The Fascination of Stoke Newington and Hackney

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project
to make the world’s books discoverable online.

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that’s often difficult to discover.





It is unnecessary now to introduce the series of the Fascination of London by any explanation.

Everyone knows that these little books form a part of the great Survey of London on which Sir Walter Besant laboured so lovingly before his death. Volumes covering the whole of the West End of London have been issued and form a complete and minute history of the districts street by street.

In those now contemporaneously brought out – viz.. Hackney with Stoke Newington, and Shoreditch with the rest of the East End – we reach the extreme limits of our mighty Metropolis eastward.

Hackney and Stoke Newington are treated in the same way as the rest of the survey, but it has been thought unnecessary to give so detailed a description of the East End. A general
sketch of the East End in Sir Walter’s own inimitable style adds peculiar interest to this volume, and is accompanied by a more particular account of the newer districts, where such observation is of value in view of their rapid growth and the obliteration of landmarks


The general title of the series, as is well known, arose from a sentence of Sir Walter’s when he said, ”This work fascinates me more than anything I’ve ever done.” Even in the slums of the East End he found this fascination, and, what is more, he is able to convey it to others. It may be predicted that this volume, though lacking the interest which always attaches to any district in which a reader resides, will be found to be in nothing else behind its predecessors.

As will have been noticed by anyone who has taken in the whole series, all the little books are dated about the end of the nineteenth century ; their value lies in the fact that they form together a complete survey of London as it was at that time, so no attempt has been made to bring the later ones up to date, for by doing so the uniformity of the series and some of the interest would have
been lost. It is astonishing to note, even in this short time, how much has changed and how much has been swept away. An attempt to describe the districts as they were then would now be impossible ; but the work was carefully and completely done at the time, and is here presented as a faithful and accurate record which every Londoner who loves his city should possess.



All the proposed derivations of Hackney are unsatisfactory. The best is that which suggests that some Dane – Hakon or Hacon – claimed an island ey or ea, in the marshes hence ” Hacon’s ey.”

The attempt to connect the word with the hackney-coach has altogether failed. Thomas, in his manuscript, Antiquities of Hackney suggests that a great battle was fought here, and that Hack is connected with the Saxon for an axe, and is the same word as “to hack or hew.” Hence he sees in Hackney “the battle of the river.” A family of the name of Hacon still live in the parish, and are said to have migrated here 150 years ago.


Hackney is bounded on the north by Tottenham ; on the east, by Walthamstow and Leyton ; on the south, by Bow, Bethnal Green and Shoreditch ; on the west, by Islington and Stoke Newington. It lies just within the London County Council jurisdiction, and is divided into three parliamentary boroughs – North, South, and Central Hackney. The first of these includes Stoke Newington.


Several ancient manors are to be found in Hackney of which the principal one, Lordshold, formed part of the possessions of the bishopric of London. It is not mentioned in Domesday Book, which omission Lysons accounts for by conjecturing it was included in the Survey of Stepney.

In 1551 Bishop Ridley surrendered the manor to the Crown, and it was granted to Lord Wentworth. It remained in the Wentworth family for a hundred years^ until the estates of the Earl of Cleveland were forfeited to Parliament. After this it passed through many hands, remaining but a short time with any one holder, and eventually became the property of Francis Tyssen. His son succeeded him, but left only a daughter, who by marriage carried the property to the Amhurst (or, as it is now written, Amherst) family, and afterwards, through failure of male heirs, it reverted to another heiress, whose husband, William George Daniel, assumed the name of Tyssen and the arms by royal sign-manual. His eldest son took the additional name of Amherst.

The manor next in importance was that of the Knights Templars, who purchased land in the parish in 1233. Lysons gives a list of their possessions in 1308. Lysons says these possessions were less than what the Knights had held formerly, and that was probably because they had granted part of them to one Robert de Wyke, or Wick.

Another document says that they held the mill only from the Bishop of London and that when at the dissolution of the Order, the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem took possession of their property, they had a lawsuit over the mill. When the Knights of St. John were dissolved, in their turn, the lands were granted to Henry, Earl of Northumberland ; at his death the Crown seized the manor, and it was known as the Manor of Kingshold. In 1547 King Edward VI. granted it to the Earl of Pembroke, who sold it in the following year, and then it quickly changed owners, and was eventually bought by Francis Tyssen, who held also the manor already described. The site of either manor-house is not known with certainty, though Brooke House is by some judged to be one of them.

The third manor of importance was that which the Templars had granted to De Wick, a manor within a manor, so to say. This was also Crown property at various periods of its existence.

Maud, Countess of Salisbury, died possessed of it in 1425, having held it partly from the Bishop of London and partly from the Prior of St John of Jerusalem. There was also a manor of Hoggerston – i,e., Hoxton – which was considered to be within the parish of Hackney, but the site of it is not known.

The church was originally dedicated to St. Augustine, but changed its patron saint ; it is supposed, out of complement to the Knights of St. John. The rectory was itself a manor called Grumbold’s. But the history of church and rectory belong properly to central Hackney.

Strype also states that about 1352 the church
at Hackney was granted to the precentor of St.
Paul’s in lieu of that of Stortford, in Herts, which
had belonged to him. This was for ” the main-
tenance of his quality.” Lysons remarks that it
does not appear that this patent ever took effect

The only historical event of any importance
in the parish history is that the Duke of
Gloucester and his party appeared here in arms
in the reign of Richard II., and from hence sent
Lord Lovell, the Archbishop of York, and others
on an embassy to the King. Strype describes the
parish as “a pleasant healthful town” ‘^ where
divers nobles in former times had their country

Certainly the register shows a goodly array of noble names in support of this view ; of these the following entries are a selection :

  • Margaret Brooke, daughter of Sir William Brooke, Lord Cobham, baptized June 8, 1564.
  • Elizabeth, elder daughter of Lord Zouch, married December 27, 1597.
  • Sir Robert ‘ Rich, afterwards second Earl of Warwick, married in 1604.
  • Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, buried in 1604.
  • Richard Lovelace, afterwards Lord Lovelace, married in 1608.
  • Lady Susannah Rowe, buried in 1610
  • Sir Christopher Hatton, married in 1630.
  • Earl of Westmoreland, married in 1638.Sophia, a daughter of Daniel Defoe, baptized December 24, 1701.

The wells of Hackney were at one time famous.

The list given by Strype is as follows : ” Pig-well ; one in Church-field ; Well Street ; one on the Downs.” He adds there was a chalybeate well a little out of Church Street, towards Dalston, and that probably Shacklewell derived its name from some well in the vicinity.

Besides this, Hackney is said to possess more open ground, more ”common” land, than any other parish in the metropolis.


Hackney Brook traversed the whole parish. It entered at Stamford Bridge, which was where the Stamford Hill Station now is. It ran on the north side of Stoke Newington Common to about St. Michael’s Church. Then it turned south, keeping parallel and to the east of Shacklewell Lane and Rectory Road. It skirted the Downs and turning on the south side reached Dalston Lane about its junction with Amhurst Road. Dalston Bridge crossed over a broadened tongue of water. The stream apparently went underground even in Rocque’s time though it is from his map the above course is traced. He shows also a stream appearing again to the south of Humerton (Homerton) near Money Lane (Morning Lane) and ‘running over the marshy ground near the river, apparently losing itself eventually in swamps.

The River Lea has been variously written Ley and Leigh, as well as Lea, and by the ancient Britons was called Logodunum or Logrodunum. It rises in Bedfordshire and passes through Luton, Hertford, and Ware, finally falling into the Thames at Limehouse. In 1481-82 the Abbot of Walthara was restrained from obstructing navigation and preventing the citizens of London from bringing corn, malt, etc., to London. In 1570 a new cut was made to aid navigation. Previous to this time the width of the river had been at least a mile over the low-lying ground through which it ran, but about that date an embankment near the Thames reduced this width. Various other cuts were added in connection with the original one, but these were about 200 years later. The New River Company began borrowing water from the Lea at the end of the eighteenth century, and continued doing so until the greater part of their supply was drawn from thence. The West Ham Waterworks on the river were begun in 1747.

In 1807 the East London Waterworks Company obtained an Act empowering them to take water at Old Ford, and the same year they bought the West Ham Waterworks. Various extensions of power were granted to the water companies from time to time. In 1833-34 the canal was constructed. The history of the ancient Lea includes one of Alfred’s gallant repulses ot the Danes, who came up in their flat-bottomed boats, and, by the King’s ingenuity, were stranded waterless on the banks and reduced to sue for mercy.


The name Stamford has been derived from Staines or Stonesford, and as there was formerly here a ford over the brook, which could be crossed dry-shod by stepping-stones, this derivation seems not unlikely.

The road is a continuation of Stoke Newington High Street, and forms a portion of the Great Northern Road, down which King James I. entered London when he came to be  crowned King of England.

The lower part is lined by good middle-class shops, and the upper, which is very wide, has fairly – sized dwelling – houses standing back in gardens on either side. A grove of trees once crowned this hill, and its remnants are seen in the fine trees which still stand-in the gardens and line the road. Trams run to the Seven Sisters Road. There is a very large Congregational chapel on the east side, about half-way up ; this has a conspicuous spire, and was founded by Samuel Morley in 1870.

Beyond it the size of the houses decreases, and rows of newly-built little red -brick dwellings are to be seen. The same style of building covers the district to the west of Stamford Hill.

The Stamford Hill Road falls as steeply as it
ascended before leaving the parish, and runs past
more shops near Olinda and Ravensdale Roads.
The Turnpike public-house recalls an ancient
turnpike which once stood here. Ravensdale
Road contains a little mission-house in connection
with St. Thomas’s Church, Clapton Common, and
beyond this leads us right into open country —
the Marshes. We feel we have got to the edge
of the world –  or, at any rate, to the extreme edge of London – as we stand on the broken heights of green grass and see the sudden drop in the
ground which runs away to the stealthily flowing
river, and beyond it again the shimmering sheets
of water belonging to one of the great water
companies^ edged with stiff Lombardy poplars.

It is a queer place^ with irregular trees growing
on common-land; in the midst of it a group of
neat Board -school buildings^ and a modem — a
very modem — and particularly hideous row of
houses running out to the edge of the sloping
ground. Hackney seems to have adopted as its
0Â¥m the most heart-breaking of all the modem
styles of domestic architecture.

By Castlewood Road we can go to Clapton

Clapton Common is a long, tapering strip of
land, in form like a curving tongue with the
thick end northward. At this end Craven Lodge
stands in its own grounds. At the comer of
Castlewood Road is a very remarkable church —
remarkable in architecture and also for being
the only one of its creed in the metropolis. It
is called the Ark of the Covenant, and is built of
stone, with the angles finished in dressed stone.
The roof is red-tiled, and the tower is flanked at
the four comers with huge sculptured figures of
the “four beasts” of Revelation. These are
repeated in bronze higher up, and stand on
pedestals, on which is inscribed, “God is love.”

The effect of the whole is both picturesque and
striking. The church was built in 1895. The
windows are filled with old English glass^ and
were designed by Walter Crane, R.W.S. The
congregation calls itself ” The Church of the Son
of Man.”

The houses on the north and east sides of the
Common are very characterless. On the west
they are older and more varied. The Church of
St. Thomas stands at the comer of Oldhill Street.
This was originally a proprietary chapel, built
about 1777, but in 1829 it was enlarged and
altered. Externally it is a plain brick building
with a projecting tower of three stories sur-
mounted by a cross ; this is at the east end,
and is rough stuccoed. The church inside is an
almost exact replica of St. Clement’s at Rome;
it was designed by Burgess.

Below this, with an additional strip of green in
front, is a terrace of brick houses, probably about
one hundred years old, with projecting wooden
porches. They are in excellent preservation.

Lower down still is a substantial house with
“The House of the Holy Childhood, founded
1881,” in large letters on the frontage. This is a
Church of England Institution, and receives from
twenty to thirty children, who are brought up
between the ages of three and sixteen and placed
in service.

The streets behind the orphanage^ between the
Common and Stamford Hill are all very modern^
and quite uninteresting. Cazenove Road is a long
avenue planted with small trees. Oldhill Street
is winding and irregular ; in it are Board-schools.

Kyverdale Road is a long straight, avenue ; it
seems as if it had been ruled. At the north end
is a big tramway depot.

