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Inns of Court and of Chan Cery

inn, temple, bar, law, called, themselves and common

INNS OF COURT AND OF CHAN CERY. When the houses of law were first established seems very doubtful ; but the fixing of the Court of Common Pleas at the palace at Westminster appears greatly to have contributed to their ori gin. This brought together a number of persons who (as Spelman says) addicted themselves wholly to the study of the laws of the land, and, no longer consider ing it as a mere subordinate science, soon improved the law and brought it to that condition which it attained under King Edward I. They purchased at various times certain houses between the city of London and the palace of Westminster, for the combined advantage of ready access to Westminster and of obtaining provisions from London. " For their liberties and privileges" (observes Mr. Agard, in an essay written in the end of the seventeenth century), " I never read of any granted to them or their houses : for having the law in their hands, I doubt not but they could plead for themselves, and say, as a judge said (and that rightly), that it is not convenient that a judge should seek his lodging when he cometh to serve his prince and his country." In Fortescue's time there were four inns of court and ten inns of chancery, the former being frequented by the sons of the nobility and wealthy gentry, and the latter by merchants and others who had not the means of paying the greater expenses (amounting to about " twenty marks" per annum) of the inns of court. The first were called apprenticii nobi liores, the latter apprenticii only.

On the working days, says Fortescue, in his 'De Laudibus Legum Anglice,' most of them apply themselves to the study of the law ; and on the holy days to the study of Holy Scripture. But it appears that they did not entirely neglect lighter pursuits, for, says the same learned author, they learn to sing and to exercise themselves in all kind of harmony, and they also practise dancing and other no blemen's pastimes. He says they did everything in peace and amity, and al though the only punishment that could be inflicted (as is the case now) was ex pulsion, they dreaded that more than other criminal offenders fear imprison ment and prisons. The inns of court, for merly called " hostels," are Lincoln's Inn, the Inner Temple, the Middle Temple, and Gray's Inn.

The Inner Temple, as well as the Middle Temple, owes its name to the Knights Teth plars, who appear to have established themselves here about the year 1185, and called their house the New Temple. After the dissolution of that order, it was granted to the Knights of St. John of Je rusalem by King Edward III., and was soon after, according to Dugdale, demised by them to "divers professors of the common law that came from Thavye's Inn, in Holburne." The church, which is common to both societies, was founded by the Templars, upon the model of that of the Holy Se pulchre at Jerusalem, and was consecrated in 1185, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It consists of a round tower at the western entrance, and three aisles run ning east and west, and two cross aisles. This church has been recently restored and beautified.

Besides these four inns of court, there are eight inns of chancery, which are a sort of daughter inns to the inns of court. They are now only used as chambers, and are principally inhabited by solicitors and attorneys. Two belong to Lincoln's Inn, namely, Furnival's inn and Thavye's Inn ; the former of these two has lately been rebuilt, and has a front towards Holborn ; it comprises upwards of 100 sets of chambers. Four belong to the Temple, Clifford's Inn, Clement's Inn, New Inn, and Lyon's Inn. All these are outside Temple Bar, near the Strand. The remaining two, Staple Inn and Bar nard's Inn, belong to Gray's Inn. Most of the inns of chancery have a hall, in some of which dinners are provided and terms kept, as in the inns of court ; but these terms do not qualify the student to be called to the bar.

Each inn of court is governed by its own benchers, or " antients," as they were formerly called, who fill up the vacancies in their own body. Any bar rister of seven years' standing may be elected a bencher ; but that honour is now usually conferred only on queen's counsel. The Benchers of each inn exercise the power of callinf to the bar the members of their own Inn. [BAR RISTER.] They also exercise the power of disbarring a barrister, that is, depriv ing him of the privileges which they have conferred by calling him to the bar, if they see sufficient reason for such a pro ceeding.