Inner Temple (also known as Temple, The)3230

Victoria Embankment, England, Greater London

Brief Description

Inner Temple has gardens of medieval origin which were further developed through the following centuries. The present layout dates from the early-19th century, incorporating earlier features. The site occupies about 1.7 hectares.

History

In the late-12th century the Knights Templar moved from Holborn to the Temple area and it is likely that there were gardens associated with the monastery that they built there. By the mid 15th century the Temple buildings and gardens had been separated into the Middle and Inner Temple. During the 15th and 16th ceturies the Inner Temple gardens were divided into various enclosures, which included the Great Garden and three smaller gardens or courts. The Garden was redesigned again in the early 18th century. By the early 19th century the gardens had been redesigned to the present layout in the northern and central sections.

Visitor Facilities

The site is open weekdays, 12.30 to 3pm. Please telephone 020 7797 8250

Terrain

The Garden is laid out on ground which slopes southwards to the Thames.

Detailed Description

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/

Gardens of medieval origin, developed in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, with 19th and 20th century layout and planting.

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING

Inner Temple Garden, about 1.5 hectares, is located to the south of Fleet Street, north of the River Thames, and east of Middle Temple, in the City of London. The Garden is irregular in shape and is laid out on ground which slopes southwards to the Thames. The Garden is surrounded by railings along Crown Office Row to the north, Victoria Embankment to the south, Middle Temple Lane to the south-east, and King's Bench Walk to the north-east, and by buildings along the other boundaries.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES

The entrance to the Garden is from Crown Office Row to the north, through wrought-iron gates (1730, listed grade II*), with curving steps to the south. There is a vehicular service entrance from King's Bench Walk to the east and from Victoria Embankment, to the south-east, through a late C19 gateway (listed grade II) consisting of five tall, Portland stone piers supporting outer gates and a central double gate.

PRINCIPAL BUILDING

The following buildings border the Garden and are important to the setting: Harcourt Buildings (a neo-Georgian, post-war brick range by Sir Hubert Worthington) and Temple Gardens (E M Barry 1878-9, with an archway through it for Middle Temple Lane, listed grade II) to the west; Paper Buildings (1838, a plain five-storeyed building by Sir Robert Smirke, the southern end (No.5) altered in 1848 by Sydney Smirke, listed grade II) to the north-east; and the southern end of King's Bench Walk (which consists of No.7 (late C17, brick, listed grade I), No.8 (C18, brick, listed grade II*), Nos.9-11 (1814, in yellow brick, listed grade II), and Nos.12-13 by Sir Robert Smirke (1814, stone-faced, listed grade II) and Hamilton House (1880, an ornamented gabled building in Portland stone, listed grade II)) to the east.

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS

On approaching the Garden from the north, down the circular flight of steps (Thomas Scott 1729), the northern end of the Garden is levelled as a Terrace (a survival from the C16 Great Garden, and upon which orange trees were set out in the summer months in the C17), with a gravel walk and a central stone sundial (Edward Strong 1707). Benches and tubs of plants are set on the walk, which is backed by a shrubbery (shown on Rocque, 1746) and the wall to the north and by a lawn to the south. In the C17 and early C18 the walls had jasmines, roses and fruit trees upon them.

The area of lawn on the Terrace is set out with beds of roses, predominantly red and white, which traditionally mark the place where the emblems of the War of the Roses were plucked. From the sundial, there are steps which lead down to the gardens to the south. On either side of the steps there are low shrubberies, with bedding displays around the edges.

