The Temple Garden--The erection of new
buildings in the Temple--The dissolution of the order of the Hospital of Saint
John--The law societies become lessees of the crown--The erection of the
magnificent Middle Temple Hall--The conversion of the old hall into
chambers--The grant of the inheritance of the Temple to the two law
societies--Their magnificent present to his Majesty--Their antient orders and
customs, and antient hospitality--Their grand entertainments--Reader's
feasts--Grand Christmasses and Revels--The fox-hunt in the hall--The dispute
with the Lord Mayor--The quarrel with the custos of the Temple Church.
"PLANTAGENET. Great lords and gentlemen, what
means this silence?
Dare no man answer in a case of truth?
SUFFOLK . . . Within the TEMPLE HALL we
were too loud:
The GARDEN here is more convenient."
SHAKSPEARE makes the Temple Garden, which is to
this day celebrated for the beauty and profusion of its flowers, the scene of
the choice of the white and red roses, as the badges of the rival houses of
York and Lancaster. Richard Plantagenet and the earl of Somerset retire with
their followers from the hall into the garden, where Plantagenet thus
addresses the silent and hesitating bystanders:
"Since you are tongue-ty’d, and so loath to
In dumb significants proclaim your thoughts:
Let him, that is a true-born gentleman,
And stands upon the honour of his birth,
If he suppose that I have pleaded truth,
From off this brier pluck a white rose with me.
Somerset. Let him that is no coward, nor no flatterer,
But dare maintain the party of the truth,
Pluck a red rose from off this thorn with me.
Warwick. I love no colours; and, without all colour
Of base insinuating flattery,
I pluck this white rose with Plantagenet.
Suffolk. I pluck this red rose with young Somerset,
And say withal I think he held the right.
. . . . . . . . . .
Vernon. Then for the truth and plainness of the case,
I pluck this pale and maiden blossom here,
Giving my verdict on the white rose aide.
Somerset. . . Come on, who else?
Lawyer. Unless my study and my books be false,
The argument you held was wrong in you;
In sign whereof I pluck a white rose too. [TO SOMERSET.
. . . . . . . . . .
Warwick. . . This brawl to-day,
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."
In the Cotton Library is a manuscript
written at the commencement of the reign of Henry the Eighth, entitled "A
description of the Form and Manner, how, and by what Orders and Customs the
State of the Fellowshyppe of the Myddil Temple is maintained, and what ways
they have to attaine unto Learning." It contains a
great deal of curious information concerning the government of the house, the
readings, mot-yngs, boltings, and other exercises formerly performed for the
of learning, and of the different degrees of
benchers, readers, cupboard-men, inner-barristers, utter-barristers, and
students, together with "the chardges for their mete and drynke by the yeare,
and the manner of the dyet, and the stipende of their officers." The writer
tells us that it was the duty of the "Tresorer to gather of certen of the
fellowship a tribute yerely of iiis. iiid. a piece, and to pay
out of it the rent due to my lord of Saint John's for the house that they
"Item; they have no place to walk in, and talk
and confer their learnings, but in the church; which place all the terme times
hath in it no more of quietnesse than the perwyse of Pawles, by occasion of
the confluence and concourse of such as be suters in the lawe." The
conferences between lawyers and clients in the Temple Church are thus alluded
to by Butler:
"Retain all sorts of witnesses
That ply in the Temple under trees,
Or walk the Round with knights of the poets,
About the cross-legged knights their hosts."
"Item; they have every day three masses
said one after the other, and the first masse doth begin at seaven of the
clock, or thereabouts. On festivall days they have mattens and masse solemnly
sung; and during the matyns singing they have three masses said." *
At the commencement of the reign of Henry VIII.
a wall was built between the Temple Garden and the river; the Inner Temple
Hall was "seeled," various new chambers were erected, and the societies
expended sums of money, and acted as if they were absolute proprietors of the
Temple, rather than as lessees of the Hospitaliers of Saint John.
In 32 Hen. VIII. was passed the act of
the order of the Hospital, and vesting all the
property of the brethren in the crown, saving the rights and interests of
lessees, and others who held under them.
The two law societies consequently now held of
In 5 Eliz. the present spacious and
magnificent Middle Temple Hall, one of the most elegant and beautiful
structures in the kingdom, was commenced, (the old hall being converted into
chambers;) and in the reigns both of Mary and Elizabeth, various buildings and
sets of chambers were erected in the Inner and Middle Temple, at the expense
of the Benchers and members of the two societies. All this was done in full
reliance upon the justice and honour of the crown. In the reign of James I.,
however, some Scotchman attempted to obtain from his majesty a grant of the
fee-simple or inheritance of the Temple, which being brought to the knowledge
of the two societies, they forthwith made "humble suit" to the king, and
obtained a grant of the property to themselves. By letters patent, bearing
date at Westminster the 13th of August, in the sixth year of his reign, A.D.
