulk 
of the day population. The whole number of 
inhabited houses in the Inner Temple is said to 
be forty-two, which seems large in comparison with 
the twenty-three of Lincoln's Inn, but is exceeded 
considerably by the fifty-six at Gray's Inn. 

Mr. Jeaffreson speaks of the " last of the ladies " 
who had quarters in the Temple, but, long since his 

The Inner Temple 105 

book was published, I remember visiting the bride 
of a barrister, the daughter of a late distinguished 
statesman, who had chambers for several months 
in the Inner Temple. The houses mentioned by 
Mr. Jeaffreson, in Essex Street, looked .into the 
Middle Temple garden ; but I rather doubt if 
they were actually within the boundaries. He 
speaks of attending dances and other festivities 
in one of them in 1852, and of waltzing in a 
drawing-room, " the windows of which looked upon 
the spray of the fountain." In the forty years 
which have elapsed since then, many things have 
happened, and it may be doubted if a single private 
house remains in the street. 



Eminent Benchers — The "Black Finches" — A Royal Bencher — Old 
Names — Thurlow — Tenterden — Lamb's Benchers — Hon. Daines 
Barrington — Baron Maseres — Ellenborough — ^Jekyll and Sydney 
Smith — Thesiger — Inner Temple Hall — Paper Buildings — King's 
Bench Walks — The Dials — The Blackamoor — The Last Revels — 
What is an Utter Barrister ? 

The eminent inhabitants of the Inner Temple of 
the legal profession have been very numerous. The 
list of benchers begins with the name of Sir Thomas 
Lyttleton, the author of the famous Treatise on 
Tenures, He died in 1481, and lies buried in the 
Cathedral of Worcester. Sir John Pakington was 
another Worcestershire Templar. He was Treasurer 
in 1528, and it is recorded that Henry VIII. allowed 
him, on account of his age and infirmities, to wear 
his hat in the King's presence. Sir William Pole 
was Treasurer in 1564, and wrote the history of 
Devonshire, his native county. Richard Onslow, 

The Inner Temple 107 

Speaker of the House of Commons in the reign of 
Queen Elizabeth, died when he was only forty-three, 
and yet had risen to be Recorder of London, 
Attorney-General of the Duchy of Lancaster, and 
Solicitor-General. He was excused from his second 
reading, as Autumn Reader, in 1566, on account of 
his Speakership. The name of Lucas occurs very 
often among the lists of benchers. The family came 
from a place near Colchester, and was much distin- 
guished later in the great Civil War, when, after the 
siege of Colchester, in 1648, Sir Charles Lucas was 
shot in cold blood by order of Fairfax. His grand- 
father, Thomas Lucas, was a bencher of the Inner 
Temple in 1550, and his great-grandfather in 1542. 
In an epitaph at Westminster Abbey, we are told of 
the Lucas family that " all the brothers were valiant, 
and all the sisters virtuous." Sir Edward Coke, 
who died in 1633, was a bencher before he became 
a chief justice, and wrote upon • Lyttleton. His 
portrait is still in the hall of the Inner Temple. 
Another great Templar of the period was Sir Julius 
Caesar, son of Caesar Adelmare, Queen Elizabeth's 
Italian physician. He had a brother Dean of Ely. 
This classically -named lawyer was Master of the 
Rolls in 1 6 14. When he died, in 1636, his widow 
raised over his grave, in St. Helen's, Bishopsgate, 
the famous monument on which, on a marble scroll 
to imitate a parchment deed, the old man binds 

io8 The Inns of Court 

himself cheerfully to pay the debt of nature. 
It cost £\\Oy and was designed by himself, and 
carved by Nicholas Stone. Two other Caesars, his 
brother and his sOn, also appear in the list of benchers. 
Another name which we meet with more than 
once is that of Coventry. Sir Thomas Coventry 
was a judge of the Common Pleas in 1606. His 
son, of the same name, was also a bencher, and 
became Lord Keeper in 1625, and a peer in 1628. 
He was the great advocate of Ship Money, and 
probably did as much as any one to ruin the cause 
of his master, Charles I. His last act was to 
summon the Parliament of 1640 — almost as great a 
mistake as the ship money — but he died, fortunately 
for himself, before it assembled. His want of 
knowledge of everything outside his own profession 
— a peculiarity, as I have said, of so many lawyers 
— was proverbial ; and Campbell notices " his utter 
contempt for literature and literary men." Another 
Lord Keeper who was a bencher of the Inner Temple 
was Edward, Lord Lyttleton, of Mounslow, a 
descendant of Sir Thomas Lyttleton, already 
mentioned. Under him the Long Parliament, which 
Coventry had summoned, got out of hand, Strafford 
was beheaded — Lyttleton, pleading illness, was not 
at the trial — and finally Charles betook himself to 
the north, and the Lord Keeper followed him. At 
Oxford, in 1645, he raised a force of volunteers 

The Inner Temple 109 

from among the lawyers, and died from a chill, 
caught while drilling them, in August 1645. He 
was buried in Christ Church Cathedral. During the 
Commonwealth the greatest of the benchers was, 
no doubt, John Selden. He died in 1654, and was 
buried in the Temple Church " neare the steps where 
the Saints' bell hangeth." He never attained high 
legal office, but was chiefly known for his Titles of 
Honour, and other works in legal antiquity. 

At the Restoration a bencher of the Inner Temple 
became a judge of the King's Bench. This was Sir 
Thomas Twysden, who was created a baronet in 
1666. His title became extinct in 1841. 

Several members of the Finch family have been 
benchers of the Inner Temple, the greatest of them 
having been Sir Heneage Finch, made Lord 
Chancellor in 1675, and Earl of Nottingham in 
1 68 1. Three times he sat as High Steward at 
State trials, and was remarkable for his dark com- 
plexion — a point in which his son, who succeeded a 
cousin as sixth Earl of Winchelsea, resembled him. 
He had inherited " Nottingham House," now 
Kensington Palace, from his father, Recorder Finch. 
Many were the local jokes about the " black Finches " 
of Kensington. The Recorder had been a bencher, 
and died in 163 1. At least four more of the family 
have also been benchers ; but Lord Keeper Finch 
was of Gray's Inn. 

no The Inns of Court 

The first and last royal bencher of this Society 
was elected after the Restoration, namely, the Duke 
of York, afterwards James II. 

As we come down to more modern times, the old 
names are very constantly repeated. Six of the 
Crokes were on the bench, beginning with Sir John, 
who was Treasurer in 1597, and ending with Sir 
Alexander, who only died in 1842. This last- 
named was the author of the delightful essay on 
mediaeval rhyming Latin verse, which did so much 
to revive the study of that beautiful kind of 
devotional poetry. He was Treasurer in 1830. I 
have already noticed the Finches. One cannot be 
sure that the numerous Wrights and Williamses and 
Powells, or the four Johnsons, or the three Harrisons, 
or the three Jacksons, were necessarily members of 
the same family. But we 'come again and again to 
Blencowe, to Bromley, to Gifford, to Hare, to 
Mellish, and Mellor, and Moreton. There has been 
a Chief Baron and a Baron Pollock, father and son. 
There are also four Wests in the list and three 
Wards, all probably respectively related. For many 
centuries a candidate had to show at least three 
generations of " gentle blood." 

Of the men of the reign of George III., and since 
his day to the present, the number of great lawyers 
who belonged to the Inner Temple is very remark- 
able. Beginning with the time of King George's 


The Inner Temple 


accession, we find Thurlow, who had been called six 
years before, already in full practice. 'His chambers 
were in Fig-tree Court. In 1762 he became a 
bencher; in 1770 he was Treasurer; and when he 
died in 1 806, he was senior bencher, and was buried 
in the Temple Church. I have already had occasion 
to mention him. Thurlow's overbearing manners, 
especially as a judge, for he was Recorder of Tam- 
worth, and afterwards Lord Chancellor for fourteen 
years, were proverbial. He had a special aversion 
as to Arden, afterwards Lord Alvanley. On the 
other hand, he would always listen to Scott, after- 
wards Lord Eldon. Like another overbearing 
Chancellor, the infamous Jeffreys, he was very fond 
of music. Mr. Jeaffreson, in his Book about 
Lawyers^ draws almost an affecting picture of 
Thurlow in his old age, with his daughter playing 
Handel for him. He also, in the same chapter (ii. 
4 1 ), tells us of little Charley Abbot, the barber's son 
of Canterbury, trying and failing to obtain a place in 
the Cathedral as a chorister, and goes on to say that, 
when he had become Chief Justice and a peer, he 
pointed out to Judge Richardson an old man who 
had been the successful competitor. " The only 
beingj" he observed, " that I ever envied." Lord 
Tenterden was of the Inner Temple, but does not 
seem ever to have become a bencher. In 1763, 
George Grenville, Prime Minister that year, became 

1 1 2 The Inns of Court 

a bencher. In 1766, Thomas Coventry (a descend- 
ant of Lord Keeper Coventry, who had been a 
bencher in 16 14), and in 1774, Francis Maseres 
were elected, and are specially bracketed by Charles 
Lamb with Salt, Reade, Wharry, Twopenny, and 
some otherwise long-forgotten names. He also 
mentions Daines Harrington, best remembered as 
the friend of Gilbert White, of Selborne, and he 
sums up Coventry in a sentence full of his early 
memories. He " made a solitude of children where- 
ever he came, for they fled his intolerable presence 
as they would have shunned an Elisha bear." Yet 
there must have been something good in his 
character. Coventry was penurious in his habits, 
but capable of great generosity to those who needed 
help, and Lamb records as a fact that he "gave 
away ;£^3 0,000 at once in his lifetime to a blind 

As to Harrington, whose chambers were in 
King's Bench Walks, Lamb has a curious anecdote. 
He walked " burly and square," in imitation of 
Coventry ; " howbeit he attained not to the dignity 
of his prototype." He was well backed, and rose 
to the Treasurership in 1785. When we remember 
his pretensions as a naturalist, it is odd to read of 
him that, when the accounts of his year came to be 
audited, the following charge was unanimously dis- 
allowed by the bench : — " Item, disbursed Mr. 


The Inner Temple 115 

Allen, the gardener, twenty shillings for stuff to 
poison the sparrows, by my orders." Harrington 
died in 1800, and was buried in the Temple 
Church, where his monument existed till the 
" restoration." He wrote, among other things, an 
essay in the Archceologia (vol. ix.) on the arms of 
the two societies of the Inner and Middle Temple, 
which does not add much to our knowledge. 

Maseres was a Baron of the Exchequer, and a 
voluminous writer on mathematics as well as law. 
Lamb, of course, only deals with his outward 
appearance. " Baron Maseres, who walks (or did till 
very lately) in the costume of the reign of George 
II., closes my imperfect recollections of the old 
benchers of the Inner Temple." He died in 1824. 
Lord Ellenborough and Lord Redesdale were 
Treasurers in 179S and 1796. The first, who 
was called as Edward Law, at Lincoln's Inn in 
1780, moved on to the Temple, where he was 
called in 1783. He went through the regular 
stages of promotion, until he was appointed Lord 
Chief Justice and created a peer in 1802. Mitford 
was Chancellor of Ireland when he was called to 
the House of Lords. His son was advanced to 
an earldom in 1877, when he was Chairman of 
Committees in the House; but dying in 1887, his 
honours became extinct. Of humorous anecdotes 
of either father or son there seem to be none, 

1 1 6 The Inns of Court 

while those about Ellenborough would fill a book. 

Mr. Jeaffreson naturally mentions him many times ; 

yet, with all his sense of humour, he was deeply 

offended because Matthews mimicked him on the 

stage. As leading counsel for Warren Hastings 

he had plenty of scope for his sarcastic humour. 

He was particularly clever in turning fine language 

and metaphor into ridicule, and must have been 

a thorn in the flesh to Burke and Sheridan. To 

the surgeon as a witness, who was asked his 

profession, and answered, " I employ myself as a 

surgeon," Law put the question, " Does any one 

else employ you ? " This is very elementary wit, 

and in his later years Ellenborough degenerated 

into a mere punster. The next Treasurer of note 

was Joseph. Jekyll, in 1816, a joker of the first 

order, but who never rose higher at the bar than to 

be a Master in Chancery. Like Ellenborough, he 

belonged to Lincoln's Inn as well as the Temple. 

He was descended from Sir Joseph Jekyll, Master 

of the Rolls in and after 171 7, who was also 

celebrated for his wit Of the younger Jekyll, as 

compared with Sydney Smith, a third wit — I forget 

who — remarked, " When you have been with Jekyll 

you remember what good things he said ; when 

you have been with Smith you remember how 

much you laughed." Mirth is said to keep men 

young, and Jekyll was no exception, for he lived 

The Inner Temple 1 1 7 

to be eighty-five and senior bencher, as well as 
senior King's Counsel. Scarlett was the next 
Treasurer of much note. He attained the office 
in 1824, was made a Baron of the Exchequer in 
1834, and created a peer, as Lord Abinger, in the 
following year. Bickersteth, Treasurer in 1836, had 
already been made Lord Langdale. As Master of 
the Rolls he deserves well of posterity by his efforts 
for the preservation and publication of ancient 

After this we come too near our own time to be 
able to say much. Thesiger, who began life in the 
Royal Navy, like Erskine, was Treasurer in 1843. 
He had been at Copenhagen in 1807, on board 
H.M.S. Cambrian^ as a midshipman. He had an 
uncle of the same name who was a captain in the 
Russian Navy, but died unmarried. The future 
Lord Chancellor entered himself at Gray's Inn 
when he was four-and-twenty, but six years later, 
in 1 8^4, was "called" at the Inner Temple. Ten 
years later, in 1834, he "took silk," and soon after 
entered Parliament, where his abilities and his many 
pleasing social qualities soon made him favourably 
known. He had a great share in several famous 
peerage cases, and especially in that protracted and 
difficult trial which ensued on the claim of Lord 
Talbot to the ancient earldom of Shrewsbury. 
Not only an historic title, but some ;£^40,ooo a 

1 18 The Inns of Court 

year was said to depend on the decision of the 
House of Lords. I well remember being present 
in the House on one of the days of the hearing. 
The commanding figure of Sir Frederic Thesiger, 
the sweetness and power of his voice, his extra- 
ordinary grasp of complicated genealogical details, 
and the romantic interest he contrived to impart 
to them, made an abiding impression on my 
youthful mind. That, I think, was in 1857. In 
the June of the following year Lord Talbot took 
his seat as Earl of Shrewsbury, and during the 
same year his successful advocate gained the 
highest prize of his profession, and became Lord 
Chancellor by the title of Baron Chelmsford. 

Here, perhaps, these notices of benchers may be 
brought to a conclusion ; but I should mention Sir 
William FoUett, who died in 1845 at the height of 
a successful career, and was buried in the Temple 
Church ; Sir Cresswell Cresswell, whose original sur- 
name was Easterby, who belonged to both Temples, 
and became first judge of the Divorce Court in 1858; 
Stephen Lushington, Treasurer in 1851, and Dean 
of Arches ; that strange genius, Samuel Warren, 
author of Ten Thousand a Year, Treasurer in 1866 ; 
and the genial Henry Alworth Merewether, Treasurer 
in 1868, whose knowledge of municipal law was only 
equalled by his pleasant wit. The name of Lord 
Lyndhurst, who lived in Fig-tree Court as Sir John 

The Inner Temple 119 

Singleton Copley, does not figure in the list of 
benchers. I remember seeing the brass railing 
beside his seat in the House of Lords, on which, 
when he grew very old, he could lean as he addressed 
the House. He died in 1863, upwards of ninety 
years of age. 

The Inner Temple Hall contains a series of 
interesting portraits and pictures, some of them 
fine as paintings. King William, Queen Mary, 
and Queen Anne figure at full length. The 
portrait supposed to represent Lyttleton is pro- 
bably apocryphal, but the whole-length of Coke 
may be genuine. In the same hall or adjoining 
"Parliament Chamber" are portraits of George II. 
and Queen Caroline, and of Sir Thomas Twysden, 
who is represented in a small whole-length picture 
seated at a table. Lord Chancellor Finch, Earl 
of Nottingham, and Richard West, who was Lord 
Chancellor of Ireland in 1725, when he was only 
thirty-four, are also represented ; and Thurlow, in 
the well-known picture by Phillips, which was 
engraved by Turner. One recalls Macaulay's sen- 
tence about him in narrating the conclusion of 
the trial of Warren Hastings, over the commence- 
ment of which he had presided as Chancellor : 
how, estranged from all his old allies, "he sat 
scowling among the junior barons." There is a 
head, said to represent Selden, and there are two 

1 20 The Inns of Court 

interesting views, painted in oil. One of them 
has been ascribed to William Hogarth. It repre- 
sents the Middle Temple Hall, "with its entrance 
tower in its ancient state," says a writer in 
the Transactions of the London and Middlesex 
Archaeological Society (ii. 69), who visited the 
Temple in i860, "and a square wooden bell-turret 
above. Eight single figures are walking in the 
court." Of the other view, the same writer, 
probably the late Thomas Hugo, says it shows 
the King's Bench Walks, the open square of the 
Temple, as seen from Mitre Court, the entrance 
from the north ; having on the right hand the 
old Paper Buildings, which were burned down in 
1838 — the same of which Lamb quoted the line, 

** Of building strong, albeit of Paper hight ; " — 

and toward the south, a low building formerly used 
for the King's Bench Office, with the garden, the 
Thames, and, far beyond, the Surrey hills. The 
picture is ascribed to Joseph Nicholls, or to his 
namesake, Sutton Nicholls, who published a volume 
of London views. Many of the old buildings as 
shown in this view have long disappeared, but 
King's Bench Walks, or the eastern row of them, 
are much as they were when it was made, and 
when Gibber parodied Pope's couplet on Murray, 
afterwards Earl of Mansfield, — 

The Inner Temple 121 

" Graced as thou art with all the power of words, 
So known, so honoured at the House of Lords," 

by writing — 

" Persuasion tips his tongue whene'er he talks. 
And he has chambers in the King's Bench Walks." 

Both verses and parody were written about 1720. 
There is nothing else of much interest in the hall, but 
the new stained glass might be worse. The east 
end of the hall has two doors, whose opening is 
concealed in the panelling. They lead to the 
Parliament Chamber, and might have been made 
an architectural feature. Above them are many 
portraits, and in the arched space at the top a 
painting of Pegasus surrounded by nymphs of 
various degrees of nudity, supposed to be muses. 

Murray's residence in the Temple was at S 
King's Bench Walks, though he belonged to 
Lincoln's Inn. There is a second reference to 
the place, and to Murray's residence in it, in 
Pope's Imitations of Horace (Book IV., Ode i), 
an address to Venus : — 

" Ah, sound no more thy soft alarms. 
Nor circle sober fifty with thy charms ; 
To number five direct your doves. 
There spread round Murray all your blooming loves." 

Naturally, Pope was a poet whom such another poet 
as Samuel Rogers would either admire or hate. 

122 The Inns of Court 

That he admired him is evident from some passages 
in Mackay's Recollections ^ and it is certainly in- 
teresting to think that we can still, as Rogers 
said, "tread over the very steps where the feet 
of Pope had passed." At Number 3 in the same 
row, Oliver Goldsmith was living in 1765 ; and 
two very different people, Samuel Lysons, the 
first and best of county topographers, and Joseph 
Jekyll, mentioned in the last chapter, had their 
chambers at Number 6. 

