Home » Hidden London » Hidden London: Clifford’s Inn in the City of London

Hidden London: Clifford’s Inn in the City of London

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The City of London is a wonderful place to explore to find some of the hidden corners which takes you back into the past. One of hidden corners is Clifford’s Inn between Fetter Lane, Fleet Street and Chancery Lane.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Clifford’s Inn is a former Inn of Chancery which was founded in 1344 and refounded 15 June 1668. It was dissolved in 1903, and most of its original structure was demolished in 1934. Clifford’s Inn had the distinction of being the first Inn of Chancery to be founded and the last to be demolished.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Inns of Chancery evolved with the Inns of Court. During the 12th and 13th centuries, Law was taught in the City of London primarily by the clergy. This changed in the 13th century when a decree was issued by Henry III stating that no institutes of legal education could exist in the City of London; and a Papal Bull prohibiting clergy from teaching law in London.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Legal education led to lawyers carrying out their business within “inns”, which were used for accommodation and offices. The land on which Clifford’s Inn was built was granted to Lord de Clifford in 1310, Isabel, Lady de Clifford granted use of the land to students of the law for £10 annually. It was the first recorded Inn of Chancery.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Society of Clifford’s Inn purchased the freehold of the property in 1618, however in 1903 it was decided that the Inn was not needed anymore, so its members unanimously agreed to dissolve the society, selling the buildings and giving what was left to the Attorney General for England and Wales. The Inn was sold for the sum of £100,000 and the buildings were demolished in 1934.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The only surviving part of Clifford’s Inn is the gatehouse in Clifford’s Inn Passage, which is believed to have been designed by Decimus Burton, a former student of the Inn.

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