At the backs of the houses on the east side
of the Common the ground drops sharply to the
river, so that the view is of great extent. In the
open ground below there are various intersecting
paths^ such as Spring Lane, a delightful country
lane, and some fields and big trees. Springfield
House, a rough stuccoed building, stands in its
own grounds in a beautiful situation, looking out
across the river.

From all these steep banks and this river ground
various ancient coffins and also samples of rude
pottery have been unearthed from time to time (see
p. 18). On these heights “may have stood a
Roman villa — part dwelling and part fortress or
watch-tower — and the residence of the military
commandant of this prominent and, therefore,
important outpost of Roman London.”

At the south end of Springfield Road there is a curious and interesting little hamlet lying on the water’s edge. The streets are very steep, and some of them extremely narrow – mere passages,like the ” wynds ” in Edinburgh. Some of the little cottage buildings are modern – and so are St. Matthew’s Schools – which stand on the side of Harrington Hill ; but many of the little houses are very old and quaint-looking.

Mount Pleasant Lane encircles this little hamlet,
and leads us past St. Matthew’s Church (date
1869), for which a district was cut out of St
Thomas’s parish. The church is a big, clean,
modem building of rough stone, with a high
spire, and nothing to mark it out from the
hundreds of other churches built within the
same period. It has an avenue of evergreens
and a lych-gate. Beyond this Mount Pleasant
Lane takes us on to another version of itself
at right angles. This is a long bare road leading
down to a group of small houses and outbuildings,
among which is a little brick mission-church
covered with ivy. Above are several modem
streets and a huge Board-school.

Going back a little to Warwick Road, we find
an avenue very similar to Cazenove Road, of
which, indeed, it is a continuation. This was
formerly Wren’s Park Road, from a tradition that
Sir Christopher Wren had a country house in
the vicinity.

On the other side of Upper Clapton Road there
is a Congregational chapel and mission-house,
as well as National schools.

St. Michael’s Church stands in the angle of
Fontayne and Northwold Roads. The eastern
part of Lower Clapton and Homerton consists of
wide areas of flat^ low-lying land called Hackney
Marshes. These were obtained as recreation-
grounds about 1S91-92, when freehold and Lammas
rights were bought out. Clapton is bounded by the
somewhat circuitous course of the River Lea^ and
Homerton includes some ground beyond the
river. On the Marshes flocks of sheep graze^ and
a few football goals stand up like the gallows of
the highwaymen’s time. To the north lie the
filter-beds of the East London Waterworks Com-
pany^ surrounded by a line of tall poplars. The
canal is narrow^ and lined by a towing-path.
Lock Bridge^ Cow Bridge^ Marsh Gate^ and Wick
Lane Bridges cross it in order from north to
south. On the River Lea we have the old ferry,
or White House — supposed to have been the
resort of Dick Turpin after some of his marauding
expeditions — and Temple Mills. The latter name
has descended directly from the times of the
Templars, who had mills here, which passed to
their successors, the Knights of St. John. Prince
Rupert erected a water-mill in Hackney Marsh,
and there invented a metal of which guns were
cast and contrived.

In 1791 a bull was baited near Temple Mills in
Hackney Marsh, and 3,000 people assembled to see it. The bull broke loose and caused a wild
stampede. The Marshes have frequently been
flooded^ and the footpaths and bridle – ways
rendered impassable by heavy rains. Near
Temple Mills Bridge is the White Hart Inn, said
to have been built in 1513. Near Lea Bridge
is a little hamlet, consisting of a few new terraces,
a row of little old red-tiled cottages, wharves, the
waterworks’ buildings, and a small mission-church,
not unpicturesque, in rag-stone and red-tiled roof,
dedicated to St. James.

The North Mill Field is composed of wide
stretches of well-kept grass, with iron railings,
and here and there a seat. In the north-west
comer is a brick-field. Between this and South
Mill Field is Bridge Road, laid out about 1750 ;
this was formerly Mill Fields Lane, the only road
from this district into Essex in Queen Elizabeth’s
time, and carriages could not get further than the

South Mill Field degenerates in the south-east
end into an extremely untidy bit of waste land,
where refuse and broken bricks lie in heaps.
There are great bald patches here and there;
and a dilapidated railing, half broken down, forms
no impediment to the free passage of the ragged
horses who try to gain a scanty livelihood. To the
west of Chats worth Road there is an enclosed space
for a football-ground, and there are large elms and enclosed fields. These fields are both under
the London County Council’s control. To the
south of Millfields Road there are rows of streets,
poorer to the east of Chatsworth, where small
houses^ exactly similar to each other^ stand in
lines^ and dirty children play in the gutters. All
Souls’ Church and schools^ built 1883, are in red

There is a chapel in Glyn Road^ a big Board-
school in Chatsworth Road, and a Primitive Metho-
dist mission-room in Blurton Road. All Saints’
Church and schools are also in Blurton Road^
further west. The church is a neat building of rag-
stone^ in the usual style^ with no spire or tower.
It is lined inside with red brick and a dado of
glazed tiles. A row of very small windows filled
with stained glass in either aisle is effective.
Passing over into Homerton, we find in the souths
near the Marshes^ the hamlet of Hackney Wick.
This name is derived from the manor which the
Templars granted to De Wyke out of their own

It is rather an unsavoury^ but a very busy
district^ with dye, cloth^ iron, starch, and other
works. The Eton Mission is here established in
a neat brick house^ under the shadow of a fine
red-brick church, well designed, lofty and light.
This church is lined inside with Bath stone, and
has pillars of the same material. A handsome
screen divides the chancel from the nave. There
is a small chapel on the south side. The Mission-
Hall and Workmen’s Mission Club are close by
the church. A couple of mission-rooms^ Church
and Congregational^ and a Congregational chapel,
complete the religious buildings in this quarter.

St Augustine’s Church, close by the park, is
of rag-stone, with a very long roof of blue slate
and no spire. It was consecrated in 1867.

Further north there is a Roman Catholic chapel
with campanile tower, and schools adjacent. In
the Wick Road is a police-station, and near it
the Cassland rope-works. The view of this part
of Homerton from the railway is indescribably
dreary and depressing. Drab walls and drab
chimneys rise in mournful monotony. A couple
of Board-schools, a hall and a Wesleyan chapel,
are variously distributed.

A row of almshouses called the Retreat, other-
wise the asylum for widows of ministers, stands
near. The building was erected in 1812, for
the benefit of eight widows of Independent and
four of Baptist ministers. They were allowed
£10 per annum, and on the death of the founder,
Samuel Robinson, in 1833, £5 more was added
to the original allowance. The almshouses are
in a long straight building with battlemented
parapet of drab stucco, pointed ecclesiastical
windows, and six doorways. In the centre an
inscription announces : ” For the Glory of God
and the Comfort of twelve widows of Dissenting
Ministers this Retreat was erected and endowed
by Samuel Robinson^ a.d. 1812.” On the grass
plot before the houses is the altar-tomb of the
founder^ surrounded by iron rails. At the east
end of Retreat Place is Ram’s School for Boys^
and at the west end we come across a Unitarian
chapel^ called the Gravel Pit Chapel^ a modem
building of rag-stone with angles of dressed
stone. A meeting-house^ built in 1715^ formerly
occupied this site^ and this was a successor of a
previous one in the gravel-pit field, hence the
name. Further north there is an old Free

Then, turning down a diagonal path on the
east, we pass by a congeries of buildings, schools,
a Congregational chapel, and St. Luke’s Church,
a neat modem building, consecrated 1872.

Morning Lane is a very winding thoroughfare,
which, from its turnings, may once have followed
the course of a stream. In Rocque’s map it is
called Money Lane. On one side are huge colour-
factories, close by the railway.

At its eastern end the High Street is called
Homerton Road, and leads into a mere footpath ;
further west it is Marsh Hill, before attaining
the dignity of High Street. The eastern part
of High Street is extremely uninteresting long straight streets varied by Board-schools run off northwards.

On the south there is the Hackney Union
Workhouse, in the usual style of such buildings.
It is on the site of an old workhouse, which was
an extremely picturesque building, if one may
judge from water-colour sketches. It had gable
ends and quaint comers. Almost opposite is the
old Adam and Eve tavern, refronted.

Beyond Brooksby’s Walk, we see St. Barnabas’
Church schools and the Vicarage built of stone, with
battlements and balustrades in a medieval style.
The church was built in 1845, but has since been
enlarged ; the interior is effectively decorated.
Near Brooksby’s Walk a sarcophagus, cut out of a
solid block of marble, was found ; this was carved
as if it had been formerly fixed in a wall with
only one side showing. In the middle of the
carved side was a medallion with a bust alto
relievo. The man interred must have been six
feet in height, and is judged to have been an
engineer officer not of military rank. The inter-
ment was pagan Roman. In the area enclosed
by Brooksby’s Walk, on the east. Grove and Cross
Streets, South Templar Road on the west, and
Clifden Road on the north, stand the City of
London Union and Fever and Smallpox Hospitals.
These are surrounded by high walls, and are in
the severely utilitarian style.

Returning again to the High Street, we see
a big house standing back behind a neglected
garden. It is of brick, with stuccoed centre, and
has a deserted appearance. This was once a
Dissenting college. The college was established
at Hackney in the beginning of last century^ and
came here in 1769. An older building then
stood on what was subsequently the lawn and
drive in front. This was pulled down in 1823,
and the present houses erected.

The whole of the High Street shows the same
unlived-in, uncared-for aspect. The streets on
the south, which go down under the railway, are
singularly poor and uninteresting. The shops are
small and dirty, the roadway narrow. There is
the squalor of an unkempt middle age, but none
of the attractiveness of a contented old age such
as might have been expected. Yet Homerton
has had some noble residents in its time. Lord
Zouch, Lord Rich, Cromwell, and Thomas Sutton,
founder of the Charterhouse, were among them.
Ram’s Chapel, on the north side of the High Street,
is like a big barnj the windows are filled with
thick green glass. It might be passed without any
notice; only from a little distance, as from the
railway, where the quaint little cupola is seen,
does it look like a chapel. It was built in 1723
by Stephen Ram. It is a proprietary chapel, but
the services are according to the Established use.

There are monuments to the founder and his
wife on the walls. The boys’ and girls’ schools
in connection are mentioned when we arrive at
them in perambulation. At the extreme west
end of the High Street is an old house^ now
St. John-at-Hackney Church Institute. This is
conjectured to have been built of the rich
materials of a much more sumptuous predecessor^
which may have been inhabited by Sutton. In
Homerton Row there is a Baptist chapel.

In Upper and Lower Clapton Roads there are
many modem yellow-brick^ two- and three-storied
houses^ with small shops on the ground-floor^ and
among them are a few of the old red-brick houses
of former days. The line of the street is not
regular. Some of the houses are set back behind
scraps of gardens, and some are level with the pave-
ment. Tram-lines run down the centre of the street.
Beginning at the south end, we have the recrea-
tion-ground in front of the church on one side
and Clapton Square on the other. In the succeed-
ing block of houses a neat building contains the
public baths. Then the road takes a sharp turn
northward. Not far from this turn, on the
east side, was Hackney House, built by Stamp
Brooksbank about 1720. It was a large house
standing in extensive grounds. It was purchased
at his death by John Hopkins, the heir of
Vulture Hopkins, memorably satirized by Pope :

** When Hopkins dies a thousand lights attend
The wretch who, Hying, saved a candle end.”

Eventually the house was bought for a Calvinist
Protestant Dissenting college. It was pulled
down in 1800.

Continuing northward, we come to a Congregational chapel on the eastward, which is of
peculiar shape, like a horseshoe, with an octagonal
tower on either side. It is two-storied, and the
lower story projects with a balustrade. The
style of architecture suggests a synagogue.

At the end of Linscott Street is an immense
stuccoed portico which bears the words ” Salvation
Congress Hall,” so that he who runs may read.
This was formerly the well-known London Orphan
Asylum, since removed to Watford.

A neat little street further north, on the same
side, is called Laura Place. This runs over the site
of the house where lived the great philanthropist
Howard. The only view of this house extant is one
showing it by moonlight, as a rather long, irregular
building, with bay-windows filled with latticed
panes, and with several pediments or gables on the
roof. It became the possession of John Howard
on the death of his father, and he sold it in 1785 or
thereabouts, though he seems to have had some
affection for his birthplace and the home of his
childhood. The house was pulled down in the
first half of the nineteenth century.