1609, king James granted the Temple to the Benchers of the two societies,
their heirs and assigns for ever, for the lodging, reception, and education of
the professors and students of the laws of England, the said Benchers yielding
and paying to the said king, his heirs, and successors, ten pounds yearly for
the mansion called the Inner Temple, and ten pounds yearly for the Middle
In grateful acknowledgment of this donation,
the two societies caused to be made, at their mutual cost, "a stately cup of
pure gold, weighinge two hundred ounces and an halfe, of the value of one
thousand markes, or thereabouts, the which in all humbleness was presented to
his excellent majestie att the court att Whitehall, in the said sixth year of
his majestie's raigne over
the realme of England, for a new yeare's
gifte, by the hands of the said sir Henry Mountague, afterwards baron
Mountague, viscount Mandevil, the earl of Manchester, Richard Daston, esq.,
and other eminent persons of both those honourable societies, the which it
pleased his majesty most gratiously to accept and receiue . . . . Upon one
side of this cup is curiously engraven the proportion of a church or temple
beautified, with turrets and pinnacles, and on the other side is figured an
altar, whereon is a representation of a holy fire, the flames propper, and
over the flames these words engraven, Nil nisi vobis. The cover of this
rich cup of gold is in the upper parte thereof adorned with a fabrick
fashioned like a pyramid, whereon standeth the statue of a military person
leaning, with the left hand upon a Roman-fashioned shield or target, the which
cup his excellent majestie, whilst he lived, esteemed for one of his roialest
and richest jewells,"
Some of the antient orders and regulations for
the government of the two societies are not unworthy of attention.
From the record of a parliament holden in
the Inner Temple on the 16th of November, 3 and 4 Ph. and Mary, A.D. 1558, it
appears that eight gentlemen of the house, in the previous reading vocation,
"were committed to the Fleete for wilfull demenoure and disobedience
to the Bench, and were worthyly expulsed the fellowshyppe of the house,
since which tyme, upon their humble suite and submission unto the said
Benchers of the said house, it is agreed that they shall be readmitted into
the fellowshyppe, and into commons again, without payeing any ffine."
Amongst the ancient customs and usages derived
from the Knights Templars, which were for a lengthened period religiously
preserved and kept up in the Temple, was the oriental fashion of long beards.
In the reign of Philip and Mary, at the personal request of the queen,
attempts were made to do away with this time-honoured custom, and to limit
OF A LAWYER'S BEARD.
On the 22nd of June, 3 and 4 Philip and
Mary, A.D. 1557, it was ordered that none of the companies of the Inner and
Middle Temple, under the degree of a knight being in commons, should wear
their beards above three weeks growing, upon pain of XLs., and so
double for every week after monition. They were, moreover, required to lay
aside their arms, and it was ordered "that none of the companies, when they be
in commons, shall wear Spanish cloak, sword and buckler, or rapier, or gownes
and hats, or gownes girded with a dagger;" also, that "none of the COMPANIONS,
except Knights or Benchers, should thenceforth wear in their doublets or hoses
any light colours, except scarlet and crimson; or wear any upper velvet cap,
or any scarf; or wings on their gownes, white jerkyns, buskins or velvet
shoes, double cuffs on their shirts, feathers or ribbens on their caps!
That no attorney should be admitted into either of the houses, and that, in
all admissions from thenceforth, it should be an implied condition, that if
the party admitted "should practyse any attorneyship," he was ipso facto
In 1 Jac. I., it was ordered, in obedience to
the commands of the king, that no one should be admitted a member of either
society who was not a gentleman by descent;--that none of the gentlemen
should come into the hall "in cloaks, boots, spurs, swords, or daggers;" and
it was publicly declared that their "yellow
bands, and ear toyes, and short cloaks, and
weapons," were "much disliked and forbidden."
In A.D. 1623, king James recommended the
antient way of wearing caps to be carefully observed; and the king was pleased
to take notice of the good order of the house of the Inner Temple in that
particular. His majesty was further pleased to recommend that boots should be
laid aside as ill befitting gownsmen; "for boots and spurs," says his majesty,
"are the badges rather of roarers than of civil men, who should use them only
when they ride. Therefore we have made example in our own court, that no boots
shall come into our presence."
