Lincoln’s Inn is one of four Inns of Court in London to which barristers of England and Wales belong and where they are called to the Bar. The other three are Middle Temple, Inner Temple and Gray’s Inn. Lincoln’s Inn is able to trace its official records to 1422. T he Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn is said to take its name from Henry de Lacy, 3rd Earl of Lincoln who died in 1311. His own great house was nearby and he is credited with being the Society’s patron. However, the origins of the name may as easily be derived from Robert de Chesney Bishop of Lincoln who acquired the ‘old Temple’ on the site in 1161. The present character of Lincoln’s Inn owes much to the fact that its precincts and buildings – the medieval Hall and Gateway abutting onto Chancery Lane, the late seventeenth century New Square in the centre, and the magnificent Victorian gothic Great Hall and Library beside Lincoln’s Inn Fields – survived nearly unscathed the devastations of the Blitz. Striking as they are, these buildings however are not merely architectural and historical tourist attractions but provide the professional home for the practicing bar and many of the educational facilities for the training of students. It is to meet those needs that the Inn exists and on which it expends the bulk of its resources.
Fifteen English Prime Ministers, from William Pitt to Tony Blair, have studied law here. The names of the novelists Charles Reade, Charles Kingsley, Wilkie Collins, Rider Haggard and John Galsworthy are all found in the membership records. The poet and preacher John Donne was Preacher to the Society and laid the foundation stone of the present Chapel, built in 1623. Thomas More, the author, humanist scholar and statesman, was admitted as a student in 1496 and went on to become a bencher of the Inn.
I just love its soft, old, stones and visit when I can just to wander quietly among its courts. If you come to London – don’t miss its gentle peace and spirit of its gentle ghosts