A little further north, on the west side, is a
Deaf and Dumb Female Asylum in what has once
been a substantial private house; two old red-
brick houses attract attention beyond it, before we
reach an open space where there is a strip of green
and a basin-like depression, once a pond. Gapton
House stood at the south-east comer of this, and
Mildenhall Road runs over the site.

A charming row of one-storied brick almshouses, forming three sides of a tiny quadrangle,
faces the green on the same side. These are the
outward and visible sign of Bishop Ward’s charity.
He was Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, and
died in I69O. By his will he directed that ten
poor old widows of Hackney should receive £5
yearly and a gown every second year, and should
live in the *’ hospital house” which he had erected
at Clapton. This is the identical building referred
to, and here ten poor women have daily cause to
bless the Bishop’s name.

On the opposite side of the green is a Wesleyan
chapel in the stereotyped Pointed style, and
beyond it, northward, St. James’s Church, curiously
built from a design by Hakewell. It was begun
in 1840, and opened the following year. It has
an octagonal tower in the south-east angle of the
transept, and the effect is that of a congeries of
small buildings rather than a whole one, but
originality condones for a multitude of sins.

By Kenninghall Road is a small row of older
houses, and then we come to Brooke House.

Brooke House is the oldest remaining house in
the parish, and recalls the time when Hackney
was a country place where wealthy men built their
mansions out of town in the midst of large gardens.
It is supposed to be the old manor-house of Kings-
hold. In the grant to the Earl it is described as
a ” fayre house^ all of brick^ with a fayre hall and
parlour, a large gallery, a proper chapel, and a
proper library to laye books ia” It is also said
to have been enclosed by a broad and deep ditch.
It is curious that the only date remaining is 1573,
inscribed on two stones which were unearthed by
the present occupant, and placed on either side
of the front entrance. Queen Elizabeth, in 1596,
granted the manor to Fulke Greville, Lord
Brooke, hence the present name. Lord Brooke
reserved the house for his own use when he sold
the Manor of Kingshold. A long and detailed
inventory of the furniture and interior fittings of
this house about the time of James I. is in the
British Museum, from this a few extracts are
given below :

“In the little Parlor — Item — A story of the Rich Man
and Death, a little cubberd by the chimney with lock and
key, a locke to the parlor door, noe key.

* * * i» ♦

•*In the Lardery — Item — one cubberd, one hanginge
shelfe, one iron hooke.

“In Rowland Beresforde Chamber, Item. Two faire
windows of YIII lights a piece besides thereto newlie glased
with two casements and barres of iron with ourtayn rodds,

a portall of waynscott and three cubberd dores without
locks and keyes, to the portall a latche, one dore of deal
borde with the floor of the same, one bolte to the dore, no

locke but a ringe, a dore to the study in that chamber with
a very good locke and key, in that study a clere story of
two lights, with one casement and iron barres and two

There is a great deal more of the same sort^ but
this is enough for a sample.

The house as it stands at present is used as a
private lunatic asylum^ in which capacity it has
been employed for some time. The front toward
the street is singularly dull^ in the style of the end
of the eighteenth century — a brick frontage^ with
steps up to the door. This part is panelled inside^
and^ within, is not unattractive. In old prints of
Brooke House the part toward the road is repre-
sented rather as a group of buildings, and among
these is a long narrow archway, circular-headed,
which leads through into a quadrangle. This may
have stood in the position of a doorway, which is
now enclosed within the building. The original
plan of the house shows it to have been of the
thickness of one room only, and running round a
quadrangle. On the west side it was in the form
of a long gallery. This gallery is now partitioned
off into small rooms, but the exquisite ceiling,
with its coats of arms and crests, is quite perfect.
The vista of the narrow passage running along by the rooms is highly attractive^ as the ornamental
carving on the panels shows up welL Many
of the overmantels and fire-places are beautifully
carved^ and though the wood has been painted
and varnished^ it is good oak. The house
abounds in stray comers, twisted staircases, and
curious nooks, but the new part has been so
adroitly fitted on to the old, that there is no jarring
line. The exterior of this older part is as attrac-
tive as the interior. The northern quadrangle, or
courtyard, is like a bit from an Elizabethan picture.
The windows, in Tudor style, with heavy upright
and cross pieces, project, and are supported on
brackets. The rough plaster of the walls is deco-
rated by a scroll of lath, in fanciful design, let
in, and small gable ends are perched in comers.
Above all is the line of the rich red tiles, irregular
with age, and seasoned to a mellow tint. On the
south side the house is yellow-washed, and the
projecting chimneys picked out in vivid red.
These chimneys are supposed to have been added
about a hundred years after the house was built.
On the west, outside the long gallery, the chim-
neys are of red brick ; one has been rebuilt, others
re-topped, and several are wreathed in ivy. The
cornice on the gable ends and running along the
house is of carved wood. It is hard to believe a
house 400 years old can still be standing in such
perfect preservation, but there is no reason to doubt its age. Some of the woodwork recently
removed in repair was absolute powder.

A large extent of ground is attached to the
house ; it contains broad green lawns bordered by
neat hedges, smooth walks, and several interesting
trees. One of these, an old mulberry, is claimed
by its owner to be one of the original mulberries
planted by the Templars. The gardens of Brooke
House have long been famous. Pepys (June 25,
1666) mentions going to Hackney to see two
gardens, of which one was Lord Brooke’s, and tells
how he saw oranges growing for the first time,
one of which he must needs purloin to taste, to
see if it were like other oranges. Evelyn also
mentions the garden as ” LAdy Brooke’s.”

Further north than Brooke House is St
Scholastica*s Retreat in Kenninghall Road ; the
chapel stands in an angle. Almost opposite is
Christ Church, plainly built with a bell-gable in
place of a tower. The roads to the south are
extremely and severely respectable.


This is a wide, flat extent of grass-land, intersected
by various straight paths. It is now under the
control of the London County Council.

To the east there are Downs Chapel and a Presbyterian church at opposite ends of Queens-
down Road. To the south is the Grocers’ Com-
pany School, a very large and red-brick buildings
with small central tower surmounted by a vane.
A flight of steps leads up to the principal entrance,
and the arms of the Company are in a panel of
the central window. ITie buildings are capable
of accommodating 500 boys. A large gymnasium
and swimming-bath are on the premises. There
are many scholarships to be won, and the
school is open to all boys of good character
and bodily health on passing an entrance examination.

At the comer of Rodney Road is a Congregational chapel. Near it is a fire-station, and opposite the North of London Institute.

The streets between this and Amhurst Road
are singularly devoid of character. The Manor
Assembly-rooms and Theatre, a comparatively small
buildings is in Kenmure Road. The head-quarters
of the Tower Hamlets Volunteers is in an opening
off Pembury Grove^ and in the grove is a Methodist
Free Church. ” St. John ai Hackney Grammar
School^” as the inscription over the portico informs
us^ fronts the Clarence Road. This is an oblong
brick building with a stuccoed portico.

Clarence Place, passing across the north of
Clapton Square, was formerly Clapton Passage ; it
is believed to have been an old Roman by-way, which passed along a line of elms in the playground of St. John’s Grammar School.


There is an entrance to Hackney Churchyard
from Mare Street ; close by this the old tower
still stands. The church at Hackney has a very
ancient history. It was originally dedicated to
St. Augustine^ but^ apparently on account of the
Knights of St. John of Jerusalem holding land
in the parish^ the name was changed to that of
St. John. Strype says :

”The church of Hackney hath been of late sidled b^ the
name of St. John as though it belonged to* the Knights
Templars of St. John of Jerusalem. . . . But in an
ancient record of the Tower it is found to have been written
Ecclesia parochialis S. Augustine de Hackney. And in the
Cotton Library there is a volume about the Knights
Templars wherein mention is made of St. Augustine’s
Hackney and of the lands and rents they had there.”

In 1352 the precentor of St. Paul’s Cathedral
was allowed by patent to appropriate the church
at Hackney instead of that at Stortford^ in Herts^
which belonged to him.

In 1 477 a guild was founded in the church at
Hackney, called the Guild of the Holy Trinity
and the Virgin Mary. Strype also mentions a
chantry founded in the church, in Edward I.*s time.

The Rectory, which is a manor, known as Grum-
bolds, was in the gift of the Crown until 1372,


when it was granted to the Bishops of London^
who held the Manor of Lordshold. The parish of
Hackney is both a rectory and a vicarage, the
former being a sinecure. The chief rectors have
been : Cardinal Gauselinus, 1318 ; Christopher
Urswick, 1521 ; Richard Sampson, afterwards
Bishop of Chichester and subsequently of Lich-
field, 1 534 ; John Spendlove, afterwards Rector of
St. Andrew Undershaft, 1537. Principal vicars:
Hugh Johnson, 1578; David Dolben (or Doulben),
afterwards Bishop of Bangor, l6l8; Gilbert
Sheldon, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury,
1633 ; William Spurstowe, ejected as a Puritan,
1643; Peter Newcome, 1703; John J. Watson,
afterwards Archdeacon of St. Albans, 1799;
Thomas Oliver Goodchild, 1839 ; Arthur Brook,

Among the lecturers we note the name of
Strype, so indissolubly connected with the survey
of Stow ; and Dr. Worthington in 1670.

(The above names are in accordance with the
MS. notes of a lecture given by the Rev. Pre-
bendary Shelford, Rector of Stoke Newington.)

In 1 824 the Rectory and Vicarage were united,
and the three parishes of Hackney, South Hackney,
and West Hackney were then formed.

The Bishops held the Manor of Grumbolds until
the reign of Edward VI., when Bishop Ridley
surrendered it to the King, with the Manor of


Lordshold. From that date its history has been
identical with that of the Manor of Lordshold,
already given above.

In the early part of the sixteenth century the
church was taken down and rebuilt, and ”it is
probable that Sir Thomas Heron, who was master
of the jewel-house to King Henry VHI., and
Christopher Urswick (then Rector) were the
principal benefactors to its re-erection.”

It was in 1798 that the old church was finally
taken down, with the exception of the tower,
still standing, and the Rowe Chapel It was of
the Pointed style, with two side-aisles, galleries,
and a number of monuments and tombs. The
tower which remains is square, and has battle-
ments on the summit. It is of stone, and is sup-
ported by buttresses at the four comers. It is
said that in the demolition of the old church the
monuments were shamefully treated, and some
of the stones were broken up and used for paving
purposes. However, a few, at all events, have
been rescued and set up in the present church.

The Rowe Chapel was built in l6l4, and stood
on the south side of the chancel. It was built by
Sir Henry Rowe as a kind of family vault. The
most elaborate of all the monuments was that to
Sir Henry Rowe, father of the founder of the
chapel, who died I6II. This monument, which
was carefully taken to pieces at the demolition


of the chapel, is in the possession of the Vestry.
Sir Henry Rowe and his wife are represented in
ef^gy, kneeling, facing one another, beneath a
canopy supported by Corinthian columns. Above
are the arms of Rowe, of the Merchant Adven-
turers*, Mercers*, and Merchant Taylors* Companies.
Below are smaller effigies of the three sons and
three daughters of Sir Henry, also kneeling — the
sons are in stiff collars and gowns, the girls in ruffs
and the dress of the period ; the whole is executed
in black and white marble.

The Act of Parliament for the demolition of the
old church was passed in 1780, and the new church
was begun in the following year. The building
was a very slow process, as funds twice ran short.
The second time, in 1803, the trustees made
application to Parliament to allow them to raise
a further sum for the building of the tower, which
had somehow been overlooked in the first estimate.
The total cost was £25,000. The church is in
the shape of a cross, and is built in brick, with
circular stone porticoes, and has a stone tower of
peculiar design. The pillars of the porticoes are
of the Ionic order. The eaves of the roof are
particularly wide, and the windows are circular-

The principal entrance is from the north, and
here there are spacious lobbies, in which the most
interesting monuments are preserved. The finest


of all is the Latimer monument above referred to^
which is enclosed by an iron railing. This was
repaired by the late Baroness Burdett-Coutts, a
descendant of Lady Latimer. An effigy of Lady
Latimer, second daughter of Henry Somerset, Earl
of Worcester, who married John Neville, Lord Lati-
mer, and died 1582, is recumbent on an altar-tomb.
In the four panels are shields and coats of arms ;
in all the lower panels inscriptions. Some of
these refer to her daughters, of which a detached
tablet gives the following account :

** Earle of NorthumberlAnd took the first to wife.
The next the heir of Baron Burleigh chose,
Cornwallis happ the third for term of life,
And Sir John Dan vers plucked the youngest rose.”

