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The Temple Church: Beyond the Da Vinci Code

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by Sandra Lawson (subscribe)
To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at and my theatre reviews at
Published December 27th 2011
The Temple Church
Outside the Temple Church

The Temple Church has probably gained fame in recent years because it was featured in the novel, The Da Vinci Code, and the film of the same name.

The Temple Church
Inside the Temple Church

The first section, the Round Church, was consecrated as the headquarters of the Knights Templar on 10 February 1185 and it is assumed that King Henry II was present. The aim of the church was to protect twelfth century pilgrims making their way to Jerusalem; its circular shape emulates the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in that city. In 1240, the choir was rebuilt to accommodate the wishes of the king as his burial place, but he had changed his will and was instead buried in Westminster Abbey.

Temple Church
Geoffrey de Mandeville

As its name would imply, the church is located within the Inner Temple. In 1608 King James granted a charter to the Inner and Middle Temples, guaranteeing them the use of the church in perpetuity. In the 17th century the building was refurbished by Wren, although it had not been damaged during the 1666 fire. It underwent further renovation in 1841, but was unfortunately fire bombed during the Blitz. After restoration it was reconsecrated in 1954 by Queen Elizabeth II.

The Temple Church
The Altar

In addition to being a place of worship, the church is home to regular organ recitals and concerts and is available for filming.

There are many City churches, but the Temple Church is in a unique location within the tranquillity of the courtyards of the Inner Temple, and easily accessible from Fleet Street and the Embankment.

Here are some further images to whet your appetite:

The Temple Church
Inside the Temple Church

The Temple Church
Stained Glass Window

Temple Church
Design for Temple Church Windows

The Temple Church
Inside the Round Church

The Temple Church
Outside the Temple Church
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Why? Because it's a hidden gem and worth exploring.
When: Consult the website for opening times as these are subject to variation
Where: Inner Temple (just behind Fleet Street)
Cost: 3
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