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London Gardens Online


The Master's Garden City of London


The Master's Garden is located between Temple Church and the Master's House, the residence of the Master of the Temple at the Temple Church. Reached by a flight of steps from Church Court, the L-shaped garden is on a raised plateau due to its position over the C17th catacombs, which were created adjacent to the church in order to provide more burial space. Damage by WWII bombing resulted in damage to the Master's House and the loss of a number of mature trees and other plants in the garden. The garden's layout today dates from post-war renovation, and the planting reflects the fact that the soil is free-draining due to its position over the catacombs, with plants chosen for their ability to well withstand dry conditions.

Basic Details

Site location:
Church Court, Inner Temple, access via Temple Lane/Tudor Street


Type of site:
Private Garden



Listed structures:
LBII: The Master's House

City of London

Site ownership:
Jointly by Middle Temple and Inner Temple

Site management:
Joint responsibility of the two Inns

Open to public?

Opening times:
private, but has opened for OGSW
Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend 4 times, most recently in 2019.

Special conditions:


Has opened for OGSW

Public transport:
Tube: Blackfriars, Temple (District and Circle). Bus: 4, 11, 15, 23, 26, 76, 172


The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/10/2017
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Further Information

Grid ref:
TQ312810 (531269,181031)

Size in hectares:

On EH National Register :

EH grade:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:

In Conservation Area:

Conservation Area name:

Tree Preservation Order:

Nature Conservation Area:

Green Belt:

Metropolitan Open Land:

Special Policy Area:
Yes - Thames Policy Area

Other LA designation:

The Master's Garden

The Master's Garden, June 2017. Photograph Sally Williams

Click photo to enlarge.


Fuller information

St Mary's Church in the Temple serves the Inner and Middle Temple and was built by the Knights Templar in the late C12th. The Order purchased land here and moved from Holborn, where they had originally established themselves on the site of the present Southampton Buildings (q.v.) where remains of foundations were discovered in 1999/2000. At that time the circular nave and porch were built and the church was consecrated by Patriarch Heraclius of Jerusalem in 1185. In c.1220 building of a new and larger chancel commenced, its consecration in 1240 attended by Henry III. The nave contains a series of C13th effigies of Knights in Purbeck marble, which were restored when the church itself was restored in both the C19th and in the C20th following damage in World War II. The Knights Templar were dissolved by the Pope in 1312 and the Temple property passed through the hands of a number of noblemen until 1324 when all previous lands of the Knights Templar were given to the Knights of the Order of St John. The Knights conveyed the Temple to Hugh le Despencer, favourite of the King, at whose death it reverted to the Crown but it was later granted once again to the Knights, who leased it to a society of students of the common laws of England, which eventually formed two societies, those of the Inner and the Middle Temple. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries the Temple passed back to the Crown although the law students maintained their lease and in 1608 James I granted the freehold to the Benchers of the Temple in perpetuity for use as a place of study and residence. Temple Church escaped the Great Fire of 1666 but was refurbished by Wren in 1682.

The original Master's House was built for the then Master Dr Bell in 1667 but was later destroyed by bombing in WWII on 10 May 1941. The current red-brick building, whose fa├žade is a replica of the original, dates from c.1955 and was designed by architects Sir Edward Maufe and Sir Hubert Worthington, who both undertook a number of post-war projects in the Inner and Middle Temple. The garden, with a central path leading to the main entrance of the Master's House, is shown on John Rocque's map of 1746.

Sources consulted:

OGSW booklet; Simon Bradley & Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England, London 1: The City of London', 1997 (1999 ed.); Stephen Lloyd, 'The courts and Gardens of the Middle Temple', Pitkin Publishing, 2013; 'The Middle Temple: A Guide', 2015

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