Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Bloomsbury

Another in the series on historic secular buildings of London …

Bloomsbury takes its name from a corruption of Blemondesberi, meaning the manor of (William) Blemond, who owned land here in the thirteenth century. 

Lincoln’s Inn Fields was first recorded in 1598 as Lincolnes Inne Feildes, and indicated on the map of 1520 as Cup Field and Purse Field.  Part of the area was developed into a square surrounded by town-houses in the 1630s.  A “Time Team” dig in the square in 2009 uncovered evidence there of a temporary encampment that had most likely been set up in the immediate aftermath of the Great Fire of 1666 (which took place a little to the east).

No. 59/60 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, on the west side, was built between 1638-40, and survives to this day.

Nos. 12-14, on the north side, were rebuilt between 1792-1824 by Sir John Soane, and since 1837 have housed an extraordinary museum that bears his name. Among the eclectic mix of thousands of antiquities and artworks on exhibit there are the sarcophagus of the Egyptian Pharaoh Seti I (1323-1279BCE), and the original paintings of Hogarth’s “A Rake’s Progress“, executed between 1733-5.

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