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cally) confined, and who owed that privilege doubtless
to the fact of their superior training and education in con-
ventual or collegiate seminaries (a). The establishment,
therefore, of lay schools on the model in point of dis-
cipline of these seminaries where the Common Law could
be methodically studied, and its practice observed, natu-
rally followed on the act of Edward I., and that these
societies should seek for themselves homes in dwellings
convenient to the King's Courts was an equally natural
development. In process of time the number of Inns
thus established seems to have resolved themselves into
two classes, the greater and lesser, the former being
designated by Fortescue in his time "Inns of Court,"
and the latter " Inns of Chancery " ; but in the beginning
there was probably no such distinction (6). When the
division came about it is impossible to say, but it was
probably only as the natural and gradual result of the
prosperity of some of the societies over the rest — the
same prosperity which enabled them to acquire, as the
opportunity presented itself, the more commodious and
commanding homes in which they established them-

(a) Bj common right every man was entitled to plead his own cause in
the King's Courts, and indeed expected to do so. B7 degrees, however,
professional representatives known as " Contours," or " Counters," were per-
mitted. That these should be chiefly ecclesiastics from the lack of education
amongst the laity was only natural ; but there was nothing to prevent a lay-
man from so acting, and the expression of William of Malmesbury, " Nullus
clencus nisi causidicus," often misread as if it were *' Nullus causidicus nisi
<5lericus," has reference not to a law, but to an abuse of the times. Never-
thele:'8, in early days, there were few "causidici" who were not also "clerici."
See Pollock and Maitland ; also Pulling, Ord^r of the Coif,

(b) Evidence of this is seen in the fact that as late as the reign of Henry
IV. there were what we should call "calls to the Bar" from the "lesser
Inns." See Pearce^s Iniis of Court, 261. Nor was the distinction between
attorneys and apprentices of the law (or barristers) what it was later and is
now. Edward I.'s proclamation makes no distinction. They probably re-
ttded in the same "Inns" and practised in common in the "High Court."

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selves. Fortescue does not give the names of these four
greater Inns, but there can be no reasonable doubt that
they are the four Inns of Court at this moment exist-
ing — namely, Gray's Inn, Lincoln's Inn, and the two
Temples (a). That the societies who first occupied these
Inns were not new societies, but associations of lawyers
who had previously housed elsewhere, there can be no
manner of doubt ; and though it is not possible either to
fix their previous habitats, or, as has been before said,
to determine the exact dates of their migration, there is
evidence to show that the two first of these societies had
removed to their present sites very early in the fourteenth
century. If an entry in Vincent's Visitation of North-
amptonshire is to be trusted, there must have been
"Benchers" in Gray's Inn in 1311(6), and the sister
society of Lincoln's Inn are said to have obtained their
famous mansion from Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, its
builder, soon after that nobleman's death in 1310 (c).
That the occupation of the Temple by lawyers began
not long after is reasonably certain, though they did not
come into complete possession and control of it till to-
wards, or perhaps after, the middle of the centurj (cZ).
The suppression of the great order of Knights Templars,
and the expulsion of the English members from their
home on the banks of the Thames (1312), opened out a
site more suitable even than the great houses in Portpoole
and Holborn for the purposes of Inns of Court, and which
doubtless became an object of desire on the part of the



(a) This was the opinion of Dugdale {Grig, Jurid. p. 142), and it has been
that, of nearly aU writers. Mr. Sergeant Pulling, however, in his treatise,
throws doubt on the authenticity of Fortescue's chapter on the Inns of Court,
and goes so far as to say that in his time (1470) there w.ere but three superior
Inns — the Middle Temple not being then in existence ! (Order of the Goif^
p. 154). The learned Sergeant seemed unaware of references to the Inner and
Middle Temple Inns thirty years before [see post^ p. (9)].

(h) See Douthwaite*8 Graxfs InUy p. 19.

(c) Spilsbury's LincoMs Inn^ pp. 32, 34.

(d) See post, p, (7).