Selden's own lodgings were in Paper Buildings, 
but his great library, after his death in 1654, was 
stored by his executors in chambers in King's 
Bench Walks. The books were offered to the 
benchers for the Inner Temple Library, but, when 
five years had elapsed and no arrangements had 
been made for their reception, the trustees very 
wisely sent them to Bodley's library at Oxford, 
to which they formed a very welcome addition. 
Two very eminent men had chambers in Paper 
Buildings when they were burnt in 1838, namely, 
Campbell, afterwards Chancellor, and the eccentric 
Sir John Maule, whose sayings as a judge are still 
quoted. The fire, in fact, broke out in Maule's 
room. " He had gone to bed," says Campbell, 
"leaving a candle burning by the bedside," and 
both lost everything in the general conflagration — 
furniture, books, briefs, and many other documents 

The Inner Temple 123 

of value. In Paper Buildings, also, two other great 
men, neither of them as lawyers, resided for a 
short time, namely, George Canning in 1792, and 
Samuel Rogers before he removed to St. James's 

After the disastrous fire in 1838, a new range, 
not to be characterised by any architectural terms 
with which I am acquainted, were erected in their 
place. They are by Smirke, who called the' style 
Elizabethan. Lamb mentions an old relic, a sun- 
dial, and tacks to his mention some singularly 
inappropriate remarks, though suitable for other 
sundials. He calls it an altar-like structure, and 
praises its " silent heart language," but the original 
motto ran thus : — " Begone about your business." 
'Brayley mentions it distinctly, and if it is not 
possible to admire its sentiment, or the relevancy 
of Lamb's remarks on its "silent heart language," 
at least we may commend its cogency. It is said 
that the Treasurer, under whom it was set up, was 
asked by his workman for a motto, and thinking 
the man was making game of him replied as above, 
and the man took him at his word. 

The old sundial has been succeeded by one 
which, in all probability, is still older. The cele- 
brated blackamoor of Clement's Inn has been 
brought to the Inner Temple garden. How Lamb 
would have moralised over him no one can now 

1 24 The Inns of Court 

say. Perhaps the time-honoured epigram would 
have sufficed to him : — 

"In vain, poor sable son of woe, 

Thou seek'st the tender tear ; 
From thee in vain with pangs they flow. 

For mercy dwells not here. 
From cannibals thou fled'st in vain ; 

Lawyers less quarter give ; 
The first won't eat you till youVe slain, 

The last will do't alive." 

There were several of these leaden statues at one 
time in London, and that they were capable of 
being really fine is made evident by such an 
example as the statue of Venus at Knole, which 
was probably, with this blackamoor and others, 
made at a " Statuary's " in Piccadilly, the Euston 
Road of a hundred and fifty years ago. The 
material is quite as good for our London climate 
as bronze, and I wonder we do not see some 
revival of what seems now to be a lost art. Mr. 
Blomfield has much to say about leaden figures 
in his delightful Formal Garden in England (chap, 
viii.), but does not mention the "sable son of 
woe" in the Temple. 

The revels of the two Temples may, perhaps, be 
better noticed when we come to Middle Temple 
Hall. But it should be mentioned here that the 
last of these festivities took place in the old Inner 
Temple Hall in 1733, and a description of it, quoted 

The Inner Temple 125 

by Mr. Wheatley from Wynne's EuonomuSy shows 
that the fireplace was in the centre, as in old days at 
Westminster, and still, I believe, at Penshurst. While 
wood was the principal fuel, this custom must have 
been almost universal. Two ancient fireplaces in 
walls have been found in the Tower, but not, I 
believe, any corresponding chimney or other out- 
let for the smoke. One of the oldest fireplaces 
in a wall is that of Crosby Hall, which dates from 
about 1470. Wynne says the Master of the Revels 
conducted the Chancellor and one of the Judges 
" round about the coal fire three times. The fire, 
however," he tells us, " was not lighted, though it was 
the month of February." The Prince of Wales 
(Frederick) honoured the performance with his 
company part of the time : " he came into the music- 
gallery wing about the middle of the play, and went 
away as soon as the farce of walking round the coal 
fire was over." 

It may be worth while here to note that students 
who have kept the requisite number of terms are 
"called to the bar." These calls are made on the 
sixteenth day of each term, advantages being given 
to members of a University. A student when called 
becomes an " utter barrister," and after twelve years 
in that degree becomes eligible as a reader or bencher. 
The usages differ but slightly in the different Inns 
of Court. At call, pass and honour certificates are 

126 The Inns of Court 

given, and those students who take honours assume 
seniority over those who have only passed. In 
187s, ^ code of rules, to which all the Inns sub- 
scribed, known as the " Consolidated Regulations," 
were issued, and are still in force. 


Beauty of the Two Temples — The Literary Associations of the Middle 
Temple— The Fire of 1679— The Gate— Brick Court— Oliver 
Goldsmith — His Funeral — His Grave — The Fountain — Described 
by Dickens — Lines by " L. E. L." 

Some profane person has compared the Middle 
Temple to a beautiful woman with a plain husband. 
But the Inner Temple has its own beauty, some of it 
of a very substantial character. The real " Queen 
Anne" style can be studied there at great ease. 
Some nooks and corners are distinctly picturesque, 
and the charming view across the lawn to the 
embankment and the Thames — even though the 
Surrey hills of Charles Lamb's description are 
seldom, if ever, visible now — has been enhanced in 
the foreground by the addition of our old friend from 
element's Inn, the blackamoor. 

Granting all this, and not forgetting the perfect 

128 The Inns of Court 

model of a gentleman's town house offered us by 
Wren in the Master's lodge — for though it is on 
territory common to both Inns, like the chapel, it is 
geographically in the Inner Temple — still we are 
forced to confess that there is superior beauty, 
greater grace, better grouping in the Middle Temple. 
Its lawn seems wider, its trees are higher, its hall is 
older, its courts are quainter than those of the other 
member of this inseparable pair. I am not satisfied 
with the library, yet it has its good points, and was 
immensely admired as an example of the revived 
Gothic style, and by none more than myself, when it 
was first built A little sense of the necessity for 
proportion even in Gothic buildings robs it of much 
of its exterior charm, but the interior goes far to 
redeem it The new garden buildings have no such 
redeeming features, nor have Harcourt Buildings ; 
but perhaps they set off the rest. The courts by 
which we enter from the north-west are among the 
best features, and when we pass through an old 
wrought-iron gate, and, turning southward in an 
ancient and spacious court, see before us the fountain, 
the hall, the terrace, the green slope, and the em- 
bankment and river beyond the library, we feel that 
so far the charm of the place is as complete as ever. 
So much for beauty ; the literary and historical 
associations of the Middle Temple, it must be 
allowed, are chiefly of an imported character. The 



























The Middle Temple 131 

lawyers are not so much to us as some other people. 
We think of the King-maker and his puppets, of 
Shakespeare, of Goldsmith, of Johnson, of Porson, of 
Dickens ; and not so much of Blackstone, Clarendon, 
Somers, Dunning, or Talfourd. Of course, some 
great men, men great apart from their legal qualifi- 
cations, were lawyers, and " of the Middle Temple." 
Fielding, the novelist, was a barrister of this Inn. 
His chambers were in Pump Court. We cannot be 
sure that Sir Walter Raleigh was a lawyer, but he 
described himself about 1570 to be "of the Middle 
Temple." Another great fighting man was a student 
here for some time, Sir Henry Havelock. His name 
among the Templars comes upon us unexpectedly. 
Yet he was a pupil of Chitty's before he went to 
India. Elias Ashmole, the antiquary, made no 
figure as a lawyer, yet he was called in 1660. He 
had chambers in Middle Temple Lane, and there in 
January 1679 his books and papers, coins and 
medals, were destroyed by fire. 

This fire was far more destructive to the Temple 
than the Great Fire of twelve years before. If any 
of the residential part of the ancient buildings 
remained, they were now destroyed, together with 
the Cloisters. It broke out at midnight in Pump 
Court, and raged for twelve hours. The weather 
was cold, the Thames frozen, and the water supply 
inadequate. It is said that the barrels of ale from 

132 The Inns of Court 

the butteries were put into the pumping engines, a 
story which may have originated from the burning 
of part of the Inner Temple Hall, when, no doubt, 
the beer-cellar would be consumed. The flames 
were finally subdued by the use of gunpowder. The 
chapel was saved, as well as Middle Temple Hall, 
but in addition to Pump Court, Elm Tree Court, 
and Vine Court, a part of Brick Court was also 
destroyed. Notwithstanding this calamity, the 
Middle Temple presents some old features wanting 
in the other Inn. Apart from the church, already 
described, which has few visible signs of antiquity 
left, some of the courts rebuilt after 1679 ^^^ "ow 
old enough to have grown picturesque, while the 
massive, well-proportioned entrance gateway from 
Fleet Street (of which a sketch appeared in our first 
chapter) was designed by the great Sir Christopher 
himself, and built in 1684. It replaced a Tudor 
gateway, which Aubrey tells us was set up by Sir 
Amias Pawlet, who appears both to have designed 
and also built it, at his own expense, in payment of 
a fine laid upon him by Wolsey. It was decorated 
with the Cardinal's arms, and Pawlet's own shone in 
the window glass ; but the stonework was so 
mouldering that the whole edifice had to be taken 

Once we are within the gate, the curious old 
buildings, assuredly much older in parts than 1684, 

The Middle Temple 135 

will strike the visitor who enters after the newness 
and bustle of Fleet Street. The slope is steep, and 
leads down, through another and very different build- 
ing, to that part of the Temple Garden which owes 
its existence to the Thames Embankment A 
picturesque gateway here, even a plain but well- 
proportioned one, like Wren's at the top, would have 
been a conspicuous ornament to the neighbourhood. 
The first corner we come to is that of Brick 
Court, which is open to the lane on the eastern 
side. It is said to have been built in the reign of 
Queen Elizabeth, to have been the first part of the 
Temple made of brick, and to be alluded to by 
Spenser in the Prothalamion^ where he speaks of 
the " bricky towers." But the court is sacred to the 
memory of a greater than Spenser. It was in No. 
2 that Oliver Goldsmith breathed his leist, in April 
1774. His rooms were immediately over those of 
Sir William Blackstone, who, engaged on his Com- 
mentaries^ is said to have complained of the constant 
racket above. Goldsmith had first lived in Garden 
Court, but the house next door to No. 3, which still 
exists, has been pulled down. It was before he 
went to the Temple, and while he was still at Wine 
Office Court, Fleet Street, in 1763, that Johnson 
writes of him : — 

" I received one morning a message from poor Goldsmith 
that he was in great distress, and as it was not in his power 

136 The Inns of Cotirt 

to come to me, begging that I would come to him as soon 
as possible. I sent him a guinea and promised to come to 
him directly. I accordingly went as soon as I was drest, and 
found that his landlady had arrested him for his rent, at which 
he was in a violent passion. I perceived that he had already 
changed my guinea, and had got a bottle of Madeira and a 
glass before him. I put the cork into the bottle, desired he 
would be calm, and began to talk to him of the means by 
which he might be extricated. He then told me that he had 
a novel ready for the press, which he produced to me. I 
looked into it and saw its merits ; told the landlady I should 
soon return, and having gone to a bookseller, sold it for sixty 
pounds. I brought Goldsmith the money, and he discharged 
his rent, not without rating his landlady in a high voice for 
having used him so ill." 

In Wine Office Court he wrote the Vicar of 
Wakefieldy and removed thence to 2 Garden Court 
in 1764. We next meet with him in Gray's Inn, 
but his comedy. The Good-natured Man^ bringing 
him in ;£^Soo, he bought the chambers at No. 2 
Brick Court, Middle Temple, for ;£^400, and remained 
here till his death in 1774, or about nine years, 
varied by summers at Canonbury and near the six- 
mile stone on the Edgeware Road, where he lodged 
at a farmhouse on the western side of the road, 
and where he wrote She Stoops to Conquer, The 
Deserted Village and the Traveller were mainly 
written in 2 Brick Court. Thackeray, in his 
English Humourists^ alludes to his own residence 
in that house in 1855: "I have been many a time 

The Middle Temple 139 

in the chambers in the Temple which were his, and 
passed up the staircase which Johnson, and Burke, 
and Reynolds trod to see their friend, their kind 
Goldsmith — the stair on which the poor women sat 
weeping bitterly when they heard that the greatest 
and most generous of all men was dead within the 
black oak door." 

In a letter to Forster, Thackeray says the bed- 
room was a mere closet without any light in it, and 
also remarks on some good carved woodwork being 
in the chambers. Mr. Wheatley says they were on 
the right hand of the visitor ascending the stairs. The 
windows look out on the Temple Garden, and in 
Goldsmith's time there was a rookery here, which he 
describes in his Animated Nature, Mr. Laurence 
Hutton quotes Washington Irving's account of 
Goldsmith's death. Burke, on hearing the news, 
burst into tears. Reynolds threw away his pencil 
for the day. Johnson felt the blow deeply, and 
wrote of it to Boswell that Sir Joshua thought he 
owed about il^2000, adding, " Was ever poet so 
trusted before ? " 

The funeral took place on the 9th of April, 
at five in the afternoon, and they buried poor 
Goldsmith near where he had died. A little 
corner only of the old Temple cemetery remains on 
the north side of the church. To this corner, or 
somewhere near it, his body was borne through 

I40 The Inns of Court 

a crowd of all ranks and both sexes — the friends 
whom he had delighted with his wit, and the 
poor on whom he had spent his scanty substance. 
Yet the place of his grave was forgotten, and 
when, eighty-six years later, they sought it, no 
stone had been left to mark it. As if the satire 
in one of his own papers in the Citizen of the 
World had been acted on seriously, they took 
no care that he should be commemorated where 
they laid him. His Chinaman writes of the 
epitaphs of the English : " When we read those 
monumental histories of the dead, it may be justly 
said that * all men are equal in the dust ' ; for they 
all appear equally remarkable for being the most 
sincere Christians, the most benevolent neighbours, 
and the honestest men of their time." A little 
farther on in the same paper he adds : " Some even 
make epitaphs for themselves, and bespeak the 
reader's good-will. It were indeed to be wished 
that every man would early learn in this manner 
to make his own ; that he would draw it up in 
terms as flattering as possible, and that he would 
make it the employment of his whole life to 
deserve it" 

While Goldsmith's grave in the Temple was 
forgotten, Johnson and his friends had arranged 
for a tablet in the Poets' Corner, and there, 
accordingly, we see Nollekens' medallion of him. 

The Middle Temple 143 

and Johnson's famous epitaph, " Qui nullum fere 
scribendi genus non tetigit, nullum quod tetigit 
non ornavit," ^ — words frequently and in vain sought 
for among the classics. This monument was put 
up in 1776, when Goldsmith had been dead a 
little more than two years, and gave occasion for 
the famous round-robin of remonstrance from those 
who thought the epitaph should have been in 

In i860, after a fruitless inquiry as to where 
Goldsmith had been buried, a plain grave-stone 
was placed in the little plot of ground which 
successive " restorations " had left to represent the 
cemetery of the Temple, and on it are only the 
words, " Here lies Oliver Goldsmith." He made 
in his writings but passing allusions, few in number, 
to the Temple, and the Temple, in return, neglected 
him and his grave. 

Leaving Brick Court, and continuing down 
Middle Temple Lane, we arrive, opposite the 
hall, at a wide paved platform or terrace ; beyond 
or to westward of the terrace is the fountain — 
not the same fountain as that of which Lamb 
wrote so amusingly, but a new one, a provokingly 
new one, with a terra-cotta bird in the centre. To 
the right some steps lead up to New Court and 

^ **Who left untouched scarcely any kind of literature, and touched 
none that he did not adorn. ' 

144 The Inns of Court 

Devereux Court, and on the left there are steps 
down to the gardens and the library. There are 
shady trees overhead, but Goldsmith's rooks no 
longer caw in them. Altogether, this seems to 
be the most pleasing part of the Temple — the 
part most often alluded to by essayists and 
novelists. No one can forget what use Dickens 
made of it in Martin Chuzzlewit, Here John 
Westlock met Ruth Pinch : " Brilliantly the Temple 
Fountain sparkled in the sun, and laughingly its 
liquid music played, and merrily the idle drops 
of water danced and danced, and peeping out in 
sport among the trees plunged lightly down to 
hide themselves, as little Ruth and her companion 
came towards it." In another place (chapter xlv.) 
there is a fuller description of the fountain : — 

" There was a little plot between them, that Tom should 
always come out of the Temple by one way ; and that was 
past the fountain. Coming through Fountain Court he was 
just to glance down the steps leading to Garden Court and to 
look once all round him, and if Ruth had come to meet him, 
there he would see her — not sauntering, you understand (on 
account of the clerks), but coming briskly up, with the best 
little laugh upon her face that ever played in opposition to the 
fountain and beat it all to nothing. For, fifty to one, Tom 
had been looking for her in the wrong direction, and had 
quite given her up. . . . Whether there was life enough 
left in the slow vegetation of Fountain Court for the smoky 
shrubs to have any consciousness of the brightest and purest- 
hearted little woman in the world is a question for gardeners 

The Middle Temple 145 

and those who are learned in the loves of plants. But that it 
was a good thing for that same paved yard to have such a 
delicate little figure flitting through it ; that it passed like a 
smile from the grimy old houses and the worn flag-stones, and 
left them duller, darker, sterner than before — there is no sort 
of doubt. The Temple fountain might have leaped up twenty 
feet to greet the spring of hopeful maidenhood that in her 
person stole on, sparkling, through the dry and dusty channels 
of the Law ; the chirping sparrows, bred in Temple chinks 
and crannies, might have held their peace to listen to imaginary 
skylarks, as so fresh a little creature passed ; the dingy boughs, 
unused to droop otherwise than in their puny growth, might 
have bent down in a kindred gracefufness to shed their bene- 
dictions on her graceful head ; old love-letters, shut up in iron 
boxes in the neighbouring offices, and made of no account 
among the heaps of family papers into which they had strayed, 
and of which, in their degeneracy they formed a part, might 
have stirred and fluttered with a moment's recollection of 
their ancient tenderness as she went lightly by." 

There is much more to the same effect, for 
Dickens loved this little oasis, and dwelt affection- 
ately on its beauty. There are some lines by 
" L. E. L." on the fountain, which, though entirely 
of the " Annual " type, are not without a certain 
sweetness. The last four lines are the best : — 

" Away in the distance is heard the vast sound 
From the streets of the city that compass it round, 
Like the echo oi fountains or ocean's deep call. 
Yet the fountain's low singing is heard over all." 



The Hall — Manningham's Diary — Shakespeare's Twelfth Night — 
The Revels — The Moots — The Masques — The Rival Roses — 
Edmund Burke— The Library — The Garden — The Dials — Great 
Lawyers — The Norths — ^Jeffreys — Blackstone — Eldon. 

