The Temple Church

The Temple Church is a Royal Peculiar in the City of London located between Fleet Street and the River Thames, built by the Knights Templar as their English headquarters. “London Mother Church of the Common Law”, it is jointly owned by the Inner Temple and Middle Temple Inns of Court, and was consecrated on 10 February 1185 by Patriarch Heraclius of Jerusalem, who was from the Auvergne and studied law at the University of Bologna.

It is famous for being a round church, a common design feature for Knights Templar churches, and has excellent acoustics.

One of the most popular church choir recordings of all time was the 1927 Temple Choir’s recording of Mendelssohn’s Hear My Prayer. Including the solo O for the Wings of a Dove, sung by Ernest Lough, it made the choir world famous.

Sir John Barbirolli recorded a famous performance of the Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan Williams here in 1962. In April 1982, Paul Tortelier made his recording of the complete Bach Cello Suites here.

Film composer Hans Zimmer has said: “Setting foot into Temple Church is like stepping into profound history…Temple Church houses one of the most magnificent organs in the world.”. He chose this church for recording the parts of the score for Interstellar (2014) that included an organ. The Temple Church’s Director of Music, Roger Sayer, performed this part while a large orchestra played throughout the church.

The Wikipedia entry for the Temple Church must have been written before May 2018, when Sarah Mullally was installed as Bishop of London: “Relations with the Bishop of London are very good and he regularly attends events and services at the Temple Church.”.

Mystery Worshipper “Cool Dude”, writing for the Ship of Fools website, attended a service at the Temple Church on 28th July this year, at which the Bishop presided. It’s a vivid account, complete with a little parapraxis that describes it as a “Conformation” service.

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