The Environs of London: Volume 3, County of Middlesex. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1795.
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Name and etymology.
In ancient records the name of this place is written Isendune, Isendon, Iseldon, Yseldon, and Eyseldon. Skinner derives it from Gisel, a hostage, and tun, a town. His etymology is not, I think, entirely satisfactory, as it does not appear that this place was ever called Giselton or Gistleton. Isendune, which name occurs in the most ancient records belonging to the church of St. Paul's, as well as in Doomsday-book, signifies in the Saxon language the Hill of Iron; in favour of which etymology it may be adduced, that several springs of water impregnated with that mineral have been found near the village.
Situation, boundaries, extent, &c.
Islington is situated about a mile to the north of London, on the road to Barnet. The parish lies within the hundred of Ossulston, and is bounded by St. James's, Clerkenwell; St. Pancras, Hornsey, Stoke Newington, Hackney, St. Leonard-Shoreditch, and St. LukeOld Street. It is three miles one furlong in length, two miles one surlong in breadth, ten miles one-half in circumference, and contains about 3000 acres of land, almost the whole of which is pasture and meadow; one field only, of small extent, is arable; and there are a few acres of nursery grounds. The soil is a gravelly loam, in some parts mixed with clay. The land is principally occupied by cowkeepers, and milk and butter (particularly the former) have long been noted as the staple commodities of the place (fn. 1). The number of cows now kept in the parish varies from about 1200 to 1500, nearly half of which are the property of Mr. West. Considerable quantities of brick are made in the fields near the extremity of the parish adjoining to Hackney. In the same neighbourhood, within this parish, is an extensive manufacture of white lead belonging to Samuel Walker and Company.
Islington pays the sum of 2001l. 11s. 9d. to the land-tax, which is at the rate of about 1s. 6d. in the pound.
Arrest of Henry VI.
When the unfortunate Henry VI. was brought a prisoner to London, he was met at Eyseldon by the Earl of Warwick, who arrested him there in the name of King Edward IV., and caused his gilt spurs to be taken from his feet (fn. 2).
Inclosures destroyed by the Londoners.
In the year 1514, "the citizens of London, finding themselves grieved with the inclosures of the common fields about Islington, Hoxton, Shoreditch, and other places near to the city, whereby they could not be suffered to exercise their bows, nor other pastimes, in those fields, as aforetime they had been accustomed, assembled themselves one morning, and went with spades and shovels unto the same fields, and there like diligent workmen so bestirred themselves, that within a short space all the hedges about those towns were cast down, and the ditches filled. The King's counsail coming to the Grey Friars to understand what was meant by this, were so answered by the Mayor and Counsail of the citie, that the matter was dissimuled; and so when the workmen had done their work, they came home in quiet manner, and the fields were never after hedged (fn. 3)."
On the 17th of September 1557, four victims of bigotry were burnt at one fire at Islington (fn. 4).
Trenches and ramparts made near Islington in 1642 and 1643.
In the month of October 1642, the committee of the militia of London gave orders that trenches and ramparts should be made near all the highways leading to the city, as beyond Islington; in the fields near Pancras church, Mile-end, &c. This work was carried on for several months (fn. 5). In May and June 1643, it was prosecuted with uncommon zeal, as appears by the following extracts from the public papers:—"May 8. The work in the fields to trench the city goes on amain; many thousands of men, women, and servants, go out daily to work; and this day there went out a great com pany of the common-council, and divers other chief men of the city, with the greatest part of the trained bands, with spades, shovels, pickaxes, &c.—May 9. This day many thousands of citizens, their wives, and families, went out to dig, and all the porters in and about the city, to the number of 2000.—May 23. Five thousand feltmakers and cappers went to work at the trenches, near 3000 porters, with a great company of men, women, and children.—May 24. Four or five thousand shoemakers.—June 5. Six thousand taylors (fn. 6)."
In a field, called the Reed-moat Field, a short distance from the workhouse towards the north-west, are some remains of trenches; in one corner of the field is a moated site, forming on the outside of the moat a square of about 100 paces. These vestiges are thought to have been a Roman camp.
Lands in Islington as described in Doomsday book.
In the survey of Doomsday, the landed property at Islington is thus described: "The canons of St Paul's hold two hides in Isendone; the land is one carucate and a half, on which there is only one plough, but another might be kept half employed. There are three villans who hold a virgate of land, and there is pasture for the cattle of the town. This estate, whose present and former value is 40s. has been time out of mind parcel of the demesnes of the church. The said canons hold two other hides in Islington. This land furnishes employment for two ploughs and a half, and is all in culture. There are four villans who hold this land under the canons, four bordars, and 13 cottars." This estate, which was parcel also of the demesnes of the church, had been valued in King Edward's time at 40s.; but when the survey was taken, at 30s. only. "Gilbert holds half a hide of Geoffrey de Mandeville. This land is half a carucate, and is cultivated to its full extent. There is one villan and one bordar. It was valued in King Edward's time at 20s., now at 12s. It was formerly the property of Grim, a servant of King Edward, who could alien it at pleasure. Derman holds half a hide of the King. On this land, which is half a carucate, is one villan. This estate is valued at 10s. and was formerly the property of Algar, a servant of King Edward, who had power either to sell or to devise it.
Manor of Tolentone.
"Ranulf, brother of Ilger, holds Tolentone (fn. 7) of the King for two hides. The land is two carucates. One hide is in demesne, on which is one plough. The villans have two ploughs. There are five villans who hold half a virgate each, two bordars who hold nine acres, one cottar and one slave, pasture for the cattle of the town, pannage for 60 hogs, and 5s. rents. This manor was valued in King Edward's time at 40s., when it was granted to Ranulf at 60s. but is worth now only 40s. It was the property of Edwin, a servant of King Edward, who had the power of aliening it at pleasure."
Lands belonging to St. Paul's cathedral.
King William the Conqueror, in or about the year 1065, restored to the canons of St. Paul's certain estates of which they had been unjustly deprived; among these were nine cassats (fn. 8) of lands in Islington (fn. 9), being, I suppose, the two estates mentioned in the survey. The only property now belonging to the church in this parish is the prebendal manor (being the corps of one of the prebends), and a small estate called Yven, Iveney, or Yeveney grove field. The pre bendal manor holds a court-leet and court-baron. In the year 1649 it was sold to Maurice Gethin, citizen of London, for the sum of 275l. (fn. 10) There are no demesnes belonging to it.
Prebendaries of Islington.
Richard Fletcher, Bishop of London, and Edward Stillingsleet, Bishop of Worcester, were prebendaries of Islington (fn. 11). The present prebendary is the Rev. Joseph Butler, M. A. who was installed in 1754.
Yven, or Iveneygrove field.
The present lessee of Yven-grove field, is Mr. William Mott, who pays a reserved rent of 1l. 8s. 4d. per annum, to the church of St. Paul's.
Manor of Berners, Bernersbury, or Barnesbury.
I think it probable that the greater part of the estates said in the Doomsday survey to belong to the church of St. Paul's, came into the Berners family. Ralph de Berners, who died in 1297, was seised of the manor of Yseldon, held under the Bishop of London, as of his castle of Stortford, by a certain quit-rent, and the service of warding the castle (fn. 12). This manor, called in later records Berners, or Bernersbury in Iseldon, continued in the same family for several generations (fn. 13), after which it passed to that of Bourchier, by the intermarriage termarriage of Sir John Bourchier with Margery, daughter and heir of Richard Lord Berners. Sir John Bourchier, Lord Berners in right of his wife, died in 1475, and Margaret Lady Berners in 1476, when this manor was inherited by their grandson John, the last Lord Berners, then eight years of age (fn. 14), who became chancellor of the exchequer. He is recorded among the noble authors, having published a translation of Froissart's Chronicle, and some Romances. Lord Berners died in 1532, leaving issue one daughter, married to Edmund Knyvet, Esq. who had livery of his lands. In 1548, this manor was the property of Thomas Fowler, Gent. (fn. 15), in whose family it continued till about the middle of the last century, when it passed to Sir Thomas Fisher, who married Sarah, the daughter and heir of Sir Thomas Fowler, Bart.; Ursula, daughter and eventually heir (fn. 16) of Sir Thomas Fisher, Bart., brought this manor into the Halton family, in which it continued till 1754, when it was devised by Sir William Halton, Bart. (grandson of Sir William Halton, who married Ursula Fisher) to the late John Jolliffe Tuffnell, Esq. who died in September 1794. It is now the property of his son.