In the south side of the pavement of Fountain Court 
IS the famous old Hall. It was built in 1572, when 
Plowden was Treasurer. It is a hundred feet long, 
forty-two feet wide, and forty-seven feet high, and 
the proportions are admirably suited to give a feeling 
of space and lightness. Mr. Wheatley considers the 
roof, with its hammer-beams, " the best Elizabethan 
roof in London." The screen is also very rich and 
handsome, and is always, but erroneously, said to 
have been made of spoils taken from the Spanish 
Armada ; but the records of the Middle Temple 
show that it was made at least thirteen years before 
the Armada was defeated. There are many interest- 


The Middle Temple 149 

ing associations about Middle Temple Hall, but the 
most interesting is that which connects it with 
Shakespeare. In 1597 a student called John Man- 
ningham was entered on the books of this Inn. 
For two years, from 1601 to 1603, he kept a brief 
diary, which is preserved among the Harleian manu- 
scripts in the British Museum (No. 5 35 3). Until 
it was discovered, in 1828, that it contained a notice 
of the performance of Twelfth Night in 1602, the 
date usually assigned to that play was 16 14. The 
diarist says, on 2nd February: "At our feast wee 
had a play called * Twelve Night or what you will,' 
much like the * Comedy of Errors,' or * Menechmi ' 
in Plautus ; but most like and neere to that in Italian 
called * Inganni/ " There cannot be any kind of 
doubt that Shakespeare's play is referred to in this 
entry. Manningham goes on to describe the plot : 
" A good practice in it to make the steward believe 
his lady widdowe was in love with him by counter- 
fayting a letter, as from his lady, in general termes 
telling him what shee liked best in him, and pre- 
scribing his gestures, inscribing his apparaile, etc., 
and then when he came to practice, making beleeve 
they tooke him to be mad." Charles Knight, as an 
enthusiastic Shakespearian scholar, waxes almost 
eloquent over this passage. In the supplementary 
notice to the play in his " pictorial " edition he writes : 
" There is something to our minds very precious in 

150 The Inns of Court 

that memorial." The fact is, as he very well knew, 
our sources of information as to Shakespeare are of 
the rarest and vaguest character. " What a scene," 
he exclaims, " do these few plain words call up before 
us ! The Christmas festivities have lingered on till 
Candlemass. The Lord of Misrule has resigned his 
sceptre ; the fox and the cat have been hunted round 
the hall ; the Masters of the Revels have sung their 
songs ; the drums are silent which lent their noisy 
chorus to the Marshal's proclamations ; and Sir 
Francis Flatterer and Sir Randle Rackabite have 
passed into the ranks of ordinary men." At this 
point Knight refers in a footnote to Dugdale*s 
Origines Juridiciales^ or, as he spells it — one of 
the few misprints in this careful book — " Judiciales." 
Dugdale describes what he calls the solemn revels 
on " All-Hallown Day and on the feast day of the 
Purification of our Lady," and mentions the fines 
imposed on those who failed to attend and on those 
who refused to " carry up wafers " to the Auncients* 
table. " When the last measure is dancing, the 
Reader at the Cupboard calls to one of the Gentle- 
men of the Bar, as he is walking or dancing with 
the rest, to give the Judges a song : who forthwith 
begins the first line of any Psalm, as he thinks 
fittest ; after which all the company follow and sing 
with him." Dugdale gives a full but tedious account 
of the ensuing ceremonies : of the selection of a 

The Middle Temple 153 

competent number of utter barristers who accompany 
the Reader to the buttery, of the towels with wafers 
in them, of the wooden bowls filled with ** Ipocras," 
of the " low solemn congee ; " and so on until the 
judges depart, escorted to "the Court Gate, where 
they take their leaves of them." 

After this description there is a passage which 
shows us where Shakespeare's play would come in : — 

" Besides these solemn Revels or measures aforesaid, they 
had wont to be entertained with Post Revels, performed by the 
better sort of the young Gentlemen of the Society with 
Galliards, Corrantoes, and other dances ; or else with Stage 
playes : the first of these feasts being at the beginning, and the 
other at the later end of Christmas. But of late years these 
post Revells have been disused, both here and in the other 
Innes of Court." 

Dugdale's Origines was published in 167 1. 

In Shakespeare's time, no doubt, these post revels 
went merrily on. 

" After the dinner," says Knight, " a play ; and that play 
Shakspere's * Twelfth Night.' And the actual roof under 
which the happy company of benchers and barristers and 
students first listened to that joyous and exhilarating play, full 
of the truest and most beautiful humanities, especially fitted for 
a season of cordial mirthfuiness, is still standing ; and we may 
walk into that stately hall and think. Here Shakspere's 
* Twelfth Night' was acted in the Christmas of 1601 ; and 
here its exquisite poetry first fell upon the ear of some secluded 
scholar, and was to him as a fragrant flower blooming amidst 
the arid sands of his Bracton and his Fleta ; and here its 
gentle satire upon the vain and the foolish penetrated into the 

154 The Inns of Court 

natural heart of some grave and formal dispenser of justice, 
and made him look with tolerance, if not with sympathy, upon 
the mistakes of less grave and formal fellow-men ; and here its 
ever-gushing spirit of enjoyment — of fun without malice, of wit 
without grossness, of humour without extravagance — taught 
the swaggering, roaring, overgrown boy, miscalled student, 
that there were higher sources of mirth than affrays in Fleet 
Street, or drunkenness in Whitefriars." 

Next Knight apostrophises the Hall in some, if 
possible, still taller English : " Venerable Hall of the 
Middle Temple, thou art to our eyes more stately 
and more to be admired since we looked upon that 
entry in the Table-book of John Manningham." It 
is sometimes assumed too rashly that Shakespeare 
himself acted in the play, but it is much more likely 
that it was acted by the " young gentlemen " of whom 
Dugdale speaks. Mr. Wheatley quotes Sir Simonds 
d'Ewes as to the " moots " sometimes held in this 
hall :— 

" On Thursday, the loth day of July, 1623, after our supper 
in the Middle Temple Hall ended, with another utter barrister 
I argued a moot at the bench to the great satisfaction of such 
as heard me. Two gentlemen under the bar arguing in law 
French, bareheaded, as I did myself before I was called to the 
bar at the cupboard." 

From an architectural point of view, the Hall of 
the Middle Temple is a building of great interest. 
It is, I think, Mr. Gotch who has pointed out the 
survival of the old Gothic in the windows, after every 

The Middle Temple 155 

other detail had become Italian. There are numerous 
examples at Oxford of this fact, and there, indeed, 
the Gothic tradition lived on through two generations. 
But if we look critically at the interior of the Middle 
Temple Hall we perceive — excluding a certain 
intrusion of modern details by a " restorer " — that 
everything belongs to the renascence period, every- 
thing is strictly Elizabethan except the windows. 
Plowden was Treasurer in 1572, and, so far as an 
architect — or, to use the Shakespearian phrase, a 
surveyor — was employed, he had orders to do the 
best he could, gathering the best masons, the best 
carvers in stone and wood, and, above all, the best 
glaziers. It will be remembered that in 1572 
window glass was still expensive, and only to be had 
in small pieces. The designer of the hall was at the 
mercy of the glaziers, and they were at the mercy of 
the makers of glass. Their traditions were all Gothic, 
like their glass ; so it comes to pass that we have 
the delightful incongruity which helps so much to 
make the picturesqueness of the hall. The windows 
are but slightly pointed, it is true, but the point is in 
each panel of the lead-work, whereas in the wooden 
roof there is not only no point, but a pendent from 
the apex of the arch like a keystone. The modern 
stained glass is of the wrong kind of incongruity. 
It should have been of the kind, so rare in England, 
which we see in the cathedral of Brussels or the 

156 The Inns of Cdurt 

church of Gouda ; but, instead, it has been made to 
look as if it belonged to the time of Edward IV. or 
earlier still, and it is, therefore, or purports to be, 
about a hundred years older than the fabric in which 
it is placed. This is an anachronism of a kind very 
common of late. For instance, in a church of the 
latest Perpendicular style, known to have been built 
in 1509, an eminent architect has placed thirteenth- 
century, or what he thought to be thirteenth-century 
fittings, and has lined the chancel with tiles of the 
same character, so that Lyneham Church enjoys the 
distinction of having been furnished and decorated 
three hundred years before it was built ! A very 
similar anomaly, but not quite so flagrant, may be 
seen at Trumpington Church, near Cambridge. We 
can imagine how successive "restorers" must have 
longed for leave to attack the Middle Temple screen, 
which, in spite of its being in front of a Gothic 
window filled with mediaeval glass, is aggressively 
rich in a style of Elizabethan so advanced as to be 
almost Palladian. The engaged Tuscan columns in 
the lower part are very late in style, but the upper 
part shows the true date, i 574. 

The heraldry in the hall is very interesting, 
much of it apparently being of the same date as the 
building. The oldest shields are in the two bay 
windows which flank the dafs, and especially in that 
towards the south, where one is said to date back to 

The Middle Temple 159 

1540, and may have been removed from an older 
hall. The side windows are also full of heraldry. 
The arms of the Prince of Wales are in the middle 
window on the south side, and next to them those 
of the lamented Duke of Clarence, who, like his 
father, was a bencher of the Middle Temple. Under 
the windows are many shields of " readers," some of 
the best families in England being represented, and 
some very odd heraldry. One uxorious reader 
introduces his wife's arms with his own. Of the 
shields two or three are blank, out of more than 
three hundred. This means that the reader, having 
no arms, would not take out a grant. The first 
example of this exhibition of temper and taste was 
set by Mr. Charles Austin, in 1 847 ; but it was 
imitated as lately as 1871. I wonder Thackeray 
did not embalm Austin among the interesting 
specimens described in his Book of Snobs, The 
earliest of this series is the coat of Richard Swaine, 
1597. The hall used to contain busts, in imitation 
of bronze, of the twelve Caesars. They have been 
** restored " away, and some armour replaces them. 
There are several interesting portraits, chiefly of 
royal personages, including a bust of the Prince of 

In 1635, while the Elector Palatine was in 
London, a master of the revels, who bore the 
suggestive title of Prince d^ Amours ^ gave a masque. 

i6o The Inns of Court 

which was attended by Queen Henrietta Maria. 
The Middle Templars had joined heartily in the 
grand masque which took place in 1633, but an 
account of it belongs strictly to Gray's Inn, from 
which the procession — of which Sir Francis Bacon, 
of that Inn, is said to have been the chief contriver 
— set out on its way to the Thames and Whitehall. 
I do not know who Sir Francis Bacon was. The 
great "Viscount St. Alban " died in 1626, so 
that there is probably a misprint in the account. 
The Masque of Flowers^ a seventeenth - century 
pageant, was revived in Gray's Inn in 1887, and 
was also played in the hall of the Inner Temple, but 
not in the Middle Temple, in the summer of last 
year. There are several references to the Temple 
in Shakespeare's plays. He in particular mentions 
a meeting in the Temple between Richard, Duke of 
York, the father of Edward IV. and Richard III., 
and the Earls of Somerset, Suffolk, and Warwick, 
when adjourning to the garden, as Suffolk sug- 
gested : — 

** Within the Temple hall we were too loud ; 
The garden here is more convenient." 

This scene must be placed in the year 1430, or 
near it. The " Plantagenet " of Shakespeare had 
been Duke of York for some fifteen years then. 
Somerset was Sir John Beaufort, K.G., who had 

The Middle Temple i6i 

succeeded to the earldom in 141 8, jind became a 
duke in 1443. Suffolk was Sir William de la Pole, 
also a Knight of the Garter, who had succeeded his 
brother in 1415, and was advanced to a dukedom in 
1448. Warwick, the celebrated "king-maker," was 
Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury by descent, and 
of Warwick by creation after his marriage with the 
heiress of the Beauchamps. We can picture the 
four great nobles in their gay dresses stepping down 
into the green slopes of the garden, wearing perhaps 
great wide-brimmed hats such as Van Eyck has 
immortalised, or soft silken kerchiefs of some 
gorgeous colour, with dark purple or green or 
crimson gowns. York is little but handsome, and, 
for his size, compact and wiry. Of Warwick's appear- 
ance, we learn from one of Mr. Doyle's quotations 
that he was active and spirited, tall and strong, brave 
and handsome. Of Somerset's appearance we know 
little ; of Suffolk's, nothing. Somerset and Suffolk 
side together ; Warwick takes part with York, who 
has plucked a white rose. Warwick says : — 

" I love no colours, and without all colour 
Of base insinuating flattery 
I pluck this white rose with Plantagenet." 

By ** colours " Warwick means deceits or double 
dealing. We still speak of " a colourable pretext." 
Somerset chooses a red rose, and Suffolk follows 
him : — 


i62 The Inns of Court 

" I pluck this red rose with young Somerset." 

As to how far this scene is real, and as to the 
exact meaning, of the roses which gave their names 
to the many years of war which ensued, it is not 
possible to be sure. Roses were already a common 
heraldic badge, and had appeared on the monument 
of Edmund Crouchback in Westminster Abbey. 
There is a tradition that they were first grown 
close to the Temple in the gardens of the Earls and 
I Dukes of Lancaster at the Savoy ; but so far as we 

J can now ascertain, the old, single, white or pink 

" dog rose " was the only one known, and it may 
well have been indigenous. In a manuscript 
illuminated in northern France towards the end 
of the fifteenth century, and full of pictures of 
garden flowers, only single roses are represented. 

Edmund Burke was of the " Middle Temple," 
and lived at the " Pope's Head," over the shop 
of Jacob Robinson, bookseller and publisher, just 
within the Inner Temple Gateway. He left the 
Temple in 1756 on his marriage, and went to 
live in Wimpole Street. He attained a small 
local fame as a debater while he was at Robinson's, 
for he used to air his eloquence at a club held in 
Essex Street in the Robin Hood Tavern, which 
has long disappeared. There are no memories of 
Thomas Moore in the Middle Temple, except that 
he entered his name as a student in 1799, but he 

The Middle Temple 165 

did not live within the lawyers' precincts. Neither 
did Richard Brinsley Sheridan, who was entered as 
a student in 1772. Among Middle Templars of 
minor literary eminence may be enumerated Sir 
John Davies, one of the poetical stars of the 
spacious times of great Elizabeth ; Sir Thomas 
Overbury, whose tragical death by poison in the 
Tower made such a stir ; John Ford, the dramatist ; 
Wycherley, Shadwell, and Congreve ; and Elias 
Ashmole, the antiquary. 

At the foot of the slope south of the hall and 
the fountain is the new Library. It is in a Gothic 
— a very Gothic — style, and was designed by H. R. 
Abraham. The Prince of Wales, who was called to 
the bar and admitted a bencher of Middle Temple, 
opened it on the same day, namely, 31st October 
1 861. There are two storeys of offices and 
chambers underneath the storey in which the 
library itself is situated. This makes the building 
look so much out of proportion, that when a visitor 
ascends the very picturesque outside staircase to 
the door and enters, he is surprised at the beauty 
of a really fine apartment, eighty-six feet long, 
with an open hammer-beam roof, imitated rather 
closely from that of Westminster Hall. The roof 
is sixty-three feet to the apex, and the whole 
library is forty-two feet in width, the appearance 
of which is of course diminished by the lining 

1 66 The Inns of Court 

of cupboards and bookcases. There is a fine oriel 
projecting ten feet at the upper end, and many 
other windows decorated with heraldic glass in a 
good style. Herbert, writing at the beginning of 
this century, says there are many valuable manu- 
scripts. I have not been accorded permission to 
see them. The library is said to be in part 
outside the strict limits of the Middle Temple ; 
but the successive embankments which have taken 
place here have added considerably to the narrow 
limits of the last century. To judge adequately of 
the exterior of the new library, the visitor should 
not confine himself to the view from the fountain 
terrace, but should proceed by a narrow passage, 
from which he can emerge on the south side and 
look back up the hill. On his left is the curious 
old arch, which appears in some very old views as 
the water-gate of Essex House. This now leads up 
a stairway to Essex Street. The green gardens 
stretch away to the right ; two prominent buildings, 
before the eye reaches the city, crowned by St. Paul's, 
being the new Sion College and the City of London 
School. On a fine day this view up or down the 
river is very striking. It is marred, no doubt, here 
and there by ugly and ill-proportioned buildings, 
but no view in London is without this defect. 

The Temple Gardens are well known for the 
chrysanthemum shows held annually at the close 

The Middle Temple 169 

of the Long Vacation. The two societies are 
supposed to be in rivalry in these exhibitions, 
and there are two separate tents or sheds ; but 
they are close together, at the same corner of 
the gardens, near the Embankment, so that they 
are very accessible, and are largely visited while 
they remain open. The gardens in the summer 
months are full of children. I never pass a small 
family there without a thought of Charles Lamb, 
who sported on the same spot as a child and 
played tricks with the mechanism of the old 

There are still two or three old sun-dials left. 
One is opposite the hall and bears the motto, 
" Pereunt et imputantur." In Brick Court there 
is another with this motto, " Time and tide tarry 
for no man." The dial in Pump Court is occasion- 
ally painted up. It bears an inscription in two 
lines in old-fashioned letters : — 

" Shadows we are and 
Like shadows depart." 

The saddest of these mottoes is, or was, in 
Essex Court : " Vestigia nulla retrorsum." Its 
appropriateness to one of the most frequented 
entrances of the lawyers' domain may be doubted, 
unless it is intended as a warning to those who 
would rashly go to law : " The downhill path is 
easy, but there's no turning back." 

1 70 The Inns of Court 

The Middle Temple has not been so fruitful in 
great lawyers as its companion Inn. There are 
many reasons for this fact, and we must remember 
that it only contains thirty-three separate houses, 
as compared with forty-two in the Inner Temple. 
Another reason is, perhaps, that many students used 
to come here annually from Ireland and from 
India, men who came in order " to eat their 
dinners," and go on to practise elsewhere. It was 
rare to meet an Irish barrister who had read in 
the Inner Temple. Lincoln's Inn and the Middle 
Temple absorbed them nearly all. Still, the number 
of great lawyers is sufficient to afford much that 
is of interest to the general reader, and the Inn of 
the Norths, Plowden, Lord Chancellor Clarendon, 
Lord Chancellor Somers, Lord Chancellor Cowper, 
Sir William Blackstone, Lord Chancellor Eldon, his 
brother Lord Stowell, Lord Ashburton, and Judge 
Talfourd, can show a goodly list of celebrities, to say 
nothing of the Prince of Wales and, until the 14th 
of January last, the Duke of Clarence, his eldest 
son, whose loss has been an occasion of such 
general mourning. 

The North family need hardly be mentioned here, 
the celebrated Lives being so well known. Francis 
North, second son of Dudley, fourth Lord North, 
was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in June 
1 66 1, became a bencher in 1668, was reader in 

The Middle Temple 171 

1 67 1, and was made Lord Guilford in 1683. Roger 
North, his younger brother, describes him as of low 
stature, but of an amiable, ingenuous aspect. He 
died two years after attaining the peerage. His 
grandson succeeded a cousin in the old barony of 
North, and became the first Earl of Guilford. The 
well-known Miss Marianne North, whose drawings 
of tropical flowers form such an attraction at Kew 
Gardens, was directly descended from Roger. The 
family, in fact, has produced a remarkable number 
of eminent people, including another great lawyer 
under Henry VHI., a general under Marlborough, 
a Bishop of Winchester, a First Lord of the Treasury, 
a Governor of Ceylon, and others of less note. 

