The Temple Church in London

The Temple Church in London

History, Architecture, Art

Edited by David Park, Robin Griffith-Jones


Boydell Press



First full-length survey of the Temple Church, from its foundation in the twelfth century to the Second World War.
Founded as the main church of the Knights Templar in England, at their New Temple in London, the Temple Church is historically and architecturally one of the most important medieval buildings in England. Its round nave, modelled on the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, is extraordinarily ambitious, combining lavish Romanesque sculpture with some of the earliest Gothic architectural features in any English building of its period. It holds one of the most famous series of medieval effigies in the country. The luminous thirteenth-century choir, intended for the burial of Henry III, is of exceptional beauty. Major developments in the post-medieval period include the reordering of the church in the 1680s by Sir Christopher Wren, and a substantial restoration programme in the early 1840s.
Despite its extraordinary importance, however, it has until now attracted little scholarly or critical attention, a gap which is remedied by this volume. It considers the New Temple as a whole in the middle ages, and all aspects of the church itself from its foundation in the twelfth century to its war-time damage in the twentieth. Richly illustrated with numerous black and white and colour plates, it makes full use of the exceptional range and quality of the antiquarian material available for study, including drawings, photographs, and plaster casts.

Contributors: Robin Griffith-Jones, Virginia Jansen, Philip Lankester, Helen Nicholson, David Park, Rosemary Sweet, William Whyte, Christopher Wilson.


October 2010
11 colour, 109 black and white, 5 line illustrations
314 pages
24.4x17.2 cm
ISBN: 9781843834984
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
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Table of Contents

Editors' Preface
At the Heart of Medieval London: The New Temple in the Middle Ages - Helen J Nicholson
Gothic Architecture Transplanted: The Nave of the London Temple Church - Christopher Wilson
Light and Pure: The Templars' New Choir - Virginia Jansen
Medieval Burials and Monuments - David Park
The Thirteenth-Century Military Effigies in the Temple Church - Philip J Lankester
'An Enrichment of Cherubims': Christopher Wren's Refurbishment of the Temple Church - Robin Griffith-Jones
'A neat structure with pillars': Changing Perceptions of the Temple Church in the Long Eighteenth Century - Rosemary H Sweet
Restoration and Recrimination: The Temple Church in the Nineteenth Century - William Whyte
'The latter Glory of this House': Some Details of Damage and Repair, 1840-1941 - Robin Griffith-Jones


A major strength of the volume is the number and quality of its illustrations, which both aid the reader in his or her understanding of the text and make available a range of antiquarian material never before published. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW
Charged full of absorbing detail, resulting from the considerable standard of scholarship with which each author enriches the whole. (...) A declared objective for this publication was to fill the perceived gap in scholarly attention paid to this iconic London church. This has been achieved in full measure, and it is also an important statement of current scholarship in the field of medieval monuments. CHURCH MONUMENTS
(A) remarkable and well-produced collection. (...) It is impossible in a short review to do justice to the book's riches, but one can confidently say that every reader of Ecclesiology Today will find something to interest, inform or challenge here. ECCLESIOLOGY TODAY
Probably the most important publication about Temple Church in recent years. (...) From an architectural and art-historical point of view this is an important scholarly publication. MEDIEVAL ARCHAEOLOGY
The diverse and complementary essays of this well-illustrated book represent a considerable achievement in raising from obscurity the history of this remarkable building. THE BURLINGTON MAGAZINE
A marvellously thorough treatment of almost every aspect of the history of the Temple church. It is revisionist and it is historiographic, and it is well supported by over a hundred black-and-white plates, as well as twelve colour plates; it generally deserves the highest praise. (...) The richness of the Temple church's history has never lacked for investigators - but none have been so thorough as those in the present volume. THE RICARDIAN
This fine and well-illustrated volume covers all these developments in great detail; it is a tribute to the energy and scholarship of the Master of the Temple, Robin Griffith-Jones, and his fellow editor, David Park. TLS
These scholarly conference proceedings discuss the church's design, functions and complex structural history, and also the famous but sadly battered group of 13th century military effigies which lies within. Fascinating detail too on the Templars' lifestyle, liturgy, and banking and legal services. BRITISH ARCHAEOLOGY
Serious students and tourist guides must buy this book. THE FRIENDS OF CITY CHURCHES NEWSLETTER

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