The Berners family, in the reign of Henry VI., held some lands in Islington (being half a knight's fee), under the Bohuns Earls of Hereford (fn. 17), being no doubt the same estate which is mentioned in the Doomsday survey as held by Gilbert, under Geffrey de Mandeville, whose heirs the Bohuns were.
Manor of Canonbury.
Ralph de Berners gave an estate at Islington, since called the Manor of Canonbury, to the prior and convent of St. Bartholomew in Smithfield (fn. 18). This estate is enumerated among other possessions of that monastery in a confirmation-grant of Henry III., bearing date 1253 (fn. 19). After the dissolution of the convent it was granted, anno 1539, to Thomas Lord Cromwell (fn. 20), on whose attainder, which happened the year following, it reverted to the King. It was then charged with the payment of an annuity of 20l. per annum, to Anne of Cleve (fn. 21). The bailiff's account, anno 1541, makes the total amount of the manor to be 73l. os. 7½d (fn. 22). The value of the house is not specified, it having been reserved by Sir Francis Bryan the keeper, for his Majesty's use.
Sir John Spencer.
King Edward VI. in the first year of his reign granted this manor to John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, in exchange for other lands (fn. 23). The Earl surrendered it to the crown in 1550 (fn. 24), and had a fresh grant of it in 1552, being then Duke of Northumberland (fn. 25). Upon his attainder the next year, Canonbury reverted again to the crown, and was granted in 1557 to Thomas Lord Wentworth (fn. 26), who in 1570 aliened it to John Spencer (fn. 27), afterwards Sir John Spencer, alderman of London, no less renowned for his active services to his fellow-citizens (fn. 28), than for his immense wealth, the same of which was so great, that a pirate of Dunkirk is said to have laid a plot for carrying him away from his house at Canonbury in hopes of a large ransom. The shallop employed for this purpose came up, as the story is told, to Barking-creek, whence the pirate with six of his men came to Islington, leaving the rest of the crew to take care of the vessel. Fortunately Sir John Spencer was not then at Canonbury, by which means the design was frustrated (fn. 29). Sir John Spencer's daughter and heir, Elizabeth, was married in 1594 to William Lord Compton, by which match the manor of Canonbury came into the Northampton family, and is now the property of the present Earl.
Henry le Hayward and Roger de Creton gave (anno 1334) 106 acres of arable land, and four of meadow, in Iseldon and Kentyshton, valued at 21s. 6d. per annum, to the hospital of St. Bartholomew in Smithfield, to pray for the soul of John de Kentyshton. A considerable part of this land was held under the prior and convent of St. Bartholomew (fn. 30). In the year 1443, the master and brethren of the hospital gave an annuity of 6s. 8d. to the prior and convent of St. Bartholomew, on condition that they should have free use of an aqueduct, the head of which was within the precincts of Canonbury (fn. 31).
Remains of Canonbury-house.
Canonbury-house is said to have been made use of as a country residence by the priors of St. Bartholomew. It is supposed to have been in part, if not wholly rebuilt by William Bolton, who was prior from 1509 to 1532. His device, a bolt and tun, was lately to be seen on some parts of the park wall. Canonbury-house was rented of Sir John Spencer, by William Ricthorne, Esq. who died there in 1582 (fn. 32); and it was afterwards, for a few years, in the occupation of Sir Arthur Atye, public orator of the university of Oxford, who married his widow (fn. 33). It is probable that Sir John Spencer came to reside there himself about the year 1599, which date was some time ago to be seen on the cielings (fn. 34). The charter of incorporation granted to the Butchers' Company, bearing date 1605, was signed at Canonbury by Lord Chancellor Egerton, who was then on a visit to Sir John Spencer (fn. 35). A daughter of Lord Compton was born there in 1605 (fn. 36). From 1627 to 1635, Canonbury-house was rented by the Lord Keeper Coventry (fn. 37). In the Strafford papers is a letter from the Earl of Derby, dated Jan. 29, 1635, from Canbury park, where he was staid from St. James's by the greatest snow he ever saw in England (fn. 38). William Fielding, Earl of Denbigh, died at Canonbury-house in 1685 (fn. 39). The only part of the old mansion which remains, is a lodging-house at the north-west corner of the site, which has a large brick tower, 17 feet square, and 58 feet in height. It does not seem of very great antiquity, but was built, it is probable, by some of the owners of Canonbury since the Reformation, for the sake of the extensive prospect it affords of the surrounding country. On the wall of the stair-case, near the top, are painted in Roman characters six Latin hexameters, comprising the abbreviated names of the Kings of England, from William the Conqueror to Charles the First (fn. 40). The tower is let out in apartments, the names of the lodgers being on the doors as in a College stair-case, or that of an inn of court. This place has been the temporary residence of several persons of eminence in the literary world. Samuel Humphreys, who wrote a poem called Canons, and translated "le Spectacle de la Nature," and other works, died there in January 1737 (fn. 41); Ephraim Chambers, the well-known author of the Cyclopedia, in 1740 (fn. 42); Dr. Goldsmith had lodgings there, and the late J. Newbery, Esq. author of several useful books for the amusement of children, and some other works.
Tallington-lane and house.
I suppose the manor of Tolentone to have been the same which was at a later period called the Manor of Highbury. The lands on both sides of Tallington-lane belonged to the priory of St. John of Jerusalem; those on the west side are now parcel of the manor called the manor of St. John of Jerusalem; those on the east side are in that of Highbury, on which side is Tallington-house, a moated site, called in ancient writings, "the Lower Place (fn. 43)." It seems probable, that when the mansion-house was built on higher ground, it was called, from that circumstance, Highbury, and that in time the manor itself was known by the same name. As a corroboration of the conjecture, it may be observed, that surveys made during the last century mention two woods in the manor of Highbury, and that no wood is mentioned in the survey of Doomsday, as belonging to any of the Islington estates, except the manor of Tolentone.
Manor of Highbury and Newington-Barrowe.
Highbury-place burnt by the commons of Essex.
Custom of gavel-kind.
Alice de Barowe gave the manors of Highbury and Newton to the priory of St. John of Jerusalem (fn. 44). Previously to this grant, in the year 1271, being then seised of the manor of Newton, she gave to the nuns of St. Mary, Clerkenwell, an annual rent of seven marks, charged upon a house which was held of her by the prior of St. John of Jerusalem. For this benefaction it was covenanted, that Alice de Barowe and her heirs should be for ever remembered in the masses of the convent (fn. 45). The prior of St. John of Jerusalem had a charter of freewarren in Neweton, dated 1286 (fn. 46). On the 13th of June 1381, in Wat Tyler's rebellion, "the commons of Essex went to the "manor of Highbury, two miles north of London, belonging to the prior of St. John of Jerusalem, which they wholly consumed with fire (fn. 47)." The site of Highbury manor-house, in memory of this fact, still goes by the name of Jack Straw's castle. At a court held for the manor of Neweton in 1409, Idonea, the daughter of John Aleyne, surrendered to Richard Serle four acres of land in Newetonfield, upon condition that he should provide her with clothes and maintenance during her life (fn. 48). After the dissolution of monasteries, the manor of Highbury or Newington-Barrowe was granted to Thomas Lord Cromwell, upon whose attainder it reverted to the crown (fn. 49). The site of the manor and certain demesne lands, consisting of about 300 acres (fn. 50), were leased by Queen Elizabeth, anno 1562, to Sir Thomas Wroth, for 21 years (fn. 51); and the lease was renewed to Richard Wroth for the same term in 1584 (fn. 52). The same premises were granted, anno 1594, for 60 years, in reversion to Sir John Fortescue, one of the Queen's privy council (fn. 53). The remainder of this term, anno 1611, was vested in William Lord Compton (fn. 54). The manor, which had been settled on the Lady Mary (fn. 55), became vested in the crown again upon her accession. Queen Elizabeth granted a lease of the manerial rights (amounting to 40s. per annum) to Thomas Owen (fn. 56). The manor was settled by James I. on Henry Prince of Wales (fn. 57), and when he died, upon his surviving brother (fn. 58); who, after he came to the crown, granted it, anno 1629, to Sir Allen Apsley (fn. 59), who sold it the next year to Thomas Austen, Esq. ancestor of Sir John Austen, Bart, who, in the year 1723, aliened it to James Colebrooke, Esq. from whom it descended to Sir George Colebrooke, Bart. Sir George's life-interest in it was put up to sale in the year 1791, and purchased by Jonathan Eade, Esq. of StokeNewington, who is the present Lord of the manor. The reversion belongs to the Colebrooke family. Lands in this manor descend according to the strict custom of gavel-kind, being equally divided between male heirs in the same degree of consanguinity, and in default of male heirs, among females in like manner.
