The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 4

Allen, Thomas


Middle Temple Hall.


This is a handsome insulated brick building, strengthened by buttresses, the quoins of stone, elevated upon vaults, and whose iconography is in the shape of a T. Between the buttresses are square-headed windows, each divided by mullions into lights, within a transom. The upper lights have arched heads. The wall is finished with a neat parapet embattled. The principal entrance is at the north-east corner, through a porch consisting of columns of the Ionic order, supporting a pediment, in which is the arms of the society. This leads through a handsome passage to the screen, the doors of which, elaborately ornamented with carvings, admit the professors to their hall or dining room. It is wainscotted as high as the bases of the windows; under which is an enriched Tuscan cornice, and ranges of pannels on each side, the greater number filled with the emblazoned arms of Readers in succession.

The screen consists of divisions in breadth, of which are the arched doors; the remainder are bounded by Tuscan pillars, whose intercolumniations contain each caryatide busts, and pannels. The entablature of these pillars has a strange intrusive enriched frieze on their capitals, exclusive of the usual members. The attic has pedestals, terminating in Ionic caryatide busts, which support a entablature. Between those are elegant little niches, with statues, separated by pannels. Over each niche are grotesque figures, assistant supporters of the upper entablature, with pierced arches between them and the caryatides. The whole of this laboured screen, and the numerous carvings, are of oak. Behind it, on the east wall, are several complete coats of mail, with lances, halberts, shields, and guns, arranged on their sides, and above them. In the centre, a pointed window of mullions contains the date of the building, ; and several coats of arms in painted glass, with which every window in the hall abounds, many indifferently, but the majority well executed.

The roof is most ingeniously contrived, and contains an amazing quantity of strong oak timber. Small pedestals, resting on stone brackets, inserted in the piers between the windows in the north and south walls, support segments of large circles, or ribs, that ascend to projecting beams from the great cornice above the windows; those are the bases of other small segments, which sustain


beams of a cornice; and thus again to a row of segments, and a cornice; and from this the centre part of the roof is supported, on small pillars. The outline of each great rib, from the piers to the summit, is a pointed arch, divided into unequalled sized escallops; and these are connected, east and west, by arched ribs from every projecting beam to the next. A great number of small ribs and pillars are arranged under the whole ascent of the roof; but in a manner too complicated to be understood, unless examined. Every great rib is ornamented with pendants; and an aperture under the lantern admits sufficient light to render the parts distinct. It may with truth be asserted that London cannot produce another instance equally curious and singular.

The Caesars, and some other busts, are placed on the cornice of the wainscot; and the west wall supports a centre picture of Charles I. on a white horse, passing through an arch, attended by an equerry, who carries his helmet. The king is represented in armour; and the general excellence of the colouring and drawing is such as to render it almost certain that it is an original by Vandyke. This grand painting totally eclipses the adjoining portraits of Charles II. queen Anne, George . and George II. though they all possess some merit.

The finely executed south-bay window deserves attentive examination, as it is entirely filled with painted glass, most minutely executed, representing the arms of a great number of illustrious persons, surrounded by rich and beautiful ornaments. Merely to name those, and others distributed throughout the hall, would fill several pages.

The south part of the hall is built against by an erection of brick, in the carpenter's Gothic style. It is ornamented with buttresses; the quoins and dressings being of stone: the buttresses are finished by angular pinnacles with finials. Those at the angles are pierced and used as chimney pots. This building was erected in , and is used as a library. It contains about volumes, principally the bequest of sir Robert Ashley, . A pair of globes, of the time of Elizabeth, and a portrait, supposed to be that of the above gentleman, are preserved in the library.

East of the last is a brick pile of buildings, with the date of , and above the principal doorway is a neat slab, within foliage, on which is inscribed

Library stayres. F. M. T. Ao. Do.



The quoins of this building are of stone.

The parliament chamber of the society has nothing particular to recommend it at present; but was used in the reign of James I by committees of the house of commons for their sittings.

The ARMS of the INNER TEMPLE are a pegasus salient or.; those of the MIDDLE TEMPLE are or a cross gu. a paschal lamb or. carrying a banner ar. charged with a cross


[] Many of them are engraved in Dugdale's Origines Juridiciales, 223-229.

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 Title Page
CHAPTER I: Site, local divisions, and government of the City of Westminster; history of the Abbey; Coronation Ceremonies; and lists of the Abbots and Deans
CHAPTER II: Westminster Abbey, and Description of the Tombs and Monuments
CHAPTER III: History and Topography of St. Margaret's Parish
CHAPTER IV: History and Topography of St. John's Parish, Westminster
CHAPTER V: History and Topography of the parish of St. Martin's in the Fields, Westminster
CHAPTER VI: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. James, Westminster
CHAPTER VII: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Anne, Westminster
CHAPTER VIII: History and Topography of the parish of St. Paul, Covent Garden
CHAPTER IX: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Mary-le-strand
CHAPTER X: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. Clement Danes
CHAPTER XI: History and Topography of the parish of st. George, Hanover Square
CHAPTER XII: History and Topography of the Precinct of the Savoy
CHAPTER XIII: History and Topography of the Inns of Court
CHAPTER XIV: History and Topography of the Precincts of the Charter-house and Ely Place, and the Liberty of the Rolls
 CHAPTER XV: Historical Notices of the Borough of Southwark
CHAPTER XVI: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Olave, Southwark
CHAPTER XVII: History and Topography of the parish of St. John, Southwark
CHAPTER XVIII: History and Topography of the parish of St. Thomas, Southwark
CHAPTER XIX: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. George's, Southwark
CHAPTER XX: History and Topography of St. Saviour's Parish
CHAPTER XXI: History and Topography of the parist of Christ-church in the County of Surrey
 CHAPTER XXII: A List of the Principal Books, &c that have been published in Illustration of the Antiquities, History, Topography, and other subjects treated of in this Work
 Addenda et Corrigienda