The Honourable Society of Middle Temple Hall was built in the 16th century, during William Shakespeare’s time and is one of the four inns of courst which can call its members to the bar. (The others are Inner Temple, Grays Inn and Lincoln’s Inn.)
It was in the 13th century that the inns of court sprung up as schools for the legal profession and they continued until 1852. These days they mostly provide specialised training in various aspects of law like ethics for students.
Most of the the surrounding buildings are taken up by barristers’ chambers and it is a popular location for film shoots.
Middle Temple Hall itself survived the fire of London and has remained exactly as it looked in Shakespeare’s time and in 1602 the first recorded performance of Twelfth Night was staged here with, it is said, William Shakespeare in the actual cast himself!
The judges and lawyers still take lunch here and you can hire it for special functions and corporate events. The emblems of each Inn can be seen around the place. Pegasus represents the inner temple and a ramb with a flag represents the middle temple…..or is it the other way around?
Although the surrounding areas look pretty exclusive they are open to the public and anyone can walk through. In fact, it’s a lovely way to get from the river up to Chancery Lane without having to walk the streets. One can just amble through the serene inns of court starting at Middle Temple, then Inner Temple and then Lincoln’s Inn.