The rest of the Garden consists of an extensive sweep of lawn, with scattered trees including catalpa, ailanthus, thorn, whitebeam, flowering cherry, sorbus, cedar, magnolia, and gingko. In the C17 and early C18 the lawns were arranged as rectangular grass plats, with paths running between and along the lengths of them, and formally planted with standard evergreens (yew trees in pots, box trees in the grass plots, variegated phillyreas, standard laurels, junipers, holly, pyramid box and laurel) and with beds of Dutch bulbs. During the C17 the western portion of the lawn had been densely planted with formal rows of trees (Newcourt and Faithorne, 1658; Leake and Hollar, 1667; Ogilby, 1676) but by the early C18 buildings had been built along the western side and the remaining portion had been laid out to the same design as the rest of the Great Garden (Taylor 1953, pl 7; Rocque, 1746). The eastern side of the gardens is planted with trees and shrubberies (shown on C19 plans: Holwood, 1813; OS 1873) and there are scattered beds of roses and bedding plants along the east and south-east edges of the Garden.

The Garden is enclosed on the south side by a raised east/west walk, lined by notable mature plane trees. The southern end of the Garden was taken in and laid out in the late C19 after the Victoria Embankment was built. Set in the lawn, just south of the centre is a paved circular pool surrounded by bedding, with a fibreglass statue of a youth (Margaret Wrightson, 1971) on the eastern side. The statue replaced a lead figure of 1775, which was set up in the Garden in 1928 to commemorate Charles Lamb (stolen late C20). The line of plane trees to the north of the pool marks the limit of the Garden before the river was confined by the Embankment in 1870 (OS 1873).

The north-east end of the Garden is semicircular, with an Italian lead-work sundial, supported by a crouching Moor (c 1700), in the centre of the lawn (moved here from Clement's Inn, Strand, in 1884 ( Pevsner 1985), and shrub planting (shown on C19 plans: Holwood, 1813; OS 1873) and wisteria against the wall and railings at the southern end of King's Bench Walk.

REFERENCES used by English Heritage:

E Cecil, London Parks and Gardens (1907), pp 264-275

London Squares Preservation Act (1931), Appendix III

G Taylor, Old London Gardens (1953), pp 28-35

B Weinreb and C Hibbert (eds), The London Encyclopaedia (1983), pp 418-419

N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 1: the City of London, (3rd edn (revised) 1985), pp 343-353

Maps

Newcourt and Faithorne, map of the City of London, 1658

John Leake, Exact Survey of the City of London, 1666

Richard Newcourt, Exact Delineation ... of London, 14" to 1 mile, 1658

J Leake, Exact Surveigh ... within the ruines of the City of London, 1666

Leake and Hollar, Exact Surveigh ..., 1667 [revised edn based on Leake's survey of 1666]

J Ogilby and W Morgan, A Large and Accurate Map of the City of London, 52" to 1 mile, 1676

Stow, Map of London (published in Survey of London, 1720 edn)

John Rocque, Plan of the Cities of London and Westminster ..., 1744-1746

Richard Horwood, Plan of the Cities of London and Westminster, 2nd edn 1813

OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1873

2nd edition published 1894

3rd edition published 1913

Description written: June 1998

Edited: May 2000

Features
  • Gate
  • Description: Wrought-iron gates at the entrance.
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  • Gateway
  • Description: There is a vehicular service entrance from Victoria Embankment through a late-19th-century gateway consisting of five tall, Portland stone piers supporting outer gates and a central double gate.
  • Town House (featured building)
  • Description: A number of listed buildings border the Garden and are important to the setting.
  • Steps
  • Description: A circular flight of steps.
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  • Terrace
  • Description: The northern end of the Garden is levelled as a Terrace (a survival from the 16th-century Great Garden).
  • Walk
  • Description: Gravel walk.
  • Sundial
  • Description: Stone sundial by Edward Strong.
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  • Shrubbery
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  • Rose Border
  • Description: The area of lawn on the Terrace is set out with beds of roses, predominantly red and white, which traditionally mark the place where the emblems of the War of the Roses were plucked.
  • Pool
  • Description: Set in the lawn, just south of the centre is a paved circular pool surrounded by bedding.
  • Statue
  • Description: In the pool is a fibreglass statue of a youth (Margaret Wrightson).
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  • Sundial
  • Description: An Italian lead-work sundial, supported by a crouching Moor.
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Lawn, Specimen Tree
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

