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MIDDLE TEMPLE HALL

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The Middle Temple Hall was a medieval and post medieval inn of court. The original Hall dates from about 1320. The present building was constructed between 1562-1573 and was altered in the first half of the 19th century. It is built from red brick with stone dressings and slate and tile roofs. The Hall contains a striking oak double hammerbeam roof and a notable screen, also of oak. Both survived the onslaught of German bombers during the Second World War. The long table on the low dais ('the Bench Table') is 29 feet long, made from a single oak tree, and believed to have been given to the Inn by Queen Elizabeth I. In front of the Bench Table is a small table traditionally known as 'the Cupboard'. In former days it served as a centre round which the students would gather while debating a topic under the guidance of a senior barrister known as a Reader. On completing his course of lectures, the Reader would become a Bencher. To keep their terms, students are today required to dine in the Hall not less than three times in each 12 terms. In addition to its long legal history, the Middle Temple Hall was also used as a temporary theatre space in Shakespeare's day: Shakespeare himself performed "Twelfth Night" here in 1602.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the Historic England website.