It was once speculated that the two Inns of the Temple arose from the division of a single earlier one, but that is now thought to be improbable.
The earliest known reference to Middle Temple occurs in the Year Book 12 Richard II (1388), which records the appointment of ‘Willelmus Hankforde medii templi’ as a Serjeant at Law. The same record also refers to Serjeants appointed from Gray's Inn and Inner Temple.
The Middle Temple’s earliest surviving records of its governing body, or Parliament, date back to 1501 and are held in the archive. Lincoln's Inn’s records go back even earlier, to 1422, when its Black Books recording the proceedings of its Bench begin. An entry for 1442 refers to a payment for a wine party (pro potacione) with the Middle Temple. As the Inn had been in existence for about a century and a half, its first extant records reflect what was already a mature and well-established Society.
By late Elizabethan times the four Inns were described as the third university of England. The Inns, as well as training those who would make the law their career, educated the sons of the nobility and country gentry, in addition to those others who would require some knowledge of the law in their lives. The Inns retained close contacts with the Court and with government and its administration.
Although the formal study for the Bar has now passed to outside institutions, the involvement of the Inns in education is as important as ever. At student level, the Inn offers training to augment the professional training courses. After Call, it provides training in advocacy and professional ethics to newly called barristers in pupillage and under the New Practitioners’ Programme. A programme of lectures is part of the Continuing Professional Development for practitioners at all levels.
Welcome to the Temple Church, the church of Inner and Middle Temple.
We are here to serve the two Inns’ members and staff, and all those who work in this oasis of calm known as The Temple. We are glad to welcome visitors as well, from all over the world, to this beautiful and historic place at the very centre of London. Whether you want to discover one of the city’s loveliest areas, find some peace and quiet, or pray for your own loved ones here and at home, you are welcome.
My colleagues and I look forward to seeing you.
Services and Opening Times
Routine Weekly Services (all regular services use the Book of Common Prayer)
Prospective members or law students please click here for more information on educational tours.
Guided tours are available around the historic and awe-inspiring buildings of Middle Temple. You will feel as though you are going back in time as you walk down cobbled lanes flanked with gas street lamps towards one of the finest Elizabethan Halls in the country.
At Middle Temple we endeavour to ensure that everyone should have the chance to pursue a career at the Bar, regardless of their background. With your help we can give more opportunities to those who need it the most.
For many students the huge financial cost of training is out of their reach. The most talented individuals have to rely upon high interest loans to pay their fees but sadly we also know this financial burden is the very reason they drop out or defer.