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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Streets, Squares, and Buildings

Gray’s Inn Estate

Estates in Bloomsbury

1 Duke of Bedford
2 City of London Corporation
3 Capper Mortimer
4 Fitzroy (Duke of Grafton)
5 Somers
6 Skinners' (Tonbridge)
7 Battle Bridge
8 Lucas
9 Harrison
10 Foundling Hospital
11 Rugby
12 Bedford Charity (Harpur)
13 Doughty
14 Gray's Inn
15 Bainbridge–Dyott (Rookeries)

Area between the Foundling and Harrison estates: Church land

Grey areas: fragmented ownership and haphazard development; already built up by 1800

About the Gray’s Inn Estate

Gray’s Inn is one of the four Inns of Court in London, which control admission to the Bar for lawyers in England and Wales

Its estate in the south-east corner of Bloomsbury is on the edge of the legal district of London and has its origins in the manor house of Purpoole (www.graysinn.info)

The Inn developed and prospered in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, not only as a place of training for lawyers, but also as a place of entertainment and celebration (www.graysinn.info)

It was a residential place of training akin to the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, with a Hall, Chapel, Library, accommodation, and extensive gardens, all arranged around Squares

As an Inn of Court it was also extra-parochial, or outside the boundaries of local parishes, and exempt from their taxes

It continues to operate as a place of legal training and a base for barristers’ chambers

Castle Court

Not to be confused with Castle Court, Strand, or any other streets of the same name in London

It was a tiny courtyard running east off Fullwood’s Rents towards Holborn Court

It appears and is named on Horwood’s map of 1799; it does not appear on Rocque’s map of 1746, but this may be because it was too small

Horwood’s map of 1819 shows on the south side, consecutive numbers from 1 to 4, running from west to east, and on the north side, consecutive numbers from 5 to 7, running from east to west

In 1831 a stone mason, Bryan Helmes, lived at no. 5 with his wife Sarah; their son Thomas was indicted for theft from stables in Jockey Fields; they testified at the trial, at which he was found guilty and sentenced to death but with a recommendation for mercy for his youth and good character (Old Bailey Proceedings Online, September 1831, Thomas Helmes and Thomas Simpson, t18310908-9)

It still existed in the 1920s (The Times, 30 May 1921), but has since been obliterated by revelopment

This page last modified 14 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


Bloomsbury Project - University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT - Telephone: +44 (0)20 7679 3134 - Copyright © 1999-2005 UCL

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