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Origin and Early History.

lawyers not so well housed. Accordingly, after the grant
by the king of the New Temple, or a part of it, to the
Earl of Lancaster, we learn that some of them " made
a composition with that nobleman for a lodging in the
Temple, and so came thither, and have continued ever
since " (a). As the Earl of Lancaster held the Temple
for about seven years from 1315, this would fix the first
settlement of the lawyers there between that date and
the year 1322, if the authority of the MS. above cited is
to be relied on. But the date usually assigned to the
settlement of the lawyers is somewhat later. "The
lands of the Templars being bestowed upon the Knights
Hospitalers " in pursuance of a decree of 1324, as Dugdale
informs us (6), " King Edward HI. granted this mansion
[of the Temple] unto the Knights of that Order, who
soon after (as the tradition is) demised the same for the
rent of £10 per annum unto divers professors of the
Common Law." Now, although, as Dugdale says, there
is nothing but tradition to support this statement, it
may not unreasonably be accepted, because it in na
way conflicts with known facts ; and if, as he goes on
to say, these " professors of the Common Law came from
Thavye's Inn in Holburne," the migration must have
taken place before 1348, when that Inn had been vacated
by certain ** apprentices of the law " who used to reside
in it (c). But there were already in the Temple besides
these "professors of the Common Law from Thavye's
Inn" the lawyers referred to above who "made com-
position" with the Earl of Lancaster. What seems,
therefore, to be established by these traditions, and
such evidence as there is to support them, is that there
were clearly two bodies of lawyers settled in the

(a) MS. cited in Addison's Knights Templars^ p. 348.

(6) Council of Vienna : Dugdale, Origines, p. 144.

(c) This appears from the will of John Thavye, dated in that year^
bequeathing the Tnti^ his property, ''in quo apprenticii legis habitare
solebanf to his wife. See Coke's Tenth Report^ Proeme.

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Temple one before the other "soon after" its grants
to the Knights Hospitallers — the compounders under
the Earl of Lancaster and the ** professors " from Thavye's
Inn. Now, if the latter became the sole possessors of
the Temple, what, it naturally occurs to ask, became of
the former? Were they turned out? That is contra-
dicted by the assertion of the MS. that they ** continued
there ever since " (a).

It seems more reasonable to suppose, therefore, that
while the "professors from Thavye's Inn" (if that were
their place of origin) had a lease granted to them of
the part unoccupied by the original settlers, at an
annual rent (as Dugdale says) of ten pounds, the former
obtained a confirmation of their grant from the Earl
of Lancaster on the part of the new owners, on similar
terms, and that thus the whole of the Temple, or such
part of it as the men of law required, became finally
divided between two sets of tenants settled side by
side (6). This theory conflicts, indeed, not only with
tradition, but with the inference to be drawn from the
Inner Temple MS. that the two societies never claimed
by several leases, but by one entire grant. But tradi-
tion, as will be shown later, is not on this point
to be relied on, and the MS. gives no authority.
We have not the original lease or leases or grant
before us, and can, therefore, only judge of its nature
by the probabilities of the case, and these are all

(a) That they were still there in 1329 there seems some evidence to show
in the mandate of the King issued in that year to have the passage from the
Temple kept open, that his "clerks, justices and others" might not be hin-
dered on their way to Westminster by water, it being not unreasonable to
suppose that some of these " clerks, justices and others" were Temple lawyers.
See Rymer's FcMUra^ vol. iv. p. 406.

(6) That the lease, if drawn before the year 1364, contained some reser-
vations is evident, as in that year the Prior was responsible for the repair of
the Temple Bridge, as appears by the King's writ being directed to him.
{See Rymer's Foedera, vol. v. p. 778.) The Prior and Brethren, too, retained
•control of ihe Church and its services down to the time of the Reformation.
{See Inner Temple Records, vol. i. p. xliii.)

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Origin and Early History.

against the MS. It may be true that there were
never two leases, but not so that there was only one
grant, for, as Mr. Pitt-Lewis, in his reference to this,
points out (a), there is evidence in the drafting of the
•Charter granted by James I. to the Inns to show that,
if there was never but one lease, there were two separate
parcels exacting two separate rents, each society paying
for itself the sum of ten pounds per annum, not the joint
sum of twenty. What was in James's Charter was,
almost to a certainty, in the documents from which it
was drawn, each of which was based upon a previous
instrument back to the original conveyance.