On the east wall of the same lobby is a helmet
supposed to have belonged to Henry, Earl of
Northumberlaiid, who died in 1 537, and was buried
in the old church. In the corresponding lobby,
on the east side of the entrance, are the monuments
to Christopher Urswick and David Dolben,
respectively Rector and Vicar of Hackney at
different dates. The monuments are very inter-
esting. In the former the brass effigy of a man
lies beneath a marble canopy, richly decorated;
in the other Dolben^ is represented in effigy,

There is here also an immense stone slab which has contained brasses of a man and woman ; the latter is now missing. This has no inscription or date of any kind. Another monument to the Bannisters contains kneeling effigies of large size, and is dated 1628 and 1633. Two equally large effigies are unnamed and detached.

Within, the church is rather disappointing. It
is extremely wide for its length, and a great semi-
circular gallery sweeping round emphasizes this,
giving the appearance of a great meeting-room
rather than a church. The east window, filled
with stained glass of sepia tints, is emblematic of
the first day of Creation, and was put up in 1816.
The reredos is of light carved oak, with bas-relief
panels. There are one or two monuments on the
walls of no general interest, nor very ancient date.
The organ is in the west galleiy, and is a fine
instrument, in part removed from the old church.

The new church is not on the site of the old
one, but a little to the north-east, and around
both buildings there is a spacious graveyard.
What is known as the new churchyard is that
surrounding the present church. This was bought
and added to the older ground in 1790 for the
site of the new building. Some thirty years before
this the churchyard had already been enlarged,
and on the piece thus added the Rectory had been
built To the north is now a pleasant recreation-
ground, with flower-beds and seats; to the west
the Rectory, a square house, which looks about the
33 D


same age as the church. The remainder of the
churchyard is thickly studded with tombstones
standing in the long grass. Many of these have
been removed, and stand three deep against the
walls. Public footpaths intersect the churchyard,
and rows of trees add a certain picturesqueness. A
fine row of large trees is on the east, and parallel
with this is Church Well Path, which derived its
name from a real well in the vicinity. Just over the
wall is the old grammar-school, built 1829* This
was erected for a proprietary grammar-school, and
consecrated. At first it was very popular, but
gradually declined, and was finally converted into
a private dwelling-house. Sutton Place, in which
it stands, recalls the founder of the Charterhouse,
who was an inhabitant of Hackney.

On the other side of the churchyard, facing
Mare Street, was formerly an old house, called the
Church House, built in 1520. It was occupied as
a rectory, for parish meetings, and as a free school
at various periods of its existence. It was pulled
down in 1802, and another building erected, which
was used as a watch-house, engine-house, com-
mittee and ante rooms; this, altered in 1825,
served as the old Town Hall before the new build-
ing was ready. There was originally a lych-gate
on each side of the old church-house, which was
demolished in 1802, when the side of the street
was set back.



Mare Street is one of the most important streets
in Hackney^ on account of its old associations. It
was formerly known for the upper half of its
length as Church Street, and the name of Meare,
or Mare, Street only began below London Lane.
The name is derived from “mere” or ‘^meer/* a
pond, in reference to the marshy ground hereabouts.

In Rocque’s 1745 plan houses are shown run-
ning almost continuously on either side of Church
Street. The upper part of Mare Street is now
very uninteresting. It has a narrow roadway
down which trams run. Small nondescript brick
houses line the east side, and some rather better
are on the west.

The Templars’ House was opposite the entrance
of Dalston Lane, in Church Street. It was pulled
down about 1825, having, before its demolition,
been let in tenements. About the middle of the
eighteenth century it was a tavern, known as the
Blue Posts Tavern, and afterwards as Bob’s Hall,
but all attempts to discover its history for 200
years previous to this date have failed. All that
is known is that it was called by tradition the
Templars’ House, and that the Templars are
known to have had a house somewhere in this
vicinity. The house had three projecting bays,
and was of handsome appearance. Ionic pilasters,
with entablatures and broken pediments, adorned
the frontage. But it obviously was not of such
35 d2


early date as the Templars^ and probably stood
on the site of a much older building. Almost
opposite to the Templars’^ at the comer of Dalston
Lane and Church (now Mare) Street, stood another
old house, built by J. Ward, a notorious person^
who is thus satirized by Pope :

‘* Given to the fool, the mad, the vain, the evil,
To Ward, to Waters, Chartres and the Devil.”

It is not known exactly when the house was
built, though the owner was in residence in 1727.
Ward stood in the pillory for forgery, and was
consequently expelled from Parliament. He also
suffered a long imprisonment as the result of some
of his frauds. The house has long been de-

There formerly stood close by the old church
tower a most picturesque house, irregularly built,
with a red-tiled roof, and a bay running up one
side, terminating in a triangular pediment. On
the garden side it ** consisted almost entirely of

It was built in 1578 by a citizen of London,
whose arms, with those of the Merchant Adven-
turers and Russia Company, were for long over the
chimney-piece and in the window. In later
times it is supposed to have been a country resi-
dence of the Elector Palatine, whose arms, to-
gether with those of King James I., Charles I.,


and the Duke of Holstein, were in the glass of
the vrindows. Tliere is apparently but slight
ground for this conjecture, yet certainly the house
was known as Bohemia Palace, which may have
originated in the Elector’s subsequent title. His
wife Elizabeth, daughter of James I., is supposed
to have stayed here, but this is pure conjecture,
suggested by the name.

The house subsequently became the property of
the Vyner family, who enlarged and repaired it in
1662, and it was then called Black and White
House, from the contrast between the more
modem and darker part with the whiteness of
the old building. The overmantels and ceilings
were superb. The house was pulled down, how-
ever, in 1796> and thus another of the old land-
marks of Hackney disappeared. Bohemia Place
stands on the site. The North London Railway
here crosses the road by a bridge. There are
mean buildings and small shops on either side of
the road until we reach the new Town Hall, a
magnificent building. The foundation-stone of
this was laid in 1864 by Mr. Tyssen Amherst.
The building is of stone, in the French -Italian
style. It has a centre and two vidngs. The centre
is surmounted by a balustrade and a centrepiece
for a clock. There is below a handsome porch,
and the basement is rusticated. Among other
things the Town Hall contains the well-known


Tyssen collection of books and papers relating to
Hackney, invaluable material for the genealogist
and local historian. In this same room is the
piUory found in the old church tower. The Town
Hall stands on a plot of ground known as Hackney
Grove, and from it stretches diagonally a narrow
footway leading to Tower Street. Here lived
Captain Woodcock, one of whose daughters
married John Milton as his second wife in l656.
She only survived her marriage two years. To
this street also Daniel Defoe came courting.

St. Thomas’s Square is dated by a corner-stone
1772. It is a quiet square, with brick houses of
no particular interest. Dr. Ainsworth, compiler
of the Latin Dictionary, was for a time a resident
here. From one end of the square runs Loddiges
Road, recalling the name of a well-known nursery-
gardener. Loddige’s grounds were very extensive,
and people came from all parts of London to
see them. The last of the tropical plants were
removed to the Crystal Palace.

Barber’s Bam is supposed to have been built
about 1590. Tradition says it was the oldest
house in Hackney, and that the Duke of York, in
the time of the Wars of the Roses, slept here.
It came into lay hands at the Reformation, but in
1552 King Edward VI. consigned the estate to the
hospital of St. Thomas at Southwark. The site of
the house was freehold, and was purchased in 1798 by Loddige. The Dame in its corruption
was singularly inappropriate^ for the house was of
very stately appearance and Elizabethan architec-
ture. It is supposed^ however, that the name
” Bam ” was merely a corruption of ” bourne ” or
” boundary,” as the house marked the termination
of the estate. It was pulled down about the
beginning of the nineteenth century. It is perhaps
worth while to mention that Barber’s Bam was for
some time the residence of the regicide Okey.

Not far from Loddiges Road, in Lyne Grove, are
the Bakers’ Almshouses, built round three sides of
a square, facing north. Each of the three build-
ings contains four houses of two stories. The
Bakers’ arms are carved in stone, and the quad-
rangle has an entrance of brick in the form of a
small pointed arch. The first stone was laid in
1820 by Lucas, then Lord Mayor, as an inscription
on a tablet states, and the buildings are for
” decayed members of the Worshipful Company of

Close by is a row of eight almshouses, built in
1829, and known as ” Thomes ” Almshouses ; but,
except for their situation, these have nothing to
do with Hackney. To the north there is a chapel,
and in Paragon Road an infant-school.

Returning to St. Thomas’s Square, we see at the
south-west comer a Presbyterian church, with
stuccoed front, like a chapel in style. This is the successor of an old Presbyterian Dissenting meeting-house, dating from 1600, which stood on the
opposite side of the road. Philip Nye and
Adoniram Byfield, two well-known Puritan divines
preached here between 162O and 1640.

Further south is a Catholic Apostolic Church,
which has a curiously hard, flat appearance, as if it
had been cut out of cardboard. Behind there is
an extensive recreation-ground, part of which was
once a garden and part the graveyard of the Well
Street Chapel. This was laid out in 1888, and is
under the Hackney District Board of Works. The
next object of attention in Mare Street is Lady
Holies’ School for Girls, founded in 1710 and
housed in the present building in 1877. This
is a neat red-brick edifice with stone facings. It
is a middle-class school, with low fees, and several
exhibitions and scholarships are attached. It is
on the site of a large house, one of several which
bordered Mare Street in its more fashionable

The Elizabeth Fry Refuge is in an old brick
house on the west Then we have a Baptist
chapel, founded 1812, burnt down and rebuilt

The Triangle is a desolate place, with a large
building in Board-school style, the Morley Hall,
on the west side. This is used for popular entertainments, concerts, etc.

A little above it, on the same side, is the Flying Horse Tavern, a quaint little building wedged in between higher neighbours. This is a really old inn, and was one of
the posting-houses from London to Newmarket in
Queen Elizabeth’s reign. On the east of the
Triangle a Roman Catholic chapel and school
stand back behind some houses. The road con-
tinues to be known as Mare Street until we reach
the canal. On the east there is the ” Salvation
Army Citadel,” in rag-stone with a rose-window.
This was formerly a church, and below it is
another of the Congregational chapels in which
Hackney abounds.

In Rocque’s map a triangular piece of water is
marked in the Triangle, and another tongue-like
pond on the west. It is recorded that in 1723
one of the stage-coaches going to London was
flung into a great pond in Mare Street, which
pond was very dangerous, especially at night-time,
and was subsequently ordered to be filled in.

London Fields are marked on Rocque’s map
very much in the same shape as at present. They
are under the control of the London County
Council, and consist of wide, flat grass spaces with
intersecting paths and not too numerous seats. On
the east side is St. Michael’s Church, built by
Hakewell in 1 864 on the site of a brick-field. A
Primitive Methodist chapel is further south. The
district between London Fields and Queen’s Road is absolutely without interest. Long rows of
extremely respectable brick houses, a militia
barracks, a Congregational chapel, and a Board-
school, fill up the area.

North of Richmond Road the same sort of district continues. St. Philip’s Church, at the comer
of the above road and Parkholm Road, is in the
straight, narrow. Pointed style, rather effective in
churches, the long perpendicular lines carrying
the eye upward to the spire. The church was
built in 1841, and stands on freehold ground, the
gift of a benefactor.

To the north of Graham Road is the German
Hospital, an interesting building of brick occupy-
ing a very large space of ground. It was founded
in 1845, and the present building erected in 1865
from the designs of Professor Donaldson and
Mr. Gruning. It was enlarged and altered in
1876. Though primarily for Germans, and pos-
sessing a German staff, English cases are admitted
when urgent or in case of accident. An immense
fair was held in 1 848 in support of this institution,
and among the patronesses, of whom Queen Vic-
toria was the chief, there were no less than six
Duchesses, seven Marchionesses, fourteen Coun-
tesses, four Viscountesses, and many others.

The trustees of the German Lutheran Church,
which had been situated in Trinity Lane, City,
rebuilt their church here when they were turned out for the needs of the Metropolitan District
Railway. They offered the use of the church to
the hospital, so that the former chapel was turned
into a children’s ward. The church stands just
outside the gates, and is heavily decorated in

Hackney Common

This wide open space is very
similar to Hackney Downs. It is a flat expanse of
grass intersected by straight paths, under the
control of the London County Council.

