Middle Temple, London

Middle Temple, London

Temple's collection of courtyards and structures encompasses two of the four Inns of Court: Middle Temple and Inner Temple. Its name has its roots in the Knights Templar, a noble order that had its headquarters here during medieval times, and it is believed that their initiations occurred in the crypt of Temple Church. Erected in the 12th century and under the care of the Inns since 1608, the church showcases a remarkable Elizabethan organ in the chancel and 13th-century effigies of the Knights Templar within the circular Round.

Entering Middle Temple feels akin to stepping back in time to Dickensian London. Dickens himself described it as follows: "You can read on its gates: 'Who enters here leaves noise behind.'" Over the centuries, a host of historical figures, including Sir Walter Raleigh, William Makepeace Thackeray, and Charles Dickens himself, held membership in Middle Temple.

Among the other historic structures in Temple, Middle Temple Hall stands out as perhaps the finest example of an Elizabethan Hall in London. It measures over 100 feet in length and 40 feet in width, featuring a magnificent double hammer-beam roof and walls adorned with ornate Coats of Arms and splendid oil paintings. While predominantly used by Middle Temple members, access to the general public is typically limited to invitation-only events and concerts. In close proximity to the hall lies Fountain Court, exuding a monastic ambiance, where law students often dine. Dickens even mentioned the fountain in "Martin Chuzzlewit".

Another lovely locale is Garden Court, a leafy square with a view of the Thames, immortalized in "Great Expectations". This is where Pip, the protagonist, resided when the convict Abel Magwitch arrived one fateful night to disclose a life-altering secret. In the novel, Pip describes, "We lived at the top of the last house, and the wind rushing up the river shook the house that night, like discharges of cannon or breakings of a sea". On that tempestuous night, Pip receives a message at the Temple gate: "Don't go home." But, of course, he does...

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Middle Temple on Map

Sight Name: Middle Temple
Sight Location: London, England (See walking tours in London)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in London, England

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