Such inferences, therefore, as may be drawn from
an examination of the grant of James I. (and it seems
the only source from which inferences as to the lease
may be drawn) are all against the original unity of the
two societies ; and so, it may be said, is the testimony
of every authentic reference to the Temple as the abode
of the lawyers as f£ir back as authentic records go. " The
first distinct reference to the two Inns," as the learned
Editor of the Inner Temple Records truly remarks (6),
** is to be found in the Paston Letters " (c), in a letter
dated 1st November 1440, which brings us back to
within a century of the supposed settlement under the
Hospitallers ; and if, as Mr. Inderwick goes on to say,
there is no clear evidence of more than one society
occupying the Temple during that antecedent period,
neither, it should be said (and it seems more to the
point to say), is there any inconsistent with that state
of things. The truth is that there is no known refer-
ence to the Temple at all as the abode of lawyers earlier
than that in the Paston Letters^ except one — the

(a) Hidory of the Temple^ p. 61.

(h) Introdaction, vol. i. p. xiv.

(c) Gairdner's edition, vol. 1. p. 23. In this letter the Inner Temple is
named. The earliest reference to the Middle Temple by name is in the
Black Books of Lincoln's Inn, March 14, 1442.

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passage quoted by Dugdale from the Prologue of
Chaucer, as evidence (as he said) that the lawyers
were] there in Edward III/s time (a); and, though
attempts have been made to read into this passage the
existence of only one Inn, the attempts, to say the
least, have been unfortunate. The salient lines of the
well-known and oft-quoted passage are these : —

" A Manciple there was of the Temple,
Of which all Catours might taken ensemple,
For to been wise in buying of Vitaile :

** Of masters had he mo than thrice ten,
That were of Law expert and curious,
Of which there was a dozen in that House
Worthy," &c., &c.—

and the expressions relied on in support of what may
be called the Unionist theory are those in italics.
These, it is urged, imply the existence at the time of
writing (probably 1387) of but one House. But, unfor-
tunately for this contention, the most approved texts
of Chaucer (6) read not *'The Temple," but **a Temple,'^
an expression defined by Mr. Skeat (the most accepted
authority on such a matter) to mean here simply *'an
Inn of Court " (c), in which case no more need be said ;
but even if the text from which Dugdale quoted be the
correct one, it is difficult to see that the poet, writing
simply for the purposes of his story, in introducing the
" Manciple of the Temple," had anything more in his
mind than an officer of one of the societies there, or, it
may be, if Mr. Skeat's commentary is correct, elsewhere.
But, however this may be, and however inconclusive
the foregoing anti-unionist reasoning may appear, the

(a) Dugdale supposes tbe Canterbury Tales to have been written in
Edward Ill.'a reign ; they would appear, however, not to have been begun
before 1387, the tenth year of Edward's successor. — Diet, Nat. Biog,, «.v.
Chaucer, p. 196.

(6) Vide Mr. Skeat's edition, Prologite, p. 17, notes to this ]

(c) Notes, p. 50.

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Origin and Early History.

legend which attaches to the original unity of the Inn&
and their subsequent division seems so improbable as to
be incredible. That legend, as recorded by Dugdale (a),
is that ** notwithstanding the spoil of the Temple by the
Kebells [by Wat Tyler and his followers in 1381] the
students of the Law so increased there that at length
they divided themselves into two bodies, the one com-
monly known by the Society of the Inner Temple and
the other of the Middle Tempte." Now, setting aside the
fact of a rapid increase of the supposed united society
after their " spoil by the rebells " as one we should
hardly have looked for, the statement that the result
of that increase was division is not a little remarkable.
Surely the course which we should have expected the
Society to pursue under such circumstances would not
be to divide, but, with its increasing prosperity, to extend
its borders, and, whilst remaining united, provide in-
creased accommodation for its overflowing members.
Separation under such circumstances seems unnatural
and impolitic, and we can hardly conceive of its taking
place, unless from dissension from within, and of that
there is no hint, at least in Dugdale's account (6). Sir
Henry Chauncy, indeed, mentions it as a " report," which
he may have heard during his residence in the Middle
Temple (where he was admitted 9th Feb. 1649-50), that
there was a "great dissention and quarrel" between the
two Inns *' touching the Houses of York and Lan-
caster " (c) ; but, as the wars of the Roses did not begin
till 1455, and we have evidence (d) that the division was
in being at least fifteen years before that date, the
"report" can have no foundation. The fact of its
existence, however, proves the necessity in men's minds

(a) Orig. Jurid. p. 146.