At the south-west end is a large brick building
standing in its own grounds. This is the French
Hospital — not a hospital for sick people, but a
hospital or house of mercy for the aged. It is
one of the most interesting institutions in Hack-
ney. It is for poor French Protestants or the
descendants of Huguenots residing in Great
Britain. It was founded in 1 708 by Monsieur de
Gastigny, a French Protestant refugee in the
service of the Prince of Orange ; he bequeathed
£1,000 for the purpose, and, other subscriptions
having been added, the hospital was incorporated
in 1718 under charter by King George I., the
Earl of Galway being the first Governor. At first
it was a temporary refuge for the oppressed of the
class it was designed to aid, but now it is purely a
home for the aged.

The first building was in Old Street, in the parish of St. Luke, but this site has now been let on building leases, and the income thus obtained has more than compensated for the removal.

In 1866 the present building was erected from
the designs of R. L. Roumieu, and well the
designer has done his work. Externally the
building is handsome^ in the French style of the
time of Francis I., enriched by patterns of various
coloured brick and by many pinnacles and gable
ends. A tower and spire rise over the main door-
way, which is recessed in the form of a Gothic

Within, the hall and corridors are open to the
roof; the upper corridors run along handsome
galleries with balustrades of varnished wood,
enclosing panels of iron scroll-work. There
are large sitting-rooms for both men and women,
with as much light and window space as can
possibly be obtained. These are on the ground
floor, where there is also the refectory, where the
men and women have their meals in common ; a
library, containing works relating to the early
history of the French Protestant Church and many
rare and valuable books ; the directors* and court
rooms, both very handsome apartments ; and the
chapel at the east end of the long corridor.
The chapel is a well-appointed and neat little

The upper gallery contains dormitories, day-
rooms for those unable to get up or down stairs,


bath-room, and a door communicating with a
gallery in the chapel for the use of the infirm.

In the basement^ which is singularly spacious
and airy, are the kitchen, laundry, heating
apparatus, steward’s room, store-rooms, and other
conveniences. The internal administration of the
institution is directed by a governor, deputy-
governor, treasurer, secretary, and directors, of
which the scheme provides there should be not
less than thirty-seven. There are also a chaplain,
medical ofl5cer, steward and wife, besides trained
nurses and servants. Forty women and twenty
men are received, and the applicants must be at
least sixty years of age. The hospital is not
intended only for those of a poorer class, but for
those of good family who by misfortune have
become destitute. Everything is provided, even
clothes if necessary, though there is no uniform of
any kind.

An allowance of ninepence a head a week is
made, whereby the old people can procure tea,
cocoa, or coffee to suit their individual tastes.

A small portion of Victoria Park lies in Hackney.
In the year 1 840 an Act was passed by Parliament
entitling the Commissioners of Woods and Forests
to purchase ”lands or hereditaments” in the
parishes of ” St. John at Hackney, St. Matthew,
Bethnal Green, and St. Mary, Stratford-le-Bow,”
with the proceeds arising from the sale of York


House — otherwise Stafibrd House — St James’s
Park^ and other hereditaments mentioned in the
Act ; and that the land so purchased should be a
royal park called Victoria Park. This was the
origin of Victoria Park, now under the London
County Council control, and open to the public. As
such a small part of the park lies within Hackney,
the above comment is considered sufficient without
any reference to the sites of interest lying within
its boundaries.

In Wetherell Road is a Congregational chapel,
and behind it, stretching east and west, the Jews’
burial-ground. The entrance to this is at the
west end in Lauriston Road. Here iron railings
and a gateway allow us to overlook the graveyard.
The paths are unweeded, and a certain air of
desolation hangs over the thickly-set upright
stones with their Hebrew inscriptions. The
burial-ground was set apart in 1788.

Following the road northward, we come upon
the Church of St John at Hackney. This is a
large building in the Decorated style, with flying
buttresses. It is cruciform in shape, with tower
and spire nearly 200 feet high, and was built in
1845 of Kentish rag-stone, which has even now
begun to crumble away and show signs of age.
This church is the successor of a chapel-of-ease
in Well Street, called the Chapel of St John of
Jerusalem, built 1810.



The churchyard is intersected by public paths.
The area is about three-quarters of an acre, and
was closed for interments in 1868.

In Church Crescent are Monger’s Almshouses,
a neat little row of buildings with three doorways.
The inscription tells us the charity was founded
by Henry Monger, late of Hackney, in I669, for
the benefit of six poor men. The almshouses
were at first in Well Street.

A Baptist chapel is close by. The Goldsmiths
and Jewellers’ Asylum is in Holcroft Road.
Hackney abounds in almshouses, as in Congrega-
tional chapels and open spaces. Cassland Road
is so called from being built on the Cass estate.
John Cass became Lord Mayor of London, and
was knighted. He died in 1718, and by his will
founded a charity for the inhabitants of Aldgate
and Hackney in the form of two schools, ele-
mentary and advanced, the trustees to pass the
scholars on from one to the other.

Well Street is one of the important streets in
Hackney on account of its associations. Here
stood formerly a house belonging to the priors of
the Knights Hospitallers, otherwise called the
Knights of St. John. This was a curious specimen
of architecture, with three gables and a diamond
pattern of lath and plaster on its frontage. In
its later days it was cut up into tenements, and
remained standing within the memory of living


men. Another house standing on the site of
Shore Road, sold in 1352 to John Blanch and
Nicholas Shordych, came to be called Shoreditch
Place. The name of the street is derived from
an ancient well, or perhaps a mineral spring,
which stood hereabouts. All trace of this has
now vanished.

The present Well Street is of little interest.
The trams from Aldgate stop at the entrance,
and return to the City. The houses near Mare
Street are poor and uninteresting. I’he street
continues a little better than it begins, having
medium-sized houses of drab stucco, standing
back behind neglected little bits of garden.
Beyond Percy Street it is worse again — extremely
squalid, and the streets opening off it are mere
alleys. The workhouse has a frontage covered
with rough stucco, in imitation of stone, and
stretches back behind the almshouses. It was
originally a Dissenting seminary. In Percy Road
is a National School, and in St. Thomiis’s Road a
hall. King Edward and Victoria Park Roads,
which intersect the ward laterally, are of good
character. At the comer of the latter and
Handley Road are the Norris Almshouses, in
memory of the Rev. H. H. Norris, of South
Hackney. These are for women, and the widows
of the men who die in Monger’s Almshouses are
given the preference, as by the Monger scheme


they are ejected on the death of their husbands.
In Gore Road is Christ Church, with high-pitched
roof— a simple and effective building. This is on
the borders of the Park westward, and southward
we come to the canal, with the dreariness that
always seems to cling to the banks of a canal in a

Just over Cambridge Heath Bridge, before
Wadeson Street, the parish bondary ends.


The way from London to Hackney was, during
the last century, a way of terror. The newspaper-
cuttings of the period show innumerable highway
robberies committed, particularly about Cambridge
Heath. Dick Turpin, whose favourite resort was
the White Horse in Hackney Marshes, must have
found this a happy hunting-ground, as numerous
coaches passed from London northward and back

The part of the ward to the west of Mare
Street is sordid and dull. The Cat and Mutton
Bridge over the canal forms the extreme boundary
of the parish, and what is now the Broadway
used to be called Mutton Lane. On the east
side of this stood a bun house, which once rivalled
that of Chelsea.

Between this and Mare Street is a Board-school,
49 E


and a house^ once a refuge for penitent females,
now ” King Edward’s Certified Industrial School
for Girls.”

In Lamb Lane, to the north, a name which
recalls former rural surroundings, is another Board-

On the east side of Kingsland Road the district
is poor, dull, and quiet. Rows of small stuccoed
houses line the straight streets, rising into rather
larger ones in Middleton Road. A few chapels
and schools are dotted about, and Holy Trinity
Church, a big substantial brick building, stands in
Woodland Street.

Across Kingsland Road everything is very open.
Wide roads run at right angles or correct
diagonals. There are semi-detached two-storied
villas in stucco. A Roman Catholic chapel, named
Our Lady and St. Joseph, is in Culford Road.
This was opened as a chapel in 1850 by Cardinal
Wiseman, but was not in the first instance intended
for a religious building. A Board-school is not
far off. An Independent chapel in the south, and
St. Peter’s Church in the centre, are the principal
buildings. St. Peters was built about 1841, and
is a handsome church, with octagonal turrets and
pinnacles at each angle and at the four comers
of the tower. It is in the Pointed style, and the
material used is light-coloured brick.

De Beauvoir Square is built on the site of one


of the great mansions for which Hackney was
famous in bygone days. The mansion was built
about 1540^ and originally called Baumes or
Balmes, after its founders^ two brothers^ who
were Spanish merchants. It seems to have re-
tained this name^ even when it had passed from
ijts original owners. It was a curiously shaped
house, with a very long, sloping, red-tiled roof, in
which were two rows of dormer-windows. Pil-
asters with ornamental capitals adorned the
frontage, and the house is considered to have
been one of the earliest specimens of Italian archi-
tecture in England. Within there were very
magnificent carved ceilings. The grounds were
of great extent, and laid out with geometrical
precision. This was about 1580, when an old
print shows the house standing in open country.

Robinson, the historian of Hackney, mentions
that there was some doubt as to whether it was in
Hackney or Shoreditch, and says that in a survey
of 1666 the boundary of Shoreditch was fixed at
the top of Balmes Walk, a road ” leading from
Hoxton to Balmes House between an avenue of
stately elms standing on either side.” There are,
however, entries of the end of the sixteenth
century in Shoreditch Register which show it
must have been at some time considered to fall
within that parish.

He says there was a gateway of brick with date
51 e2


1623^ and that this was destroyed in 1794. He
adds that only sixty years before he wrote (1842)
the only entrance to the house was over a draw-
bridge, because of the moat In 168O the estate,
which contained about 130 acres, came into the
possession of Richard Beauvoir by purchase.
Hence the name, which the present owner of the
estate still retains.

Close by the spot where Dalston Junction
Station now is was the Chapel of St. Bartholo-
mew, the ancient leper chapel. It is supposed to
have been built about the time of the Reforma-
tion, and is described as having been a small stone
structure about 27 feet by 1 8 feet, and 20 feet in
exterior height. As the roads around were raised,
its floor remained below their level. A curious
fact about the chapel was that it was in two
parishes, the chancel being in Hackney, the body
of the building in Islington. It was attached to
the House of Lepers called ” Le Lokes,” a word
of doubtful derivation. This was established in
connexion with St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, and in
the middle of the eighteenth century was burnt
down. It was rebuilt, but very shortly after the
patients were removed and the site let for building.
It is described as having been a substantia] edifice
of brick, with the arms of St. Bartholomew’s
Hospital over the door. The chapel, which had
escaped the fire, remained in the gift of St.


Bartholomew’s^ and was pulled down about fifty
years ago. Dalston Junction is still known by
tram and omnibus conductors as Kingsland Gate.
Dalston is spoken of in the Ambulator of 1 774 as a
small but pleasant village near Hackney. The
old manor-house of Dalston^ near Dalston Lane^ is
now used as a refuge for penitent females, and
was instituted in 1805.

It is difficult to realize that in the time of
Charles I. Kingsland Road was impassable by
reason of its miry foulness, so that coaches often
stuck fast; and when Charles I. returned from
Scotland, he and the royal party had to turn aside
into the grounds of Balmes House, where a way
had been especially prepared for them. Pepys
mentions in his journal that as a boy he boarded
at Kingsland and shot with bow and arrows in
the adjacent fields. The lamps by the road
from Shoreditch to Hackney were first lighted
January 14, 1756. The buildings bordering the
road at present are very dull. The most notice-
able is the Metropolitan Free Hospital, built in
the traditional workhouse style.

Passing on to Dalston Lane, and across it, we
come to St. Bartholomew’s Church, a very lofly
church of brick. The district to the north, by
Sandringham Road, has an air of severe respecta-
bility. St. Mark’s Church has a curious tower,
with projecting griffins and a clock-face on one


side and an aneroid on the other^ of equal size.
It was built in 1864. Within, it has a rich
display of stained glass, including some oddly
shaped windows in the roof of the nave. It
is of great size and width, and is said to cover the
largest area of any London church.

