Gray's Inn

Tracing Past Members

The information we hold on former members is fairly summary and is mostly limited to the details provided on admission and, where relevant, the date called to the Bar. Not all members were (or are) called and in earlier centuries not all calls were recorded.

We do not release details of living or recently deceased members, except for call dates, as these are in any case publicly available.

The admission registers begin, in the form of an abbreviated copy of the lost originals, in 1521; the original registers survive from 1580. All admissions from 1521 onwards have been published up to 1889.

The minutes of Pension, the Inn's governing body, survive from 1569, and an edited version has been published up to 1800. Apart from records of the Inn's business, which is their main focus, these contain further brief details of members of the Inn who became involved in its governance, and to some extent of tenancies, although this information on these is very incomplete.

Please consult External Online Texts for online versions of the publications above-mentioned.

If you are not sure which Inn your relative or ancestor belonged to, please approach just one (stating that you have not approached the other three), and your enquiry will be forwarded as necessary.

For information on barristers and other lawyers held outside the Inns of Court, the National Archives have two research guides, on barristers and attorneys and solicitors.

The Bar Council do not hold archives. For records of legal education please approach the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.

The body responsible for the records of solicitors is the Law Society, but they do not deal with enquiries from non-members.

Please contact Andrew Mussell, the Archivist if you have any enquiries relating to former members.

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