BRIEF HISTORY DURING THE SNOW ERA (1813-58)
Middle Temple is one of two law schools at The Temple, the other being Inner Temple. The crest of the school depicts the Pascal Lamb with the flag of innocence. It is one of four Inns of Court in London, a group of law schools. The earliest record of Inner Temple as a school is 1501. Each of the Inns of Court is wholly independent of the others, not incorporated under any law and fully self-governing. The school was named after the Knights Templar as described elsewhere. Many of the students lived at New Inn by Wyck Street, the only Inn of Chancery that was associated with Middle Temple (see The Temple for details).
The main entrance to the campus is through a gatehouse on Fleet Street which leads into Middle Temple Lane. At the center of the campus is Middle Temple Hall, completed in 1573. A long bench table sits in the dining hall, believed to have been a gift to the Inn of Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1608). In front of the bench table was a smaller table where students would gather to debate topics under the guidance of a senior barrister known as a Reader. The Hall was also used to stage plays and other events, including Shakespeare's Twelfth Night in 1601.
Middle Temple housed various scholars, as well as faculty and students. William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-63) lived at Brick Court in 1855, some years after publishing his most famous novel, Vanity Fair (1847-48). Charles Dickens featured Fountain Court in his novel Martin Chuzzlewit (1844), in which John Westlock met Ruth Pinch by the single jet fountain.
The entrance to Middle Temple is seen in the 1859 Reynolds map below "M.B" (for Temple Bar) in cell K 18.
Source: Weinreb B, Hibbert C (eds). The London Encyclopaedia, 1993.