(6) Indeed any attempt at separation would almost to a certainty have
been summarily suppressed. See the result of such an attempt in the Inner
Temple Recorder vol. i. p. 103.

(c) Historical Antiquities of Hertfordshire, vol. ii. p. 433.

(d) See ante, p. (9).

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The Middle Temple.

of some better reason being given for the division of
the Inns than that assigned to it in Dugdale's tradi-
tion.

But there is another difficulty attending this tradi-
tional division story which seems to discredit it. The
two societies, until the acquisition of their respective
freeholds under Charles II. (a), held their property by
lease from the crown at a payment of ten pounds yearly
from each society; and, as the crown lease was but a
renewal of that from the Hospitallers, it may be assumed
that under that body as their lessors the payments had
been the same. But according to the Thavye's Inn
tradition the Temple was leased to that body (the only
society to occupy it) for one rent of ten pounds per
annum (6). Now, if this were the case, whenever the
division took place, one would have supposed that the
apportionment of rent would have been halved, and that
the share of each Inn would have been not ten pounds,
but five. As it is, or was, each part, under the supposed
division, paid separately as much as before they paid
jointly — an arrangement very advantageous to the lessors,
but eminently unlikely on the part of the lessees. But,
if the difficulties attending this division theory are great,
those surrounding the legend of the original identity of
the two Inns, of which it is a corollary, are still more
formidable. For, if this legend be true, one of the two
Inns, as they at present exist, must necessarily be the
stem and the other the offshoot of the original ; and there
is no claim that has been more strongly insisted on on
both sides than that of the absolute equality of the two
societies (c) — an equality which, though in theory ad-
mitted for the avoidance of contention, could not in

(a) Anno 1617.

(h) Dugdale's Orig. Jurid. p. 145.

(c) In 1620 the question of priority arising between the two Inns in the
matter of the administration of the Holy Communion, the question was
referred for decision to a small committee of the judges. These referees

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Origin and Early History.

the nature of things exist under such circumstances. The
Inn, whichever it might be, with the better claim ta
antiquity would necessarily take precedence. As a
matter of fact, each Inn, whilst theoretically disclaim-
ing superiority, has made this claim in its turn, thus,
assuming a position at once illogical and contradictory.
In his Introduction to the Inner Temple Records (a), the
learned writer more than once speaks of the Inner
Temple as the "old *Inn' or 'House,'" whilst Master
Worsley, an equally good authority, in his book on the
Middle Temple, edited by Master Hopwood (6), as well
as Sir Henry Chauncy in his Antiquities of Hertfordshirey
make the same claim, and on what seem stronger
grounds, for their own Inn(c). The alternative theory ,^
advocated in these pages, of the original duality of the
two societies, to whatsoever objections it may otherwise
be open, has at least the merit of deciding these twa
conflicting claims in a manner compatible with the
dignity of both claimants, and of vindicating the other-
wise inconsistent claim to " equality."

It is not proposed here to go further into the details
of this controversy respecting the relative antiquity of

found that " there was no distinction in the matter of antiquity between the
two houses, they both being derived from a common stock," but the decision
was one framed with an obvious desire to satisfy both parties. See the-
Inner Temple Records, vol. ii. p. xxzii.

(a) vol. i. pp. xiii, xviii.

(6) p. 9.

(c) Master Worsley combats the Inner Temple claims to greater antiquity,
seriatim; but, in support of the claim of the Middle Temple, lays most stress
on the possession on the part of that Inn to this day of the arms or badge of
the Templars, affirming that the society as a thing not to be doubted before
the separation assumed that badge, therefore its retention after the separation
"is a strong argument that they were the standing society," &c., and Sir
Henry Chauncy taking a similar line speaks of the Middle Temple as retain-
ing the hall of the old Society, as well as its arms, also the " north side of the
church" — the place of honour — "to themselves, for their peculiar use"
{Antiquities of Hertfordshirey vol. ii. p. 434). As a matter of fact, however,,
the Middle Temple did not assume the Agnus as a badge till about the year
1615, but their adoption of it then was probably only the outward expression
of a traditional belief.