The modern Templars for a long period
fully maintained the antient character and reputation of the Temple for
sumptuous and magnificent hospitality, although the venison from the royal
forests, and the wine from the king's cellars, *
no longer made its periodical appearance within the walls of the old convent.
Sir John Fortescue alludes to the revels and pastimes of the Temple in the
reign of Henry VI., and several antient writers speak of the grand
Christmasses, the readers’ feasts, the masques, and the sumptuous
entertainments afforded to foreign ambassadors, and even to royalty itself.
Various dramatic shows were got up upon these occasions, and the leading
characters who figured at them were the "Marshall of the Knights Templars!"
the constable marshall, the master of the games, the lieutenant of the Tower,
the ranger of the forest, the lord of misrule, the king of Cockneys, and Jack
The Constable Marshall came into the
hall on banqueting days "fairly mounted on his mule," clothed in complete
armour, with a nest of feathers of all colours upon his helm, and a gilt
pole-axe in his hand. He was attended by halberdiers, and preceded
by drums and fifes, and by sixteen trumpeters,
and devised some sport "for passing away the afternoon."
The Master of the Game, and the
Ranger of the Forest, were apparelled in green velvet and green satin, and
had hunting horns about their necks, with which they marched round about the
fire, "blowing three blasts of venery."
The most remarkable of all the entertainments
was the hunt in the hall, when the huntsman came in with his winding
horn, dragging in with him a cat, a fox, a purse-net, and nine or ten couple
of hounds! The cat and the fox were both tied to the end of a staff, and were
turned loose into the hall; they were hunted with the dogs amid the blowing of
hunting horns, and were killed under the grate!!
The quantity of venison consumed on these
festive occasions, particularly at the readers’ feasts, was enormous. In the
reign of Queen Mary, it was ordered by the benchers of the Middle Temple, that
no reader should spend less than fifteen bucks in the hall, and this number
was generally greatly exceeded: "there be few summer readers," we are informed
in an old MS. account of the readers’ feasts, "who, in half the time that
heretofore a reading was wont to continue, spent so little as threescore
bucks, besides red deer; some have spent fourscore, some a hundred . . . . . "
The lawyers in that golden age breakfasted on "brawn and malmsey," and supped
on "venison pasties and roasted hens!" Among the viands at dinner were "faire
and large bores’ heads served upon silver platters, with minstralsye, roasted
swans, bustards, hems, bitterns, turkey chicks, curlews, godwits, &c. &c."
The following observations concerning the
Temple, and a grand entertainment there, in the reign of Queen Mary, will be
read with interest. "Arriving in the faire river of Thames, I landed
within halfe a leage from the city of London,
which was, as I conjecture, in December last. And drawing neere the citie,
sodenly hard the shot of double cannons, in so great a number, and so
terrible, that it darkened the whole aire, wherewith, although I was in my
native countrie, yet stoode I amazed, not knowing what it ment. Thus, as I
abode in despaire either to returne or to continue my former purpose, I
chaunced to see comming towardes me an honest citizen, clothed in long
garment, keping the highway, seming to walke for his recreation, which
prognosticated rather peace than perill. Of whom I demaunded the cause of this
great shot, who frendly answered, 'It is the warning shot to th’ officers of
the Constable Marshall of the Inner Temple to prepare to dinner! Why, said I,
is he of that estate, that seeketh not other meanes to warn his officers, then
with such terrible shot in so peaceable a countrey? Marry, saith he, he
vttereth himselfe the better to be that officer whose name he beareth. I then
demanded what province did he gouerne that needeth such an officer. Hee
answered me, the prouince was not great in quantitie, but antient in true
nobilitie; a place, said he, priuileged by the most excellent princess, the
high gouernour of the whole land, wherein are store of gentilmen of the whole
realme, that repaire thither to learne to rule, and obey by LAWE, to yeelde
their fleece to their prince and common weale, as also to vse all other
exercises of bodie and minde whereunto nature most aptly serueth to adorne by
speaking, countenance, gesture, and vse of apparel, the person of a gentleman;
whereby amitie is obtained and continued, that gentilmen of al countries in
theire young yeares, norished together in one place, with such comely order
and daily conference, are knit by continual acquaintance in such vnitie of
mincies and manners, as lightly neuer after is severed, then which is nothing
more profitable to the common weale.
"And after he had told me thus much of honor of
the place, I
commended in mine own conceit the pollicie of
the gouernour; which seemed to utter in itselfe the foundation of a good
commonweale. For that the best of their people from tender yeares trayned vp
in precepts of justice, it could not chose but yeelde forth a profitable
people to a wise commonweale. Wherefore I determined with myselfe to make
proofe of that I heard by reporte.
