SALE OF SILVER AND PLATE
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 1992
ON VIEW FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 1992
from 11.00am to 5.00pm
MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 1992
from 9.00am to 7.30pm
and morning of sale
from 9.00am to 12noon
The Property of
THE HONOURABLE SOCIETY OF THE INNER TEMPLE
The history of the Inner Temple dates back to the 12th Century when the Knights of the Military Order of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem moved their old temple in Holborn to a site between Fleet Street and the Thames. There they constructed a round church based on the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The Temple Church survives to this day although heavily restored. It was consecrated in 1185 by Heracles, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Special privileges allowed the knights to store valuables and soon the Temple became a financial centre. A nave was added to the church in 1240 and consecrated in the presence of Henry III. Many of the knights of order were buried in the temple and the effigy of William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke can still be seen there today. The Order of Knights was dissolved in 1312 and the Pope gave the Temple to The Knights Hospitaller of the Order of St. John, but it was seized by Edward II, only to be later sold back to the order. It is unlikely that the legal profession practised in the Temple at this time. In the 1330's the profession and the courts moved to York. It is probable that the legal communities were established in the Temple and its vicinity following their return to London in 1339. Inner Middle and Temple were distinct communities by 1338 when they are first mentioned by name in a manuscript year book. The hall of the Inner Temple was rebuilt after the inns were sacked by Wat Tyler and his rebels in 1381.
The details of the daily life of the inns of court during this period are known through the Black Books of Lincoln's Inn dating from 1442.
The legal students were mostly sons of country gentlemen who spent the terms attending the courts in Westminster Hall and participating in moots when the hall of the inn was arranged like a court with both a bar and a bench. The unqualified student sat inside the bar, but moved to outside the bar when he had achieved the necessary standard, becoming an "utter barrister", after which he would give a reading and then become a "bencher". Over the years the various inns acquired a regional catchment area, with the Inner Temple students drawn predominantly from the North, the Midlands and London.
There was much expansion in the 16th Century and many Tudor brick buildings were constructed. A number of prominent men of the time were members of the Inn such as Sir Thomas Audley, autumn reader in 1526, who succeeded Sir Thomas More as Lord Chancellor in 1534. Sir Edward Coke (1552-1534), who became a bencher of the Inn in 1590, was Solicitor general, Recorder of London and Speaker of the House of Commons during his long career, he is also credited with having laid the foundations of English administrative law. During the Civil War the inns were all but closed and readings were discontinued. After the Restoration readings resumed and the first, by Sir Hencage Finch, was attended by Charles II and the Duke of York, later James II, the first Royal Bencher. Extensive building work followed three fires that destroyed much of the eastern and northern parts of the inn in this period. By the end of the 18th Century a number of the buildings were in a poor state of repair. Considerable building works were undertaken between 1830 and 1890, the most impressive being the new hall and library, designed by Sydney Smirke (1797-1877), opened in 1870 by Princess Louise. The Second World War, took a great toll on the Temple with a large number of buildings being destroyed or damaged, including the Hall and Library, but some were restored to their original appearance.
Over the centuries the Temple has formed an important collection of silver, much of it used in the formal dinners which are an integral part of life in the Inn. The pieces now offered for sale are surplus to requirements and are being sold to off-set the cost of the recent acquisition of an important piece of plate with strong connections with the Inner Temple, The Dolben Porringer, by Robert Smythier, manufactured in 1678. Sir William Dolben (d.1694) was called to the Bar in 1653 and elected a bencher in 1672. The porringer was given to him "as a loving rememberance" by the Corporation of London when he was advanced to the bench in 1678. He was succeeded as recorder of the City of London by the notorious Judge Jeffreys (1648-1689), also a bencher of the Inner Temple.
A large number of the pieces are engraved with the figure of Pegasus, the heraldic device used as the crest of the Inner Temple. Many of the items are engraved with the letter "T", initials and a date. The initials are for the Treasurer of that year.