Gray's Inn is one of the four remaining Inns of Court, founded in 1370 as a place for lawyers to live and study. The Inn is named after Reginald de Grey, Chief Justice of Chester, whose London house was where the Inn began.
No. 1 South Square is where Victorian author and journalist Charles Dickens (1812-1870) once worked as an office boy. Gray's Inn provided a setting for parts of the action in several of Dickens' novels, including Martin Chuzzlewit and David Copperfield.
At the end of the square is a statue of essayist, historian and statesman Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), who lived at the Inn from 1576 until his death in 1626. As Lord Chancellor he has been credited with bringing greater fairness and impartiality to the English legal system. However, he was himself convicted of taking bribes, for which he was fined £40,000 and imprisoned in the Tower of London.
On your right is the Hall, which dates from 1560. It was the venue for the first performance of Shakespeare's play, A Comedy of Errors in 1594. The Hall was badly damaged in the Second World War, but has since been restored.
Beyond the Hall is Gray's Inn Square. Both this and South Square have 20th century garden layouts.