Site of Highbury manor-house or castle.
Mr. Aubert's observatory.
In the survey taken by order of Prince Henry, anno 1611, it is stated, that there had been a capital mansion standing, as it was reported, within a moat yet remaining, but that the house was decayed beyond the memory of man. Sir George Colebrooke sold the site of Highbury mansion or castle to John Dawes, Esq. who built there an elegant villa, now the property and residence of Alexander Aubert, Esq. F. R. S. a gentleman well known for his attachment to philosophical pursuits, and particularly for the accuracy of his aftronomical observations. Mr. Aubert has erected an observatory near the house, and furnished it with an excellent collection of instruments, particularly a very fine reflecting telescope, by Short, being the largest ever made by that artist. It was purchased out of the late Topham Beauclerck's collection.
The manor of Highbury, according to the survey above mentioned, extends over nearly 1000 acres of land, of which about 460 were then in demesne.
Little St. John's and Highbury woods.
Sir Henry and Anthony Mildmay.
Little St. John's wood and Highbury wood, which were parcel of the possessions of the priory of St. John of Jerusalem, and were included in the lease to Sir John Fortescue, were not granted with the manor to Sir Allen Apsley in 1629, but still continue in the crown. They were sold by the parliament in 1650 to Sir Henry Mildmay and Richard Clutterbuck (fn. 60). The Mildmays have long had a considerable copyhold estate at Newington-green in this parish. It is a singular circumstance, that Sir Henry Mildmay was one of King Charles's judges, whilst his brother Anthony was so devoted to that unfortunate monarch, that he attended his execution as a confidential servant, and was one of those who superintended the interment of his remains at Windsor (fn. 61). Sir Henry's estates were forfeited at the Restoration, but this at Newington having been settled in jointure on his wife, continued in the family (fn. 62), and is now the property of Sir Henry Paulet St. John Mildmay, whose father, Sir William, was created a Baronet for the eminent services he had rendered to his country. No traces of the woods above-mentioned remain. The land on which they grew is held under the crown, by an unexpired lease granted to the late John Dawes, Esq.
A house, called the Shipcote, and lands in Islington, then on lease to Henry Ledisman, at the annual rent of 51l. 1s. 8d., formerly parcel of the possessions of the priory of St. John of Jerusalem, were granted by Queen Elizabeth in 1582 to Robert Earl of Leicester (fn. 63).
Manor of St. John of Jerusalem.
The prior of St. John of Jerusalem held in the reign of Henry VI. half a knight's fee in Islington, which had formerly belonged to William de Vere (fn. 64). These perhaps are the lands which constitute that part of the manor of St. John of Jerusalem which lies within the parish of Islington, lying between Tallington-lane and the western extremity of the parish. This extensive manor, which is situated within the parishes of St. James-Clerkenwell, Islington, and Hornsey, continued in the crown after the dissolution of monasteries, till the year 1625, when it was granted to Robert Dixon and William Walley (fn. 65), by whom it seems to have been immediately conveyed to Justinian Povey, Esq. who held it several years. In 1643, Christopher Wase, Esq. died seised of this manor, leaving issue two daughters; Hester, married to Sir William Mainwaring, and afterwards to Sir Henry Blount; and Judith, the wife of William Master, Esq. From this period the manor has been divided into moieties, one of which came into the family of Short, and is now the property of Col. Henry Hasard, who has taken the name of Short pursuant to the will of John Short, Esq. lately deceased. The other moiety continued in the Master family till the year 1741 or 1742, when it was fold by Thomas Master, Esq. (father of the present representative of the county of Gloucester), to William Snell, Esq. whose widow is the present proprietor (fn. 66).
Certain lands, late parcel of the possessions of Adam Winthorpe, valued at 11l. 10s. per annum, were sold by the crown in Queen Mary's reign, for 20 years purchase, to William Ormested, Master in Chancery. It is observed that they were sold so cheap, because the purchaser had promised to give them to the church (fn. 67).
The Crown Inn.
The Queen's Head.
Mrs. Holmes's, &c.
In the lower street stands an ancient house, now the Crown Inn, built, it is probable, by some opulent merchant. In the window of a large room, on the ground floor, are the arms of England, the city of London, the Mercers' Company (fn. 68), and another coat (fn. 69). The only initials which occur are W. P./R. The Queen's Head, another ancient house in the same street, has neither date nor arms. In the large house occupied by Mrs. Holmes, and used for the reception of insane persons, is the coat of Fowler (fn. 70) with the arms of Ulster, and that of Fisher (fn. 71), impaling Or, a lion rampant, Gules. They are placed over opposite doors on the landing-place of a large staircase. An old mansion belonging to the Fowler family (fn. 72), built (as appears by the date of 1595 on a cieling) in Queen Elizabeth's time, still remains in Cross-street. It is now a ladies' boarding-school in the occupation of Mrs. Clarke. The front has been modernised. At the extremity of the garden, which belonged to this mansion, is a small brick building looking into Canonbury fields, absurdly called Queen Elizabeth's Lodge. It is most probable that it was built as a summer-house by Sir Thomas Fowler the younger, whose arms are placed in the wall, with the date 1655. On the 17th of February that year, there happened a fire at Islington, which broke out at the stables of the great house which was inhabited by Sir Thomas Fowler and his family, Sir Thomas Fisher's family, and others (fn. 73).
The Pied Bull.
The Pied Bull, near the church, is said by a tradition, which appears altogether groundless (fn. 74), to have been the residence of Sir Walter Raleigh. In the window of a room, on a ground floor, are the arms of Sir John Miller (fn. 75), Knight, of Islington, impaling Grigg (fn. 76). In the kitchen are the same arms (with the date of 1624), and another coat (fn. 77).
Samuel Clark, a learned orientalist, and one of the editors of the Polyglot Bible, was a schoolmaster at Islington in 1650 (fn. 78). Mr. Peter Vowel, a schoolmaster at this place, was executed at the Mewsgate, July 10, 1651, for a plot against Cromwell (fn. 79). Ezekiel Tongue, author of several tracts against the Papists, and some treatises in natural history, about the year 1660, kept an academy for teaching young ladies Latin and Greek, in a large gallery of a house at Islington, belonging to Sir Thomas Fisher (fn. 80). Col. Okey, an officer of eminence in Cromwell's army, and one of the judges of King Charles the First, is said to have been a drayman in a brewhouse at this place (fn. 81). John Bagford, celebrated for his typographical collections (now in the British Museum), died at Islington in 1716 (fn. 82). Defoe, the wellknown author of Robinson Crusoe, and many other works, received his education at Newington-green. He died at Islington, in 1731 (fn. 83). The eccentric Alexander Cruden, author of the Concordance, died there in 1770 (fn. 84). James Burgh, author of Political Disquisitions, and other works, resided at Islington four years, and died there in 1775 (fn. 85). Dr. Nicholas Robinson, a celebrated physician, author of several medical works, died there the same year. Joseph Collyer, who translated the Messiah and Noah from the German, and published some historical and geographical works, died there in 1776. Mrs. Collyer, who resided also at Islington, translated the Death of Abel. Dr. Husband Messiter, an eminent physician, died at his house at Islington, in 1785 (fn. 86); Isaac Ritson, in 1789 (fn. 87); the late Dr. Pitcairn, in 1791 (fn. 88); and the Rev. George Marriott, author of various poems and sermons, in 1793 (fn. 89).
