The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple is an institution, community and physical environment with a rich, complex and fascinating history. From the arrival of the Knights Templar to the Inn's present position at the heart of an international network of its members, the Middle Temple has long been at the heart of countless intersecting spheres of history and culture. The rich history of the Inn is the story of one of the world's most important centres of legal education, but it is not limited to the field of law. The Inn has also functioned for much of its history as an important hub for socialising and networking, the setting for feasts and duels, politics and literature, courtly spectacle and academic discourse. The contribution of Middle Templars to the practice and study of the law spanning over eight centuries has been tremendous, but members of the Inn have achieved fame (and infamy) elsewhere too - their cultural, political, navigational, architectural and indeed revolutionary achievements are beyond number.
These pages provide an outline of some of the key periods in the history of the Inn and discuss some of the broadest themes. More detail and insight can be found in many published sources and academic literature - a body of work which grows with every year as more of the Inn's historical riches are unearthed.
- The Knights Templar - The rise and fall of the order of crusading knights who occupied the Temple from the twelfth to the fourteenth century.
- Beginnings & the Medieval Inn - The emergence of the Middle Temple as a society of lawyers, and the development of the Inn as an educational and collegiate institution.
- Middle Temple under the Tudors - The Inn's rise to national prominence and stature, both as an institution of legal education and a political, social and cultural hub.
- The Seventeenth Century - Fire & War - Middle Temple's endurance throughout a century of great social upheaval, civil war, plague and devastation by fire.
- The Eighteenth Century - Stagnation & Neglect - The Inn's decline from its former glory and prestige, and the development of its trans-Atlantic connections.
- The Nineteenth Century - Revolution & Revitalisation - The revolution in legal education, royal connections and radical changes to the Inn's physical environment.
- The Twentieth Century - Destruction & Renewal - A century of great leaps forward and the endurance of two World Wars.
- The Inn Today - The Middle Temple in the 21st century, a modern institution adapting to the changing world and evolving needs of its members.