The site is open weekdays, 12.30 to 3pm. Please telephone 020 7797 8250

Directions

Tube: Blackfriars (closed until 2012)/Temple (District, Circle). Bus: 4, 11, 15, 23, 26, 76, 172, 341, 388.
History

Detailed History

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/

HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

In the late 12th century the Knights Templar moved from Holborn to the Temple area and it is likely that there were gardens associated with the monastery that they built there. The Knights Templar were suppressed in 1312 by Pope Clement V and the Temple passed firstly to the Earl of Pembroke and then, in 1324, to the Knights of the Order of St John. By 1346, when the Knights took full possession of the Temple, it was already leased to students of law and it was later granted to them in perpetuity for use as a place of study and residence.

The gardens were renowned for their roses and Shakespeare set the dispute which led to the War of the Roses in the (undivided) Temple gardens (Henry VI Part 1, Act 2):

'This brawl today, / Grown to this faction in the Temple-garden, / Shall send, between the red rose and the white, / A thousand souls to death and deadly night.'

By the mid 15th century the Temple buildings and gardens had been separated into the Middle and Inner Temple (although the formal division did not take place until 1732). The division approximately followed the line which divided the consecrated land to the east from the unconsecrated ground. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries the Temple was seized by the Crown which, in 1608, granted the freehold to the Benchers of the Temple.

During the 15th and 16th ceturies the Inner Temple gardens were divided into various enclosures, which included the Great Garden and three smaller gardens or courts. The Great Garden was walled off from the river in about 1528, approximately on the line of the southern end of Harcourt Buildings, Paper Buildings and No.10 King's Bench Walk (Rocque, 1746; Ordnance Survey 1873). The line of the wall was indented and it protected the Garden from flooding by the Thames, which at high tide reached up to the wall (Ogilby, 1676; engraving of 1720 in Taylor 1953, pl 7; Rocque, 1746). In 1533 walls were built around the west and north sides of the Great Garden and houses were erected on the east side, on the site of Paper Buildings, in 1610 (Cecil 1907). This cut the Great Garden in two and the eastern part was called Benchers' Walk or King's Bench Walk, with the Lower Walks to the south (Ogilby, 1676), and was formally planted with trees in rows (Taylor 1953). In the 17th century the remaining portion of the Great Garden, which constitutes the northern part of the registered site, was redesigned and planted (fruit trees and jasmine on the walls, standard evergreens and flowering trees on the lawns, paths of crushed shells, and orange trees along the terrace).

The Garden was redesigned again in the early 18th century. The work started in 1703 and included new gates and steps at the north end, a greenhouse at the west end of the terrace for over-wintering the orange trees (used as a garden house in the summer months), and redesigning and planting the garden to a design proposed by the gardener (Cecil 1907, 271).

By the early 19th century the gardens had been redesigned to the present (late 20th century) layout in the northern and central sections (Holwood, 1813), with the terrace, a large expanse of lawn and planting around the perimeter. The construction of the Victoria Embankment in 1870 resulted in the Garden being expanded to the south, and the planting and layout of this additional area dates from the late 19th century. Between 1888 and 1913 the Royal Horticultural Society's Great Spring Show was held in the Garden. It was moved in 1913 to Chelsea (Royal Hospital, Chelsea and Ranelagh Gardens), as the Chelsea Flower Show.

On the undertaking that the Benchers would preserve the Garden and squares as permanent open spaces, they were exempted from the provisions of the London Squares Preservation Act, 1931.

The Garden was described at that time (London Squares Preservation Act, Appendix III) as 'a large and attractive ornamental garden of irregular shape'.

Associated People

Just one person associated to Inner Temple

Contact
References

References

Contributors

  • London Parks and Gardens Trust