The parish-church, which stands in the upper street, is dedicated to St. Mary. The first stone of the present structure was laid by Sir James Colebrooke, on the 28th of August 1751, and it was opened on the 26th of May 1754. It is a brick-building, with stone coins, cornices, &c. and consists of a nave, chancel, and two aisles. At the west end is a stone spire. The expence of the building amounted to about 6800l. a great part of which was raised by subscriptions (fn. 90).
The old church.
The old church, which, by the prints of it in the history of Canonbury, appears to have been of Gothic architecture (fn. 91), was pulled down in 1751. It is said to have been in a very ruinous state, but the tower was so strongly cemented, that the workmen were obliged to make use of gunpowder to separate the masses (fn. 92).
Scaffolding of wicker-work.
In the year 1787, Islington-church underwent a thorough repair; when it being found necessary to make some alterations in the vane, the parish contracted with one Thomas Birch, an ingenious basketmaker, who undertook to inclose the spire from the balustrade to the vane with a case of wicker-work, and form within it a staircase, which should afford a safe and easy passage to the top. This he performed in a little more than two months. His agreement with his employers was for the sum of 20l. and he was permitted to receive money for showing his new mode of scassolding, by which, though the price of admission to the staircase was only 6d. each person, he reaped considerable profits. His exhibition was frequently advertised in the newspapers. A print of the church, engraved by Matthew Skinner from a drawing made by himself, whilst the spire was inclosed within its wicker case, was published in February 1788.
On the east wall of the chancel are the monuments of Mary, wife of David Woodrosse, Gent. (fn. 93) 1705; Dr. William Cave (fn. 94), 1713; Richard Smith, Esq. (fn. 95) 1776; and Thomas Cogan, Esq. (fn. 96) 1792. On Dr. Cave's monument is the following inscription: "Juxta heic, (ad imum pulpiti gradum,) conditur quod claudi potuit Gulielmi Cave, S. T. P. Canonici Windsoriensis, Carolo II. a sacris domesticis, hujus ecclesiæ per 28 annos vicarii: Natus est Decem. 30. An. 1637; obiit Aug. 4. An. 1713. Quatuor filiis et 2 filiabus eodem circiter loco, ex australi latere conditis accessit tandem Anna (Gualt. Stonehouse, S. T. B. filia unica) Mater pientissima, conjux charissima, quæ quidem obiit Jan. 10, 1691. Quisquis es viator, homo cum sis, ossa nostra ne violes, depositi cineres quiescant in pace, abi mortalitatis memor, nec te incautem rapiat suprema dies."
In the chancel are the tombs also of Robert Gery, vicar, 1707; the Hon. Vere Booth, only daughter of George Lord Delamere, 1717; Henry Barne, merchant, 1757; Mrs. Elizabeth Eddowes, 1760; and Richard Smith, M. A. vicar, 1772.
Mrs. Alice Owen.
At the east end of the south aisle is the monument of Mrs. Alice Owen (fn. 97), a great benefactress to the parish, erected when the church was rebuilt in the place of one then removed. Mrs. Owen was daughter of Thomas Wilkes; she was thrice married, first to Henry Robinson, Esq. by whom she had six sons and five daughters; secondly, to William Elkin, alderman of London, by whom she had one daughter, Ursula (the wife of Sir Roger Owen of Condover, Salop); and thirdly, to Thomas Owen, one of the justices of the Common Pleas. On the south wall of this aisle are the monuments of John Harwood (fn. 98), LL.D. F. R. S. 1730; Anne his wife, 1729, and their daughter Anne, relict of Seth Jermy, Esq. 1765; Elizabeth, wife of Alexander Simpson, merchant, and daughter of Henry Cowper, 1786; and Thomas Rowe (fn. 99), Esq. (descended from the Rowes of Walthamstow), 1790.
At the east end of the north aisle are the figures in brass of Henry Saville and Margaret his wife, daughter of Thomas Fowler, Esq. The inscription and part of the figures are concealed by a pew (fn. 100). On the east wall of this aisle is the monument of John Ditton, B. A. of Pembroke College, Cambridge, lecturer at Islington 35 years, 1776; on the north wall those of Cornelius Yeates, archdeacon of Wilts, and vicar of Islington, 1720; and William Danvers, Gent. 1740.
Weever records the tombs of William Mistelbroke, auditor, who died in the King's service at Derby, 1492; Robert Midleton, servant to George Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon, 1510; John Fowler, 1538; Alice, wife of Robert Fowler, Esq. 1540; and Thomas, infant son of John Saville (fn. 101), Esq. by Margaret his wife, 1546.
Tombs in the old church.
In the old church were memorials also of the following persons (fn. 102) : Thomas Walker, citizen and grocer, 1496; William Ricthorne of Canonbury (who married Anne, daughter of John Quarles, merchant), 1582; Gregory Charlet, citizen of London, 1593; Jane, his daughter (wife of Thomas Fowler, by whom she had two sons, Thomas and Edmund), 1601; Sir Thomas Fowler, Knt. 1624. After the death of his first wife, he married Mary, daughter of Lord Chief Justice Catlyn, and relict of Sir John Spencer of Althorpe, who dying in 1620, he married a third wife, Dorothy, daughter of Sir Walter Cope of Kensington,— Elizabeth, wife of Sir Thomas Fowler the younger, daughter and heir of William Person, of the Inner Temple, Esq. 1628; John, only son and heir of Sir Thomas Fowler, Bart. who married Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Aunseline Fowler, of Gloucestershire (fn. 103), and died without issue, 1638 (fn. 104); Jane, daughter of Sir Thomas Fowler, who died unmarried, 1634; William Langham, prebendary of Litchfield, parson of Thurnbie, and doctor of physic, 1603; John Markham, Esq. serjeant at arms, 1610; Thomas Draper, citizen of London, 1611; Sir Nicholas Kempe, Knt. a member of the high commission court, 1624; Henry, third son of Sir Harbottle Grimston, Bart. 1627; Anne, wife of Henry Chitton, Esq. Chester herald at arms (daughter of William Bennet, Gent. by Joice, widow of Richard Joselin of Essex, and daughter of Robert Atkinson, Esq. of Stowell in Gloucestershire), 1630; Henry Dashfield of Worcestershire, 1638; Edmund Pott, Gent. (who married to his first wife Sarah, daughter of Anthony Thompson of Cambridge, Gent.; secondly, Jane, daughter of Joseph Lane, Gent.), 1650; Sarah, wife of Thomas Fowke, merchant, 1663; Judith, daughter and coheir of Christopher Wase of Holloway, Esq. and wife of George Master, Esq. of Lincoln's Inn, third son of Sir William Master of Cirencester in Gloucestershire, 1669; John Short, citizen of London, 1666; John Short, junior, 1689; Hugh Ratclysse, Esq. hatter to Charles the First, 1678; he married to his first wife Margaret, daughter of Gervase Handel of Nottinghamshire, Gent.; secondly, Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of Thomas Chewning; Anne, daughter of Henry Woolnough, clerk, 1679; Elizabeth, wife of Abraham Spooner, citizen of London, 1690; Richard Meredith, of the county of Gloucester, Gent. who married Margaret, daughter of Edward Corbet, D. D. by whom he had one son, who died in 1714 (aged 29), and two daughters (fn. 105); Richard Cooke, merchant, 1715; John Cooke, Esq. 1750; Anne Cooke, 1761; and Elizabeth, wife of Robert Barber, Esq. of Ashcombe, Wilts, 1724.
Tombs in the church-yard.
