The Info List - Temple Church

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The Temple Church
Temple Church
is a late 12th-century church in the City of London located between Fleet Street
Fleet Street
and the River Thames, built by the Knights Templar
Knights Templar
as their English headquarters. During the reign of King John (1199–1216) it served as the royal treasury, supported by the role of the Knights Templars as proto-international bankers. It is jointly owned by the Inner Temple
Inner Temple
and Middle Temple[2] Inns of Court, bases of the English legal profession. It is famous for being a round church, a common design feature for Knights Templar
Knights Templar
churches, and for its 13th and 14th century stone effigies. It was heavily damaged by German bombing during World War II
World War II
and has since been greatly restored and rebuilt. The area around the Temple Church
Temple Church
is known as the Temple and nearby formerly in the middle of Fleet Street
Fleet Street
stood the Temple Bar, an ornamental processional gateway. Nearby is the Temple Underground station.


1 History

1.1 Construction 1.2 1185–1307 1.3 Crown seizure

2 16th–19th centuries

2.1 Twentieth Century

3 Use

3.1 Music at the Temple Church

3.1.1 Organ 3.1.2 List of organists

4 Master of the Temple

4.1 List of recent Masters of the Temple

5 Buried in the church 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

History[edit] Construction[edit] In the mid 12th century, before the construction of the church, the Knights Templar
Knights Templar
in London had met at a site in High Holborn
High Holborn
in a structure originally established by Hugues de Payens
Hugues de Payens
(the site had been historically the location of a Roman temple in Londinium[citation needed], now known as London). Because of the rapid growth of the order, by the 1160s the site had become too confined, and the Order purchased the current site for the establishment of a larger monastic complex as their headquarters in England. In addition to the church, the new compound originally contained residences, military training facilities, and recreational grounds for the military brethren and novices, who were not permitted to go into the City without the permission of the Master of the Temple.

Floor plan of the Temple Church

The church building comprises two separate sections. The original circular church building, called the Round Church and now acting as a nave, and a later rectangular section adjoining on the east side, built approximately half a century later, forming the chancel. After the capture of Jerusalem in 1099 by the Crusaders, the Dome of the Rock was given to the Augustinians, who turned it into a church (while the Al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa Mosque
became a royal palace). Because the Dome of the Rock was the site of the Temple of Solomon, the Knights Templar set up their headquarters in the Al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa Mosque
adjacent to the Dome for much of the 12th century. The "Templum Domini", as they called the Dome of the Rock, featured on the official seals of the Order's Grand Masters (such as Everard des Barres
Everard des Barres
and Renaud de Vichiers), and soon became the architectural model for Round Templar churches across Europe. The round church is 55 feet in diameter, and contains within it a circle of the earliest known surviving free-standing Purbeck Marble columns. It is probable that the walls and grotesque heads were originally painted in colours. It was consecrated on 10 February 10, 1185[3] by Heraclius, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. It is believed that King Henry II (1154–1189) was present at the consecration. 1185–1307[edit]

View of (and from) the circular triforium in the round church of the Temple Church
Temple Church
in London. Built by the Knights Templar
Knights Templar
and consecrated in 1185.

The Knights Templar
Knights Templar
order was very powerful in England, with the Master of the Temple sitting in parliament as primus baro (the first baron in precedence of the realm). The compound was regularly used as a residence by kings and by legates of the Pope. The Temple also served as an early safety-deposit bank, sometimes in defiance of the Crown's attempts to seize the funds of nobles who had entrusted their wealth there. The quasi-supra-national independent network and great wealth of the Order throughout Europe, and the jealousy this caused in secular kingdoms, is considered by most commentators to have been the primary cause of its eventual downfall. In January 1215 William Marshall (who is buried in the nave next to his sons, and is represented by one of the nine stone effigies)[4] served as a negotiator during a meeting in the Temple between King John and the barons, who demanded that the king should uphold the rights enshrined in the Coronation Charter
Coronation Charter
of his predecessor and elder brother King Richard I. Marshall swore on behalf of the king that the grievances of the barons would be addressed in the summer, which led to the signing by the king of Magna Carta
Magna Carta
in June. Marshall later became regent during the reign of John's infant son, King Henry III (1216–1272). Henry later expressed a desire to be buried in the church and to accommodate this, in the early 13th century the chancel of the original church was pulled down and a new larger chancel was built, the basic form of which survives today. It was consecrated on Ascension Day
Ascension Day
1240 and comprises a central aisle and two side aisles, north and south, of identical width. The height of the vault is 36 feet 3 inches. Although one of Henry's infant sons was buried in the chancel, Henry himself later altered his will to reflect his new wish to be buried in Westminster Abbey. Crown seizure[edit] After the destruction and abolition of the Knights Templar
Knights Templar
in 1307, King Edward II took control of the church as a Crown possession. It was later given to the Knights Hospitaller, who leased the Temple to two colleges of lawyers. One college moved into the part of the Temple previously used by the Knights, and the other into the part previously used by its clergy, and both shared the use of the church. The colleges evolved into the Inner Temple
Inner Temple
and the Middle Temple, two of the four London Inns of Court. 16th–19th centuries[edit]