In Norfolk Road there is a German Orphanage,
a pretty brick building of no great size, covered
by creepers. An inscription on a stone states the
foundation was laid by Baroness Schroder in 1883,
and another inscription over the doorway indicates
that the orphanage is for German children in

Shacklewell Lane curves like a real lane. On
the north side, the streets opening from it are of
the poorest and most wretched description. On
the south east they are a trifle better. A little
strip of green, with seats, is enclosed by the lane
about half-way up.

At Shacklewell there was an ancient mansion,
in which Cecilia, daughter of Sir Thomas More,
and wife of Giles Heron, once resided. This was
afterwards held by the Rowe family, who sold it
to Francis Tyssen about I6OO, and was conse-
quently known as the Manor House. It was
pulled down in the beginning of the eighteenth

Across Areola Street is a neat terrace of model
dwellings, the beginning of a better era. At the


comer of these dwellings and the Stoke Newing-
ton Road is a very large police-station, recently
built, and not far off a large Board -school. In
Wellington Road — a long, neat road, with an
avenue of small trees on either side — there is a

Amhurst Road, named in honour of the holder of
the manor, is a wide, curving street of respectable
houses. At the upper end is West Hackney
Church. This faces Stoke Newington Road,
standing a little back, with a massive stone portico
of the Doric order. A cupola rises above the
portico, and at the back of the church is a large
piece of ground, the ancient graveyard. Within,
the church has wide galleries on three sides, and
no chancel to speak of. It is airy and well lit,
with flat roof and a curious bit of stained glass at
the east end, which is a copy of the altar-piece at
Magdalen College, Oxford. The church was
designed by Sir Robert Smirke, and built in 1824.
The cost was borne by the Commissioners of New
Churches and Chapels.

The graveyard running along the south side of
Church Road is now a public garden, with grass
plots and flower-beds, gravel walks and seats.
The tombstones are, for the greater part, ranged
against the walls, but one or two remain upright,
and others, horizontal slabs, are undisturbed in
the short grass. It is a well-kept, neat, quiet


garden. Across the road are the West Hackney
National Schools, erected in 1837.

The streets hereabouts are of much better
quality than those already passed through. Long
vistas of tidy suburban villa houses exactly alike
are seen everywhere. At the comer of Rectory
Road is a very large Ck)ngregational chapel with a
spire. In Benthall Road there is a Board-school.

About Stoke Nemngton Common, farther north-
ward, there is nothing much to say. It is now
open to the public, under the control of the
London County Council, and forms one of the
nineteen public spaces of which Hackney boasts.




Derivation. — This name is supposed to be derived
from Stoke = a clearings and Newington = New
Town. Thus it means the new town in the wood.
In Domesday Book it is written Newtowne, but
the Stoke was prefixed as early as the fifteenth
century. Newcourt says it was sometimes called
Neweton Canicorum.

Boundaries. — It is bounded on the east by
Hackney ; south by part of Islington ; west by
Hornsey ; and north by Tottenham. It lies just
within the limits of the London County Council
jurisdiction. In shape the parish is a long strip
of ground from north to souths with a great
piece like a bite out of its west side.

Two green patches^ Clissold Park and Abney
Park Cemetery, lie across the middle, and in the
north two great reservoirs of the New River
Company are strung together like beads on a
necklet, while the New River itself meanders
through parts of the parish.


In Rocque’s map the only houses cluster about
Church Street and High Street, while the re-
mainder is grass-land. Stamford Bridge, Lordship
Lane, New Cutt, Dalston, and Newington Bridge
are the only recorded names, Dalston being
marked in Stoke Newington, as well as a second
time in Hackney. This is probably a mistake.

History. — The history of the parish is the
history of the manor, with which it is coextensive.
In 940 Athelstane gave this manor to St. Paul’s
Cathedral. It lies on ground which was^ in
former times, part of the great forest of Middlesex,
and though this was disafforested by royal order
in 1218, so late as l649 seventy-seven acres of
the manor of Stoke Newington are described as
being wooded. Up to the sixteenth century the
Prebendaries of St. Paul’s held the manor, and
in the middle of that century, 1550, the then
Prebendary, Penny, leased the manor to William
Patten for £19 per annum. William Patten was
Receiver-General of Queen Elizabeth’s revenues
and “teller of the receipt” of the Exchequer —
an important person. He passed on his lease to
John Dudley, who was of the family of the Earls
of Warwick. Dudley died in 1580, leaving his
wife and daughter to succeed him. The widow
married again within two years, and her second
husband was Thomas Sutton, steward to the Earl
of Warwick, who afterwards founded the Charterhouse in its present constitution. In 1602 Mrs. Sutton died and her husband removed to Hackney.

Dudley’s daughter, Ann, married Francis Popham,
son of Sir John Popham. This Francis Popham
became a vehement opponent of King Charles,
and was specially exempted from the general
pardon. He was succeeded by his son. Colonel
Alexander Popham, an officer in the Parliamentary
Army, who purchased the fee simple of the manor
when the church lands were sold in l649. He
managed to ingratiate himself with the King at
the Restoration, and though the church recovered
its rights, he remained lessee and obtained a new
lease of the manor. The Popham family continued
in possession until the end of the century, when
they parted with the lease to John Gunston, a
linen draper of the City, whose son Thomas built
a new manor house on part of the ground now
occupied by the cemetery (see p. 84). Thomas
Gunston only enjoyed his property for a short
time, and his possessions went, at his death, to
his sister Mary, wife of Sir Thomas Abney, Lord
Mayor of London. Lady Abney remained at her
place in Theobalds, however, until ten years after
her husband’s death, which occurred in 1723-24.
Then she came to the Manor House, and in 1734
caused a survey to be made of her estate in the
parish, from which it appears it was largely com-
posed of meadow- and pasture-land. Isaac Watts,


who was a resident in her house^ came with her
to Stoke Newington. Lady Abney was succeeded
by her daughter Elizabeth^ who died, unmarried,
in 1782. During the time of these various succes-
sions the lease had been several times renewed.
It was finally sold for £13,000 to the Eade family,
who held it until the last lease fell in, and the
property came again into the possession of the
Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s.


The old and the new churches of St. Mary’s
face one another across Church Street, \he one
humble and picturesque, the other solid and lofty.
The old church is of very ancient foundation.
It was ” new builded ” by William Patten in 1563,
but how long it had stood on this spot anterior
to that date is not certainly known. Prior to
Patten’s rebuilding, it is said to have been a small
Gothic edifice of hewn stone, flint, and pebbles.
Patten’s church was considerably smaller than
the present one, consisting probably only of the
nave and that southern part known as Queen
Elizabeth’s Chapel. In 1702 the south wall was
damaged by a terrific storm, and had to be repaired.
In I7l6 the church was enlarged, and in 1723
the chancel was extended. In 1806 the walls
were covered with cement to resemble stone.


G)mparatively recent additions carried the build-
ing out further from south to norths making it of
ungainly proportions^ bulging out to the norths
and throwing the chancel out of the centre.
Externally the disproportion is not so notice-
able as in the interior, the effect of increased
breadth being lessened by the false gable-ends.
The church as it was in 1806, however, differed
considerably from the present fabric; it had a
square, embattled tower and cupola of wood. In
1826 Barry (afterwards Sir Charles) was employed
in a thorough restoration, in which he endeavoured
to restore the building, in the true sense of the
word, to what it had originally been.

In the interior the small chapel, still known as
Queen Elizabeth’s, is on the south side, and is
separated from the nave by octagonal stone pillars
and arches of the Tudor style. This little chapel
is very low. The east window of the nave is filled
in with stained-glass, made up of fragments and
reset in the latest restoration. ” F. R. C. S.,” in
his “Memorials of Old Hackney and Stoke New-
ington,” gives an account of the previous vmidows.
Originally the arms of Queen Elizabeth were in
the centre, and four compartments representing
the Virgin Mary, the Preaching of John the Bap-
tist, the Purification, and the Giving of Alms,
around. In the north window were the Drapers’
arms, and in the south those of the City of London.

The nave is separated from the extended remain-
der of the church by pillars similar in construction
and style to those of Queen Elizabeth’s Chapel^
but much loftier, and obviously of far later date.
In the northern extension there are large galleries
supported by iron girder pillars.

There are a few monuments on the walls^ and
one of them is equal to any in London for beauty
and interest. This is the Dudley monument^ and
stands on the south side of the chancel. Beneath
a canopy^ kneeling^ facing one another^ according
to the fashion of the times, are John Dudley, Lord
of the Manor, who died 1580, and his wife, who
married for her second husband Thomas Sutton,
and died in l602. The husband is in armour, with
his helmet behind him, and the wife in the dress
of the period, with their only child, a daughter,
behind her. Beneath is a long Latin inscription in
verse, for which, it appears, the writer received 10s,
The tomb was restored by old students of the
Charterhouse, and a record of this is on Mrs.
Sutton’s side of the monument. The only other
monument of interest is that of Dr. Gaskin, a
former rector, which is against the north wall of
the church, and, though cracked in pieces, has
been fitted together. The story is that Gaskin,
afraid that his bones might be disturbed, gave
orders that he should be buried in his church of
St Gabriel, Fenchurch Street. As it happened,

OF LONDON 8T0KB newinqton

however, this church was demolished, and Mr.
Jackson, Rector of St. Mary’s, Stoke Newington,
had the bones of his predecessor removed to Stoke
Newington for preservation.

Among the dead buried in the church or in its
precincts ‘* Giltspur ” gives the following list : John
Dudley, Mrs. Sutton, Sir Francis Popham, Lady
Abney, Elizabeth Abney, James Brown (the cele-
brated traveller), Mrs. Barbauld, Dr. Aikin, Arthur
Aikin, and a long list of rectors of the parish.

Some of the Pophams were buried in a vault
near the principal entrance, and adjacent is a
curious small chamber, from which a flight of
steps descends to the heating apparatus. This is
supposed to have been the parish schoolroom !

Extracts from the old registers of the church
have been printed, and date back to 1559. They
prove conclusively that the parish was a place of
fashionable residence in days gone by.

One entry has caused much controversy ; this is
” Bridget Fleetwood, buried September the 5th,
1681.*’ This has been supposed by many — Lysons
among the number — to have referred to the
daughter of OHver Cromwell, who married General
Fleetwood, but it has been absolutely proved that
Cromwell’s daughter of that name died at least
nineteen years previously, and was buried in
Blackfriars. She probably was never in Stoke
Newington in her life.



Externally the church is picturesque enough.
The prettiest view is, perhaps, that from Clissold
Park at the back, where the two churches are
seen in the same line of vision, and the steeple of
the new building soaring above the old one empha-
sizes its hoary antiquity. The red-tiled roof of
the little old church covers rough stuccoed walls ;
in the slope of the northern roof two quaint dormer-
windows peep out between the trees, and the
tombs in the small churchyard add to what is an
almost ideal picture of an old parish church. The
windows are in the Tudor style, and so is the
principal doorway on the south side. Above this
there is the date of foundation, 1563, and a motto,
Ab alto, the meaning of which has been much
disputed. Some have concluded it referred to a
sundial, now vanished ; others that it was a
reminder of the verse, ” I will look up unto the
hills, from whence cometh my help.” Over the
other door, in the same wall, there is a small shield
with the arms of the Patten family, the initials of
the founder, ” W. P.,” and his motto, Prospke,

The churchyard around is only about three-
quarters of an acre, and is intersected by a public
footpath. Mrs. Barbauld lies here, beneath a plain
altar-tomb close by the railings on the south side.
Mrs. Stephens, sister of Wilberforce, lies in the
churchyard also, and Wilberforce himself expressed
a wish to be buried here. Wombwell, founder of


the menagerie — perhaps better known than others
who have more claim to recognition — lies here

The new church is in the French Decorated
style. It was designed by Sir G. G. Scott, and
consecrated in 1858; the spire> which for a time
had remained incomplete^ was finished by the
architect’s son in 1890. This spire and tower
attain to a height of nearly 250 feet.

The charch stands near the site of the old
Rectory^ which was a most picturesque building
of rusticated woodwork^ with gable ends and an
overhanging story. Prints of it are extant. It
was originally surrounded by a moat The rectors
are traced back to the fourteenth century^ and
include many learned divines and men of eminence.