In the church-yard are the tombs of Richard Cloudesly (fn. 106), 1517; Dame Sarah Kempe, relict of Thomas Draper, and wife of Sir Nicholas Kempe, 1650; Capt. Nicholas Russord, 1711; Sir John Mordaunt, late of Tangier, "Knight Banneret," aged 86, 1723; Edward Poulter, Gent. 1727; William Nockells, citizen of London, 1727; Richard Wilson, Gent. of Gray's Inn, 1728; Thomas Fellowe, Esq. 1735; Mr. John Sebbon, 1737; Mr. Walter Sebbon, 1786, aged 93; Philip Oddy, Gent. 1738; Thomas Scott, M. A. lecturer, 1740; John Blackbourne (fn. 107), M. A. 1741; Joseph Maxey, merchant, 1742; Mr. John Pullin, 1742; Mary, relict of Henry Eyre, Esq. 1748; Dr. Robert Poole, ("who with indefatigable industry instituted the "small-pox hospital in the year 1746,") 1752; John Booth of Barnard's Inn, attorney at law, F.S.A. 1757; Rebecca Powell (fn. 108), niece of Zachary Brooke, S. T. P. 1759; Mr. Edward Warner, 1763; Mr. Peter Mauger of the Isle of Jersey, 1764; John Shipston, Esq. 1766; John Gaskin, citizen of London, 1766; the Rev. John Lindsay (fn. 109), 1768; James Jefferson, attorney at law, 1772; Mary, wife of John Clare, of Lincoln's Inn, Gent. 1772; Aaron Clayton, Esq. Captain in the 69th regiment of foot, 1774; Joseph Baker, merchant, 1778; John Simes, Esq. 1778; Thomas Gibbons, Esq. (fn. 110), 1779; John Kay, of Gray's Inn, Gent. 1779; Mr. Charles Werg, 1780; Capt. Thomas Saunders, 1781; Mrs. Mary Bell, an emigrant from Rhode Island, 1781; the Rev. Thomas Smith (fn. 111), 1781; John Gordon, Esq. Lieut. Colonel of the 50th regiment of foot, 1782; Mr. John Grattan, 1782; John Herd, Gent. of the custom-house, barbarously murdered by footpads, 1782; Mary, widow of John Hutchinson, Esq. 1782; Anthony Fryer, attorney at law, 1784; William Cross, merchant, 1785; Mr. Charles Green, of Hinckley in Leicestershire, 1785; Mr. Valentyne Humphrys, of Smyrna, 1786; Mr. James Donaldson, 1787; William Mucklow, Esq. 1788; Mary, wife of Mr. John Nichols, 1788; Capt. Robert Anderson, 1789; William Lea, Esq. 1789; Mr. Daniel Bewes, 1792; Lough Carlton, Esq. 1792; Elizabeth, wife of Samuel Welchon, attorney at law, 1792; Mrs. Judith Scott, aged 102, 1792; and Mr. Joseph Ellis' 1793.
In the church-yard were the tombs of Mr. John Patten (fn. 112), 1696; Thomas Willes, Gent. of Buckby in Northamptonshire, 1620; and Christopher White, "professor of chymistry to both the universities," 1739 (fn. 113). A new burial ground, containing nearly an acre of land, adjoining to the church-yard, was consecrated Dec. 18. 1793.
Rectory and advowson.
The church of Islington was appropriated to the nuns of St. Leonard at Bromley, to whom it is probable it was given by William Bishop of London, their founder. There was a controversy relating to this church between the said nuns, and the dean and chapter of St. Paul's, which was determined by their agreeing to pay a mark annually to the dean and chapter (fn. 114). The prioress and nuns presented to the vicarage till the dissolution of their convent, when the rectory and advowson were granted to Sir Ralph Sadler (fn. 115), who aliened them, anno 1548, to John Perse (fn. 116). In 1565, they were conveyed by Thomas Perse to Roger Martyn (fn. 117), and in 1582, by Humphry Martyn to John Cheke (fn. 118). It is probable that they came into the Stonhouse family before the civil war, and were seized among other estates of Sir George Stonhouse, who suffered considerable losses for his loyalty. In 1646, Sir Walter Smyth of Great Bodmyn in Cornwall, being then in possession of the rectory of Islington (to the exclusion, I presume, of the legal owner), conveyed it, by an indenture of that date, to Sir Arthur Haselrigge, Sir Thomas Fowler, Sir Thomas Fisher, and other inhabitants of the place, as seossees in trust, for the vicar and his successors, on whom he settled the great tithes (fn. 119). In 1657, it was ordered by the committees, that Leonard Cooke, who had been presented to the vicarage in the December preceding (fn. 120), should receive the profits of the rectory pursuant to this grant. In the year 1662, the rectory and advowson were certainly vested in the Stonhouse family (fn. 121), in which they continued till about the middle of the present century. The late vicar was presented by Richard Holden, Esq. in 1768; the present vicar in 1772, by Richard Smith, Esq.; the rectory and advowson are now vested in the devisees in trust under Mr. Smith's will.
The vicarage is rated in the King's books at 30l. per annum.
Meredith Hanmer, who was instituted to this vicarage in 1583, was a man of great learning, and author of the Chronicle of Ireland, an ephemeris of the saints of that country, a chronography from the beginning of the world to the 12th year of Mauritius the Emperor, a translation of the ecclesiastical histories of Eusebius, &c. with the lives of the prophets, apostles, and disciples, and some controversial tracts (fn. 122). Weever, with great indignation, tells a story of him on the credit of the inhabitants of Shoreditch, which was not likely to endear his memory to an antiquary, namely, that while he was vicar of that parish he stripped the tombs of their brass figures, which he converted into coin for his own use (fn. 123).
Dr. William Cave, instituted to this vicarage in 1662, was son of the Rev. John Cave, rector of Pickwell in Leicestershire, a great sufferer during the civil war (fn. 124). Dr. Cave published two very elaborate and useful works relating to Ecclesiastical History and Antiquities, the Lives of the principal Fathers within the first centuries of the church, and a work of a more extensive nature, wherein he gives a history of all the writers for and against Christianity to the 14th century, with an account of their publications and doctrines.
Dr. George Stonhouse, who was presented to the vicarage in 1738, was a great friend and favourer of the original Methodists, who had often the use of his pulpit. He died in 1793, but had resigned the living of Islington in 1740. The present vicar is George Strahan, M. A. instituted in 1772, on the death of Richard Smith.
Brotherhood of Jesus.
Richard Cloudesley, who died in 1517, left by will (fn. 125) the sum of 26s. 8d. to the brotherhood of Jesus to sing a trental (fn. 126) of masses; he founded also a chantry for "an honest sadde preste to syng for his soule, to pray openly and specially for him by name, and for all Christian soules:" this chantry he endowed with a house and lands, of which the said priest was to receive the whole profits as long as he should continue "to be of a sadde disposition," and pray as before-mentioned. John Englande gave a close let at 4l. 6s. 8d. per annum for the keeping an obit, and the maintenance of an honest priest (fn. 127).
Robert Brown, founder of the Brownists, was lecturer at Islington (fn. 128). The present lecturer is George Gaskin, D.D. Secretary to the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge.
Ephraim Skinner gave 18l. per annum to the vicar of Islington, and his successors, for the purpose of establishing "a catechist lecture."
Kingsland chapel has been already treated of in the account of Hackney; in which parish I had placed it not only on the authority of Strype, who was himself for many years lecturer at Hackney, but from very respectable information obtained during my researches at that place. Subsequent inquiries have ascertained nevertheless that its site is within the parish of Islington. Strype's account of it however is not very erroneous; for it is the chapel only that stands in Islington, the site of the hospital immediately adjoining is in Hackney.
There is a chapel in Islington belonging to the Methodists, and an independent meeting, adjoining to which is a small cemetery, at present not used. Among the few monumental inscriptions is one to the memory of the Rev. John Marrant, 1791. The Rev. Nathaniel Jennings is minister of the meeting.
The earliest date of the parish register is 1557. It is for the most part very fairly written and very accurately kept, except during the civil war and interregnum; at which period there is an biatus of several years.
Comparative state of population.
|Average of Baptisms.||Average of Burials.|
The population of this parish appears to have increased very considerably between every period here noticed. The disproportion of the burials arises principally from the number of nursed children who die at Islington, and are there interred: many funerals also are brought from the metropolis. The present number of houses is about 1200.
Several persons died of the plague at Islington in 1577, 1578, and 1592. In 1593, 106 persons fell victims to that distemper, the whole number of burials that year being 187. In 1603 there were 322 burials; in 1625, 213; in 1665, 696, of which 593 were persons who died of the plague. Ninety-four died in one week from August 29th to September 5th. In the months of August and September the number of burials was above 490 (fn. 129).
Extracts from the Register.
Sir William Perriam.
"William Perriam and Margery Huchyson, married April 6, 1562." Sir William Perriam, Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, had a considerable estate at Islington (fn. 130).
