Esoteric London

No. 348: Old Square, WC2

Posted in Architectural, Churches, Literary London, London on film by esotericlondon on June 29, 2011

©Roger Dean_RED9607- Roger.Dean.RGB copy

Lincoln’s Inn Chapel, Old Square, London, WC2. Photo © Roger Dean 2011

Picturesque London – Percy Fitzgerald, 1890:

One of the most satisfactory monuments in London is the sad-looking old gateway in Lincoln’s Inn. The restorers were slowly working their way down, clearing away and rebuilding in view of increased rents, and the old gate would probably have been swept off, but that some one has raised the cry of alarm. We can ill spare this fine old piece, which dates from 1518. The effect of entering under the archway – the decayed old timbers of the massive door, the highly-picturesque little towers, the corners and crannies on the left, the glimpse of the winding stair, and the old Inigo Jones chapel on the right, makes this a pleasant bit of antiquity.

[Beneath the Inigo Jones chapel is the magnificent open undercroft, pictured here, which was built as a place for the students and lawyers ‘to walk in and talk and confer their learnings’. It has understandably been a popular location for film-makers over the years. In Tony Richardson’s adaptation of Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones, released in 1963, Albert Finney as Tom duels here with Fitzpatrick prior to being arrested for robbery. Robert Downey Jr. and Annett Bening breakfasted under the fine vaulted ceiling, the undercroft having been glazed in and transformed into the Queen’s lodgings in Richard Loncraine’s Richard III. More recently Basic Instinct 2 and Finding Neverland both used this much restored 17th-century building, the foundation stone of which was laid by the poet John Donne, preacher of the Inn at the time. R.D.]

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