The Manor House stood close by the old
church, on the spot now occupied by the houses
in Church Row. The original date does not
seem to be known, but the building was probably
contemporary with William Patten’s rebuilding
of the church. There was an old brick tower
standing in 1763^ which had perhaps been part
of the offices, or of a pleasure-house in connection
with the manor. This tower is shown, in most of
the old views of the church, near the present
Clissold House. It is said that Elizabeth, when
Princess, was concealed here ; if so, such conceal-
ment must have taken place before 1558 — that is
65 F


to say^ in Patten’s time^ for Dudley did not come
into possession until 1571. But this story seems
in the last degree improbable^ and the Queen’s
visits to the place in later times most likely
gave rise to the tradition. She certainly visited
the DudlcjTs here when she was Queen, and on
one occasion, ” taking a jewel of great value from
her hair, presented it to their daughter, Mistress
Ann Dudley” (Nichols’ Topog. Brit.). Another
story has it that Dudley’s yridow let the house
to her husband’s great kinsman, the Earl of
Leicester, and that he resided here until she
returned to the house after her second marriage.
If so, it is very probable that the Queen visited
Leicester here, and thus strengthened the con-
nection of her name with the house. The walk
behind, on the east of Qissold Park, where the
great elms grow, still bears the title, ”Queen
Elizabeth’s Walk ” ; thus imagination pictures a
secluded alley in the garden where, free for a
time from espionage and attendants, the Queen
talked with Leicester as woman to man. In 1 695
this interesting house was demolished, and a little
later the row of houses at present standing was
erected. Before its demolition it was in a
dilapidated condition, and had been let in tene-
ments. The later manorial residence, Abney
House, is spoken of in connection with the
cemetery, on which site it stood.


The gateway of the old Manor House remained
until 1892. It looked on to Edward’s Lane; it
was of Tudor pattern^ and of great solidity.

Church Street is the nucleus of Stoke Newing-
ton. It can boast the first and second Manor
Houses^ the old and new churches^ and almost all
there is of history in the parish. We have already
commented on the churches at its western limit
and the old Manor House^ so^ turning eastward^
we will follow it to the High Street. Adjoining
the churchyard, on the north side, we see the old
houses of Church Row. These are most pic-
turesque. One is embedded in wistaria ; over
others jasmine and ampelopsis, fig and vine, run
riot; while the wrinkled glowing bricks peep
through in places. Quaint doorways, each one
of different pattern, add to the eflTect, and the
houses stand a little back from the road behind
small gardens.

They are the houses which were built at the
end of the seventeenth century and the beginning
of the eighteenth, on the demolition of the old
Manor House. One or two of them bear dates
1706 and 1709. It is said the old materials were
partly used in their construction. One of the
houses — that nearest the church — was pulled down
in 1841, and its site added to the churchyard;
also a cottage, on the site of which the mortuary
stands. There was also a summer-house, standing
67 f2


in 1820^ in the garden at the back of one of the
houses, which bore the initials E. A. G. — those of
Edward and Gertrude Allanson, who lived in one
of these houses. To No. l6S, in 1750^ Howard,
the philanthropist, came as the lodger of a
widow lady, whom, though she was twenty-three
years his senior, he afterwards married. In No.
170 the elder d’Israeli, author of Curiosities of
Literature, lived, and his son, the Earl of
Beaconsfield, was here as a boy.

The red-brick building of the Free Library is
on the site of four of the houses of Church Row.
The public library does credit to the parish,
which was the first in London to adopt the Act
in 1890. The reference and news rooms and
lending department are all on the ground-floor,
separated only by glass and wooden screens, so
as to be effectively under central control. Above
200 prints and illustrations of the neighbourhood,
presented by Mr. Sage, hang from the walls of
the reference-room.

With one intervening shop we come to Edward’s
Lane, where the old manor gateway stood. The
lane is called after a merchant taylor. Job Edwards,
who had something to do with the building of
Church Row. The houses on the west side of
the lane are of considerable age, but of a poor

At the east comer of Edward’s Lane stood a

OF LONDON 8T0KE newikgton

house called the Manor House^ because the courts
leet and baron were held in it after the demo-
lition of the old Manor House. In 1752 it was
bought by subscription as a residence for the
Dissenting minister, and while the Rev. J.
Bransby occupied it in that official capacity, he
had as a pupil for some years the capricious
Edgar Allan Poe, then about nine years of

Bam Street recalls in its name the outbuildings
and farm of the manor; it is now composed of
small modern houses.

In the next block there is the house used as
vestry offices, which, if not so old as those already
mentioned, is certainly not modem. A long low
brick house adjoining is probably as old as any
in the parish. One door leads to ” Ye olde Toye
Shop,” a dingy little shop below the level of the
street. Then, in the bifurcation of Lordship
Lane stands an ancient public-house, the Old
Red Lion, formerly called the Green Dragon. It
is a delightful old inn, with its stuccoed walls
and irregular windows, its partly tiled roof, and
absence of any modernity save the very rampant
lion on its street-lamp. It was an important
place in old times, and the branch off Lordship
Lane to the east was known by its name. In the
fork behind stood cage, watch-house, stocks, and
whipping-post, also the village pound, and, most


important of all, the en/^ne-house for protection
against fire, erected in 1806.

Park Street at the first glance might be sup-
posed to be wholly composed of the little villa
houses which the modem builder strings up by
the row. A second glance reveals an interesting
group of buildings on the west. Here we have
the Quakers’ chapel and school, and the Quaker
almshouses. The latter, a long row of dwellings
in white brick, with large windows, is separated
from the road by a green quadrangle and iron
railings. The central building is higher, with a
large bow-window, and the stone parapet or
coping, which bears the inscription, is covered by
the leaves of a brilliant creeper.

The Meeting-house is a house in verity, with
an open portico, dull and uninteresting. Adjoin-
ing it is a cemetery of about three-quarters of an
acre, bought in 1827 and enlarged in 1849. This
is not open to the public, though it is still in use.

Continuing in Church Street, we come to the
gates of Abney Park, noted below. Then, as
far as High Street, we have various shops in
buildings of the most absolute ugliness, corre-
sponding with those on the south side, also a
timber-yard, and one or two houses.

Fleetwood Street, a small cul-de-sac yrith the
churchyard cedar rising above the wall at the end,
marks the site of Fleetwood House. This house


was almost as important a building as the Manor
House. Its original style was Jacobean. In
Noies and Queries (1872) Mr. E. J. Sage gave a
minute description of this house. He says :

*< There are considerable remains of Elizabethan or early
Jacobean panelling in and about the kitchen and passages
on the eastern part of the house, which appears to be the
oldest. There is a fine massive Jacobean staircase (of solid
oak painted stone colour) leading from the first floor to the
second story and attics. There is also a very elegant
staircase leading from the hall to the first floor. This dates
from early in the last century, and probably takes the place
of one of much earlier date. Opening upon this latter
staircase is the room from the ceihng of which the coat of
arms of the Hartopps has been recently removed. When I
first visited the room, I omitted to notice (and no one else
seems to have noticea) that the four comers of the ceiling
are also ornamented with heraldic heroics. They are as
follows : (1) The arms of Ulster ; (2) a ducal coronet — ^a part
only of the crest of the Hartopps; (3) a coat which I
recognized as the arms of Coke of Melbourne — gules, three
crescents and a canton or ; (4) a sun in splendour or. which
is the crest of the Cokes. This discovery identifies at least
the date of the ceiling, as Sir Edward Hartopp, who died in
March, 1657(8), married Mary, daughter of Sir John Ooke,
of Melbourne.”

The south front of this house ivas Palladianized
in the middle of the eighteenth century. It wag
a large building of some sixty rooms^ with an
extensive garden attached. In 1872 it was pulled
down. It was built or remodelled by Sir Edward
Hartopp^ who was succeeded by his son and
grandson. Sir Edward Hartopp’s widow. Dame
Mary, married for her second husband Fleetwood,
the great parliamentary general. She was his


third wife^ and one of her predecessors had been
Bridget^ daughter of Oliver Cromwell and widow
of Ireton. There was much intermarriage between
the families at a later date. The Bridget Fleet-
wood in the Stoke Newington church register
may well have been the second of that name.
After marrying Dame Mary^ Fleetwood took up
his residence in the house which has since been
known by his name. Here he lived amicably with
his stepson, Sir John Hartopp. Isaac Watts^ the
hymn-writer^ came to Stoke Newington as tutor
to Sir John Hartopp’s children. He had been
educated at the Nonconformist academy in the
parish^ and his connection with Stoke Newington
was lifelong (see p. 59)»

At the end of Church Street, the comer of High
Street, stands the Three Crowns, a large public-
house which inherits a far-back tradition. It was
originally the Cock and Harp, but was renamed in
compliment to James I. when the royal procession
came along the great high road by Stamford Hill,
and perhaps halted at this very spot.

The courts leet and baron were held here
later, and in 1798, when a subscription was opened
to help the King in protecting England against
our ” old and inveterate enemy, France,” a meet-
ing was held at this hostelry, where Benjamin
Disraeli, De Medina, and Rivaz sat to consider
the matter, and subscribed liberally.


The houses adjoining the Three Crowns are
known as Stock’s Charity. Four of these were
left by one Thomas Stock to the parish, the
income to be applied to the ordinary uses of
education, apprenticeship, and the poor, and to the
more unique use of bringing New River water
down Church Street The fifth house, which he
bequeathed to a minister, was afterwards bought
by the parish and added to the other four. This
bequest was to come into force on the death of the
testator’s wife and son-in-law, but the widow
resigned the property during her lifetime in l682,
and as the son-in-law was dead, the vestry
received the trust then. The houses were rebuilt
during the nineteenth century.

The south side of Church Street can hold its
own in rivalry with the north. Lansell and
Kersley Streets were built on ground which was
once market-gardens. Adjoining the latter is
Abney Park Congregational Chapel, exactly facing
the gates of old Abney House. This building of
brick, with immense portico and pediment, is of
little or no interest, but as it is the successor of
the old Dissenting chapel, and may be confused
with it, a digression must be made here. The
present chapel was built in 1 838, but altered in
1862, and enlarged in 1877. The first meeting-
house existed in the middle of the seventeenth
century, and is supposed to have been pulled


down to make way for the stables of Abney
House. It was rebuilt in 1700 on the west side
of Lordship Road^ in Church Street. The old
chapel was used at its latter end for assembly or
meeting rooms.

On the west side of the present chapel we have
a modem building yrith iron balconies^ and then a
long row of old houses with quaint doorways, but
these are in a rather dilapidated state. They are
called the High Houses. Of one of them a ghost
story is told. Defoe Road is so named in memory
of one of the greatest of the parish residents.
Daniel Defoe was educated at a school on Stoke
Newington Green, kept by a Mr. Morton. He
was here between the ages of twelve and sixteen,
and had as fellow-scholar Wesley, the father of
Charles and John, who remembered Bunyan preach-
ing on Newington Green. Another scholar, whose
name was Crusoe, has been raised to fame by the
adoption of his name for Defoe’s celebrated hero.
In later life Defoe lived in a house on the site of
which this street is built. He came here on his
release from prison. His house was still standing
in 1845. It was on the south side of Church
Street, a little to the east of Lordship Lane or
Road, and had about four acres of ground attached,
bounded on the west by a narrow footway, once
called Cutthroat Lane.

In 1875 the house was destroyed to make way


for the street. Cutthroat Lane is now absorbed
in Oldfield Road^ and the old wall on the west is
the remnant of Defoe’s garden wall. A near
neighbour was Mrs. Barbauld^ who lived on the
other side of the above-mentioned lane, a little
further westward, and died here in 1825. The
house still stands, and is occupied by a bookseller.
Her brother. Dr. Aikin, occupied the house now
called St. Mary’s Mission-house, on the north side
of the street, almost facing Marton Street. Thomas
Day, author of Sandford and Merton, lived in a house
close by, and was educated at Stoke Newington.

The Falcon public-house is on the site of
another old parish tavern, mentioned once in-
directly in the records of 1784. Behind it is a
very old house, whose gables can be seen from the
top of a passing omnibus. This is in the last stage
of decrepit old age ; it is said to be the oldest
house in the parish, and carries a tradition of
having been the residence of Sir Walter Raleigh,
which has no grain of fact in support of it. From
here to the corner of Albion Road there is little
which calls for remark. The shops mostly project
from the ground-floors of the houses, and occupy
what once were small gardens. Some of the
buildings are of considerable age, others modem
or re-faced. At the comer of Albion Road is
another inn with an old name, the Rose and Crown,
rebuilt in 1815.