Sir Henry Yelverton.
"Henry, the sonne of Mr. Yelverton, was baptized July 7, 1566." This was no doubt the celebrated Sir Henry Yelverton, who is said to have been born at Easton Mauduit in Northamptonshire on the 29th of June (fn. 131). From the date of his baptism, however, it seems much more likely that he was a native of Islington; where his father Sir Christopher (then Mr. Yelverton, and a student at Gray's Inn) had, it is probable, country lodgings. Sir Henry Yelverton was attorneygeneral to King James; but having given offence, as it is said, to the favourite Buckingham, he was accused in the Star-chamber of illegal proceedings in his office, and by a sentence of that court deprived of his place, imprisoned in the Tower, and heavily fined. Being afterwards brought before the Lords, he made a speech, which was so offensive to the King and his favourite, that he was fined 10,000 marks, for the reflections which he had cast on his Majesty, and 5000 for the insult offered to Buckingham. By one of those unaccountable changes which occur among politicians of all ages, he became soon afterwards in great favour with the very man whose enmity had cost him so dear, and was, through his interest, made a judge of the Common Pleas, in which situation he continued till his death, anno 1630. Sir Henry Yelverton was esteemed one of the first lawyers of his time. His reports were published several years after his death, by Serjeant Wilde. Some of his speeches in parliament are also extant (fn. 132).
Countess of Worcester.
"Mr Modye, my Lady of Worcester's priest, was buried the 26 daie of August 1569. The Ladye of Worcester, late wife to the "Earle of Worcester, was buried the 25th daie of Julye, between II and one of the clocke in the mornynge, being St James's daye, in the fouth chappell near unto the Toure, 1584." Lady Worcester was daughter of Sir Anthony Browne, standard-bearer to Henry VII., and relict of Henry, the second Earl of Worcester (of the Somerset family), who died in 1549 (fn. 133).
Family of Fowler, Knt. and Bart.
"Thomas Fowler and Mary Mosse, married Mar. 18, 1571. Mrs Mary, wife of Thomas Fowler, Esq. buried Ap. 25, 1586." First wife of Sir Thomas Fowler the elder, not mentioned in any of the monumental inscriptions. "Mrs Jane, wife of Thomas Fowler, Esq. buried Oct. 14, 1601." Second wife of Sir Thomas. (See p. 143.) "Mary, the wife and lady of Sr Thomas Fowler the elder, buried Jan. 6, 1621, at night." (See p. 143.) Sir Thomas Fowler was one of the jury at Sir Walter Raleigh's trial (fn. 134). He died in 1624.
"Thomas, son of Thomas Fowler, Gent. baptized Jan. 2, 1602 (buried Nov. 8, 1603); Samuel, son of Sr Thomas Fowler (junior), baptized Ap. 23, 1604; John, Sep. 2, 1605 (buried Sep. 3, 1638. See p. 143.); Jane, baptized Nov. 12, 1606 (See p. 144.); William, baptized Nov. 29, 1607; Mary, Jan. 31, 1609; Elizabeth, Ap. 9, 1610; Penelope, Nov. 12, 1611 (buried Mar. 25, 1613); Theophilus, baptized June 30, 1613 (buried Oct. 20); Martha, baptized Mar. 28, 1615 (buried Jan. 14, 1634); Alice, baptized Oct. 15, 1617; Sarah, wife of Sr Thomas Fowler, the younger, was buried Sep. 28, 1618." This Sir Thomas Fowler was created a Baronet in 1628. The title became extinct at his death.
"Edmund Fowler and Ann Bowes, married Feb. 10, 1606; Ann, wife of Sr Edmund Fowler, buried Mar. 3, 1638; Thomas, son of Sr Edmund, May 25, 1638." Sir Edmund was a younger brother of Sir Thomas Fowler, Bart.
Family of Fisher, Bart.
"Sr Thomas Fisher, Knt. and Mrs Mary Fowler, married March 2, 1619." Sir Thomas Fisher, who was created a Baronet in 1627, married the daughter of Sir Thomas Fowler, Bart. "Edmund, son of Sr Thomas Fisher, baptized Mar. 20, 1626 (buried Mar. 21); Sarah, baptized Dec. 20, 1627 (married Sr Hugh Ducie, K. B.); Richard, baptized Jan. 22, 1629; Ursula, Ap. 13, 1630 (married Sr Thomas Halton, Bart.); Sir Thomas Fisher, buried May 25, 1636."
"Anne, daughter of Sr Thomas and Elizabeth (fn. 135) Fisher, baptized Nov. 26, 1667; Sr Thomas Fisher (the second Bart.), buried Sep. 9, 1670; Sr Thomas Fisher junior (the third Baronet), April 14, 1671; Dame Ann Fisher (wife, it is probable, of Sr Richard), Sep. 29, 1693; Sr Richard Fisher, Bart., (in whom it is supposed the title became extinct,) Oct. 14, 1707; Lady Browne Fisher, Mar. 24, 1740."
"Mr Thomas Skinner of Broad-street, and Mrs Susan, daughter of the Lady Fisher, married Sep. 7, 1647; Mr Nathaniel Tench and Ann Fisher, were married July 19, 1666." Fisher Tench, Esq. was created a Baronet in 1715.
"Thomas, son of Sr Thomas Morgan, buried Dec. 29, 1590."
"Diana, daughter of Sr William Wilde, Knt. buried Jan. 1, 1593."
"William, the son of Mr — Dru, Esq. recorder of the city of London, buried May 15, 1593." Edward Drew, serjeant at law, was recorder of London from 1592 to 1594. He succeeded Sir Edward Coke.
"William —, servant to Sr Charles Pereseye, Knt. was slaine at Ringcross, May —, and buried the same day, 1597."
"William Wynche, the first that was executed at Ringcrosse, was buried at Islington, the 9th of September 1600."
"Edward, son of Sr Thomas Reeresby, Knt. baptized Sep. 28, 1598."
Family of Holte, Bart.
"Richard, son of Sr Thomas Holte, was baptized Oct. 2, 1604; Katherine his daughter, buried Aug. 3, 1605." Sir Thomas Holte was created a Baronet in 1612.
"John, son of Sr Edward Dimmock, baptized Ap. 28, 1625."
"Ann, daughter of Ld William Compton, baptized the 6 day of September 1605." William Lord Compton, afterwards Earl of Northampton, was then resident at Canonbury. His daughter Anne married Ulick Burgh (son of the Earl of Clanrickard), who was created a Marquis by Charles the First.
Family of Stonhouse, Bart.
"Edward Clark and Catherine Stonehouse, married August 17, 1608; Mary, daughter of Sr James Stonehouse, baptized Mar. 23, 1623; Wm, son of Sr James Stonehouse, by his wife Ann, buried Jan. 16, 1622; Thomas, buried July 3, 1624." Sir James Stonhouse was created a Baronet in 1641, but leaving no male issue at his death, the title became extinct in that branch. The Stonhouse family were for many years impropriators of the rectory.
"Sr Henry Ascough, Knt. and Mary Southwell, married Feb. 9, 1608."
Fatal duel at Islington, between Sir Geo. Wharton and Sir James Steward.
"Sr George Wharton, sonne of Ld Wharton, was buried the 10th of November 1609; James Steward, Esq. godsonne to King James, was buried the 10th of November 1609." These two persons killed each other in a duel, and were interred, as it is said, by the King's command, in one grave. There was published at the time, "A lamentable ballad of a combate lately sought near London, between Sr James Steward and Sr George Wharton, Knights, who ere both slain at that time." It is reprinted in the History of Canonbury. James Steward was son of the first Lord Blantyre, Lord Treasurer of Scotland.
John Egerton killed in a duel.
"John Egerton, son of Sr John Egerton, Knt. was buried Ap. 22, 1610." Islington seems to have been remarkably fatal to the duellists of that day. Mr. Egerton was killed in a duel on the 20th of April. He is said to have been put to death basely by his antagonist, one Edward Morgan, who was himself "sorely hurt (fn. 136)." Mr. Egerton was third son of Sir John Egerton, Knt. whose son Rowland was created a Baronet by James I., and was ancestor of Lord Grey de Wilton.
