Gray’s Inn has been home to lawyers since before 1388 AD and is today one of the four Inns of Court responsible for the education and training of barristers before and after their Call to the Bar.
The Inn originally formed part of the Manor of Purpoole belonging to the de Grey family who probably leased the Manor House to a society of lawyers who housed in their ‘chambers’ apprentice lawyers. The students used the Hall of the Manor as an ‘Inn’ in which to dine and hold their legal debates and ‘moots’ which formed part of their training.
The sixteenth century was known as the “Golden Age” of the Inn, when Queen Elizabeth I herself was the Inn’s Patron. In this period the Inn was renowned for its “Shows” and there can be little doubt that William Shakespeare played in Gray’s Inn Hall, where his patron, Lord Southampton was also a member.