Lord Chancellor Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, is also 
too prominent a character in history to require more 
than a mere statement of his connection with the 
Middle Temple, which was but slight. He entered 
as a student in 1625, and was called on 22nd 
November 1633. Of one of his immediate successors 
we do not know even so much as this. The famous 
or infamous Lord Chancellor Jeffreys was a law 
student here, but was called to the bar at the Inner 
Temple in 1668. His advancement was rapid, and 
he is said to have been the first Chief Justice 
who was created a peer. Blackstone, also a legal 
luminary of this Inn, was devoted to poetry in his 
early years, or, in the phraseology of the day, he 

1 72 The Inns of Court 

sacrificed to the Muses. He also wrote a treatise 
on architecture, which was never pubh'shed. These 
lighter studies were interrupted when he took seriously 
to business, and composed a " Lawyer's Farewell to 
his Muse." He was called in 1746, made a judge 
in 1770, and died in 1780. Another great Middle 
Templar was Cowper, who was called in 1688, and 
became Lord Chancellor and an earl. He was 
grand-uncle of the poet. The great Lord Chancellor 
Eldon was called to the bar at the Middle Temple 
in 1776, and became a bencher in 1783. He 
resided, however, in his early years, with his beautiful 
wife — previously Bessie Surtees, the daughter of 
Aubone Surtees, a north-country squire — in Carey 
Street, and a very dramatic scene is described by his 
biographers as having taken place at the time of the 
Gordon riots. He had barely time to go home and 
bring Mrs. Scott from their house, and lodge her 
safely within the Temple, when the mob was upon 
them. His wife's dress was torn off and her bonnet 
lost, but the admiring young barristers protected her 
from further insult, and no doubt were none the less 
anxious to befriend her because her beautiful ringlets 
were waving in the wind. " The mob have your 
hat," said her husband, " but they have not got your 
hair." Did he, perchance, imagine that they were 
going to scalp her? 



Vandalism at Lincoln's Inn— The Old Gate— The Old Hall— Thurloe 
—New Square— Stone Building— The Drill Hall— ** The Devil's 
Own" — The New Ilall — The Arms — The New Library — Scott's 
Work — The Old Library — Picturesque Aspect of Lincoln's Inn, 

In a former chapter I had something to say 
about the origin of Lincoln's Inn. As it is now, 
there is much to admire and much also to deplore. 
The chapel has already been described, as well as the 
frightful Vandalism to which it has lately been sub- 
jected. But Lincoln's Inn has another claim on the 
attention of lovers of the picturesque. It is well 
known that many of the authorities of the Inn would 
like to get rid of the curious and ancient gate. Lord 
Grimthorpe, who has gone on a crusade against 
everything ancient at St. Albans, and who is chiefly 
responsible for the alterations to Lincoln's Inn 
Chapel, although he is said to have entrusted the 

174 The Inns of Court 

actual work to a Mr. Salter, is leader of the move- 
ment. He has stated, in answer to the objection 

that the old gate is connected with many historical 
events, that " there could hardly be any old street or 
square in which somebody or something did not live 

Lincoln s Inn 


or happen." The exact bearing of this conclusive 
argument on, the question of the preservation of an 
ancient monument is not very apparent Built in 

1518, and bearing that date, it is one of the very 
few examples left in London of the Gothic school, 
and ranks with the Rolls Chapel, the Chapel of St. 
Peter in the Tower, what is left of the old Savoy, 

1 76 The Inns of Court 

and the more ancient portions of St. James's Palace, 
as a relic of a very interesting transitional period in 
the history of architecture. The old Gothic had not 
quite gone out, the new Palladian had not quite come 
in, and the rare buildings which remain to us should, 
as it has been well remarked, be preserved under 
glass — relics, easy to destroy, but impossible to 
replace. The gate was built while Cardinal Wolsey 
was Chancellor, and his successor. Sir Thomas More, 
must often have passed through it while it was still 

The gate consists of a massive tower rising four 
storeys above the ground floor. The brickwork is 
diversified by darker or vitrified bricks in diagonal 
lines. The groining under the arch has been 
removed, but the front still bears the arms of Henry 
VIII. with the garter, having on the dexter side the 
purple lion of Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, and on the 
sinister the arms and quarterings of Sir Thomas 
Lovell, who built the gate when he was a bencher of 
this Inn. He had twice been reader in the reign of 
Edward IV. The wood used in constructing the 
building was brought by water from Henley-on- 
Thames, but the bricks were made in the Coney- 
garth, where is now New Square, formerly called 
Searle*s Court, from a bencher of that name who 
held a lease of it in the reign of William III. 

The old hall is even older than the gate, but has 

L incoln 's Inn 177 

been so often renewed and altered, plastered and. 
painted, that it now presents few features of 
antiquity. The registers of the society contain 
entries relating to the turret. " The Loover or 
Lanthorn set up in the sixth of Edward VI. and 
the charge accounted for carpenter's work and 
timber 45^ smith for the vane 8^ the guilding 
thereof 11^ plumber's work 7.10. glazier's work 
3 1 1" There was an image of St. John in the 
hall before the Reformation, and a light burning 
before it, for we read that a certain student was 
expelled from the Inn for taking away the light 
and hanging up a horse's head " in despite of the 
saint." The hall is seventy-one feet long and thirty- 
two wide, and was stuccoed by Bernasconi in 1800. 
The Chancellor and other legal luminaries used to sit 
in it before the building of the new Law Courts, 
under a picture by Hogarth of St. Paul before 
FeliXy painted in 1750. Adjoining the hall to 
the south was the library, but the building is now 
let out in chambers. At the opposite corner of 
the court, the south-east, is an old turret, and 
here lived Thurloe, who was Secretary of State 
to Oliver Cromwell. A tablet stating the fact is 
on the outer face of the building in Chancery 
Lane, an honour Thurloe hardly deserved. Many 
greater and better men have lived in Lincoln's 
Inn and are uncommemorated. There was, how- 


178 The Inns of Court 

ever, for some time a memorial of the Treasurership 
of William Pitt in 1794 in the shape of a sun-dial, 
now gone. 

New Square, or Searle*s Court, has already been 
mentioned. Formerly, another sun-dial stood in the 
centre. It was supported on a Corinthian column 
surrounded by Tritons, which formed a fountain, 
and was said to have been designed by Inigo 
Jones. An empty basin marks the place now. 

In addition to this green space, the gardens 
northward and westward are extensive, but in 1843 
the splendid new hall and library were built on 
them, cutting off the southern half of the view 
into Lincoln's Inn Fields. From Stone Building, 
however, the view is still delightfully green, and 
would be more open only for an unsightly wall 
which marks the boundaries to the westward of 
the territory of the Inn. Stone Building was part 
of an attempt to rebuild the whole Inn, made in 
1780. The attempt was abandoned, and for sixty 
years and more the Stone Building was incomplete. 
In 184s Hardwick, who was then carrying out his 
fine Gothic design for the hall, completed the 
fagade commenced by Sir Robert Taylor, and 
the incongruity of the fine Corinthian pilasters 
of freestone with the red-brick buildings nearly 
opposite, to my mind at least, conduces to a 
picturesqueness very pleasant to see. A good 

Lincoln s Inn i8i 

part, but less than half, of the so-called Stone 
Building is of brown brick. The library was placed 
here on its removal from the smaller building near 
the old hall in 1787. I think the rooms assigned 
to it were in No. 2, where there is now a Common 
Room. Opposite this Common Room is a dingy 
building used as a Drill Hall by the Volunteers, 
and here in November 1891 Sir Frederick Pollock 
gave a lecture on " The History of the Sword," 
which was very highly appreciated at the time, 
the various points being illustrated in the course 
of the lecture by such accomplished swordsmen 
as Mr. Egerton Castle, Mr. Walter Pollock, and 

There have been many Volunteer associations 
connected with the Inns of Court, and various 
memorials of them are preserved in the Drill Hall. 
As far back as the time of the Spanish Armada a 
force was raised among the barristers and officers 
of the Inns. At the commencement of the great 
Civil War, too, a regiment was mustered here 
" for the security of the Universitie and Cittie of 
Oxford." At the time of the Scottish Rebellion 
in 174s, Chief- Justice Willes organised a force 
" for the defence of the King's person." A still 
more famous regiment was commanded by Lord 
Erskine, who had served in the Royal Navy before 
he took to the law. This was the corps on which 

1 82 The Inns of Court 

George III. conferred the title of "The DeviFs 
Own," which has cloven to the Inns of Court 
Volunteers ever since. 

By far the most conspicuous of the Lincoln's Inn 
buildings are those already mentioned as standing 
on the western side of the garden. This garden is 
said to be the actual scene of Ben Jonson's labours 
as a bricklayer, when, as Fuller says, he had a 
trowel in his hand and a book in his pocket. 
The walks under the elms which he celebrated 
have disappeared, but there are plenty of trees, 
and the great green expanse of Lincoln's Inn 
Fields, the scene of Lord Russell's death, is beyond. 
The new hall was designed by an architect of the 
first rank, Philip Hardwick. He built the classical 
portions of Euston Square railway terminus, and, 
as we have seen, completed the Stone Building in a 
Palladian style. There can be little doubt that 
a training in the severe rules of proportion necessary 
to the classical styles was not lost when a competent 
architect had to design a Gothic building. The 
want of it among our younger school of modern 
architects leads to the erection of such monstrosities 
as the new churches at Hammersmith, Stamford 
Brook, Palace Gardens, Bayswater, and many other 
places in the suburbs, where an unhappy architect, 
unacquainted with proportion, and forbidden for lack 
of means to plaster on meaningless ornaments to 

Lincoln s Inn 185 

conceal his helpless ignorance, has been obliged to 
rear up what is not only ugly, but can never be 
improved. At Lincoln's Inn, Hardwick came to his 
work understanding thoroughly what was expected 
of him, and how he could attain to it. I should not 
like to say the new hall is the only successful 
building erected under the influence of the so-called 
"great Gothic revival," but it would be hard to 
find another equally good of the same size and 
importance. It contrasts admirably with the New 
Law Courts, built also in the Gothic style, but, 
except in the great hall and one or two other 
features, absolutely inferior in charm to Hardwick's 

It stands on a lofty terrace, and we can approach 
through the gate which leads from Lincoln's Inn 
Fields, observing as we pass the heraldic devices 
with which it is adorned. The arms of the Inn 
consist of fifteen golden fers de molinCy or mill-irons, 
on a blue ground, and, forming what heralds call a 
canton, the shield of Lacy, "or, a lion rampant, 
purpure." What these arms, which have a very 
Elizabethan look, may mean, except in so far as 
they relate to the great Earl of Lincoln, I am unable 
to determine ; but the student of law who frequents 
the new hall and the library has little chance of 
forgetting them, as they meet his sight everywhere, 
in stone and brick, in metal-work, in wood-carving, 

1 86 The Inns of Court 

and in stained glass. High up in the gable are the 
initials of the architect and the date of the foundation, 
1843. Two years and a half sufficed for the 
completion of the building, which is of banded brick, 
like the old gateway, with stone dressings. The 
great south window is justly admired, not for its size 
only, but for its proportions. It is divided into 
seven principal lights. 

The hall consists of six bays, including a great 
projecting window near the north end, wrongly called 
an oriel in most of the books. The variety of out- 
line of the several parts does not disturb the dignity 
of the whole composition. The interior is extremely 
gorgeous with carving and stained glass, the great 
southern window containing the Queen's arms, by 
Willement In the eastern bay window at the other 
end is a collection of stained glass from the old hall. 
The screen is of carved oak, and the sides are 
panelled in the same material to about twelve feet 
from the floor. The roof, which rises to a height of 
sixty-two feet, is elaborately carved, both colour and 
gilding being also used to enhance the effect. A 
fresco by Mr. George Frederick Watts, R.A., is above 
the daifs. Like most London frescoes, it suffered 
from the atmosphere. An account by Professor 
Church of the process of cleaning it appeared in 
the Portfolio in March 1891. The picture is entitled 
The School of Legislation^ and represents an imaginary 

Lincoln s Inn 189 

assembly of great law - givers, from Moses to 
Edward I. 

Adjoining the hall is the library. Mr. Spilsbury 
has written an account of it in his little book on 
Lincoln's Inn, and asserts that the first library here 
was the first of the kind in London. Mr. Brabrook, 
whose account of the Inn, read before the London 
and Middlesex Archaeological Society, contains the 
best modern description of the buildings, has also a 
good deal to say about the books and manuscripts 
stored here. Mindful of the difficulty, or, indeed, 
the impossibility, of obtaining admission to the 
libraries of the Temple, I made no attempt at 
Lincoln's Inn. It is curious here to read some 
remarks of Herbert, who was librarian at the Middle 
Temple about the beginning of the present century. 
He says of the books in his charge that strangers 
" find a ready access during term-time." 

Since it was altered by Scott in 1873 the library 
is one hundred and thirty feet long, a length 
altogether out of proportion to its width, which is 
only forty feet, and making it into a gallery or 
corridor. It seems odd, when the extension was 
determined upon, that Scott offered no scheme by 
which the width might have been doubled or trebled 
and the proportions of Hardwick's building interfered 
with as little as possible. Scott, however, had little 
or no eye for proportion, and probably did not know 

190 The hins of Court 

to what an extent he injured the design of his pre- 
decessor, and Lord Grimthorpe, who was in some 
way associated with him in the design, was not 
calculated to help him in such a question. He 
thought mainly of the details, and here he succeeded, 
for it would be impossible, much as the outline 
differs, to distinguish between his mouldings and 
carvings and those of Hard wick. Another reason 
against increasing the length of the building was 
that it shut out the view northward, one of the best 
in Lincoln's Inn. 

The first library in the Inn dates back to the 
time of John Nethersale, a member of the Society 
who, in 1497, bequeathed forty marks, to be partly 
spent on the fabric of the building and partly on 
masses for the repose of his soul. Subsequent 
libraries have existed, as we have seen, in Old Square 
before 1787, and in Stone Building. In 1608 an 
ordinance was passed by the benchers as to laying 
out ten pounds in books, and prescribing how they 
should be bound, "with bosses, without chains." 
Mr. Spilsbury tells us that many of the volumes in 
his charge *' still retain attached to their covers the 
iron rings by which they were secured." He quotes 
Dugdale as to the Middle Temple : " They now 
(1680) have no library, so that they cannot attain to 
the knowledge of divers learning, but to their great 
charges, by buying of such books as they lust to 

Lincoln's Inn 193 

study." In 1642 an order was made as to certain 
books bequeathed by Robert Ashley ; but in forty 
years, apparently, " it was at the last robbed and 
spoiled of all the books in it," It is. evident that 

learning flourished more at Lincoln's Inn than in the 
Temple, and, naturally, the pursuit of chancery or 
equity business necessitated a reference to records 
and precedents ; but it is curious to ask how even 
the least enlightened of the Inns of Court would fare 
now without its collection of law books and books of 

194 The Inns of Court 

The library of Lincoln's Inn being, as we have 
seen, thus constantly kept alive from the fifteenth 
century, was, of course, the recipient of many valuable 
gifts and bequests. Ranulph Chomeley's books, 
given in the reign of Elizabeth, are still preserved, 
as are others of William Rastell, a relative of Sir 
Thomas More, of William Prynne, and of Sir Matthew 
Hale. To these the later additions have been 
numerous, and Lincoln's Inn has occasionally offered 
a sporting price, as it is called, for a desirable volume 
— as, for instance, when they bought the Introduc- 
tion to Prynne's Records for ;^33S. 

There are many legal manuscripts in the library, 
some of them of great age. We shall have occasion 
to notice a few of them when we come to enumerate 
the eminent members of this Inn. It is as well to 
conclude this brief general summary of the more 
remarkable features of a place which, in spite of the 
untiring efforts of the recent authorities, still retains 
many reminiscences of old times and much that is of 
picturesque beauty as well. The view out towards 
Lincoln's Inn Fields from within the western bound- 
ary wall is not exceeded by any other in London. 
The contrast of red brick and green grass and trees 
makes in itself a charming picture, and the visitor 
who has leisure will find it well worth his while, after 
emerging from the gate, to turn sharply to the right 
and walk up the slope northward until he is well 



Lincoln s Inn 197 

within the narrow lane called Great Turnstile, and 
then turn back to look round at the group of trees 
and buildings framed into a picture by the tall 
houses on either hand. The name, Great Turnstile, 
with its corresponding Little Turnstile at the other 
end of the square, has a delightfully old-world sound 
about it, and reminds us of the time when these 
really were fields, and the Turnstiles admitted 
pedestrians to a pathway under the wall of the Inn, 
and afforded a short cut to the Strand 

f tl 


I : 

I i 

! IX 


LINCOLN'S INN (Concluded) 

The Great Men — Sir Thomas More — William Rastell — ^John Donne — 
Egerton — Cromwell — Lambarde — Prynne — Hale — Murray, Bath- 
urst, and Brougham — Miss Brougham's Grave and Monument — 
The Preachers — Bishop Heber. 

The legal luminaries of Lincoln's Inn have been 
very numerous. The list of great chancellors and 
statesmen begins early and continues late ; and 
though no Charles Lamb " was born in her," the 
catalogue of great men has been swelled by the 
perennial eminence of the successive chaplains. 
Butler was at the Rolls and Hooker was at the 
Temple, but Donne, Tillotson, Warburton, Hurd, 
and Heber are among the chaplains of Lincoln's Inn. 
Literary celebrities are fewer, but Horace Walpole 
was entered as a student in 173 1, and Mackintosh 
gave his celebrated lectures on the law of nations in 
the old hall. Of Sir Thomas More we think as a 

Lincoln s Inn 199 

writer rather than as a lawyer ; yet in his own day 
he had a great legal reputation, and earned a large 
income at the bar, before he became Chancellor. 
What with his attainments, his wit, his literary skill, 
his consistent if mistaken opinions, and the tragedy 
of his death, his figure is unquestionably one of the 
most interesting in any review of the worthies of 
Lincoln's Inn. 

More's father was a lawyer and a judge, and the 
future Chancellor was born in 1478, in Milk Street, 
Cheapside — *'the brightest star," says Fuller, in his 
quaint way, " that ever shone in that via lacteal 
He went to Oxford at fourteen, but in 1494, while 
still a mere boy, he became a law student at New 
Inn, and in 1496 entered at Lincoln's Inn. At 
Oxford he was attracted by the new learning, and 
his father, who feared that Greek might interfere 
with the old scholastic teaching then thought neces- 
sary for a lawyer, withdrew him before he could take 
a degree. He must have been called to the bar 
about 1500, and, in addition to lecturing on Augus- 
tine at St. Lawrence's in the Old Jewry, he became 
reader at Furnival's Inn, and a little later a Member 
of Parliament. Meanwhile his practice as a lawyer 
grew and increased, and he was already earning 
a good income. But, opposing the high-handed 
measures of Dudley, the extortionate minister of 
Henry VII., he deeply offended the King, who 

200 The Inns of Court 

learned with disgust that " a beardless boy had dis- 
appointed all his purpose." Soon after, More's 
father was sent to the Tower until he had paid an 
arbitrary fine, and young Thomas had to withdraw 
from the active practice of his profession. 

