the hall and the river, the medieval Temple consisted of
gardens or fields, where members might seek recreation.
They were known for their fine rose-bushes, and
according to Shakespeare - whose story has not yet been
corroborated by contemporary evidence - the wars of the
roses began there. In 1601 the Inner Temple gardens were
newly laid out with 'large and lovely walks . . .
ornified with beautiful banks, curious knots and beds of
fragrant flowers, and sweet herbs of sundry scents'. The
decorated railings included, by 1618, carvings of the
Inner Temple pegasus and the Gray's Inn griffin, in
token of an ancient amity between the two inns. Both
beasts are to be seen on the present wrought iron gates,
erected in 1730. In the gardens are a sundial of 1707,
and two cisterns dating from 1774. After Clement's Inn
was destroyed, a kneeling leaden blackamoor by Van Ost
was transferred from its gardens to those of the Inner
Temple. Near the pond is a more recent lead statue of a
boy (1928), by Margaret Wrightson, with a quotation from
Lamb's essay on the old benchers of the Inner Temple
('Lawyers, I suppose, were children once').
ironwork on the garden gate.
By Richard Ellis, 1730.
Image copyright © The Inner Temple
were divided into two by the extension of Paper
Buildings. On the eastern side were the King's Bench
Walks, named after the King's Bench office which was
kept there, and the Lower Walks; on the west side were
the Gardens proper. In the eighteenth century, the walks
were made into a single avenue, now known as King's
Bench Walk, incorporating the former Exchequer Court at
the northern end. It was a place frequented by attorneys
for outdoor consultations with their clients.
gardens led down to the river, and to the wharf (known
since the fourteenth century as Temple Bridge or Temple
Stairs) from which lawyers and others could take the
morning barges to Westminster Hall. When the Thames
embankment was constructed in 1767-70, the gardens were
extended and a special wharf was erected for the use of
the two Temple societies, preserved when the Victoria
Embankment was created a century later.