"Sr Valentine Browne, Knt. and Ann Foulston, married Feb. 19, 1610."
"Penelope, the daughter of Sr Maximilian Dallison, baptized the 9th of May, 1611."
"A servant of Sr Oliver Butler's, buried Sep. 1, 1612; Mrs Mary Fitzwilliams, from Sr Oliver Butler's, Nov. 20, 1617."
"Mrs Sisely Kempe, the wife of Nicholas Kempe, Esq. buried June 19, 1617; Nicholas Kempe, Knight (fn. 137), Sep. 14, 1624."
Family of Miller, Knt.
"John, son of Sr John Miller, baptized Ap. 22, 1619; Thomas, Aug. 17, 1620; Mary, Feb. 27, 1623; Henry, Ap. 27, 1625; Benjamin, son of Sr John and Mary Miller, Jan. 7, 1631."
"William, son of Sr Stephen Stonor, baptized Oct. 5, 1621."
"Sr William Foster and Ann Ley, widow, married Ap. 29, 1623."
"Thomas, son of Sr Henry Fines, buried Ap. 15, 1626."
"Henry, the son of Sr Harbottle Grimston, buried July 13, 1627; William Eastwood, Oct. 29, 1627."
Lord Keeper Coventry.
"William, the son of S Thomas Coventrye, beinge at that time Ld Keeper of the greate seale of England, was baptized the 4th of October 1627." The Lord Keeper resided for some years at Canonbury nonbury. His son William was knighted by Charles II. and made a Commissioner of the Treasury. Bishop Burnet calls him the best speaker in the House of Commons. He died unmarried in 1686.
"Mr Alexander Steward, brother to Sr James Steward, was buried Ap. 29, 1629."
Sir Symonds Dewes.
"Ann, daughter of Sr Simon and Ann Dewes, baptized May 13, 1630." Sir Symonds Dewes was an eminent antiquary, and made very large historical and topographical collections, which are now in the College at Arms, and in the British Museum, where is a very curious life of Sir Symonds, written by himself, of which some extracts have been published. His Journals of the Parliaments in the reign of Queen Elizabeth are in print.
"Fostino Menandye, Gent. and servant to the Earl of Exeter, buried Nov. 25, 1630."
Sir Humphrey May.
"Philipp, the daughter of the right honorable Sr Humphry and Judith May, baptized Dec. 17, 1630." Sir Humphrey May was Master of the Rolls.
"Robert, the son of the honorable John and the Rt Honorable the Lady Lucy Roberts, baptized the 7 day of Feb. 1633."
"Ann, the daughter of Edward and Ann Mountegue, the right honorable the Ld Mandefield, was baptized the 17 day of February 1635 (buried Mar. 3)." Lord Mandeville was afterwards Earl of Manchester.
"Sr Henrie Robinson, buried the 21 day of Dec. 1637, in the vault with his mother; Ann, daughter of Sr Henry, Sep. 15, 1638." He was son of Mrs. Alice Owen, by her first husband.
"William, son of Benjamin Hewling, baptized Oct. 28, 1665." The unfortunate William Hewling, who was executed at Lyme, Sept. 12, 1685, for being concerned in the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion. His brother Benjamin was executed at Taunton a few days afterwards. The youth, beauty, and amiable qualities of these misguided men, excited a more general commiseration of their fate, than that of others who suffered, perhaps more unjustly, under the stern rigour of the merciless Jefferies. William Hewling's corpse was interred in the church-yard at Lyme, whither it was attended by 200 persons, men and women, of the first rank in the town (fn. 138).
"John, son of John Playford, baptized Oct. 5, 1665." Playford, the celebrated writer on music, lived many years at Islington, where his wife kept a boarding-school for young ladies, opposite the church (fn. 139). His son John was a printer of music (fn. 140).
"Thomas Lee, Esq. and Dame Mary Shipman, married Feb. 18, 1667."
"Sr Nicholas Crispe and Judith Adrian, married Ap. 30, 1674."
"John Shurley, buried Dec. 30, 1679." John Shirley, who died at Islington on the 28th of December that year, and was buried in the church-yard, published the Life of Sir Walter Raleigh, and some chirurgical tracts (fn. 141).
"The Lady Partridge, buried Nov. 4, 1675."
Ducie, Knt. and Bart.
"William Dusey, a Knight, from St Bride's, buried Aug. 4, 1683; "Sr Robert Ducy, Bart. May 30, 1703." Sir Robert Ducie succeeded his brother William Viscount Downe, of the kingdom of Ireland (who died in 1697), in the title of Baronet. His daughter Elizabeth married Edward Morton, Esq. ancestor of the present Lord Ducie.
Fatal effects of lightning.
"Susanna Creed and her daughter Hester, killed by a clap of thunder in their beds, buried the 10th day of August 1690."
Family of Fisher, Bart.
"Fisher, son of Sir Thomas Halton and Elizabeth his wife, was baptized August 5, 1694 (buried Nov. 25); Mary, their daughter, baptized Oct. 31, 1695." Sir Thomas was son of Sir William Halton, by Ursula, daughter of Sir Thomas Fisher, Bart. Sir Thomas Halton's lady was Elizabeth, daughter of John Cressener, Esq. of Islington. Mary Halton married James Nicoll, Esq. of Munfield in Sussex (fn. 142). Madam Ursula Halton was buried at Islington, Aug. 13, 1716; Dame Elizabeth Halton, Sep. 10, 1716; Sr Thomas Halton, Bart. Sep. 14, 1726; Fenwick, son of Sr Thomas, Feb. 13, 1732; Dame Frances Halton (wife of Sr William, and daughter of Sr George Dalston), Ap. 21, 1747; Sr William Halton" (by mistake Haughton in the register), "Feb. 18, 1754, aged 74." Dame Margaret Dalston, mother of Lady Halton, was buried at Islington, May 5, 1715.
"Sr Charles Hobby, buried Ap. 23, 1715."
"Sr John Night, buried Feb. 8, 1718."
Three children at a birth.
"Job, Joshua, and Robert, sons of Richard and Ann Sale, were baptized Aug. 18, 1731." They were all buried the 24th.
"Samuel Humphrys, stranger, buried Jan. 15, 1736–7." Author of "Canons," a poem, and Ulysses, a comic opera. He translated also Le Spectacle de la Nature, and other works (fn. 143).
"John Blackbourn, buried November 19, 1741." An eminent divine and a bishop among the nonjurors. He republished Bale's "Chronycle concerning Syr Johan Oldecastell," with an Appendix; and an edition of Bacon's works, in four volumes folio (fn. 144).
"Dr. Robert Poole, buried June 3, 1752." Dr. Poole published Travels to France, in two volumes 8vo, and a book called the Physical Vade mecum. To both these works his portrait is prefixed. It is said in his epitaph, that with indesatigable industry, in the year 1746, he instituted the small-pox hospital.
"The Rev. John Lindsay, buried July 2, 1768, aged 81." A learned nonjuring divine, and an intimate friend of Blackbourne's. He was author of "a Short History of the Regal Succession, with "Remarks on Whiston's Scripture Politics;" and translated Mason's Vindication of the Church of England, with a large Preface, containing a series of the English Bishops since the Reformation; this preface is dated Islington, 1727. Mr. Lindsay was 50 years minister of a chapel in Aldersgate-street. He was buried near the tomb of his friend in the church-yard, at the east end of the church (fn. 145).
J. H. de Magelhaens.
"John Hyacynth de Magelhaens, buried Feb. 13, 1790, aged 67." This man had been an Augustine monk at Lisbon; but, having renounced the Roman Catholic religion, came to reside in England about the year 1764. He is said to have been lineally descended from Ferdinando Magelhaens the celebrated circumnavigator, and related to the Jesuit of that name who travelled into China. J. H. de Magelhaens was a great linguist, and was versed in chemistry and other branches of natural philosophy. He published several treatises in that science (particularly a work on mineralogy, taken principally from Cronstedt); an account of various philosophical instruments; and a narrative of the last days of Rousseau, to which his name is not affixed. J. H. de Magelhaens was a fellow of the Royal Society, and a member of several foreign academies. He died in lodgings at Islington.
Instances of Longevity.
"Christopher Barnes, aged 92 years, as informed, buried Jan. 19, 1685.
