Monday, January 21, 2008

Inside the Inns of Court - 19 January 2008

Serious sundial seriously short of sun
After the Knights Templar vacated the area, leaving behind one of their uniquely circular churches, the lawyers took over a site on the banks of the ThamesTemple Church situated, conveniently, between their clients in the City and the lawmakers in Westminster.

In 1608, James I granted the lawyers, in the form of the Middle Temple and Inner Temple Societies, the freehold of the land, in return for the lawyers continuing to provide the training and regulation of barristers.

History on the wallsAs part of their 400th anniversary celebrations, the Inner and Middle Temples, two of the four Inns of Court, held an open weekend allowing the interested public to wander through all manner of places normally off-limits to them.

The Middle Temple is home to the oldest public fountain in London; Double Hammer-beam ceilingone of the finest double hammer-beam ceilings (in the Great Hall – where the first performance of Shakespeare’s 12th Night was held); the only pair of Molyneux Globes; the garden where the original white and red Tudor roses (as in the Wars of the Roses) were picked, and so on. The whole area is an amazing amalgam of history and tradition.

The Old Curiosity ShopNot far away is The Old Curiosity Shop: built in 1567, it is the oldest shop in London and was the inspiration for Charles Dickens’ novel of the same name.

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