The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 21 The Inns of Court and Legal London

Inns of Chancery and Chancery Lane

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The nine Inns of Chancery differed from the Inns of Court in being of minor importance and subordinate character. It was long the custom for students of law to enter first at an Inn of Chancery and then go on to an Inn of Court, but this practice had become obsolete at the beginning of the 17th century. The Inns of Chancery were thenceforward abandoned to the attorneys, and by the middle of the 18th century they had practically ceased to have any legal character. Clement's Inn and Clifford's Inn both belonged to the Inner Temple. So did Lyon's Inn, pulled down in 1868. New Inn and Strand Inn, attached to the Middle Temple, have vanished also. Connected with Lincoln's Inn were Thavie's Inn (sold by the benchers in 1769) and Furnival's Inn, which ceased to have a legal character in 1817 and has since been demolished. The legal history of Staple Inn goes back to the reign of Henry V. (1413-22), that of Barnard's Inn to the time of Henry VI. (1422-61). Their connection with Gray's Inn is now a thing of the past. The two Serjeants� Inns were independent bodies, composed solely of serjeants-at-law ('servientes ad legem'), an order of the highest rank of barristers. The society was dissolved in 1877. �Legal London� is crossed from south to north by Chancery Lane, which begins in Fleet St., nearly opposite the Temple, passes the entrance of Lincoln's Inn, and ends at Holborn, near Gray's Inn. It is still largely occupied by solicitors, law-stationers, and other persons connected with the law. The second house from the corner of Fleet St., on the left, succeeds a house and shop kept by Izaak Walton (1624-43). Opposite are a bank and an insurance office on the site of Old Serjeants� Inn (see above), behind which is Clifford's Inn.