"The next day I thought for my pastime to walke
to this Temple, and entering in at the gates, I found the building nothing
costly; but many comfy gentlemen of face and person, and thereto very
courteous, saw I passe too and fro. Passing forward, I entered into a church
of auncient building, wherein were many monumentes of noble personnages armed
in knighteley habite, with their cotes depainted in auncient shieldes, whereat
I took pleasure to behold . . . . .
"Anon we heard the noise of drum and fyfe. What
meaneth this drumme? said I. Quod he, this is to warn gentlemen of the
household to repaire to the dresser; wherefore come on with me, and yee shall
stand where ye may best see the hall serued; and so from thence brought me
into a long gallerie that stretcheth itselfe alongest the hall, neere the
prince's table, where I saw the prince set, a man of tall personage, of
mannelye countenance, somewhat browne of visage, strongelie featured, and
thereto comelie proportioned. At the neather end of the same table were placed
the ambassadors of diners princes. Before him stood the earner, settler, and
cup-bearer, with great number of gentlemen wayters attending his person. The
lordes steward, treasorer, with diners honorable personages, were placed at a
side-table neere adjoyning the prince on the right hand, and at another table
on the left side were placed the treasorer of the household, secretarie, the
prince's serjeant of law, the four masters of the reaulles, the king of armes,
the deane of the chapell, and diuers
gentlemen pentioners to furnish the same. At
another table, on the other side, were set the maister of the game, and his
chiefe ranger, maisters of household, clerkes of the greene cloth and checke,
with diuers other strangers to furnish the same. On the other side, againste
them, began the table of the lieutenant of the Tower, accompanied with diuers
captaines of footbandes and shot. At the neather ende of the hall, began the
table of the high butler and panter, clerkes of the kitchen, maister cooke of
the priue kitchen, furnished throughout with the souldiours and guard of the
prince . . . .
"The prince was serued with tender meates,
sweet fruites, and daintie delicates, confectioned with curious cookerie, as
it seemed woonder a word to serue the prouision. And at euerie course, the
trompettes blew the courageous blaste of deadlye warre, with noise of drum and
fyfe, with the sweet harmony of viollens, shakbuts, recorders, and cornettes,
with other instruments of musicke, as it seemed Apolloe's harpe had tewned
After dinner, prizes were prepared for
"tilt and turney, and such knighteley pastime, and for their solace they
masked with bewtie's dames with such heauenly armonie as if Apollo and Orpheus
had shewed their cunning." *
Masques, revels, plays, and eating and
drinking, seem to have been as much attended to in the Temple in those days as
the grave study of the law. Sir Christopher Hatton, a member of the Inner
Temple, gained the favour of Queen Elizabeth, for his grace and activity in a
masque which was acted before her majesty. He was made
vice-chamberlain, and afterwards lord chancellor! In
A.D. 1568, the tragedy of Tancred and Gismand, the joint production of five
students of the Inner Temple, was acted at the Temple before queen Elizabeth
and her court.
On the marriage of the lady Elizabeth,
daughter of king James I., to prince Frederick, the elector palatine, (Feb.
14th, A.D. 1613,) a masque was performed at court by the gentlemen of the
Temple, and shortly after, twenty Templars were appointed barristers there
inhon our of prince Charles, who had lately become prince of Wales, "the
chardges thereof being defrayed by a contribution of xxxs. from each bencher,
xvs. from euery barister of seauen years' standing, and xs. a peice from all
other gentlemen in commons." *
Of all the pageants prepared for the
entertainment of the sovereigns of England, the most famous one was that
splendid masque, which cost upwards of Ł20,000, presented by the Templars, in
conjunction with the members of Lincoln's Inn and Gray's Inn, to king Charles
I., and his young queen, Henrietta of France. Whitelock, in his Memorials,
gives a minute and most animated account of this masque, which will be read
with interest, as affording a characteristic and admirable exhibition of the
manners of the age
The procession from the Temple to the palace of
Whitehall was the most magnificent that had ever been seen in London. "One
hundred gentlemen in very rich clothes, with scarce anything to be seen on
them but gold and silver lace, were mounted on the best horses and the best
furniture that the king's stable and the stables of all the noblemen in town
could afford." Each gentleman had a page and two lacqueys in livery waiting by
his horse's side. The lacqueys carried torches, and the page his master's
cloak. "The richness of their apparel and furniture glittering by the light of
innumerable torches, the motion and stirring of their mettled horses, and the
many and gay liveries of their servants, but especially the personal beauty
and gallantry of the
handsome young gentlemen, made the most
glorious and splendid show that ever was beheld in England."
