The inns provide a professional and social hub for barristers and might be compared to a professional association in other careers. They play a very important role in the education of barristers and are a major source of financial assistance to students looking to pursue a career at the Bar. After obtaining a law degree (or completing a conversion course if initially graduating in a subject other than law) a student joins one of the Inns and undertakes the Bar Professional Training Course. Each Inn comprises of a grand hall where barristers dine and attend social functions, extensive libraries and rooms for conferences and educational purposes. Gray’s Inn and Lincoln’s Inn have chapels and Inner and Middle share the Temple Church.
The Round Church in the Temple was built by the Knights Templars in 1185. You may have seen the film or read the book “The Da Vinci Code” which featured the Church and had the legend of the Knights Templars’ woven into the story line. The Church is worth a visit at any time as there is nowhere else like it, but the Christmas Carol concert held there each year is an especially atmospheric occasion.