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THE INNER AND MIDDLE TEMPLE

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In the second half of the 12th century the Knights Templar built a residence in the area of the present Temple and began work on the Round Church which still survives (see TQ 38 SW 1393). When the Knights were suppressed in 1312 their property passed to the Knights Hospitallers who leased part of it to lawyers (the predecessors of the barristers of the Middle and Inner Temple) for use as a hostel. On the supression of the Hospitallers in 1539 all their property, including the Temple area, passed to the Crown. In 1609 the Temple was leased by James I to the Benches of the Inner and Middle Temple. There is now no visible distinction between the Middle Temple (to the west) and the Inner Temple (to the east), and the buildings are linked by a labyrinth of passageways and courts almost as complex as the legal system they encompass. The majority of the surviving buildings date from the 17th century. Many of the buildings were destroyed during World War II, and were either renovated or replaced. For information on the individual buildings that make up the Temple please refer to the child records listed under this record.

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