These gallant Templars were accompanied by the
finest band of picked musicians that London could afford, and were followed by
the antimasque of beggars and cripples, who were mounted on "the
poorest, leanest jades that could be gotten out of the dirt-carts." The habits
and dresses of these cripples were most ingeniously arranged, and as the
"gallant Inns of Court men" had their music, so also had the beggars and
cripples. It consisted of keys, tongs, and gridirons,
"snapping and yet playing in concert before them." After the beggars'
antimasque came a band of pipes, whistles, and instruments, sounding notes
like those of birds, of all sorts, in excellent harmony; and these ushered in
"the anti-masque of birds," which consisted of an owl in an ivy bush,
with innumerable other birds in a cluster about the owl, gazing upon her.
"These were little boys put into covers of the shape of those birds, rarely
fitted, and sitting on small horses with footmen going by them with torches in
their hands, and there were some besides to look unto the children, and these
were very pleasant to the beholders." Then came a wild, harsh band of northern
music, bagpipes, horns, &c., followed by the "antimasque of projectors,"
who were in turn succeeded by a string of chariots drawn by four horses a
breast, filled with "gods and goddesses," and preceded by heathen priests.
Then followed the chariots of the grand masquers drawn by four horses abreast.
The chariots of the Inner and Middle Temple
were silver and blue. The horses were covered to their heels with cloth of
tissue, and their heads were adorned with huge plumes of blue and white
feathers. "The torches and flaming flamboys borne by the side of each chariot
made it seem lightsom as at noonday . . . . . It was, indeed, a glorious
Whitelock gives a most animated description of
the scene in
the banqueting-room. "It was so crowded," says
he, "with fair ladies glittering with their rich cloaths and richer jewels,
and with lords and gentlemen of great quality, that there was scarce room for
the king and queen to enter in." The young queen danced with the masquers
herself, and judged them "as good dancers as ever she saw!" The great ladies
of the court, too, were "very free and easy and civil in dancing with all the
masquers as they were taken out by them."
Queen Henrietta was so delighted with the
masque, "the dances, speeches, musick, and singing," that she desired to see
the whole thing acted over again! whereupon the lord mayor invited
their majesties and all the Inns of Court men into the city, and entertained
them with great state and magnificence at Merchant Taylor's Hall.
Many of the Templars who were the foremost in
these festive scenes afterwards took up arms against their sovereign.
Whitelock himself commanded a body of horse, and fought several sanguinary
engagements with the royalist forces.
The year after the restoration, Sir Heneage
Finch, afterwards earl of Nottingham, kept his readers’ feast in the great
hall of the Inner Temple with extraordinary splendour. The entertainments
lasted from the 4th to the 17th of August.
At the first day's dinner were several of the
nobility of the kingdom and privy councillors, with divers others of his
friends; at the second were the lord mayor, aldermen, and principal citizens
of London; to the third, which was two days after the former, came the whole
college of physicians, who all appeared in their caps and gowns; at the fourth
were all the judges, advocates, and doctors of the civil law, and all the
society of Doctors' Commons; at the fifth were entertained the archbishops,
and chief of the clergy; and on the 15th of
August his majesty king Charles the Second came from Whitehall in his state
barge, and (lined with the reader and the whole society in the hall. His
majesty was accompanied by the duke of York, and attended by the lord
chancellor, lord treasurer, lord privy seal, the dukes of Buckingham,
Richmond, and Ormond; the lord chamberlain, the earls of Ossory, Bristol,
Berks, Portland, Strafford, Anglesy, Essex, Bath, and Carlisle; the lords
Wentworth, Cornbury, De la Warre, Gerard of Brandon, Berkley of Stratton and
Cornwallis, the comptroller and vice-chamberlain of his majesties's household;
Sir William Morice, one of his principal secretaries of state; the earl of
Middleton, lord commissioner of Scotland, the earl of Glencairne, lord
chancellor of Scotland, the earls of Lauderdale and Newburgh, and others the
commissioners of that kingdom, and the earl of Kildare and others,
commissioners of Ireland.
An entrance was made from the river through the
wall into the Temple Garden, and his majesty was received on his landing from
the barge by the reader and the lord chief justice of the Common Pleas, whilst
the path from the garden to the hall was lined with the readers' servants in
scarlet cloaks and white tabba doublets, and above them were ranged the
benchers, barristers, and students of the society, "the loud musick playing
from the time that his majesty landed till he entered the hail, where he was
received with xx. violins." Dinner was brought up by fifty of the young
gentlemen of the society in their gowns, "who gave their attendance all
dinner-while, none other appearing in the hall but themselves."
