Archive Catalogue

Article Index

The Inner Temple Archives
Summary Description of Holdings

The archives are described in more detail in a Handlist of the Inner Temple Archives (1992) which is available in the Inner Temple Library and at the National Register of Archives Catalogue (2002) available in the Inner Temple Archives.

Records of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple (1505-)

The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple is one of the four Inns of Court, which between them are responsible for the selection, training, and regulation of barristers in England and Wales. It occupies the eastern half of a site, known as the Temple, which was chosen by the crusading Knights Templar in the twelfth century as their London headquarters. The round church that they constructed there, reputedly modelled on the Church of St. Sepulchre in Jerusalem, still forms part of the Temple Church. By the mid-fourteenth century, when the royal courts became permanently sited in Westminster, the Temple had become a home for lawyers who formed two societies there, the Inner and the Middle Temple, each occupying one of the halls constructed by the Templars on the site. Their status was formally recognised in 1608, when James I granted the land jointly to them in perpetuity for the accommodation, entertainment and education of students and practitioners of the law. Although the buildings that it occupies have changed considerably over time, the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple continues to fulfil this role to the present day.

The Inner Temple Archives holds the past administrative records of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple. Dating from 1505, these include records relating to the admission, education and call to the bar of members; the management of the Inn by the Treasurer and Council of Benchers, known as the Inn's Parliament, and its committees and sub-committees; the day to day administration of the Inn and its property by the Sub-Treasurer and his staff; and the conduct of events taking place within the Inn. The Inn also holds some records relating to the Temple Church, which is jointly owned and administered by the Inner Temple and the Middle Temple. The records have been catalogued in the following categories:

ADM: Records of Admission and Membership(1547-1969)

These records relate to the admission of students to the Inner Temple and to their subsequent membership of the Inn. They include admission registers, admission stamp duty books, admission papers, membership files, students address books, tables of admission fees, receipt counterfoils and lists of students suspended, readmitted or dead.

BAR: Records of Call to the Bar and Barristers (1642-1995)

These records relate to the call to the bar of members of the Inner Temple and to matters concerning call to the bar and the professional status of barristers. They include bar books, call lists, call papers, bar bonds, bar examination results, unsuccessful applications for call and papers concerning qualifications for call and the status of barristers.

BEN: Records of Master of the Bench and Bench Committees (1668-)

These records relate to the election of senior members as masters of the bench of the Inner Temple and to activities of the Bench Table and bench committees responsible for the governance of the Inn. They include bench lists, petitions to the masters of the bench, Bench Table orders and minutes and papers of bench committees and working parties. See also PAR.

BUI: Records of Buildings and Works (1726-1982)

These records relate to the construction, maintenance and repair of buildings within the Inner Temple, apart from the Temple Church (see TEM). They include building specifications and contracts, correspondence with architects, building contractors and tenants, building accounts and some plans. For other plans see PLA.

CHA: Records of Chambers and Rents (1615-1986)

These records relate to professional and residential tenancies of chambers within the Inner Temple. They include chambers admittance books and reference books, chambers bonds, tenancy agreements, rentals and chambers accounts, surrenders and assignments of chambers, and papers in chambers disputes.

COM: Records of Commons, Dues and Catering (1914-1962)

These records relate to commons and other dues, including preacher's duties, collected from members of the Inner Temple. They include commons, pensions and preacher's duty account books, commons bonds, buttery books, student term books, a Christmas account book and papers concerning catering charges. Concerning catering at special events see EVE.

DIS: Records Of Disciplinary Cases (1821-1980)

These records relate to disciplinary procedures against student and barrister members of the Inner Temple for professional misconduct and other disciplinary offences. They include bench committee minutes and reports, correspondence, copies of court proceedings and judgments and other case papers. Restricted access.

EDU: Records Relating to Legal Education and Scholarships (1871-)

These records relate to internal and external initiatives to promote and regulate the professional education of bar students and to scholarships and educational activities organised within the Inn. They include reports of joint committees of the four Inns of Court, consolidated regulations, moot books and case papers, moot committee minutes, applications and examination scripts for scholarships and prizes, and scholarship payment books.

EMP: Records of Employees (1866-1972)

These records relate to the employment and remuneration of Inner Temple staff. They include wages books, pension records, job applications, employment contracts and bonds, servants' Christmas fund account book, and provident committee report.

EVE: Records of Special Events, Dinners and Entertainments (1843-)

These records relate to special events hosted by the Inner Temple for members and guests including royal visits, Grand Days, dinners, garden parties, balls, the RHS Temple gardens flower show and ceremonial occasions. They include administrative papers, invitations, menus, programmes, table plans and invoices. For photographs see PHO.