Hidden away within the alleys off Fleet Street lies Temple Church, founded by the Knights Templar in the 12th century. The Knights Templar was established in 1118 as a monastic order of knights to protect pilgrims to the Holy Land. They were a powerful order during the Crusades, inspiring many legends that continue to fascinate people today, as seen in the popularity of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.
This church was part of a complex that included two halls, cloisters, and other buildings. It escaped the Great Fire of London in 1666, but suffered damage during the Blitz in 1941. The round portion of the church is the oldest, consecrated in 1185. The chancel portion was constructed in the 13th century in the early English Gothic style.
Several effigies of knights are located within the oldest part of the church.
There are also some interesting stone faces that line the circular walls, though they date from more modern times.
Today, the church serves as the chapel for two of the four Inns of Court, Inner Temple and Middle Temple.