The houses in Church Street formerly continued
in an unbroken line at this pointy but in 1830 one
and part of another were pulled down to ^lake a
new road to Newington Green. Beyond Albion
Road is another most fascinating old brick house,
with centre and two projecting wings ; the latter
are older than the centre, which has been rebuilt,
and has its windows constructed in a later style.
The new church and rectory have been mentioned.
Beyond them the houses facing Clissold Park are
more or less old. The Grange is a lovable old
brick mansion, and near this stands the house in
which Samuel Sharp, Egyptologist, was brought up
by his admirable sister. Beyond this to the Green
Lane we have only small shops.

Clissold Park was acquired as a public park for
the people in 1889* It is well laid out with
trees and flower-beds, neat paths, and has a
band-stand. There are also two artificial ponds,
but its area is chiefly made up of the wide open
grass spaces dear to the heart of the Londoner.

Qissold House was built about the end of the
eighteenth century by Mr. Hoare, of the banking
family, who did not long retain it. It was held
by Thomas Gudgeon later, and subsequently passed
into the hands of Mr. Crawshay, whose chief claim
to notice is that he forbade his daughter to marry
Mr. Clissold, a curate of the adjacent parish
church. At his death the marriage took place,


and the name Clissold has been perpetuated.
The house is a brick building somewhat in the
Palladian style^ standing not far from the church.
Having thus cut through the heart of the
parish^ there are two great sections to be con-
sidered, that lying to the norths and that to the


Here we have well – laid – out roads and neat
villa residences^ which are larger and better as
we go northward. Lordship Lane (now Road),
which runs from north to south, is one of the
most important thoroughfares, and one of the
oldest. It is a long shady road passing between
the two great reservoirs of the New River Company.
The banks of these are covered with shrubs, and
an old engine-house, with its water-tower, bearing
an inscription recording it was erected in 1830-33,
stands among the shrubs. By a narrow bridge
the road crosses the river, and from here both
the great sheets of water can be seen, with stately
swans swimming about on them. The modem
engine-house with its mighty tower, is at the south-
west end of the westerly lake, and the waterworks
behind it are outside the parish boundary.

At the comer of Woodberry Down and Seven
Sisters Road is the little new red-brick church of
St Olave. Seven Sisters takes its name from


seven trees^ which were known as the Seven
Sisters^ and stood at the Tottenham end.

Green Lane does not much merit its title ; it
is a long^ pleasant suburban road down which
trams run. There are fairly large houses^ and
the road runs past the park for part of its course^
which gives it an open aspect. To sum up
briefly the buildings in the northern portion of the
parish^ we will mention that in Manor Road there
is a Presbyterian chapel^ and a house for the aged
poor, conducted by the Little Sisters of the Poor.
This is a very large brick building, with statue of
the Virgin and Child in a niche over the central
entrance, and a central cupola. In Bouverie Road
there is a Baptist chapel and a small temporary
iron church. In Bethune Road the Church of
St. Andrew’s stands ; it is a nicely built modem
edifice with high-pitched roof.


There is very little to recount of the southern
portion of the parish, except long dingy streets
of a poorer class of houses than those on the
north. In Oldfield Road is a big Board-school,
with fine old trees in the yard. St. Faith’s Churchy
in Londesborough Road, is solid and plain outside,
and within it is peculiar: an arcade runs down
either side, and on the arches are mural paintings,


of the conventional type^ with the names of saints
in the spandrils. Above, the large, very lofty,
windows are enclosed in a light arcade, and are
perfectly simple, with no tracery. The tast end
is in the form of an apse.

To the west of Albion Road the streets are
new, the north-east side of Park Lane and Carys-
fort Road having been laid out comparatively
recently in long curving lines of symmetrical little
red-brick houses. These are all built on one
estate, called the Willows, the park and grounds
of a house of that name. The descendant of this
house is Willow Bank, a large brick building at
the northern comer of Carysfort Road, overlooking
Clissold Park. The New River runs through a
comer of its grounds. The older house was visited
by Mrs. Beecher Stowe, and is mentioned by

The streets from this point, running between
Green and Park Lanes, are very monotonous.
All Saints’ Church is in the severe first Pointed
style, and has no spire. At the open space, where
several roads meet in the turn of Albion Road,
there is a triangular strip of greenery, and a red-
brick chapel of the Congregationalists, called the
Raleigh Memorial Chapel. Here are also a cluster
of shops.

On the north side of Stoke Newington Green,
at the comer of Albion Road, still stands a charm-


ing old red-brick mansion with large garden
behind; another old house vanished before the
building of the London and Provincial Bank at the
opposite comer. Next-door is the stuccoed
frontage of the chapel, erected in 1708, and
enlarged in I860. Among its ministers it can
reckon the Rev. Mr. Barbauld and other men of
learning. The chapel was first Presbyterian, but
after a time became Unitarian. Samuel Rogers
was a trustee for sixty-five years during the latter
phase, and there is a tablet to his memory within
the building. Lewis, in his History of Islington
(1842), speaks of two old houses more important
than any now standing. One, in the north-east
comer, was of wood and plaster, built in the form
of a quadrangle, and was still in existence at the
beginning of the nineteenth century. During
the latter part of its existence it was changed
into tenements, and called Bishop’s Place. Mild<
may House, on the south side of the Green,
was another large important mansion, built by
Alderman Halliday in the reign of James I.

A letter from Algernon Percy, Earl of North-
umberland, repudiating any tie between himself
and Anne Boleyn before her marriage, is dated
from Newington Green, and may probably have
been written in the house called later Bishop’s

It was in 1745 that the centre of the Green was first railed in ; before that time it was left in a wild, uncared-for condition.

There are many literary associations with this
place, besides the school attended by Defoe and
Day ; Samuel Rogers, the poet, was a resident,
and Mary Wolstonecraft Godwin opened a day-
school here.

The detached portion of the parish, roughly
bounded by Boleyn, Cowper, Brighton, and Stoke
Newington Roads, is newly built upon, and is
known as the Palatine Estate.

This name has a somewhat curious origin. A
pi^ce of land, called the Gravel Pit Feld, contain-
ing six acres, was presented to the parish, and
in 1709 four houses were erected on it for the
reception of the poor Palatines who had fled from
Gernany. The original donor’s name is not given,
but the gift was made previous to the first year
of Edward VI. It still belongs to the church, to
be used for ” repairs or extremity,” and part of it
was recently mortgaged to provide funds for the
new church. South Homsey public elementary
schools stand on this land.

St. Matthias’s is a high brick church with a bell-
gable instead of a spire.

A Welsh chapel in Barrett Road, with four
pinnacles, is rather neat. It was built in 1884.
A large theatre, to be called the Alexandra, faces
Stoke Newington Road.

81 o


Stoke NewmgUm Road is supposed to be the
ancient Ermin Street of the Romans. This road
led from Newhaven in Sussex through Surrey to
London^ and thence through Middlesex to Castor,
then to Venta Icenorum, a little south of Norwich.
The southern detached portion, which takes in
the western side onlj, is of small projecting shops
and buildings, irregular without being interesting.

This great high road is in this part of its course
known as High Street ; three houses stand out
conspicuously. These three form a group together,
and suggest having been originally one mansion,
with a projecting centre and retreating wings,
but they are really quite separate and independent
buildings. That on the north is the Training
Home of the London Female Guardian Society.
It is of red brick, is the least interesting, and
looks the most modem of the three, but it has an
additional building with red-tiled roof, which
appears really old.

The central portion, with an effective stuccoed
porch, is now a dispensary, and is in good

The southern is the Invalid Asylum, which,
from having something of a history attached to
it, needs more detailed description.

The Invalid Asylum is a ch^qining old house
standing back from the street, with a flight of
steps leading up to its front-door. It is spoilt by
the ugly wooden board which hangs over its
gateway^ announcing —

“Inyalid Asylum. For the Recovery of the Health of
Respectable Women. Principally supported by voluntary
contributions. Established 1825.”

The front-door^ with its fluted pilasters and
ornamental stucco work, is very handsome. It
leads into a well-paved hall, from which rises a
wide staircase, with old-fashioned spiral balusters.
The height and roominess of this staircase at once
proclaim it to have been a comfortable dwelling-
house, and this is true. One John Wilmer, a
Quaker, formerly lived here; he died in 1764,
and was so much afraid of premature interment
that he left elaborate directions for periodical
inspections of his corpse, and for the use of a
bell, which was to be attached by a wire to his
hand in case he needed assistance. He was
to be buried in his own garden, but this portion
of the garden is now within the yard of an adjacent
timber merchant ; the grave is still there.

To return to the Invalid Asylum. The rooms
are all panelled with wood, and are comfortable.
Tired, overworked young women find here a refuge.
They are chiefly of the servant or shop-girl class,
and contribute something to their own expenses.
The Home is a unique combination of hospital
and convalescent home, for it owns a staff of trained
83 g2


nurses. The back of the house is quite as attrac-
tive as the fronts with its combination of red and
yellow brick^ its large windows and elaborate
doorway^ which differs but little from that in front.
There is a large garden^ and in the centre an
iron gate of quaint design between two brick

Further north are more shops, and then the
solid piers of the gates of Abney Park Cemetery.

Of Abney Park Cemetery we have already heard
(see p. 59). The manor came into the possession
of Lady Abney through her father, John Gunston.
The Manor House, which stood on part of the
ground now enclosed by the cemetery, is chiefly
interesting as having been the home of Isaac

In 1694 Watts was appointed tutor to the Har-
topps, who lived in Fleetwood House, adjacent to
Gunston’s new acquisition. It is probable that
here he became acquainted with Lady Abney, for
he went to her house at Theobalds on a visit to
recruit his strength, and, returning with her to
Stoke Newington, remained with her and her
daughter until his death in 1748.

The cemetery was bought in 1840; it was to
supplement that of Bunhill Fields. It is chiefly
used by Nonconformists, and is unconsecrated.
It contains about thirty-two acres, and is composed
of the grounds belonging to Fleetwood as well as Abney House. The latter house stood for four years
after the cemetery was opened^ and was used as a
Dissenting college. On its site is now a monu-
ment to the memory of Watts, who lived beneath
its roof so many years. His statue, in robes, stands
on a huge pedestal, and an inscription states it
was erected by public subscription in 1845. His
epitaph is Dr. Johnson’s eulogy. The record of
his birth and his thirty-six years’ residence in
Lady Abney’s house is also inscribed. It is, per-
haps, unnecessary to add that Watts is not buried
here, but in Bunhill Fields.

On the north of the monument are the cata-
combs, and beyond these, again, in the centre of
the ground, a neat little Gothic chapel. There is
a fashion in tombstones, as in everything else.
Instead of the vast Egyptian mausoleums of Kensal
Green, or the plain white marble slabs of the
newer Highgate Cemetery, a pedestal surmounted
by a small statue or an urn seems to find most
favour in Abney Park.

There is one entrance only, from Stamford Hill,
where solid plain piers of Portland stone support
the gates, and are flanked on either side by lodges
of the same material. But though there is only one
entrance, there is another gateway closed. This
is the old gateway of Abney House, opening into
Church Street. The gates are of iron, with rail-
ings on either side. These are, unfortunately,


boarded in, which divests them of all attractiveness.
Not far from this spot, within the cemetery, is the
grave of Mrs. Booth, of the Salvation Army, whose
funeral was attended by hundreds of people from
all parts of England. There is no long list of
celebrities buried here, as in some of our great
cemeteries, but the graves lie thick and close
together, so that it is difficult to realize the ground
has been open such a comparatively short time.
One magnificent old cedar-tree spreads its branches
over what was once a portion of the garden of
Fleetwood House. In this tree, in the actual
wood, there is enclosed a scythe, of which the story
goes that a labourer hung it up one day, intending
to return, and never came back. There the scythe
hung year by year until the tree grew round it
and buried it, and in one nook of its trunk there
are still to be seen the two little knobs of iron
which form the head of the scythe, which will
soon be buried also.

From the foregoing pages it may be gathered
that Stoke Newington, though not large in area,
can hold its own for interest with any London
parish. It has had within its borders as residents
such men as Defoe, Isaac Watts, Isaac d’ Israeli,
Samuel Rogers, Thomas Day, and the elder
Wesley. There are slighter associations with the
names of Charles and John Wesley, the first Earl
of Beaconsfield, Edgar Allan Poe, Bunyan, and Mrs. Beecher Stowe ; there are traditions of
Queen Elizabeth and of Leicester. So the parish
is exceptional, even in London – where the very
streets speak history – and we are reminded of the
mighty dead at every turn.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.