The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 4
The name of this inn of court is derived from the noble family of the Gray's, who in the reign of Edward III. conveyed the ground on which it has been erected, and which formed part of the manor of Portpool (ignobly commemorated in ), to a society of students at law. The domain of this society extends over a large extent of ground between and ; it has a spacious square, and still more spacious garden, well laid out, and shaded with lofty trees; but the approaches on all sides are exceedingly mean, and the buildings, if we except new piles called Verulam and Raymond-buildings, are of a very ordinary description.
The chapel and hall stand between Holborn-court and that part of the square extending towards , and at the southeast corner. The chapel is totally destitute of every species of ornament; and is indeed so entirely plain, that of the best writers on the subject of the metropolis justly observes, that a description of it will be accomplished in saying, it has walls, and several windows, large and small.
The hall is a brick building, in that style of architecture which prevailed from the time of Henry VIII. to that of James I. The exterior is built of red brick, and the side walls are divided by buttresses; in the intervals are windows of the usual domestic style of the period when it was built; the gables are marked by a graduated battlement curiously worked in brick. Over the centre of the roof was, until , the original lantern, which had a picturesque and antique appearance; it was then replaced by the present carpenter's Gothic erection, and at the same time the walls were covered with Roman cement, slates substituted for the tiles on the roof, and the whole entirely modernized. A new south porch was at the same time constructed. The interior retains its pristine features, and is a very interesting specimen of the architecture of the day; the roof of oak is sustained on noble arched beams, in number, handsomely carved, and in a fine state of preservation. At the west end is a curious and highly carved screen and music gallery of dark oak, displaying of the earliest specimens of Italian architecture in the country; it is made by Ionic columns into divisions, occupied by arches, the frieze and shafts of the columns covered with fillagree; in the spandrils of the arches are angels with palm branches and chaplets; of the arches are filled in with a shell-framed ornament, the others are glazed. The whole is surmounted by a ballustrade, enriched with termini. The lantern is situated between the and beams from the west, and beneath it a modern stone occupies the ancient situation. The oriel is situated on the north side; it is entirely filled with coats of arms in stained glass. In the eastern window are coats of arms. The west window is occupied by shields of arms, in stained glass of modern workmanship. In of the windows on the south side is a sun dial, on painted glass, with the arms of the inn, and the following inscription:
Against the east wall below the window, are the following paintings: Charles I. between Charles II. and James II. whole lengths; against the north wall is a painting of the great lord Bacon, between other portraits of judges. On the south wall is another portrait.
The library is exceedingly well supplied with books for the use of the students.
In its government, rules, and practice, this society is similar to the other principal inns of court.
The ARMS of GRAY'S INN are, a griffin sergeant or.
 Vide Sir W. Dugdale's Origines Juridiciales, for a description of them.