An 1827 woodcut of The Temple Church

The interior of the Round Church in the early 19th century

In 1540 the church became the property of The Crown
The Crown
once again when King Henry VIII abolished the Knights Hospitaller
Knights Hospitaller
in England and confiscated their property. Henry provided a priest for the church under the former title "Master of the Temple". In the 1580s the church was the scene of the Battle of the Pulpits, a theological conflict between the Puritans
and supporters of the Elizabethan Compromise. Shakespeare was familiar with the site and the church and garden feature in his play Henry VI, part 1
Henry VI, part 1
as the setting for the fictional scene of the plucking of two roses of York and Lancaster and the start of the Wars of the Roses. In 2002 this event was commemorated with the planting of new white and red roses in the modern gardens. Following an agreement in 1608 by King James I, the two Inns were granted use of the church in perpetuity on condition that they should support and maintain it. They continue to use the Temple church as their ceremonial chapel. The church escaped damage in the Great Fire of London
Great Fire of London
of 1666. Nevertheless, it was refurbished by Christopher Wren, who made extensive modifications to the interior, including the addition of an altar screen and the installation of the church's first organ. The church underwent a Victorian restoration
Victorian restoration
in 1841 by Smirke and Burton, who decorated the walls and ceiling in high Victorian Gothic
Victorian Gothic
style in an attempt to return the church back to its supposed original appearance. Further restoration work was executed in 1862 by James Piers St Aubyn. Twentieth Century[edit]

Temple Church
Temple Church
in 1914

On 10 May 1941, German incendiary bombs set the roof of the Round Church on fire,[5] and the fire quickly spread to the nave and chapel. The organ and all the wooden parts of the church, including the Victorian renovations, were destroyed and the Purbeck marble columns in the chancel cracked due to the intense heat. Although these columns still provided some support to the vault, they were deemed unsound and were replaced in identical form. The original columns had a slight outward lean, which architectural quirk was followed in the replacement columns. During the renovation by the architect Walter Godfrey, it was discovered that elements of the 17th century renovations made by Wren had survived in storage and these were replaced in their original positions. The church was rededicated in November 1958.[6] The church was designated a Grade I listed building on 4 January 1950.[7] Use[edit]

The interior of the Round Church facing east towards the Chancel

The interior of the Chancel
facing west toward the Round Church

Among other purposes, the church was originally used for Templar initiation ceremonies. In England the ceremony involved new recruits entering the Temple via the western door at dawn. The initiates entered the circular nave and then took monastic vows of piety, chastity, poverty and obedience. The details of initiation ceremonies were always a closely guarded secret, which later contributed to the Order's downfall as gossip and rumours spread about possible blasphemous usages. These rumours were manipulated and exploited by the Order's enemies, such as King Philip IV of France, to fabricate a pretext for the order's suppression. Today the Temple Church
Temple Church
holds regular church services, including Holy Communion and Mattins
on Sunday morning.[8] It also holds weddings, but only for members of the Inner and Middle Temples. The Temple Church serves both the Inner Temple
Inner Temple
and the Middle Temple
Middle Temple
as a private chapel. The Temple Church
Temple Church
has always been a Peculiar (but not a Royal Peculiar), due to which the choristers have the privilege of wearing scarlet cassocks. Debate exists regarding the relationship of its status as Crown Subject and Peculiar. Relations with the Bishop of London are very good and he regularly attends events and services at the Temple Church. The Bishop of London
Bishop of London
is also ex officio Dean of the Chapel Royal.

