London – Clifford’s Inn

Between Chancery Lane and Fetter Lane is the entrance to Clifford’s Inn, the oldest of all the Inns of Chancery. In January, 1921, big flaunting notice-boards announced that Clifford’s Inn would be sold by auction, but no immediate purchaser was found, and this quiet corner is still unmolested, though by the time this book is printed it may have received its coup de grace from the pickaxe.

Go and look at it while you may. It was founded in 1345 and takes its name from a certain Robert Clifford of Edward IL’s reign. Sir Edward Coke, the great Elizabethan lawyer, was a member of Clifford’s Inn and left it for the Middle Temple in 1572.

Some of the Inn survived the Great Fire, and in the crazy-looking little old hall the judges sat who decided the many boundary disputes after that catastrophe. At the moment it is the headquarters of some society ” duquel je ne scais pas le nom.”

Samuel Butler lived at No. 15 Clifford’s Inn for thirty-eight years, and many an admirer of the genius of the man who wrote Erewhon and The Way of all Flesh has made a pilgrimage to the quiet corner hidden away a few yards from bustling Fleet Street.