There is an ornate wrought iron gate at the entrance to Falcon Court.
If you had lived in the 16th century and been making a visit to the Temple Church
then your access would probably have been through Mr Davis’s tailors shop in the Court. In those days all churches, their graveyards and cemeteries were places of sanctuary where law breakers could deposit themselves in full assurance that they were out of reach by the hand of justice. The Temple Church
was one of the most popular resorts for such criminals and Mr Davis must have been sick to the high teeth with the constant procession through his premises.
Henry Styrrell, a barrister of the Middle Temple
, too was at the end of his tether with the annoyance caused by the disorderly gathering. In 1610 he petitioned the societies of the Inner and Middle Temple
to take action and withdraw the right of way through the tailors shop. Three months after the petition Davis was forced to leave and the building was pulled down. To avoid any future nuisance it was also decided to wall up the gateway between the churchyard and Fleet Street
Falcon Court also features in the very early history of London printing. Wynkyn de Worde, London’s second printer, owned a house here. After his apprenticeship to William Caxton he set up in business in 1502 and remained the predominant printer in London until his death in 1534. It is amazing to learn that on his primitive hand press, laboriously printing one page at a time, he succeeded in the production of over 600 books. He was also the pioneer of music printing in England, a technique developed by wearisome trials. In his will he left a sufficient sum of money to supply a pension for the printing apprentices of Fleet Street
and a legacy for St Bride’s church. He was buried in the previous church of St Bride, which was destroyed in the Great Fire.