Temple Church has a wealth of history especially from the medieval period. The church was built as a headquarters by the Knights Templar. The church is modelled after the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and was used for the initiations of the Templars, a ritual that was kept a close secret. The Templars were a power base in England and after their abolition in1307 the church became owned by the crown and eventually owned by the Knights Hospitallers until the reign of Henry VIII when it was returned to the crown. The monarch today appoints the Master of Temple to recall the church’s heritage.
Temple Church was used during the negotiations between King John and his barons in 1215 which eventually led to the signing of Magna Carta in Runnymede later that year. The Magna Carta is considered the birthplace of American Law. The church has strong connections to the USA with Six members of Inner or Middle Temple being amongst the signatories to the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Famous figures include William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke and his son. Marshall played a significant role during the reign of King John and the signing of Magna Carta. He was also regent of the realm during the reign of King Henry III. Many of the Earl of Pembroke’s have been buried here along with many other knights.
The building survived the Great Fire of London in 1666 but still remains a Wren Church.
Today the church is as famous for its music. The Temple Church Choir consists of 18 boy choristers and 12 professional choirmen and was founded after the Victorian restoration of the church in 1841 by Dr Edward John Hopkins. It is still considered to be one of the finest choirs in London.
The church has been featured in lots of media including the film the Da Vinci Code.
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