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the sister Inns. They will be found amply set forth in
the sources above indicated, and in most books dealing
with the Temple and its history. It is suflScient to say
that both claims are based upon what are little better
than pure speculations. All that is contended for here
is ' the greater probability of what may be called the
never-one theory — a theory which has not only the merit,
as just noted, of reconciling difficulties, but of harmon-
ising more fully than any other with the few facts left
for our guidance. Accepting, therefore, the theory as
established — spending the discovery of fresh facts of an
absolutely decisive nature (a) — the History of the Middle
Temple, though dating in its most authentic form, as has
been said, from the commencement of its Registers in
1501, may be traced back to a Society existing before
the occupation of the Temple, which, side by side, and
simultaneously with the Society now known as the
Inner Temple, took up its residence there, and became
a co-tenant of its grounds and buildings (6). Whether
they or the Inner Templars were the first to arrive it
is not easy, or, perhaps, possible to decide; but as the
latter claim to be the representatives of the former oc-
cupants of Thavye s Inn, the Middle Templars must be
the successors of the Duke of Lancaster's tenants, and
therefore the earlier in possession. But that is a
matter which in no manner affects their perfect equality,
for as lessees from the same date subsequently of the



(a) Mr. Pitt-Lewis thinks this not impossible, and suggests even that the
original grant of the Temple by the Knights Hospitallers, or its confirmation,
may be yet existent amongst the stores at the Record Office. Should such a
document ever turn up, all need for speculation will be avoided. Till some
8uch find occurs, speculation will for a certainty go on {History of the Temple,
pp. 58, 69).

(6) The structural arrangements of the Temple at the time of its vacation
by the Knights Templars was such as to invite its occupation by two sets of
tenants, inasmuch as it possessed two halls, one in the Inner and one in what
was even then probably known as the Middle Court, with sets of chambers
attached to each. (See Addison's Knights Templars^ p. 364.)

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Origin and Early History.

Hospitallers, on that body coming into possession, they
stand absolutely on the same footing (a).

Assuming then, as we think we have made out a just
claim to do, that the origin of the Middle Temple is that
here indicated, its subsequent history may be very briefly
summarised. Established as a separate and independent
body on the commanding and convenient site of the New
Temple, it doubtless, side by side with its sister Inn
there, and with the two other Inns without, received
and, as we should now term it, assisted in educating for
the Bar, and for the judicial service of the country, such
of the youth of England as aspired to such service ; and,
although it is impossible to give their names, except in
a very few instances, it no doubt numbered among its
ancient alumni its full share of those who distinguished
themselves in earlier, as well as in later, times in that
way (6). As to its internal organisation in the times
before the Registers, except that it was based upon the
model of the ecclesiastical schools, and generally of uni-
versity and collegiate institutions, to which it with the
other Inns succeeded, we have no direct means of judging.
We may assume, however, that it was from the first very
much what Fortescue described it in the latter part of

(a) On this question as to the original homes of the two bodies then settl-
ing in the Temple, Mr. Pitt-Lewis has some interesting remarks. Admitting
the probability of the Inner Templars hailing from Thavye's Inn, he would
trace the other section to a former home in St. George's Inn, an ancient
lodging of students within the city, described by Stowe (Bk. iii. cap. 12, p. 247.
Ed. Strype) as once standing on a piece of ground near Seacole Lane, but in
his time long ago decayed. Mr. Lewis bases its connection with the Middle
Temple through New Inn, formerly " Our Ladye's Inn," to which the St.
Georgians (or those of them, it is presumed, who did not emigrate to the
Temple) removed on the decay of their old house. Mr. Lewis points out
in confirmation of this connection the use by the Middle Temple of the
Cross of St George in addition to the Agnus. The theory is plausible, and
not improbable, but the question of the original duality of the Temple
Societies in no way depends upon its establishment or the contrary. See
History of the Temple, pp. 64-67.

(6) For as complete a set of distinguished names as can be found, see
Notable Middle Temiylare (1902).

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