Temple (District) :: Visitors' Map of London :: A-Z Maps

Temple (District)

A complex of quiet squares and courts, of quaint corners, these precincts preserve a remarkable feel of 'old London'. Formerly the property of the Order of the Knights Templar (from 1184 to 1313) and then of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem; it finally came into the possession of two Inns of Court: Inner Temple and Middle Temple. The Knights Templar were a military Order founded in 1119 at Jerusalem with the object of recovering Palestine from the Saracens and protecting pilgrims to the Holy Land.

The four historic Inns of Court perform the function of University to the legal profession, they are unincorporated associations which have existed since the 14th Century and play a central role in the recruitment of student barristers, and have the exclusive right to Call men and women to practise law the Bar.

Temple Church is one of the few remaining round churches in England - the circular nave, dedicated 1185 by the patriarch of Jerusalem in the presence of Henry II and his court, being built for the Knights Templar in imitation of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The interior, including that of the chancel, added c.1240, is well restored after serious World War II bomb damage; there are important 12th and 13th century tomb effigies and a 1682 reredos by Wren. The church is independent from the Diocese of London enjoying the status of a 'Royal Peculiar' under the jurisdiction of the Queen.

See Also: Lincoln's Inn, Inner Temple, Middle Temple, Gray's Inn

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