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Inventory Site Record

Barnard's Inn (City of London)

Brief Description

Today there are two paved courtyards here but the central courtyard was once the garden of Barnard's Inn, one of the Inns of Chancery associated with Gray's Inn. The late C14th Hall survives, which in 1454 was tenanted by Lionel Barnard, hence the name, and the premises were used by law students. The freehold was purchased by the Mercers' Company in 1892 for use as the Mercers' School, which it remained until 1959. Since 1991 it has been the base for Gresham College, established in 1597 by Sir Thomas Gresham whose house in Bishopsgate was the first venue for free public lectures. On his death, Gresham left his estate and control of his benefaction to the City of London Corporation and the Mercers’ Company.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Macworth Inne
Site location:
access from 20-23 Holborn/Fetter Lane
Postcode:
EC1N 2HH
What 3 Words:
sharp.locate.design
Type of site:
Square
Borough:
City of London
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
private but has public access
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Events:
Lectures and events
Public transport:
Tube: Chancery Lane (Central). Bus: 8, 17, 25, 45, 46, 242, 341, 501, 521.
Research updated:
01/06/2010
Last minor changes:
19/07/2023

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.gresham.ac.uk

Full Site Description

Central courtyard that was formerly the garden of Barnard's Inn, one of the Inns of Chancery associated with Gray's Inn; it featured in Charles Dickens' 'Great Expectations'. The late C14th Barnard's Inn Hall survives, once the house of John Macworth, Chancellor to Henry V and Dean of Lincoln; in 1454 Lionel Barnard had the tenancy, hence the name, and the premises were used by law students. Around the Hall are C18th and C19th buildings. The freehold of Barnard's Inn was purchased by the Trustees in 1888 who then sold it to the Mercers' Company in 1891/2 for use as the Mercers' School, which it remained until 1959, after which it was used as commercial offices. The site was redeveloped in 1988-92 by Green Lloyd Architects, when some of the old buildings were restored. Since 1991 Gresham College, which has close associations with the Mercers' Company, has been based at the Mercers' School site. It was set up in 1597 by Sir Thomas Gresham whose house in Bishopsgate was the first venue for the free public lectures given by Gresham Professors. Their salaries were paid out of income from rents on shops around the Royal Exchange, which Sir Thomas Gresham bequeathed jointly to the City Corporation and the Mercers' Company. Sir Thomas had been instrumental in setting up the Royal Exchange in the C16th although the idea for an Exchange modelled on the Antwerp Bourse was conceived by his father Sir Richard Gresham, Lord Mayor of London in 1537/8. Sir Thomas left his estate and control of his benefaction to the City Corporation and the Mercers' Company.

Sources consulted:

Simon Bradley & Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England, London 1: The City of London', 1997 (1999 ed.); Gresham College Programme 2002/2003 booklet.

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ312815 (531260,181510)
Size in hectares:
0.0943
Site ownership:
Great Portland Estates
Site management:
Great Portland Estates
Date(s):
C15th on; 1894; 1989-92
Designer(s):
Listed structures:
LBII* and SAM: Barnard's Inn Hall & adjacent buildings
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

No
Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

No
Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

No

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:
No
In Conservation Area:
Yes
Conservation Area name:
Dyers Buildings
Tree Preservation Order:
No
Nature Conservation Area:
No
Green Belt:
No
Metropolitan Open Land:
No
Special Policy Area:
No
Other LA designation:
Strategic Viewing Corridor
Photos

Barnard's Inn

Barnard's Inn, northern courtyard, June 2010. Photo: S Williams

Barnard's Inn, southern courtyard, June 2010. Photo: S Williams
2010
Barnard's Inn, Passage from northern courtyard, June 2010. Photo: S Williams
2010

Click a photo to enlarge.

Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.