After the death of Henry VII. in 1509, More 
returned to public life, and rapidly rose in favour 
with the young King. But in proportion as he 
became more and more eminent in political life, his 
connection with Lincoln's Inn became more and more 
slender. By 1515 he was permanent Under-Sheriff 
of London, a Commissioner of Sewers, and a barrister 
whose practice brought him a sum which Mr. 
Seebohm {Oxford Refonners) estimates as equal 
to ;^4000 a year of our currency. In May of this 
year he was employed on an embassy to Flanders, 
and two years later he was sent in a similar capacity 
to France, and his life becomes henceforth a part of 
the history of his country. 

We have nothing tangible to connect More with 
any residence in Lincoln's Inn, and, from the time of 
his marriage, he lived in Bucklersbury and at Chelsea. 
Two Lincoln's Inn worthies of very different kinds 
were descended from the More family. William 
Rastell, More's nephew, has already been mentioned, 
and his collection of Acts, from Magna Charta to the 
middle of the sixteenth century, is a well-known 
book, formerly very useful. Rastell is not to be 

Lincoln s Inn 203 

confounded with John Rastell, his father, who printed 
an abridgment of the Statutes in 1 5 1 9. William, 
whose mother, Elizabeth, was More's sister, rose to 
be Chief Justice, but probably died in exile during 
the reign of Elizabeth, as he had adhered to the old 
religion on the death of Queen Mary. 

But a still greater man was John Donne, whose 
connection with Lincoln's Inn was of a double char- 
acter. His mother was a daughter of Judge Rastell. 
He was early entered here as a law student, and after 
he took orders he was preacher to the Inn. Donne's 
life has been delightfully detailed by Izaak Walton, 
and connects him, through the romantic episode of 
his marriage, with another great man of the Inn, 
Lord Keeper Egerton. Walton makes a mistake in 
calling the Lord Keeper's wife Lady Ellesmere. She 
died before Egerton was made Lord Ellesmere and 
Chancellor by James I. To him Donne was secre- 
tary for five years, and he married, but secretly. Lady 
Egerton's niece, Anne, daughter of Sir George More, 
of Loseley, Chancellor of the Garter and Lieutenant 
of the Tower. When the marriage was discovered, 
Donne was for the time being ruined. The Chan- 
cellor gave him his dismissal, and Walton tells us 
that " he sent a sad letter to his wife, to acquaint her 
with it, and, after the subscription of his name, writ: 
* John Donne, Anne Donne, Un-done.' " The pair 
lived long with a relative in Surrey, and afterwards 

204 The Inns of Court 

in Drury Lane with Sir Robert Drury. Sir Robert 
and Lady Drury took Donne with them in 1612, 
when they went to see the coronation of the Emperor 
Matthias. They were assigned no official place at 
the ceremony, and left Frankfort without seeing it. 
At Paris Donne was found by his friend " in such an 
ecstasy and so altered in his looks as amazed Sir 
Robert to behold him." He had seen a vision, or 
ghost, of his wife carrying a child. A servant was 
sent off at once to Drury House, who returned in 
twelve days to report that she was alive, but ill, and 
that a dead child had been born the day and hour 
Donne had seen the vision. 

Eventually Donne took orders at the direct 
instance of King James, and was made a royal chap- 
lain. Very soon after Mrs. Donne died, and Nicholas 
Stone sculptured a monument to her for the church 
of St. Clement Danes, where she was buried. About 
the same time " he was importuned by the grave 
benchers of Lincoln's Inn, who were once the com- 
panions and friends of his youth, to accept of their 
lecture." That Donne was eloquent there can be 
little doubt from the reports of his contemporaries, 
but his writings which are extant hardly bear out 
their praises. The authorities of Lincoln's Inn 
welcomed him warmly. "The love of that noble 
Society was expressed to him in many ways," says 
Walton ; " for besides fair lodgings that were set 

Lincoln s Inn 207 

apart and newly furnished for him with all necessaries, 
other courtesies were also daily added." He con- 
tinued there about two years, " he preaching faithfully 
and constantly to them, and they liberally requiting 
him." After this he became a kind of English chap- 
lain to the Queen of Bohemia, and remained abroad 
for fourteen months, when we find him back at 
Lincoln's Inn, where he ministered till the King 
made him Dean of St. Paul's in 162 1. Before he 
left the Inn he had laid the foundation-stone of a 
new chapel, and when it was consecrated — on 
Ascension Day, 1623 — Donne preached a sermon 
on the text, *' And it was at Jerusalem, the feast of 
the dedication, and it was winter." The concourse 
of hearers was so great that " two or three were 
endangered and taken up dead for the time with the 
extreme press and thronging." Donne recorded his 
laying of the stone in a book still in the library, 
which he presented to it — the great six-volumed 
treatise of Nicholas de Lyra on the Bible. Donne's 
personal popularity in his own time seems to have 
been unbounded. For us his chief claim to immor- 
tality rests in the fact that Izaak Walton included 
him among the number of those whose lives he wrote. 
One can but be sorry that Walton — who, by the way, 
lived at the southern end of Chancery Lane, close to 
Lincoln's Inn and the gate Lord Grimthorpe wants 
to pull down — did not write the lives of many other 

2o8 The Inns of Court 

great folk, for really only Hooker, of all he has 
described for us, was a character of first-rate import- 
ance. But just as a family becomes eminent because 
its ancestor was mentioned, even disparagingly, by 
Shakespeare, so Walton conferred celebrity on whom 
he would. 

Among the lawyers, none is more interesting 
now than Donne's early patron, Egerton. The 
modern investigators who have so much that is 
absolutely certain to tell us about hereditary genius 
would probably call Thomas, the son of Alice 
Sparkc, a sport They call Buonaparte, Lord 
Byron and other prodigies, sports. Sir Richard 
Kgerton, who was so kind as to allow the son of 
Alice to call himself Egerton, and who paid for his 
education and introduced him into what we call 
" Society," came of one of the most ancient families 
in England. Yet up to 1540 no sign of genius 
had appeared among them. The late Mr. Shirley, 
himself no credulous antiquary, could hardly "over- 
estimate the antiquity of the Egerton family in 
Cheshire, a county with which he was well ac- 
quainted. But, except that one of them won the 
red Scottish lion to add to his arms as a reward 
for services rendered to Edward I. or Edward 
II., they attained to no degree of eminence until 
poor Alice Sparke produced her boy ; and from 
that time on the Egertons are earls and dukes, 

Lincoln s Inn 211 

great men themselves and patrons of other great 
men, until, having conferred enormous benefits, 
material and intellectual, on their country, they 
became extinct, and, to use the Scottish phrase, 
" What cam' wi' a maid went wi* a maid." The 
earl who " commissioned " Milton to write Comus^ 
the duke who " commissioned " Brindley to make 
the Bridgewater canals, and that odd clerical 
pluralist, the last man of the race, whose legacy 
enabled Bell to publish his Treatise on the Handy 
and Whewell his Astronomy^ and Chalmers his 
Adaptation^ and Buckland his Geology^ are not 
folk of whom England need be ashamed ; yet all 
were descended from the "sport," the ^////^ nullius, 
the man of " venerable presence," the " very comely 
proper man in person," whom Queen Elizabeth 
preferred to keep her Great Seal in spite of the 
opposition of the omnipotent Burghley himself 
The " maid " with whom the race, fulfilling its 
motto, Sic DoneCy ended, married an Egerton of 
the original uncontaminatcd stock, and the present 
Lord Egerton is her descendant. 

A very charming characteristic of Lord Keeper 
Egerton was his gentleness to young barristers. 
Francis Bacon acknowledges, almost with enthusiasm, 
his "fatherly care." He did his best to save the 
headstrong, brilliant young Essex, and on that fatal 
Sunday, already mentioned, when the unfortunate 

2 1 2 The Inns of Court 

Earl precipitated his fate by his disastrous ride into 
the city, he left Egerton, who had come in vain 
early to remonstrate, locked up in a room of his 


house in the Outer Temple, Egerton occupied a 
kind of official residence as Lord Keeper at York 
House, farther west, in the Strand, and there, later 
on, had to perform the painful task of examining 

In York House, in 1617, after James I. had 

Lincoln's Inn 213 

occupied the English throne for fourteen years, 
during all of which Egerton, now become Ellesmere, 
was his Chancellor, he fell ill unto death. The 

brilliant judgment he had delivered on the once 
famous and still important post-nati question, by 
which he settled it that children born in Scotland 
after James succeeded to the English throne are 

214 The Inns of Court 

English subjects, probably did as much as anything 
else to smooth matters between two, up to that 
time, antagonistic nations. The King's visit was 
too late to revive the dying Chancellor. In vain 
the King promised to make him Earl of Bridge- 
water, a promise promptly fulfilled to his son, 
Milton's friend; and on the iSth March 1617, 
at the age of seventy- seven, the son of Alice 
Sparke, the sport and glory of the Egerton race, 
breathed his last in his palace by the Thames. And 
"surely,'' wrote Fuller, "all Christendom afforded 
not a person which carried more gravity in his counte- 
nance and behaviour than Sir Thomas Egerton." 

A tradition exists that Oliver Cromwell had 
chambers for a time in or near the Gate House 
of Lincoln's Inn, but it probably originated in 
the fact of Thurloe's residence in Old Buildings, 
or in Richard Cromwell's name being in the list 
of students in 1647. William Lambarde, the 
Kentish antiquary, belonged to this Inn, where he 
was a bencher, and had chambers allotted to him 
without payment. He was keeper of the records 
in the Tower, and his remarkable share of personal 
beauty won Queen Elizabeth's admiration. He 
sent her his calendar of State papers by the hands 
of Lady Warwick, but the Queen insisted that he 
should present it himself, saying, " If any subject of 
mine do me a service, I will thankfully accept it 

Lincoln s Inn 215 

from his own hands." Prynne, one of Lambarde^s 
successors at the Tower, was also of Lincoln's Inn, 
and lies buried under the chapel. Another pro- 
minent man of the Commonwealth period was 
Lenthall, reader in Lincoln's Inn in 1638, and 
afterwards, as is well known. Speaker of the House 
of Commons. He became Master of the Rolls, and 
one of the Commissioners of the Great Seal, as was 
also Oliver St. John, Chief Justice of the Common 
Pleas. Glynne, Fountaine, and others had to make 
their peace at the restoration of Charles II., but 
during the last years of Charles I. and the rule 
of Cromwell, Lincoln's Inn seems to have been the 
headquarters of the Republican party. Thurloe, 
Cromwell's Secretary of State, has already been 
mentioned as living in Old Buildings. 

Another very interesting character connected with 
Lincoln's Inn is Sir Matthew Hale. He came of 
a good old Gloucestershire stock, his mother being 
one of the Poyntz family, whose younger branches 
so greatly distinguished themselves against the 
rebels in the north of Ireland. The Poyntzes have 
disappeared both from Iron Acton and the county 
Armagh, but the towns of Acton and of Poyntz- 
Pass commemorate their Ulster achievements. 
Hale's father, Robert Hale, had been a barrister of 
Lincoln's Inn, but was living on his estate of 
Aldersley, in Gloucestershire, when Matthew was 

2i6 The Inns of Court 

born. The future Chief Justice was at first intended 
for the Church, and with that view entered at 
Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1626. Two years 
later, however, he relinquished this idea, and entered 
his name as a student at Lincoln's Inn on the ist 
September 1628. He had the courage to offer 
himself as counsel for Charles I. at his trial in 
Westminster Hall, but as the King denied the 
jurisdiction and constitution of the High Court of 
Justice, Hale's offer came to nothing. During 
Cromwell's rule he submitted himself to the existing 
government, and earned special praise from Thurloe. 
Nevertheless, at Cromwell's death he took an active 
part in the negotiations which led to the restoration 
of Charles H., and within a few days after the King's 
return was made Lord Chief Baron. After the 
Great Fire of 1 666 Hale was a member of the Court 
for adjusting claims and promoting the rebuilding of 
London, and, invidious as the duty must often have 
been, he contrived to give satisfaction. The Court 
sat till 1672, but in 1671 Hale was made Chief 
Justice. In 1676, finding his health and faculties 
failing, he resigned, though the King was willing 
that he should only take a long leave of absence. 
At Christmas he died at Aldersley, where he had 
been born, and, more enlightened than many of his 
contemporaries, he expressly forbid his executors, by 
his will, to bury his body within the church. 


Hale's friends were numerous, and many of them 
were men of eminence. He was Selden's executor. 

With the divines connected with Lincoln's Inn in his 
time he was on terms of the warmest intimacy. 
Among his manuscripts bequeathed to the Library 

220 The Inns of Court 

are writings of Archbishop Ussher, who was preacher 
in 1 647. He also corresponded with Bishop Wilkins 
of Chester, and was a friend of Tillotson, who was 
appointed preacher of the Inn in 1663. Isaac 
Barrow and Stillingfleet were also of the number of 
his friends. His name is connected, but in a differ- 
ent way, with that of another great man. On one 
occasion at Norwich two women were prosecuted 
before him for practising witchcraft. Both were 
condemned, sentenced to death by Hale, and the 
sentence executed. The chief witness against them 
was the great Christian moralist, the exposer of 
vulgar errors and Pseudodoxia Epidemica, Sir 
Thomas Browne. What would Hale and Browne 
have said of our modern Spiritualists ? 

We must pass by many tempting names. Murray, 
afterwards Earl of Mansfield, was a student here in 
1724, and was called to the Bar in 1730. He lived 
in I Old Square. Henry Bathurst was another 
scion of a noble family who studied and was called 
in Lincoln's Inn. He became Lord Chancellor in 
1778, having already succeeded his father as Earl 
Bathurst. Lord Campbell also belonged to this Inn, 
as did Sugden, afterwards Lord St. Leonards. 
Another famous lawyer was Brougham, created 
Lord Brougham and Vaux in 1830. When his 
only daughter, Eleanor Louisa, died, at the early age 
of eighteen, in 1839, Brougham with some difficulty 


Lincoln s Inn 223 

obtained leave to bury her under the chapel, and 
expressed his intention of leaving his own body to 
be buried with hers. He died, however, at Cannes, 
and is buried there. A tablet to his daughter's 
memory is inscribed with a Latin epitaph by the 
Marquis Wellesley : 

" I, pete celestes, ubi nulla est cura, recessus ! 
Et tibi sit nuUo mista dolore quies ! " 

Canning and Perceval were both barristers of this 
Inn, and the latter is commemorated by a tablet in 
the porch of the chapel, placed there by the Treasurer 
and the benchers. 

The list of Preachers comprises many great 
names besides those already mentioned. Herring, 
appointed in 1726, was made Bishop of Bangor in 
1738, Archbishop of York in 1743, and Archbishop 
of Canterbury in 1747. He made himself remark- 
able at York and earned the higher step of promotion 
by his adroitness and zeal in opposing the rising of 
the Jacobites of his diocese in the '45. Another 
Archbishop of York who was preacher at Lincoln's 
Inn was William Thomson, promoted from Gloucester 
in 1862, and not very long dead. Another Bishop 
of Gloucester was Warburton, who became preacher 
in 1746, and in 1768 founded the Warburtonian 
Lectures, annually delivered in the chapel, on ** the 
truth of Revealed Religion in general and of the 

224 The Inns of Court 

Christian in particular." Bishop Hurd, of Worcester, 
first held this lectureship, and wrote the biography 
of the founder. William van Mildert, the last of the 
earl-bishops of Durham, was preacher at Lincoln's 
Inn from 1812 to 1819. At his death, in 1836, 
the old palatine jurisdiction of the bishops ceased to 

I have by no means exhausted the list of bishops 
who were preachers of this Inn, but one name more, 
in some respects the most remarkable of all, must be 
mentioned. Reginald Heber was here for one brief 
year, before he was appointed first Bishop of Calcutta. 
Heber had to contend against circumstances which 
would have damped the ardour of a less resolute and 
active-minded man. He was born to an old estate, 
and was what is sometimes termed a " squarson " for 
sixteen years. Many critics deny him poetical genius, 
but it is to be wished that some of our acknowledged 
poets had his power of melodious versification. His 
Newdigate prize poem, " Palestine," is one of the few 
examples of those compositions which have lived. 
The famous hymn, " From Greenland's icy moun- 
tains," was written at Wrexham, where his wife's 
father, the Dean of St. Asaph, was rector. It was 
in the year 1 8 1 9, when royal letters had been issued 
authorising collections to be made in all churches for 
the eastern operations of the Society for the Propa- 
gation of the Gospel. Heber had come from Hodnet 

Lincoln s Inn 225 

to hear Dean Shipley preach. On Saturday the 
Dean asked him to write some appropriate verses to 
be sung in the morning, and in a very short time he 
produced the hymn. In the first draft the " savage 
in his blindness " figures instead of the " heathen." 
There is an interesting account both of the hymn 
and of Heber himself in Mr. Julian's Dictionary of 
Hyninology. Brief as was his stay at Lincoln's Inn, 
the influence he exerted was deep and abiding, and 
his sudden death, three years later, was a cause of 
almost universal grief. 

Legal and religious associations like these rendered 
the old chapel of Lincoln's Inn a very sacred place. 
The marauders who undertook in 1882 to remodel 
it seem to me to deserve the reprobation of all right- 
thinking people. There is not very much that is 
ancient left in Lincoln's Inn, but what there is should 
be jealously guarded from profane hands. ,There is 
no reason whatever why the old gateway should be 
destroyed. Any competent architect could make it, 
without alteration, perfectly sound, weather-tight, and 
inhabitable. Prior to experience, it might have been 
thought a thing incredible that the benchers, some at 
least of whom must be considered educated men, 
should contemplate any other course of action. 

