The Inner Temple, though not a
corporation, uses an armorial device, Azure a pegasus
salient argent. This ancient usage was confirmed in 1967
by the College of Arms.
medieval tile from Temple Church.
Image copyright © The Inner Temple
The Inner Temple pegasus is first
mentioned in Gerard Legh's account of the Christmas
revels of 1561, when Robert Dudley (favourite of Queen
Elizabeth I) acted the principal part of Prince
Pallaphilos, constable-marshal of the Inner Temple, and
patron of the Honourable Order of Pegasus. It has been
suggested that the choice of pegasus reflected Dudley's
real-life office of Master of the Horse. Alternatively,
it may have resulted from a misinterpretation of ancient
tiles in Temple Church showing a knight on horseback
with a shield barry; these tiles alternated with the
Paschal lamb and flag of the knights Templar, which was
adopted as the emblem of the Middle Temple.
Carving by F. M. Rysbrack, 1739.
Formerly over the Hall entrance.
Image copyright © Professor Sir John Baker
Representations of the flying horse
were thereafter widely used on the Inn's property,
sometimes as a badge or crest, sometimes borne on a
shield. In 1709 Sir James Thornhill painted an
allegorical scene at the east end of the Hall showing
Pegasus rising from Mount Helicon. Various other
representations are to be found throughout the Inn.