On the 3rd of November following, his royal
highness the duke of York, the duke of Buckingham, the earl of Dorset, and Sir
William Morrice, secretary of state, were admitted members of
the society of the Inner Temple, the duke
of York being called to the bar and bench. *
In 8 Car. II., A.D. 1668, Sir William Turner,
lord mayor of London, came to the readers’ feast in the Inner Temple with his
sword and mace and external emblems of civic authority, which was considered
to be an affront to the society, and the lord mayor was consequently very
roughly handled by some of the junior members of the Temple. His worship
complained to the king, and the matter was inquired into by the council, as
appears from the following proceedings:--
"At the Courte att Whitehall, the 7th April,
"Present the king's most excellent majestie."
|H. R. H. the duke
||Lord bishop of
|Duke of Ormonde.
|Earle of Bath.
|Earle of Craven.
||Mr. Chancellor of
||Mr. John Duncombe.
"Whereas, it was ordered the 31st of March
last, that the complaints of the lord maior of the city of London concerneing
personall indignities offered to his lordshippe and his officers when he was
lately invited to dine with the reader of the Inner Temple, should this day
have a further hearing, and that Mr. Hodges, Mr. Wyn, and Mr. Mundy, gentlemen
of the Inner Temple, against whome particular complaint was made, sshould
appeare att the board, when accordingly, they attendinge, and both parties
being called in and heard by their counsell learned, and affidavits haveing
been read against the said three persons, accuseing them
to have beene the principall actors in that
disorder, to which they haveing made their defence, and haveing presented
severall affidavits to justifie their carriage that day, though they could not
extenuate the faults of others who in the tumult affronted the lord maior and
his officers; and the officers of the lord maior, who was alleaged to have
beene abused in the tumult, did not charge it upon anie of their particular
persons; upon consideration whereof it appeareing to his majestie that the
matter dependinge very much upon the right and priviledge of beareing up the
lord major's sword within the Temple, which by order of this board of the 24th
of March last is left to be decided by due proceedings of lawe in the courts
of Westminster Hall; his majestie therefore thought fitt to suspend the
declaration of his pleasure thereupon until the said right and priviledge
shall accordinglie be determined att lawe."
On the 4th of November, 14 Car. II., his
highness Rupert prince palatine, Thomas earl of Cleveland, Jocelyn lord Percy,
John lord Berkeley of Stratton, with Henry and Bernard Howard of Norfolk, were
admitted members of the fellowship of the Inner Temple. *
We must now close our remarks on the Temple,
with a short account of the quarrel with Dr. Micklethwaite, the custos
or guardian of the Temple Church.
After the Hospitallers had been put into
possession of the Temple by king Edward the Third, the prior and chapter of
that order, appointed to the antient and honourable post of custos, and
the priest who occupied that office, had his diet in one or other of the halls
of the two law societies, in the same way as the guardian priest of the order
of the Temple formerly had his diet in the hall of the antient Knights
Templars. He took his place, as did also the chaplains, by virtue of the
appointment of the
prior and chapter of the Hospital, without
admission, institution or induction, for the Hospitaliers were clothed with
the privileges, as well as with the property, of the Knights Templars, and
were exempt from episcopal jurisdiction. The custos had, as before
mentioned, by grant from the prior and chapter of the order of St. John, one
thousand faggots a year to keep up the fire in the church, and the rents of
Ficketzfeld and Cotterell Garden to be employed in improving the lights and
providing for the due celebration of divine service. From two to three
chaplains were also provided by the Hospitaliers, and nearly the same
ecclesiastical establishment appears to have been maintained by them, as was
formerly kept up in the Temple by the Knights Templars. In 21 Hen. VII. these
priests had divers lodgings in the Temple, on the east side of the churchyard,
part of which were let out to the students of the two societies.
By sections 9 and 10 of the act 32 Hen.