Altar and stained glass of the eastern end of the Church

Music at the Temple Church[edit]

The organ in the Temple Church.

The church offers regular choral music performances and organ recitals. A choir in the English cathedral tradition was established at the Temple Church
Temple Church
in 1842 under the direction of Dr. E. J. Hopkins, and it soon earned a high reputation.[9] In 1927, the Temple Choir
under George Thalben-Ball became world-famous with its recording of Mendelssohn's Hear my Prayer, including the solo "O for the Wings of a Dove" sung by Ernest Lough. This became one of the most popular recordings of all time by a church choir, and it sold strongly throughout the twentieth century, reaching gold disc status (a million copies) in 1962 and achieving an estimated 6 million sales to date. The Temple Church's excellent acoustics have also attracted secular musicians: Sir John Barbirolli
John Barbirolli
recorded a famous performance of the Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Ralph Vaughan Williams
there in 1962 (at the suggestion of Bernard Herrmann), and Paul Tortelier made his recording of the complete Bach Cello Suites there in April 1982. While writing the score for Interstellar, film composer Hans Zimmer chose the Temple Church
Temple Church
to be the location for the recording of the parts of the score that included an organ. The Church's organist Roger Sayer played the organ, while a large orchestra played throughout the church.[10] Zimmer is quoted saying that "Setting foot into Temple Church is like stepping into profound history... Temple Church
Temple Church
houses one of the most magnificent organs in the world." The choir continues to record, broadcast and perform, in addition to its regular services at the Temple Church. It is an all-male choir, consisting of 18 boys who are all educated on generous scholarships (most of the boys attend the City of London
City of London
School although the scholarship is portable) and 12 professional men. They perform weekly at Sunday services, 11:15–12:15 pm, during term time. The choir gave the world premiere of Sir John Tavener's epic "The Veil of the Temple", which took place over seven hours during an overnight vigil in the Temple Church
Temple Church
in 2003. The following year it was performed by the choir at the Lincoln Festival in New York City; a concert version was performed at the BBC Proms the same year. Two new recordings were released in 2010 on the Signum Classics label: one of the Temple Church Choir, and a recording of English organ music played by James Vivian. Both were critically acclaimed. The boys' choir also appears on the 2016 recording of John Rutter's violin concerto Visions, and on an album of upper-voices Christmas music released the same year. Organ[edit] The church contains two organs: a chamber organ built by Robin Jennings in 2001, and a four manual Harrison & Harrison organ, built in 1924 as a private ballroom organ.[11][12] List of organists[edit] The church has had a number of famous organists, including:

Francis Pigott 1688–1704 John Pigott 1704–1737 (from 1729 for Middle Temple
Middle Temple

Inner Temple

Obadiah Shuttleworth 1729–1734 John Stanley 1734–1786 Robert John Samuel Stevens 1786–1810 George Price 1810–1814

Middle Temple

John Pigott 1729–1737 James Vincent 1737–1749 John Jones 1749–1796 Emily Dowding 1796–1814

(from 1814 for both Inner and Middle Temple)

George Price 1814–1826 George Warne 1826–1843 (afterwards organist of St Nicholas' Church, Great Yarmouth) Dr. Edward John Hopkins
Edward John Hopkins
1843–1897 Sir Henry Walford Davies
Henry Walford Davies
1897–1923 Sir George Thalben-Ball 1923–1982 Dr John Birch 1982–1997 Stephen Layton 1997–2006 James Vivian 2006–2013 Roger Sayer 2014–[13]

Master of the Temple[edit] The church always has two clergy, called the "Master of the Temple" and the "Reader of the Temple". The title of the Master of the Temple recalls the title of the head of the former order of the Knights Templar. The present Master of the Temple is the Reverend Robin Griffith-Jones, appointed in 1999. The Master gives regular lunchtime talks open to the public. The official title of the Master of the Temple is the "Reverend and Valiant Master of the Temple."[14] His official residence is the Master's House, a Georgian townhouse built next to the church in 1764. List of recent Masters of the Temple[edit]

