|Barnard's Inn||City of London|
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.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/06/2010
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Barnard's Inn, northern courtyard, June 2010. Photo: S Williams
Click photo to enlarge.
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.
Simon Bradley & Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England, London 1: The City of London', 1997 (1999 ed.); Gresham College Programme 2002/2003 booklet.