VIII., dissolving the order of the Hospital of St. John, it is provided that
William Ermsted, clerk, the custos or guardian of the Temple Church,
who is there styled "Master of the Temple," and Walter Limseie and John
Winter, chaplains, should receive and enjoy, during their lives, all such
mansion-houses, stipends, and wages, and all other profits of money, in as
large or ample a manner as they then lawfully had the same, the said Master
and chaplains of the Temple doing their duties and services there, as they had
previously been accustomed to do, and letters patent confirming them in their
offices and pensions were to be made out and passed under the great seal. This
appellation of "Master of the Temple," which antiently denoted the superior of
the proud and powerful order of Knights Templars in England, the counsellor of
kings and princes, and the leader of armies, was incorrectly applied to the
mere custos or guardian of the Temple Church. The act makes no
provision for the successors of the custos and
chaplains, and Edward the Sixth
consequently, after the decease of William Ermsted, conveyed the lodgings,
previously appropriated to the officiating ministers, to a Mr. Keilway and his
heirs, after which the custos and clergymen had no longer of right any
lodgings at all in the Temple. *
From the period of the dissolution of the order
of Saint John, down to the present time, the custos, or, as he is now
incorrectly styled, "the Master of the Temple," has been appointed by letters
patent from the crown, and takes his place as in the olden time, without the
ceremony of admission, institution, or induction. These letters patent are
couched in very general and extensive terms, and give the custos or
Master many things to which he is justly entitled, as against the crown, but
no longer obtains, and profess to give him many other things which the crown
had no power whatever to grant. He is appointed, for instance, "to rule,
govern, and superintend the house of the New Temple;" but the crown had no
power whatever to make him governor thereof, the government having always been
in the hands of the Masters of the bench of the two societies, who succeeded
to the authority of the Master and chapter of the Knights Templars. In these
letters patent the Temple is described as a rectory, which it never had been,
nor anything like it. They profess to give to the custos "all and all
manner of tythes," but there were no tythes to give, the Temple having been
specially exempted from tythe as a religious house by numerous papal bulls.
The letters patent give the custos all the revenues and profits of
money which the custodes had at any time previously enjoyed by virtue
of their office, but these revenues were dissipated by the crown, and the
property formerly granted by the prior and chapter of Saint John, and by pious
persons in the time of the Templars, for the maintenance of the priests and
of divine service in the Temple Church was
handed over to strangers, and the custos was thrown by the crown for
support upon the voluntary contributions of the two societies. He received,
indeed, a miserable pittance of 37l. 6s. 8d. per annum
from the exchequer, but for this he was to find at his own expense a minister
to serve the church, and also a clerk or sexton!
As the crown retained in its own hands the
appointment of the custos and all the antient revenues of the Temple
Church, it ought to have provided for the support of the officiating
ministers, as did the Hospitaliers of Saint John.
"The chardges of the fellowshyppe," says
the MS. account of the Temple written in the reign of Hen. VIII., "towards the
salary or mete and drink of the priests, is none; for they are found by my
lord of Saint John's, and they that are of the fellowshyppe of the house are
chardged with nothing to the priests, saving that they have eighteen offring
days in the yeare, so that the chardge of each of them is xviiid." *
In the reign of James the First, the custos,
Dr. Micklethwaite, put forward certain unheard-of claims and pretensions,
which led to a rupture between him and the two societies. The Masters of the
bench of the society of the Inner Temple, taking umbrage at his proceedings,
deprived the doctor of his place at the dinner-table, and "willed him to
forbear the hall till he was sent for." In 8 Car. I., A.D. 1633, the doctor
presented a petition to the king, in which he claims precedence within the
Temple "according to auncient custome, he being master of the house," and
complains that "his place in the hall is denyed him and his dyett, which place
the Master of the Temple hath ever had both before the profession of the lawe
kept in the Temple and ever since, whensoever be came into the hall. That
tythes are not payde him, whereas by pattent he is to have omnes et
omnimodas decimas. . . .
[paragraph continues] That they denye all
ecclesiastical jurisdiction to the Master of the Temple, who is appointed by
the king's majesty master and warden of the house ad regendum, gubernandum,
et officiendum domum et ecclesiam," &c. The doctor goes into a long list
of grievances showing the little authority that he possessed in the Temple,
that he was not summoned to the deliberations of the houses, and he complains
that "they will give him no consideracion in the Inner House for his
supernumerarie sermons in the forenoon, nor for his sermons in the afternoon,"
and that the officers of the Inner Temple are commanded to disrespect the
Master of the Temple when he comes to the hall."
The short answer to the doctor's complaint is,
that the custos of the church never had any of the things which the
doctor claimed to be entitled to, and it was not in the power of the crown to
give them to him.
The antient custos being, as
before mentioned, a priest of the order of the Temple, and afterwards of the
order of the Hospital, was a perfect slave to his temporal superiors, and
could be deprived of his post, be condemned to a diet of bread and water, and
be perpetually imprisoned, without appeal to any power, civil or
ecclesiastical, unless he could cause his complaints to be brought to the ear
of the pope. Dr. Micklethwaite quite misunderstood his position in the Temple,
and it was well for him that the masters of the benches no longer exercised
the despotic power of the antient master and chapter, or he would certainly
have been condemned to the penitential cell in the church, and would not have
been the first custos placed in that unenviable retreat.
