Jason is a full time traveler, sharing his experiences with the world and showing what it has to offer.
Before I traveled to London for the first time, I said to myself the Temple Church was one of the top destinations I wanted to visit, and I am glad to say I did. It is located just north of the Thames by Central London and makes for a great walking adventure if you are staying near the area.
As you might expect, it is in an older part of the city, and based on the size of the roads and the architecture of the area, it has a medieval feel when traveling the streets around the church.
History of the Church
The Temple Church was originally built in the 1100s by the Knight's Templar to act as their headquarters in England. Prior to this, the site was a temple during the Roman era. The Temple Church has played a role in most major events in England over the last 900 years.
From the War of the Roses to the Great Fire of London to the Battle of Britain in 1940, it has survived it all. You can read about the entire 900 year history along the walls throughout the church. The picture below gives an introduction to the history of the church and how it came about. Much of the British Royal Family and even some Royals from France passed through this church on one occasion or another. Both the late Prince Philip and the late Queen Elizabeth II attended the Round Rededication here in November 1958.
There is a portrait inside the church depicting this particular event. For the many years of history that have happened in this church, we could spend months studying all the events that have occurred in this sacred location. I will give you a general overview of what you can discover within this church and if I would recommend you pay a visit yourself next time you are in London.
The picture above shows the main congregation area, which is immediately to the right upon entering the church. From my perspective, the picture does not do enough justice to how inspiring it felt to stand in this spot. The organ player is to the left upper level and played for most of the few hours I was present here. You are welcome to sit just about anywhere in this area, and I would recommend you take the time to absorb the surroundings more.
As I mentioned, you can read an overview of the entire history of the church that encircles the round narthex, or the opposite end of the altar within the church. The picture above shows the first plaque you will read, on the left side of the entrance to the church.
One interesting picture I will point out is on the bottom right, depicting the church during the Battle of Britain. While the church was eventually restored, it is not what it originally was. From the perspective of an American, World War II is an event that took place far away, and to be standing in a spot that at one time was directly affected by it is a collective moment.
Now various knights or historical figures significant to the church are depicted on the floor around the narthex. These are the spots dedicated to them. I am not 100% certain if the names depicted are truly buried here or if these spots are simply dedicated to them. Many of these spots show dates as far back as the 13th and 14th centuries. Most are congregated in this spot. In the distance, you will see some of the plaques detailing the history of the church. It will continue around the entire circle.
Like most older buildings we encounter, the stairs are very small and narrow. Only one row of people could walk up or down at a time. I like this because it shows the preservation of the middle ages in the modern day.
There is not much to see on the second level. The patterns you see on the flooring in the picture above are about all there is to take in. You walk this path around in a small circle around the round, and then back downstairs. There is a burial section tucked away upon reaching the top dedicated to those who were significant to the church and their spouses. You can not walk directly through it, but you can peer in and read some of the names.
Once I went back downstairs, the last part I went to witness is the altar, which is a site to behold in itself. It is £5 to tour the church, but it is free to pray at the altar. You will find many Latin verse scriptures depicted along this wall by the altar. Before you leave, this is a spot worth checking out and standing in front of for a few moments.
Overall, this is one of the greatest churches I have ever set foot in. I spent a few hours touring this place and sat in peace for a few minutes to take in the environment. When I walked out, I felt calm and collected. Ao much history is buried here, and to say I am now a part of it by passing through here is quite an honor. I could not recommend it enough to pay this place a visit at least once if you are traveling to London. Again, it is only £5 to tour, and it is worth the time to visit.
I hope you found this article informative and if you enjoy reading and touring historical sites, check out some of my other adventures through Europe by following the links below to other articles.
- Visiting the Tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte
Paris' Musée de I'Armée is final resting place of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. This is my experience visiting the tomb and some details on what else you'll see inside it.
- Visiting the Imperial War Museum in London, England
The Imperial War Museum explores the various military conflicts and wars Britain was involved in during the 20th century. This article details my experience and thoughts on visiting this great museum.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Jason