Until the Great Hall was built in 1843-45 and the present main entrance from Lincoln's Inn Fields on the west was constructed, the principal means of entry to the Inn was from Chancery Lane on the east, through the Gate House entrance.
The present great oak doors date from 1564. The Gate House itself was built during the years 1517 to 1521, with bricks dug and made within the Inn. There are grounds for saying that Ben Johnson worked as a bricklayer on the Gate House and the wall that divided the Inn from Chancery Lane. Nearly a third of the total cost of £345 was contributed by Sir Thomas Lovell, K.G., who had been a member of the Inn for over 20 years when he helped to bring the Tudors to the throne by fighting for Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
During 1967-69 the Gate House was largely rebuilt and restored. Above the gateway, facing eastwards into Chancery Lane, there are the arms (from left to right) of Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln; Henry VIII; and Sir Thomas Lovell. Beneath is a stone recording an earlier restoration, in 1695. Facing westwards into the Inn are the arms (from left to right) of Lord Upjohn, John Hawles, and Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, Treasurers in 1965, 1695 and 1967 respectively.
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