The petition was referred to the lords of the
council, and afterwards to Noy, the attorney-general, and in the mean time the
doctor locked up the church and took away the
keys. The societies ordered fresh keys to be made, and the church to be set
open. Noy, to settle all differences, appointed to meet the contending parties
in the church, and then alluding to the pretensions of the doctor, he declared
that if he were visitor he would proceed against him tanquam elatus
In the end the doctor got nothing by his
In the time of the Commonwealth, after Dr.
Micklethwaite's death, Oliver Cromwell sent to inquire into the duties and
emoluments of the post of "Master of the Temple," as appears from the
"From his highness I was commanded to speake
with you for resolution aid satisfaction in theise following particulers--
"1. Whether the Master of the Temple be to be
putt in him by way of presentation, or how?
"2. Whether he be bound to attend and preach
among them in terme times and out of terme?
"3. Or if out of terme an assistant must be
provided? then, whether at the charge of the Master, or how otherwise?
"4. Whether publique prayer in the chapell be
allwayes performable by the Master himselfe in terme times? And whether in
time of vacation it be constantly expected from himselfe or his assistant.
"5. What the certain revenue of the Master is,
and how it arises?
"2. Sir, the gentleman his highness intends to
make Master is Mr. Resburne of Oundle, a most worthy and learned man, pastor
of the church there, whereof I myselfe am an unworthy member.
"3. The church would be willing (for publique
good) to spare him in terme times, but will not part with him altogether. And
in some of the particulers aforementioned Mr. R. is very desirous to be
satisfyd; his highness chiefly in the first.
"4. I begg of you to leave a briefe answer to
the said particulars, and I shall call on your servant for it.
"For the honourable Henry Scobell, esq.,
During the late repair of the Temple Church,
A.D. 1830, the workmen discovered an antient seal of the order of the
Hospital, which was carried away, and appears to have got into the hands of
strangers. On one side of it is represented the holy sepulchre of Jerusalem,
with the Saviour in his tomb. At his head is an elevated cross, and above is a
tabernacle or chapel, from the roof of which depend two incense pots. Around
the seal is the inscription, "FR------ BERENGARII CUSTOS PAUPERUM HOSPITALIS
JHERUSALEM." On the reverse a holy man is represented on his knees in the
attitude of prayer before a patriarchal cross, on either side of which are the
letters Alpha and Omega. Under the first letter is a star.
These particulars have been furnished me by Mr.
Savage, the architect.
PRINTED BY G. J. PALMER, SAVOY STREET, STRAND.
374 MS. Bib. Cotton. Vitellius, c. 9,
fol. 320, a.
375 MS. Bib. Cotton, c. 9, fol. 320, a.
376 Hargrave, MS. No. 19, 81. f. 5. fol.
377 MS. in Bib. In. Temp., No. 19, fol.
377 In. Temp. Ad. Parliament, ibm. XV. die
Novembris Anno Philippi et Marić tertio et quarto, coram Johe Baker Milite,
Nicho Hare Milite, Thoma Whyte Milite, et al. MS. Bib. In. Tem. Div. 9, shelf
5, vol. xvii. fol. 393.
378 Ex registr. In. Temp., f. 112, 119, b. Med.
Temp., f. 24, a. Dugd., Orig. Jurid., p. 310, 311.
379 Ante, page 180.
380 Dugd. Orig. Jurid. p. 316.
Herbert Antiq., p. 223 to 272.
383 Leigh's Armorie, fol. 119. ed. 1576.
383 Naunton's Fragmenta Regalia, p. 248.
383 Chalmer's Dict. Biograph., vol.
xvii. p. 227.
384 Dugd. Orig. Jurid., p. 150. Ex
registro Hosp. In. Temp. f. 123.
386 Whitelock's Memorials, p. 18-22. Ed.
388 Dugd. Orig. p. 157. Biog. Brit.
vol. xiv. p. 305.
389 Dugd. Orig. p. 158.
391 Harleian MS., No. 830.
392 MS. Bib. Cotton. Vitellius, c. 9. fol. 320
393 See the examination of Brother Radulph de
Barton, priest of the order of the Temple, and custos of the Temple
Church, before the papal inquisitors at London.--Concil. Mag. Brit.,
tom. ii. p. 335, 337, ante, p. 221, 222.
395 Peck, Desiderata Curiosa, lib. xiii.
p. 504, 505. Ed. 1779.