skip to main content

The Inn’s Officers and Employees

The oldest office in the inns of court is that of Manciple, and a manciple of the Temple is mentioned as early as the 1340s. By the time of Henry VIII, however, the permanent domestic establishment consisted of the Steward, the Butler (and under-butlers), the Cook (and his kitchen staff), and the Pannierman; later in the century porters are mentioned, and there was a host of lesser servants (such as laundresses, lackeys, and turnspits). The Pannierman was what we now call a waiter; his function was to set the tables, to provide bread at meals, and to blow the horn for dinner. The porters were concerned with security and good order. The Head Porter was provided in 1684 with a ceremonial staff of bamboo with a silver head, to which in 1705 was added a silver pegasus; this is still in use. Since at least 1684 he has also worn a distinctive gown, with ‘loops and tufts’. The Inner Temple Porter’s gown, now worn on ceremonial occasions and in Temple Church, is of brown cloth with facings of old gold.

The office of Sub-Treasurer (or Under-Treasurer) is mentioned in 1557. The first sub-treasurers were appointed ad hoc by the treasurers for the time being, as their personal assistants, and it was not until 1682 that the Inn appointed a ‘standing sub-treasurer’. Since then the Sub-Treasurer has been the principal administrative officer of the Inner Temple. By modern Acts of Parliament he has been assigned many of the functions of a local authority.

A Head Porter in full dress, escorting the Queen in 1952. Image copyright © The Inner Temple
A Head Porter in full dress, escorting the Queen in 1952. Image copyright © The Inner Temple

Next chapter: The Freehold

Back to: Keeping Term