Monday, April 27, 2009

The Temple and Temple Church

Panorama of Cloisters, Church Court and the Temple Church
24th April 2009 - 1.00pm

11" x 16" in Daler Rowney Sketchbook

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Last Friday I went to the The Temple with the Drawing London Group. This is a sketch of the Temple Church and Church Court which was made famous around the world after it featured in both the book and the film of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code.

This particular panorama is from the the edge of the steps up to the Library and has Bill Aldridge, organiser of the Drawing London group, sat on his sketching stool in the bottom left hand corner. The round part of Temple Church can be seen on the right hand side of the sketch. The building with arches on the left behind the tree is Cloisters which is actually part of the Middle Temple.

The Inner Temple is the home of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple. The Middle Temple is the home of The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple. These two Societies are two of the four historic Inns of Court situated around the Royal Courts of Justice in London which hold the exclusive rights to call candidates to practise law at the Bar of England and Wales. This then entitles them to practise as barristers. The Inner Temple provides training and continued professional development for student and established barristers respectively.

The Temple was originally the home, in the twelfth century, of the Knights Templar. They built the round part of the Temple Church and named it after the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem - which is supposedly the site of Jesus' burial. All round churches built by the Knights templar relate back to this church. It's now the parish church of the Inner Temple and Middle Temple.

The Round Church was consecrated on 10 February 1185 by Heraclius, Patriarch of Jerusalem. You can find out more about the Round Church here.
The oldest part of the church is the Round which was consecrated in 1185. The quire was consecrated in 1240. The church was seriously damaged during the Second World War but when the damage was made good the reredos by Wren which had been removed by the 19th century 'restorers', was replaced.
Inner Temple website - The Buildings
You can:
Interestingly the Temple and the Temple Church enjoy very unusual legal status. The Temple is an independent extra-parochial area, which historically is not governed by the City of London Corporation (although geographically within the boundaries and liberties of the City of London). In effect the Honourable Societies of the Inner and Middle Temple also act as if they are local authorities.
The Temple Church is jointly administered and maintained by the Inner Temple and Middle Temple and enjoys the status of a "Royal Peculiar" (a place of worship that falls directly under the jurisdiction of the British monarch, rather than a diocese). It is independent from the Diocese of London and the Master of the Temple is appointed directly by the Queen.
The Inner Temple website - The Inner Temple today
The buildings always remind me very much of the buildings and courtyards of the older colleges and Oxford and Cambridge - right down to the hand painted list of occupants at the entrance to each set of chambers.

The layout of the Temple is very confusing for anybody unfamiliar with it. Fortunately the Temple Church provides a very handy page of how to find the Church and the layout of the different buildings which make up the Middle and Inner Temple, which can be printed out.


1 comment:

  1. Very interesting building and lovely sketch.


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