Thursday, August 18, 2022

The Many Versions of the Arms of the Middle Temple

There are in London four Inns of Court, professional associations for barristers (a specialized type of lawyer) in England and Wales. Two of the four Inns of Court, Middle Temple and Inner Temple, are located near and affiliated with the Temple Church.

As an historian and part-time medievalist, Temple Church was pretty high on the list of "Places to Visit" when we were in London. And to get to, and from, Temple Church, we ended up walking through the buildings of both the Middle Temple and Inner Temple, which naturally meant that we also saw their arms. A lot!

Today, we're going to revisit the arms of the Middle Temple, or to give it its proper name, The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, blazoned Argent on a cross gules a Paschal lamb passant or [sometimes, argent] maintaining [sometimes, in front of] a banner of St. George [Argent a cross gules] flying from a pole topped by a cross formy [sometimes, Maltese] or.

As you can see from my blazon, and from the varying renditions below, it's not always a standardized depiction. For that matter, the Middle Temple's website, and many depictions either or or without a shield, drop the cross entirely, placing the lamb on a red field.

Anyway, here are various versions of the arms of the Middle Temple we saw in and around Temple Church. Be sure to click on an image to see a larger, more detailed photograph of each one.

Now that's a whole lot of sheep!

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