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Honourable Society Of The Middle Temple

Middle Temple Lane, City, London, EC4Y 9AT Show on Map Add to shortlist
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Honourable Society Of The Middle Temple
Middle Temple Hall is one of the finest examples of an Elizabethan Hall in the country. 101 feet long and 41 feet wide, it is spanned by a magnificent double hammer beam roof carved from the oak of Windsor Forest. Begun in 1562 and finished in 1573, it has remained virtually unaltered to the present day. From the first this Hall was the scene of both serious legal education, and of high spirited entertainments, masques, revels and gaming. Disorders in Hall were not uncommon and rules were enacted in Elizabethan times forbidding the wearing of cloaks, swords and rapiers in Hall. The oil paintings above the Bench Table are those of Queen Elizabeth I, who dined many times in the Hall, Charles I attributed to Van Dyck, Charles II by Sir Godfrey Kneller, James II and William III. Queen Anne and George I are in Coronation robes. In the windows are heraldic glass memorials, some dating back to the 16th century, to notable Middle Templars. They include Sir Walter Raleigh, eleven holders of the Great Seal, twenty four Chief Justices, ten Masters of the Rolls, nine Chief Barons of the Exchequer, Edward VII who was Treasurer in 1887 and the late Duke of Windsor who was made a Bencher in 1919. The glass was removed before the Blitz and was re-instated after the War. The Bench Table, made from four 29 feet planks of a single oak tree, traditionally believed to be a gift from Elizabeth I, was floated down the Thames from Windsor Forest and was installed before the Hall was completed. The current cupboard (reputedly made from the hatch covers of Sir Francis Drake‘s ship, the Golden Hind) has been the centre of ceremonies for centuries. From it, Readers delivered their lectures to student members dining in Hall and at it, newly qualified barristers are Called to the Bar. The Readers‘ Coats of Arms, which can be seen on the wood panelling, date from 1597. At the other end of the Hall is the splendid, elaborately carved screen made in 1574. Extensively damaged during World War II, it has been so well repaired that the joins cannot be seen. The screen‘s two double leaved, spiked doors were installed in 1671 by the Masters of the Bench in an attempt to prevent unruly members occupying Hall riotously over the Christmas period. The first performance of Shakespeare‘s "Twelfth Night" is reputed to have taken place in Hall in 1602 and there is a plaque in the Entrance Hall marking this event. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was a regular visitor to the Inn since her Call to the Bench here in 1944; she visited the Hall to see the progress of the post-war reconstruction and opened the restored Hall in 1949. She was a regular visitor to the Inn until three months before her death. The Hall is not an historic relic. It is the centre of the life of the Inn today and is available for hire throughout the year.
Room Name
Max Capacity
Approx Dimensions
Hall
500
12.19m x 27.43m
Parliament Chamber
120
9.55m x 7.85m
Queen's
85
7.85m x 8m
Smoking
100
7.72m x 10.82m
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