Rev. Charles John Vaughan
Charles John Vaughan
1869–1894 Rev. Alfred Ainger
Alfred Ainger
1894–1904 Rev. Henry George Woods
Henry George Woods
1904–1915 Rt Rev. Ernest William Barnes
Ernest William Barnes
1915–1919 Rev. William Henry Draper 1919–30 Rev. Spencer Carpenter
Spencer Carpenter
1930–35 Rev. Canon Harold Anson
Harold Anson
1935–1954 Rev. Canon John Firth 1954–1957 Rev. Canon Theodore Milford, MA 1958–1968 Very Rev. Robert Milburn, MVO 1968–1980 Rev. Canon Joseph Robinson, BD M.Th FKC 1980–1999 Rev. Robin Griffith-Jones 1999–

Buried in the church[edit]

Sir Richard Chetwode, Sheriff of Northamptonshire (1560–1635). Silvester de Everdon, Bishop of Carlisle and Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
of England (died 1254). Sir Anthony Jackson (1599–1666). Geoffrey de Mandeville, 1st Earl of Essex (died September 1144). William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke
William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke
(1146–1219). William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke
William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke
(1190 – 6 April 1231). Gilbert Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke (1194 – 27 June 1241). Dr. Richard Mead
Richard Mead
(1673–1754). William Petyt, barrister, legal scholar, and Keeper of the Records in the Tower of London
Tower of London
(1640/1641 – 3 October 1707). Sir Edmund Plowden
Edmund Plowden
(1518–1585). Francis James Newman Rogers (1791–1851). James Simpson (1737–1815), Attorney General of Colonial South Carolina. His wife, who predeceased him, is buried in the South Transept of Westminster Abbey.[15] Sir John Tremayne (1647–1694).[16] Robert de Veteripoint, Sheriff of Westmoreland (died 1228).

See also[edit]

Anglicanism portal London portal

List of churches and cathedrals of London John Selden Temple (Paris)
Temple (Paris)
– medieval Knights Templar
Knights Templar
European headquarters. Interstellar (soundtrack) History of Medieval Arabic and Western European domes


^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1064646)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 25 November 2016.  ^ Archives of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, TEM: Records of administration [sic] of the Temple Church
Temple Church
(1613–1996)[1] ^ "The London Encyclopaedia" Hibbert,C;Weinreb,D;Keay,J: London, Pan Macmillan, 1983 (rev 1993,2008) ISBN 978-1-4050-4924-5 ^ The effigies are not in their original places ^ "The Old Churches of London" Cobb,G: London, Batsford, 1942 ^ "London:the City Churches" Pevsner,N/Bradley,S New Haven, Yale, 1998 ISBN 0-300-09655-0 ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (199532)". Images of England. Retrieved 23 January 2009.  ^ Service Sheet Archived 28 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Lewer, David (1961). A Spiritual Song, The Story of the Temple Choir & a History of Divine Service in the Temple Church, London, The Templar's Union, ASIN B0014KQ33I ^ Hans Zimmer
Hans Zimmer
Making of "Interstellar" Soundtrack (2014) ^ http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/NPORSearch.cgi?Fn=HSearch&rec_index=N18094 ^ Temple Church
Temple Church
website Archived 30 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Who's Who at the Temple Church ^ Barnes, John (1979). Ahead of his age: Bishop Barnes of Birmingham. Collins. p. 76. ISBN 0-00-216087-0.  ^ James Riley Hill, III (1992), An Exercise in Futility: The Pre-Revolutionary Career and Influence of Loyalist James Simpson [unpublished M.A. thesis], Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina, OCLC 30807526 . ^ Stuart Handley (May 2009), "Tremayne, Sir John (bap. 1647, d. 1694)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/27692  (subscription or UK public library membership required)

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Temple Church, London.