J J j-'j 
J J J J 

•* •» J *j 


Origin — A Faulty Theory — Dugdale's Account — The Chapel — The 
Ground Plan — Opening to Holbom — The Hall — Attacks of ** Re- 
storation" — Chaplains and Preachers — The Arms — The Masque 
of Flowers — Eminent Members — The Cecils — The Bacons — The 

There are two widely differing accounts of the first 
foundation of an inn for lawyers in the old house of 
the Lords Grey, or Gray, of Wilton. In some sense 
both may be true. Stow says that he was informed 
by a certain ** Master Saintlow Kniveton " that 
gentlemen and professors of the common law took 
the house as far back as the time of Edward III. 
Moreover, it is asserted that William Skipwith, a 
serjeant-at-law in 1355, belonged to Gray's Inn, and 
was the first Reader. A man of that name is men- 
tioned by Dugdale, and became a Baron of the 
Exchequer in 1363. The difficulty is to connect 
him with Gray's Inn. Forty years earlier the Lords 

Grays Inn 227 

Grey actually resided in their house here, and it was 
not until the reign of Henry VII. that they parted 
with it. We do not, until the following reign, have 
any distinct mention of the settlement of the lawyers^ 
in the four messuages, with their gardens, their wind- 
mill, and their chapel. Dugdale is very explicit as 
to the conveyance for j[,6 13s. 4d. a year, first from 
" the prior and convent of Shene," then, after the 
dissolution of the religious houses by the King, to 
certain representatives of a society of students of law ; 
and he adds that by " the account of the treasurer of 
this society made 18 Nov. 32 Henry VIII. (1540), 
it is evident that the said rent of £6 i 3s. 4d. was 
paid to the King's use, for the same, for one whole 
year, ended at the feast of the Annunciation of Our 
Lady then past ; and so hath been ever since." 
Dugdale probably wrote this in 1670. He over- 
looked an interesting fact mentioned by Mr. Douth- 
waite {Gray's Inn Notes, 1876), namely, that the 
rent was remitted by the Commissioners of the 
Commonwealth in 1651, but resumed by Charles II., 
by whom it was sold to Sir Philip Matthews. In 
1733 Gray's Inn purchased the rent from the heirs 
of Matthews, and now holds the property, subject to 
no rent or other payment. So much for Dugdale's 

Of course, Mr. Douthwaite, as Librarian, and also 
historian, of the Inn, would like to make it out as 

228 The I 7ms of Court 

ancient as possible — a perfectly laudable ambition 
on his part The evidence of the existence of the 
society before the time of Henry VIII. is, however, 
extremely weak. Stated succinctly, it comes to this : 
— In 1370 Lord Grey de Wilton had let "a certain 
Inn in Portepole" for 100 shillings. In Stow's 
Annals the authority of Master Saintlow Kniveton, 
as cited above, is given for the statement that the 
lawyers were Lord Grey's tenants. Much more to 
the point is a letter mentioning Sir William Byllyng, 
Chief Justice in 1464, preserved in the Paston Col- 
lection. William Paston met Byllyng on a journey 
in 1454, and heard from him that he had been "a 
felavv in Gray*s Inn," as well as one Ledam, of whom 
he speaks. But this is the first, and for many years 
the last, mention of there having been iany " felaws " 
in Gray's Inn. A list of the Readers, with their 
arms, from 1359, is quite apocryphal. The first 
is Skipwith, already mentioned, and the writer 
makes him a Justice of the Common Pleas. But 
Skipwith, we know, was a Baron of the Exchequer. 
The very first item in the list, therefore, breaks down 
when examined ; and it is hardly worth while to 
mention that the third Reader named is Sir William 
Gascoigne, about whom such wonderful stories had 
been concocted before Shakespeare's time. This 
story would seem to be the first of them. For their 
refutation we may look at Bishop Stubbs's Constitu- 

Grays Inn 231 

tional History (iii. 76), where the committal of Prince 
Henry is carefully examined. As to the Byllyng 
statement, in 1454, it only goes to show that two 
persons, Byllyng himself and one Ledam, were 
fellow-lodgers in some part of Lord Grey's exten- 
sive tenement. In 1505 Edmund, Lord Grey, 
parted with it to Hugh Denys and Mary his wife ; 
and even Mr. Douthwaite will hardly claim Mary 
Denys as a member of the Inn ; but the mention of 
her name seems inconsistent with the possibility of 
the lawyers being already established there. Dugdale 
begins his list of Readers with John Spelman, in 
1 5 1 6, and of the Treasurers with William Wal- 
syngham, " primus thesaurarius electus term Michr 
Here we are on safe 'ground, which is not Mr. 
Douthwaite's position when he misquoted the Paston 
letter, and makes so much of the vague reference 
of Byllyng to Ledam. Lawyers often resided in 
great houses, which never became Inns of Court or 
Chancery ; as, for example, in the palace of the 
Bishop of Ely, and in the monastery of the 
Carthusians farther east. 

The point of greatest interest is that with Lord 
Grey's inn the lawyers also took over his old-estab- 
lished chapel and chaplain. From" this it almost 
follows that the present chapel is the same as that 
of which we read under the year 13 15, when John, 
Lord Grey, gave lands in the manor towards the 

232 The Inns of Court. 

endowment of a chaplain. It furthermore connects 
Gray's Inn with another great mediaeval institution, 
which also, with modifications, exists still — St. 
Bartholomew's. The land was given to the prior 
and canons, the predecessors of the warden and other 
authorities of the modern hospital. There is no 
reason to suppose that the sacred ministrations were 
ever interrupted. On the contrary, the historical 
presumption is the other way. There may be frag- 
ments of the original 1 3 i 5 chapel in the walls of the 
present building, just as there are fragments of a 
chapel of John of Gaunt in the walls of the Royal 
Chapel of the Savoy, although it has been at least 
twice destroyed and restored. At present the chapel 
of Gray's Inn may be described as in a very genuine 
state, containing fragments of ancient date, and, 
unfortunately, some stained glass and some fittings 
in the worst taste imaginable. But it may easily be 
made to look better without any very drastic measure 
of " restoration," and fortunately the great destroyer 
of Lincoln's Inn has no influence here. The plaster 
might, in any case, be removed, and the walls 
examined for remains of early date. It is, however, 
rumoured that the benchers arc going to build a 
wholly new chapel on another site, which, considering 
the venerable associations of the old chapel, seems a 

We can make out by the ground-plan that the 

Grays Inn 233 

mansion of Lord Grey was in all respects like that 
of any other wealthy nobleman or great ecclesiastic. 
There was a gate opening from the roadway of 
Gray*s Inn Lane. Within there was a range of 
buildings on the left, beginning with the chapel. 
On the right to northward was a wide field with 
gardens and pleasaunces, open to the view of the 
swelling pastures and the distant woods of Highgate 
and Hampstead. The house turned its back entirely 
on the noise and bustle of Holborn, and must have 
appeared like a rural villa, though so near to the 
great city. Houses which did not belong to Lord 
Grey were between him and Holborn, and are 
mentioned in some early, deeds at St. Paul's (IX. 
Report, Hist. MSS. Commission). At first there 
was but a single messuage or tenement " in the 
parish of St. Andrew in Portepul without the 
Bar, in the suburb of London." This was in 1328. 
Later on Robert Frewell has the land on lease, and 
by that time it has acquired a name, or sign, " Le 
herte on the hoope," and Robert has leave to build 
on a vacant space at the opposite side of the street 
of Holborn, **near the fountain." This was in 
141 2, and shows that the suburbs were already 
creeping westward. By the sixteenth century the 
Inn was surrounded with houses, except on the 
north side, and Portpool Lane had begun to call 
itself " Grayes Inne Lane." The modern Portpool 

234 The Inns of Court 

Lane is at right angles. The crowded locality 
was probably sold to the Denyses with great 
alacrity, as it had ceased to be a desirable place 
of residence for a nobleman. Some parts of the 
house were already let out, principally, as in the 
case of Byllyng, to lawyers. In 1416 "a certain 
attorney of the Lord de Talbot " is mentioned as 
"dwelling in Graye's Inne, at the house of the 
Treasurer of England " ; so that the house had 
probably been let to Sir Philip Leech, who was 
then Treasurer. 

Down to 1594 the principal entrance was still 
from Gray's Inn Lane, but in that year the society 
bought a parcel of ground in Ilolborn, from one 
Fulwood, whose name is still commemorated in 
Fulwood's Rents, and the passage was made. A 
relic of this change of front may be seen in the 
door of the chapel, which still opens on the 
north into what used to be called " Chappel Court," 
and is now Gray's Inn Square. But the hall, 
when rebuilt in Queen Mary's reign, was made to 
open on the opposite side, evidently in anticipation 
of the improvement shortly afterwards effected. 

This hall almost rivalled in interest that of 
the Middle Temple, and considerably exceeded 
it in antiquity. But a madness seized the benchers 
in 1828, like that which overtook the Fellows of 
Pembroke College at Cambridge about 1875. The 

Grays Inn 237 

ancient building, in which The Masque of Flowers 
had been performed before James I., was altered as 
much as was possible without actually pulling it 
down. Stucco reigned supreme in London in those 
days, and so the walls, and those of the chapel, were 
thickly coated with that material. The old red tiles 
were torn down and replaced with slate. A turret, 
or louvre, of ridiculous design was placed on the 
top. Finally, a wooden parapet was put up to set 
off the rest of the new arrangements. A second 
attack supervened in 1 867, and the old red-bricked 
gate was sacrificed. I remember it perfectly well, 
and used to wonder if the chamber overhead was 
that in which David Copperfield and Dora found 
" oceans of room." It is now as uninteresting as 
Lincoln's Inn Chapel and twice as ugly. The hall, 
however, is now in process of " restoration," and for 
once we may approve of what is being done. 
Certainly nothing could mar it as it was ; and 
if the alterations include the restitution of the 
tiled roof and the disestablishment of the turret 
as well as the removal of the stucco, we shall 
rejoice, though trembling for the possibilities which 
the other Inns of Court have taught us to dread. 
Lately, Jacob Tonson's old shop, which had stood 
for centuries by the gate into Gray's Inn Lane, was 
destroyed for some reason which has not transpired. 
We may be sure, judging from analogy, that it was 

238 The Inns of Court 

wholly inadequate. The aphorism of Lord Grim- 
thorpe constantly comes into the mind when we 
contemplate old London sites — " There is no street 
or square where somebody or something has not 
lived or happened " — and so far as I can judge, 
corporations, ecclesiastics, and lawyers are all able, 
to follow the non sequitur which so entirely eludes 
the grasp of my modest reasoning faculty, and agree 
that such streets and squares should be at once 
destroyed. We see that the corporation has destroyed 
Emanuel Hospital, that the bishop is longing for the 
site of Wren's beautiful tower at St Dunstan's-in- 
the-East, and that the lawyers are hungering for the 
old bricks of Lincoln's Inn Gate. 

There is a view of the hall in Ireland's book, but 
shortly before it was taken the chapel had " been 
newly cased with stone, and, except the Gothic 
windows, completely modernised." It was in one 
of these windows that " the image of St. Thomas a 
Becket was gloriously painted, which window Edward 
Hall, one of the Readers of this house at that time, 
was ordered to take out in consideration of the 
King's command, in the thirty-first of his reign, 
that all the images of Thomas a Becket, sometime 
Archbishop of Canterbury, should be obliterated." 
Hall was further enjoined to " place another instead 
thereof, in memory of our Lord praying in the 
mount." Dugdale has particulars as to the vest- 

Grays Inn 241 

ments and vessels removed in the reign of Edward 
VI., and replaced under Mary, and adds that as late 
as 1623 there was "an order that all women should 
be barred from the chapel at sermons," which was 
made still more stringent in 1629, when no women 
or boys were suffered to come within the chapel at 
any time. The chaplain seems occasionally to have 
been called "dean." Mr. Barrett was dean of the 
chapel in 1698. Besides the chaplain there was a 
preacher from a very early period, and some great 
names appear in the list of preachers, one of whom 
— William Wake — became Archbishop of Canter- 
bury in 1 716. In the east window are the arms of 
this preacher beside those of Archbishops Juxon 
and Sheldon, and of three bishops who, at different 
times, had been admitted to the membership of the 

Gray's Inn was always famous for its masques 
and interludes. In the reign of Henry VIII. a fine 
was imposed upon all who left the hall before the 
conclusion of the revels. With respect to proces- 
sions and pageants this society had a kind of 
alliance with that of the Inner Temple, in token . 
of which the Pegasus figures on the great gate 
of the square, and the Gray's Inn " Griffin segreant " 
similarly figures at the Inner Temple. Mr. Douth- 
waite, by the way, quotes a Harleian manuscript as to 

these arms, from which it appears that the honourable 


242 The I mis of Court 

college of Gray's Inn "doth beare for their Coat, 
Azure, an Indian Griffon, proper, Sergeant" {sic). 
Stow, however, says that the Inn might, " by ancient 
custom of honourable favour," bear the Grey arms, 
but adds that it had chosen instead " a griffon, or, in 
a field, sables, and so they are furnished already 
very well." 

Beaumont and Fletcher wrote a masque entitled 
The Masque of t/ie Inner Temple and Gray's Inn^ 
which seems to have been performed alternately by 
the two societies, the title being varied accordingly. 
In 1612 it was played at Whitehall before the 
Court. A very fine performance had taken place in 
the previous reign, when " the Prince of Purpoole " 
and. his train visited Queen Elizabeth at Greenwich 
in state. The Masque of Flowers was performed 
in 161 3 at Gray's Inn, and repeated in 1887 on the 
occasion of the Queen's Jubilee. The lamented 
John O'Connor painted the scenery. Mr. Lewis 
Wingfield, also unfortunately gone over to the 
majority, designed the dresses, and everything else 
was carefully and successfully carried out. Four 
years later it was again revived, this time at the 
Inner Temple, where O'Connor's scenery, which had 
found its way to a workmen's club in Holborn, was 
touched up for the occasion. This performance was 
suggested by Lady Halsbury to augment the funds 
of the Convalescent Home at Westgate. By a 

Grays Inn 243 

marvellously annoying piece of red tape the County 
Council refused leave to the committee to take 
money at the doors — we may conjecture there 
were not enough invitations sent to members of 
that august body — but eventually it was understood 
that the charity benefited handsomely. 

There is a legend, but I fear unsupported by 
evidence, that Shakespeare performed in the hall of 
Gray's Inn, and another, also feebly supported, that 
one of his dramas was played here in his lifetime. 
It is not impossible, but we want such proof as that 
afforded by Manningham's Diary as to the Middle 
Temple. There is, however, no doubt that the great 
Francis Bacon, Viscount St. Albans, did organise a 
masque for this Inn, and, moreover, paid all the 
expenses to the amount of ^2000, refusing assistance 
from the benchers. Evelyn mentions the revels at 
Gray's Inn, and remarks on an old riotous custom, 
which " has relation to neither virtue nor policy." 
The last recorded revel took place in 1773. 

There are not nearly so many eminent lawyers 
among the students as are to be found in the Temple 
or at Lincoln's Inn. On the other hand, the list, 
short as it is, contains some greater names than any 
to be seen elsewhere. There may be doubts, as we 
have seen, about Gascoigne, who is also claimed for 
the Middle Temple, but there are none about the 
two Bacons, Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, 

244 The Inns of Court 

admitted in 1524, and Thomas Wriothesley, ad- 
mitted in 1534, made Lord Chancellor ten years 
later, and Earl of Southampton in 1547. Dugdale 
also tells us that John Dudley, Duke of Northumber- 
land, was a member of Gray's Inn. He must have 
been elected as a compliment in the days of his 
greatness. He was born in i 502, and was knighted 
before Calais in 1523. Dugdale, by a misprint, says 
he became a member in 1558: but he was really 
admitted in January 1553, and was beheaded on 
Tower Hill in August of the same year. Another 
soldier, George Monk, Duke of Albemarle, is 
also mentioned, but Mr. Doyle says nothing of his 
having been admitted. Much more probable are 
the names of Sir Thomas Gresham, founder of the 
Royal Exchange, and the " prince of antiquaries," 
William Camden. The great Lord Burghley, the 
progenitor of the Exeter and Salisbury families, 
certainly belonged to this Inn, having'been admitted 
in 1541. His second son, Robert, first Earl of 
Salisbury, is mentioned by Dugdale, who gives his 
arms as being in the bay window of the hall ; but it 
is possible he mistakes him for his son, the second 
earl, who was called early in 1605, being already a 
Knight of the Bath, so that the call was probably 
purely complimentary to the son of his father, or 
rather to the grandson of his grandfather. 

But the great glories of Gray's Inn are the two 

Grays Inn 247 

Bacons — father and son. The elder, Nicholas, 
whose arms are also given by Dugdale, was born at 
Chislehurst in 1 5 i o, and admitted in 1532; he rose 
to be Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, in virtue of 
which office he resided at York House, like his 
successor, Ellesmere, mentioned in a former chapter. 
Here, three years later, in 1 5 6 1 , his son, Francis, 
was born. He commenced to study at Gray's Inn 
in 1576, when only fifteen, and was called in 1582, 
when just twenty-one. His advancement was rapid, 
but his public career belongs to history, though he 
left his mark very plainly on Gray's Inn, as we 
shall see. 

Everybody is acquainted with his delightful essay, 
" Of Gardens." To a long list of plants — for winter, 
of evergreens ; for spring, violets, the early daffodil, 
the daisy, the almond and the cherry-tree in blossom, 
and the sweet-brier ; for summer, the pink, the rose, 
the lily, and the cherry-tree in fruit ; for autumn, 
grapes and poppies, among many others — he appends 
a sentence which seems to speak plainly of Gray's 
Inn : — " These particulars are for the climate of 
London, but my meaning is perceived, that you may 
have ver perpetuum, as the place affords." And truly 
there is no more pleasant garden easily accessible 
from the middle of our great city. But, in Bacon's 
time, the view was wide towards the north and west, 
only terminating with Highgate and Hampstead, 

248 The Inns of Court 

over which, standing in the garden of Gray's Inn, 
Bacon could see the road winding away among the 
woods, or what was left of the old Middlesex forest 
towards St. Albans, where his country seat lay. It 
was on these selfsame wooded slopes that he met his 
death. In the winter of 1625 and 1626 he had 
sought his favourite seclusion of Gray's Inn, where, 
more than twenty years before, he had planted the 
elm-trees in the walks. Issuing thence on the 2nd 
April, he started to cross the hills, the snow lying 
thick and white on the ground. It occurred to him 
to try an experiment with the snow, as to whether it 
would not preserve meat as well as salt. The chill 
made him feel faint, and he was helped into Lord 
Arundel's house, close by, and he never left it alive. 
The house must, in those days, have been perfectly 
visible from " the mount " he had raised in Gray's 
Inn garden. 

Lamb mentions the beauty of this garden in his 
essay " On some of the Old Actors," and calls 
Verulam Buildings, on the east side, "accursed" — 
" cutting out delicate green crinkles, and shouldering 
away one of two of the stately alcoves of the terrace ; 
the survivor stands gaping and relationless, as if it 
remembered its brother. They are still the best 
gardens of any of the Inns of Court, my beloved 
Temple not forgotten — have the gravest character, 
their aspect being altogether reverend and law- 

Grays Inn 249 

breathing. Bacon has left the impress of his foot 
upon their gravel walks." There is probably no 
other spot in London which we may assert has been 
written about by Bacon, Addison, and Lamb, our 
three greatest essayists. Sir Walter Raleigh told 
Sir Thomas Wilson of a long conversation he had 
with Bacon in Gray's Inn walks. There was a 
sumrner- house until nearly the close of the last 
century which was pointed out as a favourite resort 
of Bacon's — an octagonal seat covered with a roof, 
on the western side of the gardens. It had a Latin 
inscription to record that it had been erected by the 
great Chancellor in 1609. 

Until this year, Gray's Inn gardens contained one 
of the few rookeries remaining in London. Against 
them the benchers seem to have nourished a kind of 
sullen hate. In 1875 they had some of the trees 
cut down in which the rooks were actually nesting 
at the time. The general public were v^{y indignant. 
It is rather sad to find that the benchers in general 
did not disavow the action of the Treasurer in thus 
frightening away the birds, as the benchers of the 
Middle Temple disavowed the doings of Daines 
Barrington on a similar occasion. However, after 
an interval the rooks returned. They were again 
disturbed and again returned. But this year, with 
a refinement of cruelty or callousness, they have 
been finally warned off and had to go, leaving their 

250 The Inns of Court 

miserable offspring just out of the shell to perish of 
starvation and cold. It is to be feared that the 
people who habitually use the gardens would have 
heard with less sorrow that the benchers themselves 
had experienced this horrible fate. So does one 
barbarism engender many. 

The visitor will find some of the ironwork worth 
looking at at the entrance, but must not fancy that 
any of the trees arc among those planted by Bacon, 
though some of them may, when they were very 
young, have been here when Samuel Pepys, as he 
records, " was very well pleased with the sight of a 
fine lady " who was walking in the gardens. 



