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*INNS OF COURT SERIES*

This time Gray's Inn.

Further along High Holborn is Gray’s Inn, the smallest of the four inns. Like its neighbours, the precise origins of this great seat of learning are unknown. It is thought that the site of the present Hall (pictured) was where the Manor House (an ancient manor) once stood. As early as 1370 this Manor House began to function as a hospitium, a place where law scholars started to gather.

The Elizabethan era was the 'golden age' of Gray's Inn. In the sixteenth century Gray’s Inn distinguished itself from its fellows inns, by embracing the sweeping culture of aristocratic entertainment. Lavish dining, elaborate street processions and even elegant river pageants were all practices adopted by the Inn it embraced the fashionable trends of the 1500s. Indeed during the 1594-5 Christmas season Gray’s Inn famously hosted a performance of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. It is recorded in Gesta Grayorum, that the play was performed “amid an evening of general confusion which led to the occasion being called the “Night of Errors”. The source of the confusion is unknown, but what is clear is that many of the Inn’s members harboured no intention of practising law. Records of the Inn note, stuffily, “A company of base and common fellows .." gave their performance. It is highly likely that Shakespeare himself was cast in this play.

Perhaps the most famous statesman to leave their mark on Gray’s Inn were Queen Elizabeth I and her Lord Chancellor, Sir Francis Bacon. He was the recipient of the first Queen’s counsel (“QC”) designation (what we call barristers who have taken Silk), conferred in 1597. Bacon was Treasurer of Gray’s Inn and was instrumental in the planning and design of its magnificent gardens, the Walks. Records indicate that “it was ordered that the summer of £7. 15s 4d due to Mr Bacon, for planting of elm-trees in the walker, be paid next term”. During Charles II’s reign, the Walks (pictured) were a highly fashionable place to gather and stroll. They remain a popular place for barristers to wander today, a 5.8 acre outdoors space, making it one of the largest private gardens in London!"

Unlike its fellow Inns, Gray’s Inn does not possess a ‘Coat of Arms’ so to speak. It insists that its insignia be called a ‘badge’. The badge (pictured) is described as ’Sable a griffin sergeant” This is a gold griffin on a black background. Around the badge’s circumference adorn the latin “Integra Lex Aequi Custos Rectique Magistra Non Habet Affectus Sed Causas Gubernat” Which means “Impartial justice, guardian of equity, mistress of the law, without fear or favour rules men’s causes aright”

As any law student will know impartiality, equity and ‘without fear of favour’ are instrumental tenets of English law”

Next term we will be exploring other notable legal landmarks in London and across England and Wales. #Gray’sInn. #InnsofCourt. #Bar #BVS #Lawdegree #Law #Lawstudent #LPC #SQE #GDL #QLTS #LLBThis time Gray's Inn.

Further along High Holborn is Gray’s Inn, the smallest of the four inns. Like its neighbours, the precise origins of this great seat of learning are unknown. It is thought that the site of the present Hall (pictured) was where the Manor House (an ancient manor) once stood. As early as 1370 this Manor House began to function as a hospitium, a place where law scholars started to gather.

The Elizabethan era was the 'golden age' of Gray's Inn. In the sixteenth century Gray’s Inn distinguished itself from its fellows inns, by embracing the sweeping culture of aristocratic entertainment. Lavish dining, elaborate street processions and even elegant river pageants were all practices adopted by the Inn it embraced the fashionable trends of the 1500s. Indeed during the 1594-5 Christmas season Gray’s Inn famously hosted a performance of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. It is recorded in Gesta Grayorum, that the play was performed “amid an evening of general confusion which led to the occasion being called the “Night of Errors”. The source of the confusion is unknown, but what is clear is that many of the Inn’s members harboured no intention of practising law. Records of the Inn note, stuffily, “A company of base and common fellows .." gave their performance. It is highly likely that Shakespeare himself was cast in this play.

Perhaps the most famous statesman to leave their mark on Gray’s Inn were Queen Elizabeth I and her Lord Chancellor, Sir Francis Bacon. He was the recipient of the first Queen’s counsel (“QC”) designation (what we call barristers who have taken Silk), conferred in 1597. Bacon was Treasurer of Gray’s Inn and was instrumental in the planning and design of its magnificent gardens, the Walks. Records indicate that “it was ordered that the summer of £7. 15s 4d due to Mr Bacon, for planting of elm-trees in the walker, be paid next term”. During Charles II’s reign, the Walks (pictured) were a highly fashionable place to gather and stroll. They remain a popular place for barristers to wander today, a 5.8 acre outdoors space, making it one of the largest private gardens in London!"

Unlike its fellow Inns, Gray’s Inn does not possess a ‘Coat of Arms’ so to speak. It insists that its insignia be called a ‘badge’. The badge (pictured) is described as ’Sable a griffin sergeant” This is a gold griffin on a black background. Around the badge’s circumference adorn the latin “Integra Lex Aequi Custos Rectique Magistra Non Habet Affectus Sed Causas Gubernat” Which means “Impartial justice, guardian of equity, mistress of the law, without fear or favour rules men’s causes aright”

As any law student will know impartiality, equity and ‘without fear of favour’ are instrumental tenets of English law”

Next term we will be exploring other notable legal landmarks in London and across England and Wales.



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