Official website of the Temple Church Official website detailing the music of the Temple Church Middle Temple's website Inner Temple's website 2008 Temple Festival website Temple Church
Temple Church
– Sacred Destinations article with large photo gallery Black and white images of the Temple – Pitt University Ground plan and discussion of round shape – Rosslyn Templars The History of the Knights Templar, by Charles Greenstreet Addison, with extensive history and description of Temple Church

Coordinates: 51°30′47.52″N 0°06′37.44″W / 51.5132000°N 0.1104000°W / 51.5132000; -0.1104000

v t e

Masters of the Temple

Thomas Robinson Charles John Vaughan Alfred Ainger Henry George Woods Ernest William Barnes William Henry Draper Spencer Carpenter Harold Anson John Firth Theodore Milford Robert Milburn Joseph Robinson Robin Griffith-Jones

v t e

Churches in the City of London

Extant churches

All Hallows-by-the-Tower All Hallows-on-the-Wall City Temple Dutch Church, Austin Friars St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe St Andrew, Holborn St Andrew Undershaft St Anne and St Agnes St Bartholomew-the-Great St Bartholomew-the-Less St Benet, Paul's Wharf St Botolph, Aldersgate St Botolph, Aldgate St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate St Bride, Fleet Street St Clement, Eastcheap St Dunstan-in-the-West St Edmund, King and Martyr St Ethelburga, Bishopsgate St Giles, Cripplegate St Helen, Bishopsgate St James, Garlickhythe St Katharine Cree St Lawrence Jewry St Magnus the Martyr St Margaret Lothbury St Margaret Pattens St Martin, Ludgate St Mary Abchurch St Mary Aldermary St Mary Moorfields St Mary Woolnoth St Mary-at-Hill St Mary-le-Bow St Michael, Cornhill St Michael, Paternoster Royal St Nicholas, Cole Abbey St Olave, Hart Street St Paul's Cathedral St Peter upon Cornhill St Sepulchre-without-Newgate St Stephen Walbrook St Vedast alias Foster Temple Church

Churches of which only the tower remains

All Hallows, Staining Christ Church, Greyfriars St Alban, Wood Street St Alphage London Wall St Augustine, Watling Street St Dunstan-in-the-East St Martin Orgar St Mary Somerset St Olave, Old Jewry

Churches rebuilt after the Great Fire but since demolished

All Hallows Bread Street All Hallows Lombard Street All-Hallows-the-Great St Antholin, Budge Row St Bartholomew-by-the-Exchange St Benet Fink St Benet Gracechurch St Christopher le Stocks St Dionis Backchurch St George Botolph Lane St Katherine Coleman St Mary Aldermanbury St Mary Magdalen, Old Fish Street St Matthew Friday Street St Michael Bassishaw St Michael, Crooked Lane St Michael Queenhithe St Michael-le-Querne St Michael Wood Street St Mildred, Bread Street St Mildred, Poultry St Stephen Coleman Street St Swithin, London Stone

Churches destroyed in the Great Fire and not rebuilt

All Hallows Honey Lane All-Hallows-the-Less Holy Trinity the Less St Andrew Hubbard St Ann Blackfriars St Benet Sherehog St Botolph Billingsgate St Faith under St Paul's St Gabriel Fenchurch St Gregory by St Paul's St John the Baptist upon Walbrook St John the Evangelist Friday Street St John Zachary St Laurence Pountney St Leonard, Eastcheap St Leonard, Foster Lane St Margaret Moses St Margaret, New Fish Street St Martin Pomary St Martin Vintry St Mary Bothaw St Mary Colechurch St Mary Magdalen Milk Street St Mary Mounthaw St Mary Staining St Mary Woolchurch Haw St Michael-le-Querne St Nicholas Acons St Nicholas Olave St Olave, Silver Street St Pancras, Soper Lane St Peter, Paul's Wharf St Peter, Westcheap St Thomas the Apostle

Other former churches

College of Minor Canons Holy Trinity Gough Square Hospital of St Thomas of Acre Old St Paul's Cathedral St Audoen within Newgate St Augustine Papey St James Duke's Place St Martin Outwich St Mary Axe St Nicholas Shambles St Peter le Poer

v t e

Inns of Court


Gray's Inn Lincoln's Inn Inner Temple Middle Temple


Doctors' Commons Serjeant's Inn Inns of Chancery
Inns of Chancery
(Barnard's Inn, Clement's Inn, Clifford's Inn, Furnival's Inn, Lyon's Inn, New Inn, Staple Inn, Strand Inn, Thavie's Inn)


Faculty of Adv