The Inns of Chancery are abolished — Their Number — Other Inns — Our 
Lady's Inn — Stow's Account — Furnival's Inn — CHfford's Inn and 
the Inner Temple — The Dinner and Grace — The Hall — A Curious 
Region — Serjeants' Inn — The Rolls — The Record Office — A Walk 
from Fleet Street to Chancery Lane. 

It might, prior to experiment, be thought difficult 
to describe from personal observation what does not 
exist. There are, as a fact, no Inns of Chancery. 
The Inns of Court, whose ofiTspring they were held 
to be, have cut them adrift ; and they have nearly 
all, finding themselves with few privileges and no 
duties, sent the portraits of the old lawyers out of 
their halls to Mr. Scharf, sold what in ecclesiastical 
language would be called the corpus or body of their 
prebend, and dissolved themselves into their con- 
stituent elements. Inns of Chancery had for a long 
time been in a more or less anomalous position. 
They alternately repudiated their allegiance to the 

252 The Inns of Court 

Inns of Court, to which they were reputed to 
belong, and invoked their assistance and protection. 
The result was, of course, eminently unsatisfactory. 
By degrees the number of recognised Inns was 
diminished. Any excuse was sufficient for the 
abolition of a little one ; and when the Serjeants 
found their ancient order suppressed, and discovered 
at the same time that the two places, on either side 
of Fleet Street, where their Inns had stood were 
absolutely at their own disposal, the other minor 
Inns inquired also into their own position, with the 
result I have indicated. The Inner Temple has no 
longer any hold on Clifford's, Lyon's, or Clement's 
Inn. New Inn similarly cast off its subjection to 
the Middle Temple. Furnival's and Thavies' Inns 
have long been independent of Lincoln's Inn. 
Within a very few years the two most picturesque 
of all. Staple Inn and Barnard's Inn, have declared 
themselves independent, and signalised the declara- 
tion by selling their buildings. Both houses, however, 
have fallen into good hands ; and I can only beg 
my readers to pray for the prosperity of those who 
have saved such delightful examples of old-world 
architecture for the pleasure and instruction of 
another generation. 

Besides the regular Inns of Chancery there were 
always, and, indeed, are now, a certain number which 
were never acknowledged by anybody. Scroope's, 

The Inns of Chancery 253 

long marked by Scroope's Court, Holborn, was a 
kind of junior to Serjeants' Inn. Strand Inn was 
pulled down by the Protector, Duke of Somerset, in 
the reign of Edward VI., to make way for the great 
palace he meant to build, but did not, where is now 
Somerset House. Near where is now the Holborn 
Viaduct formerly stood St. George's Inn, and here, 
before the middle of the fifteenth century, law 
students had a recognised lodging. Stow's account 
should be quoted. St. George's Lane was one of 
those little streets by the Fleet which Farringdon 
Street has so completely obliterated. On the north 
side of it Stow saw 

" an old wall of stone inclosing a peece of ground up Seacole 
Lane, wherein by report stood an inne of Chauncery : which 
house being greatly decayed, and standing remote from other 
houses of that profession, the company removed to [a] common 
hosterie, called, of the signe. Our Lady Inne, not far from 
Clement's Inne, which they procured from Sir John Fineox, 
Lord chiefe Justice of the King's bench, and since have held 
it of the owners by the name of New Inne, paying therefore 
vj P. rent by the yeare as tenants at their owne will : for more 
(as it is said) can not be gotten of them, and much less will 
they be put from it." 

This Inn of "Our Lady" became accordingly 
New Inn, and the wayfarer in Wych Street may 
have his attention called to an archway, over which 
is a shield of arms representing a bunch of lilies in 
a pot, the flowers argent, the field vert. Lilies thus 

254 The Inns of Court 

blazoned are always held to be emblems of Our 
Lady, and it is to a sign of the same pattern that 
we may attribute the street name of Lilipot Lane 
or Lilipot Court, not unfrequent in old English 

While we are quoting Stow, it may be as well to 
run through all he tells us about these Inns of 
Chancery. Of Barnard's Inn he says it is also 
called " Motworth Inne," mistaking " Motworth " for 
Mackworth. The visitor may have some trouble in 
finding it, but if he chances to know the Mackworth 
coat-of-arms he will recognise it high up over a 
modest doorway between 22 and 23 Holborn, and 
entering, may prepare for a very pleasant surprise 
Dugdale gives the shield as "per pale, indented 
ermine and sable, a chevron, or, frettee, gules/ 
Stow says this is " the second Inne of Chauncerie 
belonging to the Deane and chapter of Lincolne,' 
and tells us nothing more. Of Staple Inn he says 
it is the thij^d, " but whereof so named I am ignorant 
the same of late is, for a great part thereof fayre 
builded, and not a little augmented." It is curious 
for us to observe that what in i S99 was new is now 
almost the oldest fragment left in any of the inns. 
We shall have occasion, in the next chapter, to offer 
an explanation of the name, partly founded on the 
very singular and apparently ancient shield-of-arms. 

Stow is the first author to give us any intelligible 


The Inns of Chancery 257 

account of these houses. I do not think any of 
them were much older than the very end of the 
sixteenth century, when he wrote his Survey. 
We have to take several things into the account in 
forming this opinion. Before the reigns of the 
Tudors there was very little faith in the stability 
of English institutions. Battles between the Yorkists 
and Lancastrians had been fought on several occa- 
sions, at Barnet, at St. Albans, and at other places 
almost within sight of London, and frequent alarms 
drove all settlers in the suburbs back behind the 
city walls. Therefore it seems probable that 
lawyers who had to take houses took them where 
they would have the maximum of protection and the 
minimum of risk. Such a place was St. George's 
Inn, well inside the city boundaries and close to the 
city wall. When things got more settled it was 
safe to move out to Wych Street, for though it 
might reasonably be asserted that, as a roadway, 
Wych Street is more ancient than many streets 
which were reckoned within the city walls, yet it 
lacked the security of the walls, and even that 
security afforded to the Templars by their castel- 
lated buildings and by the outer defences of the 
suburban fortifications. When it was found that 
Wych Street was safe, other Inns of Chancery 
sprang into existence, all just within or just 

without the lines of the outer fortifications. Stow 


25^ The Inns of C'^urt 

thus 5urr.s them uo : ~ Of these houses there be at 
this dav rcurteer: in all, whereof nine do stand 
within the liberties of the citie and five in the 
subburbes therecf.' He proceeds to enumerate 
them all, both Inns of Court and of Chancery, and 
we observe that the f jllov^-ing have utterly perished 
since his day. namely, Thavies' Inn, now an open 
street ; Lyon's Inn, now the site of a theatre ; Strand 
or Chester's Inn, already mentioned ; and another, 
mentioned by an ancient law-writer, Fortescue, 
which Stow cannot identifv. Of Thavies' Inn he 
has nothing to tell. Of Furnivals he says it 
formerly belonged to Sir William Fumival and 
Thomasin, his wife, in the reign of Richard II. 
Of Barnard's he tells us further that John Mack- 
worth, Dean of Lincoln, gave it, in the reign of 
Henry VI. (1454), to the chapter of Lincoln 
Cathedral, " to find one sufficient chaplain " to sing 
masses for the repose of his soul. How it came 
into the hands of the lawyers we do not know. He 
is puzzled about Staple Inn. As to Clifford's Inn, 
after reciting the gift of the messuage to Robert 
Clifford, and the lease by Isabel Clifford, his widow, 
in I 344 to students of the law, he says " the said 
students " had it in his time at four pounds by the 
year. Of Clement's Inn he has little to say, except 
that it stands near to the fair fountain called 
Clement's Well ; of New Inn he recapitulates what 

The Inns of Chancery 261 

we have already quoted, and adds that Sir Thomas 
More, " sometime Lord Chancellor, was a student in 
this new inn, and went from thence to Lincolne's 
Inn." Of Lyon's Inn he has nothing to say. 

This, then, is the first account we have of these 
interesting houses. All have now ceased to keep 
up any special connection with the law. In some 
the hall and public buildings have disappeared. 
The old dinners have ceased to be eaten, the old 
meetings and motes have ceased to be held ; but 
here and there, among the relics that remain of 
them, we find perishing memories of the old days, 
and, as I have already had pleasure in observing, 
some of the oldest are the best cared for by 
their present owners and occupiers. 

Furnival's Inn presents no features of the slightest 
importance. It was wholly rebuilt in 1820, a good 
part being made into a hotel, and a statue of the 
contractor being set up in the courtyard. The older 
building is always attributed to Inigo Jones, except 
the Gothic hall, part of a still older building. The 
front to Holborn was exceedingly picturesque, and 
is well figured in Wilkinson. Mr. Wheatley tells us 
that Charles Dickens was living in Furnival's Inn 
when Pickwick came out. He places John West- 
lock {Martin Chuzzlewii) in this Inn. From here, 
where his eldest son was born, Dickens removed in 
1837 to Doughty Street. We must not forget that 

262 The Inns of Court 

Sir Thomas More was reader for more than three 
years. From 1547 it belonged to Lincoln's Inn 
by conveyance from an Earl of Shrewsbury, Baron 

Of Clifford's Inn, which, like Furnivars and others, 
was called after an ancient family, there are plenty 
of remains, some parts of them very picturesque. It 
was always reckoned, except by its members, a 
dependency of the Inner Temple. They asserted its 
freedom. The matter can never now be settled. 
The " Principal and Rulers " of Clifford's Inn exist 
nominally still, and manage their little estate. For 
many years it was customary for the Inner Temple 
to send a message or summons to Clifford's Inn, and 
the message having been duly and formally received, 
was left unanswered, and the matter dropped for 
another year. It will be seen that the position of 
Clifford's Inn differed from that of Furnival's or any 
other, where the Inn of Court had originally acquired 
and held a lease or the freehold. But Clifford's Inn 
always paid its own way and had its own customs, 
its great days and its peculiar rules. The rulers paid 
four pounds a year rent, but otherwise the house, 
which contains a good hall, a garden, and other 
refinements and necessities, is practically freehold. 

The dinners were quite as ceremonious as those 
in either of the Temples, and a table was specially 
provided for what was called the " Kentish Mess." 

The Inns of Chancery 265 

What this commemorated I have not been able to 
discover. Some of the Cliffords were connected with 
Kent, but not till long after the establishment of the 
lawyers in their old town house. It was a member 
of the Kentish mess who performed on certain stated 
occasions the ceremony of grace. It was not, strictly, 
saying or even singing grace. Four small loaves, 
conjoined in the shape of a cross, were brought in by 
an attendant and placed on the high table in front of 
the Principal. Standing up, he solemnly dashed the 
bread on the table before him. This he did three 
times amid profound silence. Then the loaves were 
rapidly passed down to the last man in the Kentish 
mess, who, clasping them in his arms, rushed with 
them from the hall. Some poor women used to wait 
without for the loaves and other gifts after a dinner. 
It must not be supposed that the dinners were with- 
out some grace, for they began with the words, " Pro 
hoc convivio, Deo gratia." No speeches were allowed, 
and but two toasts, "Ancient and Honourable'* — 
referring, of course, to the house — and "Absent 
Members." The lawyers used the old arms of the 
Clifford family, " chequde or and azure, a fess gules " ; 
to this they added " a bordure, bezant^e, of the third." 
Dugdale omits the bezants, which some may have 
considered too direct an allusion to the golden harvest 
many of the members no doubt reaped. 

In a former chapter I have mentioned the arduous 

266 The Inns of Court 

labours of Sir Matthew Hale in settling the numerous 
boundary disputes which grew out of the Great Fire. 
The Commissioners, of whom he was the chief, sat in 
the hall of Clifford's Inn to hear the cases brought 
before them, from which, and other reasons, we gather 
that though the south side of Fleet Street was con- 
sumed, and some parts of the Temple, the north side 
escaped. Both Coke and Selden are mentioned as 
having lived as students in Clifford's Inn, but there 
is little to connect it with general history. What 
little there is in the way of tangible antiquity is fast 
perishing, but when I remember the region first it 
comprised a group of very curious and interesting 
buildings. Among them were the Rolls institutions, 
at that time more or less in a transitional state, 
gradually developing into the great department they 
have now become ; the Serjeants' Inn, Chancery 
Lane, and Clifford's Inn, peculiar to lawyers, all 
hemmed in and kept together in their corner by St. 
Dunstan's Church. 

The Serjeants finally ceased out of Chancery Lane 
in 1876. For many years the Order had been an 
anachronism. Originally, it seems likely, a branch 
of the Templars, possibly their lay or even their 
religious servants, they gradually developed into a 
separate order, and occupied a corner, very plainly 
marked on any map, of the Templars' territory. I 
am aware that Mr. Foss, as quoted with approval by 

The Inns of Chancery 269 

Mr. Wheatley, asserts that the Serjeants settled in 
Chancery Lane before Fleet Street, and fortifies this 
opinion by a reference to Dugdale. But every day 
I live I see more clearly how necessary it is always 
to verify quotations. I have done so in this case, 
and find that Mr. Foss has wholly misinterpreted the 
meaning of Dugdale. Nay, if Dugdale had said 
what Mr. Foss seems to think he did, I should have 
ventured to differ with him. He does say that he 
finds the Chancery Lane house mentioned as early 
^s 1393. He also finds the Serjeants in the Fleet 
Street house early in the reign of Henry VI., " if not 
before." But if we look at a plan of the Temple we 
shall see that this Fleet Street house is cut off from 
the territory of the Templars, and that at the time 
it was first settled the same wall or line of wall 
separated both from the territory of the White Friars. 
I have already touched upon the subject, which bears 
the double disadvantage of being exceedingly obscure 
and not exceedingly interesting. 

The judges, theoretically at least, were supposed 
to be chosen from among the King's " servientes," 
and, until the abolition of the Order, when a lawyer 
was nominated a judge his first act was to get him- 
self admitted a serjeant. Lord Campbell is thus 
quoted by Mr. Wheatley : — " First I was made a 
Serjeant, and then my patent writ as Chief Justice 
was handed to me, and having taken many strange 


270 The Inns of Court 

oaths my title to hang, draw, and quarter was 
complete." This ceremony cost nearly ;£^70o. The 
"coif" appears to have been a linen cap to wear 
under the wig. In the east every good Moslem 
shaves his head and wears a coarse woollen cap, 
called a fez, or a tarboosh, according to the pattern, 
but under it he always places a white linen cap, or 
coif. Perhaps the Templars brought it home from 
the Holy Land, and perhaps their first " servientes " 
may have been Oriental prisoners. 

The Fleet Street house, adjoining the Temple, 
was abandoned by the Serjeants before the end of 
the eighteenth century, and pulled down to make 
way for private houses and insurance offices. The 
visitor may seek through it for antiquities now in 
vain, except for the initials "S. I." and a date, 1669, 
which is on one house. This would answer to the 
rebuilding after the fire of 1 666. 

The Serjeants' Inn in Chancery Lane may still 
be seen. You enter through an archway and find 
yourself in a very narrow court of not very old 
houses, bounded on the farther side by a railing, 
through which is a view of grass and trees belonging 
to some other institution. You have to look long 
and carefully before you make out the little hall, 
now a lawyer's office, with its windows and its clock, 
all in good — too good — repair, and with but the 
smallest possible claims to be picturesque. However, 



^ n 

The Inns of Chancery 273 

we may be glad they were not utterly destroyed 

in February 1877, when the brotherhood dissolved 

itself, sold the hall with its five painted windows for 

;£^57,ioo,and divided the proceeds among themselves, 

a proceeding much commented upon at the time. 

They had the generosity, however, not to sell the 

portraits of their predecessors, but sent them, to 

the number of twenty-six, to the National Portrait 


Immediately to the north of Serjeants' Inn — and 

lately exposed to the public gaze from Chancery 

Lane, as the row of houses in the street was 

pulled down — is the Chapel of the Rolls, and, close 

behind it, the Record Office, with its vast Gothic 

tower, designed by Pennethorne. The liberty of the 

Rolls is a parish in itself, and was set apart, with a 

house and chapel, by Henry III. for the reception 

of converted Jews. The records of the house are 

probably in existence, and may some day see the 

light. The Jews in Spain founded some of the most 

illustrious families of the Peninsula ; and it would 

be exceedingly interesting if we could find out the 

descendants of some of the converts of Henry III. 

among our English aristocracy. But the decree of 

1290, by which the Jews were banished, very soon 

put an end to the use of the house in Chancery 

Lane, and in 1377 it was annexed to the then newly 

founded office of Master of the Rolls. Nearly all 


274 The Inns of Court 

the domestic buildings have now disappeared, and it 
is said that the chapel, which, like the gate nearly 
opposite, and so many other Gothic buildings in 
London, dates from the time of the Tudors, is to be 
turned into a kind of museum of rare documents 
from the adjoining Record Office. I have already 
spoken of the monuments. 

Behind the Rolls, south of a long railing, is a 
green space, carpeted with grass and shaded with 
trees, and surrounded on two sides by old buildings. 
We look down into it from the steps of the Record 
Office, and when, also, we enter the old court of 
Serjeants' Inn, we see it beyond an iron gateway 
Eastward. This is the old garden of Clifford's Inn. 
It is bordered on the south by a very picturesque 
group of old houses with deep cornices and tiled 
roofs, among which, almost adjoining the Hall of 
the Serjeants, is the little Hall of the Inn, both 
with their great clock-faces proclaiming that they 
belong, though not many yards apart, to different 
establishments. The windows are full of heraldry, 
and among the shields we can easily distinguish the 
chequers of the Cliffords. Passing through an arch- 
way we reach a little court, if possible smaller than 
that of Serjeants' Inn, and find the hall on the north 
side, and three or four doors to separate houses of 
the greatest possible irregularity of plan, facing it on 
the opposite side. One of the openings admits to a 

The Inns of Chancery 275 

second passage, and by it we emerge close to the 
front or Fleet Street porch of the church of St. 
Dunstan-in-the-West, feeling very much as if we had 
emerged from the labyrinth of a warren. As we 
shall see in the next chapter, Clifford's Inn has no 
monopoly of the beauty of the Inns of Chancery ; 
but nothing can be more striking to the unaccustomed 
visitor than the sudden plunge from the noise and 
bustle and hurry and dust or mud of Fleet Street, 
into the calm, quiet, green recesses of the little 
garden among the old houses behind the church. 
Maitland's account is delightfully matter-of-fact and 
unpoetical, but most accurate. Writing in 1756, he 
says the garden is an airy place and neatly kept, 
** being enclosed with a palisade pale, and adorned 
with rows of lime-trees set round the grass plats and 
gravel walks." 



Clement's Inn — New Inn — Lyon's Inn — Cursitor Street — Staple Inn 
— Dr. Johnson — Barnard's Inn — Survey of the whole Subject — 
Its Architectural Features — Its Associations. 

