Temple Church, London

A ‘Royal Peculiar’ – the Temple Church¬†is located between Fleet Street and the River Thames in the City of London. Built by the Knights Templar as their English headquarters, the church was consecrated in 1185. Originally the royal treasury during the reign of King John, it is now owned by the Inner Temple and Middle Temple Inns of Court. The church was heavily damaged by German bombing during the second world war and has since been greatly restored and rebuilt.
The Knights Templar were a very powerful group which was eventually abolished in 1307. The church was later given to the Knights Hospitaller who leased the Temple to two colleges of lawyers. In 1540 the Crown took control of the church when King Henry Vlll abolished the Knights Hospitaller and confiscated their property.
In 1608 under King James l, the two Inns were granted use of the church in perpetuity – conditional on their agreement to support and maintain it.
The church was refurbished by Christopher Wren and further restored in 1841, and again in 1862. As mentioned above, the church was badly damaged on May 10 1941 by German incendiary bombs. The fire destroyed the organ and all wooden parts of the church. Restoration commenced after the war and was rededicated in November 1958. It was given Grade l listed status in January 1950. Image: Photographer unknown (1890)

While the church has retained its familiar round shape, the changes to the church’s roof (caused by German bombing) can be seen in this March 2022 photograph. Also, the trees have grown dramatically and the railings look to have survived. This view would not be the same in the summer!
Image: © TimeViews Steven Miell (2022)
A merged version of the two photographs. Use the slider in the centre.