We have still two groups of these dead or moribund 
little institutions to speak of. One clusters round 
the western precincts of the New Law Courts, the 
other is to be found on the southern side of Holborn. 
Before the ground was taken for Street's great new 
building, the north side of the Strand outside Temple 
Bar presented an appearance as different from what 
we see now as it is possible to imagine. There was 
a thicket, a tangle of small streets and lanes, all 
crowded upon a narrow tongue of land between the 
south side of Lincoln's Inn and the church of 
St. Clement Danes. West of the church was St. 
Clement's Inn, and I well remember a picturesque 
corner in Carey Street, where a house came quite 

The Inns of Chancery 279 

down to the boundary of the Inn, and a passage had 
been opened by putting the corner of the house on 
an arch. Add to this and other similar features the 
fact that almost every doorway was handsomely 
carved in a good style, that every roof was supported 
on a good corbelled cornice, and that there was plenty 
of << Q.^'g and dart " everywhere, and it will be under- 
stood that one can be sorry even for such rookeries, 
and wish that the pulling down had not fallen on 
a day when architectural taste appears to be dead. 
There was not a tumbledown tenement in Carey 
Street which was not more worthy of notice for 
correct design than any of the great and pretentious 
palaces which have lately grown up on the site. The 
Law Courts hold up a high standard in Gothic, but 
it IS followed by the frightful building to the north in 
dark red brick, which also apes the Gothic style. No 
wonder the authorities thought they must try Italian 
for the next building — evidently no one understands 
Gothic, now poor Street is dead — and so we have the 
great freestone monstrosity to the north of the new 
garden, built apparently to prove that Italian is as 
dead as Gothic. Finally, the more pleasing features 
of Clement's Inn have been pulled down and replaced 
by an architect who is too proud or too ignorant to 
be able to imitate the charming work of a hundred 
and fifty years ago which he has destroyed. With 
a sort of despair at heart we turn into New Inn, 

28o The Inns of Court 

which adjoins, and can still admire the tender brown 
of the old bricks, the full cornices, the mullioned 
windows, the tiled roofs, and the abundance of old 
green grass. Let us admire while we can. How 
long will it all last ? 

The old buildings of Clement's Inn were peculiarly 
picturesque. The hall, with its inevitable clock, a 
well-designed door\vay at the top of a flight of steps, 
red brick relieved by white stone, and all the other 
features of the genuine " Queen Anne " style, rendered 
it a pleasant retreat. There was nothing of striking 
antiquity about it, and the famous well mentioned 
by Fitz Stephen had long disappeared. But it had 
acquired a delightfully old-world air, and we could 
have better spared a better house. Founded for law 
students before the reign of Henry VH., it was 
entitled to a certain amount of veneration on account 
of the antiquity of a site as old as the time of Henry 
n. The arms of the Inn were those of St Clement, 
a silver anchor on an azure field, ensigned with the 
letter " C " sable, and appeared over the door and in 
other places. Its eminent inhabitants are unrecorded. 

Of New Inn I have already given Stow's account, 
and need add nothing more. It has the disadvan- 
tage of opening into Wych Street, a narrow and 
somewhat disreputable locality, but is spacious, airj^ 
and green when once you are within. The old hall, 
the clock, of course, and some good wrought-iron 


I ■ 


I I 


The Inns of Chancery 283 

railings, are the chief features of a neat but not very 
interesting courtyard. 

Westward of these two was Lyon's Inn. It was 
accounted a dependency of the Inner Temple, and 
was very small. It was opened for law students in 
the reign of Henry VIII., but the buildings at the 
time of its removal in 1863, to make way for a 
theatre, were very modern, although rather more 
picturesque in cornices and other classical features 
than architects seem able to manage at the present 
day. Coke was reader in the time of Queen Eliza- 
beth ; but history is little concerned with Lyon's Inn 
— or, as some say, the Lyon Inn — before 1823, 
when it was mentioned in Theodore Hook's doggrcl 
verses about a famous murder : — 

" His name was Mr. Williame Weare ; 
He dwelt in Lyon's Inn," 

and was murdered by Thurtcll near Elstree. Ireland 
says the hall was built in 1700, "but has no one 
internal circumstance but filth to recommend it to 
our notice, since the use of mops and brooms seems 
to have been totally unknown to the directors of 
this Inn." He found a brood of chickens on the 
tables and benches. 

The other group of Inns consists only of two 
distinct institutions, namely, Staple and Barnard's, 
but annexed to Barnard's Inn is a very picturesque 

284 The Inns of Court 

row of gables in Fetter Lane, originally known as 
the " White Horse." It is mentioned in many old 
memoirs as a place where coaches started. It was 
not, strictly speaking, any integral part of the Inn, 
but a passage led through it, by which the lawyers 
made a short cut to Fetter Lane and the parts 

To see Staple and Barnard's Inns properly the 
visitor should walk from Chancery Lane through 
some of the labyrinth of small thoroughfares which 
adjoin or communicate with Cursitor Street. With 
a mind full of Thackeray and Dickens, and older 
romance writers than they, every street name will 
remind him of the days when these regions were 
thickly peopled with duns, and bailiffs, and sheriffs* 
officers, and every second house was a sponging 
house. What hero of romance was there who did 
not find himself in Cursitor Street at least once in 
his London career, and was not indebted for a night's 
compulsory lodging to " Little Aminadab," or some 
equally accommodating gentleman ? But Cursitor 
Street has no longer any horrors for the bankrupt 
and the extravagant man about town. It seems a 
thing incredible that the movements of the law were 
so clumsy as they are represented to have been in 
dozens of books by Gronow, Grevile, Thackeray, 
Dickens, and other writers who described the manners 
and customs — I had almost said of our ancestors — 



The Inns of Chancery 287 

but these scenes took place long since the times of 
our ancestors. Many of us are little past middle age 
who can remember the whole lumbering machinery 
at work. To some of us the name of Cursitor Street 
recalls episodes of family history, passages which 
saddened our youth ; elder brothers, perhaps, or 
cousins in trouble, aunts, sometimes mothers in tears ; 
and even those who have no such skeletons stowed 
away in their cupboards have read of them till they 
have become a reality to the mind. But what is 
Cursitor Street now? Where are the sponging 
houses? Where are the bailiffs and the sheriffs' 
officers ? We see only a well-built if unbeautiful 
street, full of prosperous -looking offices. Another 
turn takes us to Southampton Buildings, in the back- 
ground of which we see an Elizabethan terrace, a gilt 
gate, and a good backing of green foliage. The 
terrace and the railing mark the southern or Chancery 
Lane boundary of Staple Inn. 

I wish I could unravel the mysteries that hang 
about the origin and the meaning of the name of 
Staple Inn. It is but too easy to form theories and 
to hazard guesses. But there are certain features in 
the present case which, while they teach us nothing 
definite, cannot be overlooked even by the most 
unimaginative historical student, while, taken in 
connection with a great many minor circumstances, 
they go to form, or at least to suggest, a picture 


The Inns of Chancery 291 

Templars, frequented by wool merchants, who have 
left a memorial in the arms of the house unto this 
day, which are, " Azure a woolpack, argent." " This," 
says Dugdale, " as we have by tradition, was hereto- 
fore called Staple Hall, being a place where merchants 
for wool had their meetings." As early as the reign 
of Henry V. it had been taken by Gray*s Inn for 
students. In 1622 it is described as an Inn of 
Chancery with a garden adjoining, and about that 
time a good part of the existing front must have 
been built. The hall cannot be much later, but 
most of the court in which it stands is dated 
between 1720 and 1750, about which time there 
was what would now be called a thorough " restora- 
tion." The delightful Gothic door on the garden 
front of the hall is dated 1753. The whole of the 
buildings are picturesque to the greatest degree, and 
it is pleasant to see that the new owners repair and 
preserve it in the most careful and conservative 
manner. The lawyers sold it in 1884 ^o the 
Prudential Assurance Company for ;^68,ooo. It 
had been governed, according to Ireland, by thirteen 
ancients, which included a principal and a pensioner ; 
the first was elected every three years by the two 
junior members, and the other held office at his own 

If we approach from Chancery Lane by way of 
Southampton Buildings, we reach a gate which 

292 The Inns of Cotu^t 

opens on a pretty terrace walk. On the north 
side of the terrace is the garden, laid out with 
flowers, having the door and mullioned windows 
of the Elizabethan hall beyond. Along the terrace 
on our right are some new buildings in a modern 
style, and when we have passed them there are 
some interesting old houses with deeply corniced 
roofs. Turning to the left we enter the court 
through an archway at the end of the hall, pausing 
to admire the old turret, the most perfect on any 
hall in London. Within the court, which is shaded 
with luxuriant trees, we see specimens of Elizabethan, 
Stuart, Queen Anne, and Georgian architecture, and 
the date of every feature is, with the initials of 
successive principals, over the hall doors. The hall 
opens in the south-western corner, and is in very 
perfect condition and well worth a visit, dating from 
the time of Queen Elizabeth. Sir George Buc, 
writing in 163 1, as quoted by Mr. Wheatley (iii. 
302), mentioned it as new then : " They have 
bestowed great costs in new building a fayre hall 
of brick.'* A very " fayre hall " it is still. 

In 1758, when some of these buildings were 
quite new, they had to open wide their portals to 
admit an illustrious guest. Dr. Samuel Johnson, 
after years of toil in obscurity, had just emerged as 
the famous author of the immortal dictionary, and 
was actually, while residing in Staple Inn, engaged 

The Inns of Chancery 293 

on the composition of Rasselas, "In 1758," says 
Boswell, " we find him, it should seem, in as easy 
and pleasant a state of existence as constitutional 
unhappiness ever permitted him to enjoy." From 
Staple Inn he removed, in the following year, to 
Gray's Inn, and thence to the Temple, living most 
of the time, as Murphy says of him, "in poverty, 
total idleness, and the pride of literature." 

Immediately opposite Staple Inn used to stand 
the Middle Row in Holborn, removed in 1867. 
Passing through it and the site of Holborn Bars — 
for we are apt to forget that there were bars at the 
limits of the city jurisdiction all round, these being 
distinguished from Temple Bars as the Bars of the 
Old Temple — we soon reach the modest little 
doorway which admits us to Barnard's Inn. When 
we have advanced a few yards up the passage, we 
see before us the little hall spanning the roadway by 
an arch. It is of unknown antiquity, most of the 
external features seeming to be Elizabethan ; but 
there was a lawyers' inn here as early as 1454, in 
which year the principal was sent a prisoner to 
Hertford Castle. A town-and-gown riot, as it 
would be called at the Universities, broke out 
between the students of the Inns of Court and 
Chancery on the one part, and the citizens of 
London on the other. The question, whatever 
it was, came to a point one day in Fleet Street, 

294 The Inns of Court 

where some damage was done by the rioters, 
and, pending an inquiry, the principals of Clifford's, 
Furnivars, and Barnard's Inns were arrested. In 
the face of more interesting subjects, the birth of a 
son to the long childless king and queen, the outbreak 
of a blazing star, and the first battle of St. Albans, 
the chroniclers have neglected to tell lis the sequel. 

Barnard's Inn has been invaded by the Mercers' 
Company, who have made it the site of a new school, 
but the hall has been spared. A great deal of the 
old beauty has departed, and is now only to be found 
in the numerous pictures and drawings which were 
made year by year, for it was always a favourite 
haunt of artists. A fire which broke out in 1780 
diminished the architectural attractions of the place. 
It was caused by the rioters who burnt Langdale's 
distillery next door, and threatened even Staple Inn. 
But enough is left to produce a most pleasing im- 
pression, and to transport the visitor, in fancy, into 
the seventeenth century. The hall is used occasion- 
ally for public meetings, and is in very good repair 
and carefully kept. 

In the foregoing survey of the present condition 
of the Inns of Court and Chancery, it has been my 
painful duty to find fault now and again. The 
lawyers are too much given to thinking that the 
old buildings of which they are the trustees and 
guardians concern themselves alone and nobody 


. ) 

The hins of Chancery 297 

else. The mere fact of the publication of this 
series of articles will show them that they are 
mistaken in entertaining such a belief. The general 
public was immensely interested fifty years ago in 
the operations carried on in the Temple Church ; 
and they are also interested now in the fate of 
Lincoln*s Inn Gate and Gray's Inn Hall. The 
legal authorities have no more right to ignore 
public opinion than a dean and chapter ; but there is 
this difference between the cases, that the benchers 
who make up their minds to ruin what is interesting 
in their Inn can afford to do it at their own 
expense, whereas the capitular body of a cathedral 
church are dependent on the weakness or wilfulness 
of those who have to provide the funds. It is the 
more needful, therefore, that outsiders should en- 
deavour to impress upon their minds the keen 
public anxiety as to their doings, and to assure 
them that such Vandalisms as those perpetrated in 
the chapel of Lincoln's Inn are regarded with horror 
and execration by all civilised and educated people. 

The Rolls Chapel dates about the time of 
Henry VIII., but has been much pulled about and 
ill-treated. It is curious to group together in the 
mind a large class of Gothic buildings in London, 
all erected about the same time, and all offering us 
the last expiring examples of the old pointed 
architecture which was about to be eclipsed by the 

2gS The Inns of Court 

Palladian style which Torrigiano was the first to 
introduce. Beginning in the east with St. Peter's 
Church, as it should be termed, for it is a parish 
church in the Tower of London, we have St. Giles's 
Church at Cripplegate, St. John's Gate at Clerken- 
well, this Rolls Chapel, the gate of Lincoln's Inn, 
the Chapel Royal in the Savoy, and the Palace of 
St. James, all in the same style and all built about 
the same time. No doubt such buildings are ex- 
ceedingly obnoxious to the modern restorer, and 
especially to the modern Gothic architect, for 
reasons intelligible enough, but into which there is 
no occasion to go here. But after all, the general 
public are the final arbiters of taste in such matters, 
and it is very much to be desired that they should 
speak out plainly. 

In addition to this very interesting phase of the 
old national style we have another, or, to speak 
more exactly, we had another, in the chapel of 
Lincoln's Inn, which represented that Gothic revival 
which Laud started, and which flickered out almost 
immediately with his tragical fate. Inigo Jones 
built, apparently, three Gothic churches in London. 
This was one, and the others were St. Albans in 
Wood Street, burnt in 1666, and St. Katharine 
Cree, which is the only one of the three remaining. 

Next we have a third style of Gothic in the halls 
of the Middle Temple, Clifford's, Gray's, Staple and 


The Inns of Chancery 299 

Barnard's Inns, a style in which all the feeling, the 
glass, the construction, the roofing, was according to 
the old tradition, and all the detail according to the 
new Italian ideas of Thorpe and Shute, and their 
followers and contemporaries. 

Finally, we have the modern Gothic, of which the 
noblest example with which I am acquainted is 
Hardwick's hall of Lincoln's Inn, a building worthy 
of Cardinal Wolsey, and almost worthy of William 
of Wykeham. The hall of the New Law Courts is 
another fine building in the revived style, and is 
interesting also apart from its beauty as showing the 
limitations which the best architects of Street's time 
and school voluntarily imposed on themselves, but 
which proved more than they could work under. 

Side by side with all this, we have also seen 
the efforts of the Palladian School, and, since our 
architects have forgotten its rigid rules, the number- 
less attempts made, especially in the two Temples, 
to be picturesque at the expense of proportion, and 
all that is most necessary to good architecture. In 
short, what with Wren's fine, but simple, gate in 
Fleet Street, and the gate on the Embankment, by 
a modern architect, we have in the Temple alone the 
very best possible examples how to do it, and how 
not to do it, in this particular style. 

In addition to the interesting architectural 
features of the Inns, we have had the historical 

300 The Inns of Conrt 

and biographical associations. The proud Templars 
actually did march through the courts still called 
after them, and were actually buried in the church. 
Here, too, we think of Johnson and Goldsmith, 
of Cowper and Lamb, of Thackeray and Dickens, 
as well as of the eminent lawyers who were 
nourished in these old walls. The Middle Temple 
contains in its hall almost the only tangible relic 
of Shakespeare that exists in London. Some see a 
similar association in the hall of Gray's Inn, but 
there Bacon is the most commanding figure. I 
never pass the Lincoln's Inn gate tower without 
remembering that it was new when Sir Thomas 
More walked through it as Chancellor. Memories 
of this kind crowd on us among the Inns of Coprt 
and Chancery, and sometimes are of a character to 
interfere with our enjoyment of the old college-like 
cloisters, and the green slopes, and the flowers, and 
the distant hum of the great city, and all the other 
impressions of peace and beauty which we would 
prefer to indulge in such places. 


Arms of the two Temples, 70 
,, in Middle Temple Hall, 156 

Bacon, 247 
Barbon, 15 
Barnard's Inn, 293 
Barrington, 112 
Blackamoor, 124 
Blackfriars, 23 
Blackstone, 171 
Boswell, 98 
Brick Court, 135 
Bridgewater, 214 
Brougham, 220 

Campbell, Lord, 122 
Carmelites, 8 

Chichester, Bishop of, 8, 24 
Chrysanthemum Shows, 166 
Clement's Inn, 276 
Clifford's Inn, 262 
Cowper, William, 95 
Cursitor Street, 284 

David Copperfield, 237 
Dickens, 144 
Devereux Court, 8 
Dominicans, 23 
Donne, 203 

Effigies of Knights, 47 
Effigy of Dean Young, 64 
Egerton, 214 

Eldon, 172 
Ellenborough, 115 
'. Ellesmere, 214 
Essex, Earl of, 15 
Exeter, Bishop of, 13 

Farringdon Without, ward of, i 

Pickett's Field, 5 

Fleet Street, 2 

Forge, the, 5 

Fountain, 143 

Furnival's Inn, 261 

I Geography of Fleet Street, 2 
I Goldsmith, 135 
Gray's Inn, 226 

,, Chapel, 238 

Hale, Sir M. , 215, 266 

Hall, Barnard's Inn, 294 
Clifford's Inn, 266 
Gray's Inn, 237 
Inner Temple, 83 
Lincoln's Inn, 185 
Middle Temple, 146 
Serjeants' Inn, 270 
Staple Inn, 291 

Hard wick, 184 

Heber, 224 

Herring, 223 

Hoi born, 3 

Hooker, bust of, 45 

Hospitallers, 16 


The Inns of Court 

Hurd. 224 

Round Churches, 33 

Inns enumerated, 9 


library, 122 

1 1 

monument, 57 

Johnson, 99 


' Inn, 270 

Jones, Inigo, 62 

Shakespeare, 149 

Staple Inn, 287 

King's Bench Walk, 84 

Stone Building, 182 



Lamb, Charies, 89 

Lambardc, 214 


Benchers, 106 

Lenlhall, 215 


Buildings, 72, 132, 146 

Lincoln's Inn, 173 

1 1 

Church, 34 

,, ,, Chapel, 62 

• I 

Dinners in, 102 

Gateway, 175 

1 1 

Gardens, 143 

Hall, 176, 182 

1 » 

Inner, 69 

,, ,, Library, 190 

1 1 

Ladies in, 105 

,. ,, Stone Building, 182 

1 • 

Masters of the, 58 

Ludgate, 3, 4 

1 1 

Middle, 127 

1 1 

Order of the, suppressed. 

Mann INGHAM. 149 


Martin Chuzzlewit, 144 

1 1 

Population, 80 

Martin, monument of, 57 

1 1 

the Old, 5 

Mil ford Lane, 7 

1 1 

the Outer, 7 

Murray, 120 

1 1 

Treasurer, 19 

Thackeray, 91 

Newgate, 4 



New Inn, 253 



North family, 170 



Torrigiano, 67 

Palsgrave Place, 15 

Twelfth Night, 149 

Portpool, 8, 26, 228 

Volunteers, 181 

Portraits, Inner Temple Hall, 119 

White Friars, 7 

Revels, 124, 150, 159, 241 

Wren, 84 

Rolls, 64, 273 

Rookeries, 139, 249 

Young, Dean, tomb of, 64 


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