George Raven, aged 95 years, as informed, Jan. 23, 1685.
"Thomas Baldwin, aged 90, Sep. 22, 1751.
Hannah Carpenter, aged 103, Jan. 7, 1752.
Instances of longevity.
Sarah Lucy, aged 93, July 25, 1754. Mary Litton, aged 90, Dec. 11, 1754. Mary Haughton, aged 102, Ap. 29, 1758. Elizabeth Seaborn, aged 98, Mar. 2, 1759. Elizabeth Bird, aged 90, Ap. 7, 1759. Rebecca Farmer, aged 90, Oct. 5, 1759. Eleanor Rock, aged 100, Ap. 21, 1760. Lucy Yeates, aged 90, June 8, 1762. Richard Higgens, aged 96, Dec. 18, 1763. Elizabeth Newcastle, aged 91, Sep. 24, 1765. Jane Richards, aged 93, Aug. 30, 1767. Elizabeth Rogers, aged 92, Nov. 10, 1767. Mary Francis, aged 90, Feb. 14, 1768. Mary Hank, aged 90, Oct. 26, 1768. Elizabeth Harrison, aged 93, Jan. 13, 1771. Margaret Barron, aged 90, Jan. 29, 1771. Martha Cooper, aged 91, Mar. 29, 1771. Sarah Lander, aged 92, June 14, 1771. Elizabeth Button, aged 105, Mar. 29, 1772. Elizabeth Lackman, aged 95, Ap. 11, 1773. Margaret Nichols, aged 95, Jan. 22, 1775. Dorothy Walker, aged 91, Ap. 8, 1775. Elizabeth Pope, aged 90, June 3, 1775. Sarah Beck, aged 90, Sep. 27, 1775. Margaret Legrose, aged 90, Feb. 17, 1776. Ann Wadham, aged 90, Mar. 11, 1778. William Poulson, aged 90, Ap. 30, 1778. Susanna Woodhouse, aged 101, May 6, 1778. Ruth Deverell, aged 92, May 15, 1778. Ann Bently, aged 90, Jan. 2, 1785. Walter Sebbon, aged 92, May 23, 1786. Catherine Maglew, aged 100, Dec. 2, 1787. Mary Brasset, aged 95, May 18, 1788. Mary Richardson, aged 91, July 24, 1788. Judith Scott, aged 102, Jan. 27, 1792. Rebecca Dove, aged 90, May 1, 1792. Elizabeth Robson, aged 103, Jan. 27, 1793. Jane Robinson, aged 90, May 18, 1793. Henry Garnham, aged 90, May 25, 1793."
Anthony Wood, in the first edition of his Athenæ Oxonienses (fn. 146), says, that John Bell, Bishop of Worcester, who was employed by Henry VIII. in the business of his divorce, was buried in Islington-church; but Godwin informs us, that he was buried in that of St. James-Clerkenwell.
William Baxter, author of the Glossary, &c. is said to have been buried at Islington (fn. 147), in 1723; but I did not find his name in the register.
Richard Cloudesley, by his will, bearing date 1517, bequeathed a parcel of ground, called Stonefield, or the 14 acres (fn. 148), then let at 7l. per annum, to the church of Islington; the profits of which were appropriated partly for an obit, partly to the brotherhood of Jesus (founded by him), for singing masses, at which obit 6s. 8d. was to be given to the poor. These premises, though appropriated principally to superstitious uses, were not seized by the crown at the general dispersion of chantry-lands in the reign of Edward VI., but still continue to be the property of the parish, and are now (1794) let at 84l. per annum, which is disposed of at the discretion of the seossees.
A charity-school for boys and girls was established at Islington in 1710; since which time various benefactions, to the amount of about 800l., have been given or bequeathed to it; but its principal support depends upon annual subscriptions, and collections at charity sermons. The number of children is at present 50 (30 boys and 20 girls), who are clothed and educated. The school-house was repaired and enlarged in 1788. There is a charity-school also for the children of protestant dissenters.
Dame Sarah Temple, about a century ago, left the sum of 500l. to purchase an estate, the profits of which should be appropriated to the apprenticing poor children of this parish. The present rent of the estate (at North Mims), which was purchased pursuant to her will, is 25l. per annum.
Mr. John Davis, who died in 1793, left the sum of 2000l. 3 per cent. consol. for the purpose of building and endowing alms-houses, under the direction of his widow. Eight tenements were built and very neatly fitted up during this year (1794). They are already inhabited by poor aged women, nominated by Mrs. Davis. Their pensions, I believe, are not yet settled.
Benefactions for bread.
The following benefactions, being rent-charges or annuities, have been bequeathed to this parish to buy bread for the poor. The dates I was not able to learn, except that of Alice Owen's (1613), 2l. 12s. per annum; Thomas Hobson, 5l. 4s.; Nathaniel Loane, 5l. 4s.; John Haines, 2l.; Benia Smith, 2l. 12s.; Mrs. Hull, 6l.; Mr. Gerey, 1l. 10s.; and Daniel Parke, 2l. The following benefactions, given for the same purpose, have been long since lost: Dr. William Crown, 2l. 12s.; Dame Mary Sadleir, 2l. 12s.; and John Paten, 1l. 10s. A few others, whose purpose is not expressed, are in the same predicament. Anne Hodesdon, 2l. per annum; George Smith, 13s. 4d.; Martin Byrkett, 5s.
John Parsons gave lands near Tallington-lane, now let at 7l. per annum, to buy coals for the poor; Francis Marshall, Esq. anno 1772, gave 100l. 3 per cent. consol.; and Mrs. Rosamond Marshall, anno 1785, the same sum to poor housekeepers of this parish.
A large and commodious workhouse was built in the year 1777, at the expence of 3000l. upon a spot of ground given to the parish by Mrs. Amey Hill.
Alice Owen's free-school and alms-houses.
Mrs. Alice Owen, about the year 1610, being three years before her death, founded an alms-house for ten widows, and a free-school adjoining for 30 boys, in that part of Islington which lies within the parish of St. James-Clerkenwell. She directed, by her statutes, that the poor widows should be all chosen out of the parish of Islington, 24 of the boys out of Islington, and the remainder from Clerkenwell (fn. 149). The endowment of these charities consists of the hermitagefield at Islington, and a small farm at Orset in Essex. The master's salary was fixed at 20l. per annum, with the school-house to live in, the study over the porch, and the garden for his recreation. The salary has been raised to 30l. The government both of the school and alms-houses was committed to the care of the Brewers' Company, who have a discretionary power of altering the statutes when time and occasion shall require. The foundation of these charitable institutions is said to have arisen from a pious resolution made by the founder in her youth, excited by a providential escape; an arrow from the bow of an archer, who was exercising in Islington-fields, having pierced the high crown of her hat (fn. 150). Mrs. Owen, by her will, left 60 gowns to poor women, 20 of whom were to be of the parish of Islington. She directed that her executors should purchase lands for the master of the free-school, if she should not have done it before her decease. There are two sets of alms-houses at Islington belonging to the company of Clothworkers, the one for 10 men, and the other for the same number of women, but the parish has no interest in them.
A considerable part of Islington, on the south side, lies within the parish of St. James-Clerkenwell. In this part of the village, the objects of greatest note, are the New-river-head and Sadler's-wells, both generally reputed, and described as situated at Islington.
In the early part of King James's reign, Sir Hugh Middelton, a native of Denbigh, and a citizen and goldsmith of London, first projected the scheme of bringing the New-river water to London, and persuaded the city to apply for an act of parliament for that purpose, which was accordingly obtained; but the difficulties of the undertaking appeared so great, that they declined to embark any farther in it; when Sir Hugh Middelton, with a spirit equal to the importance of the undertaking, being vested with proper powers from the city, at his own risque and charge begun the work on the 20th of Feb. 1608 (fn. 151). Its progress, it is probable, was attended with greater difficulties than he had foreseen, and his pecuniary resources failed long before it was completed. The body-corporate of the city of London still refused to embark in the business, and the work was on the point of being abandoned, when King James, being applied to by Sir Hugh Middelton, engaged in it; and on the 2d of May 1612, covenanted to advance money for its completion, upon a moiety of the undertaking being made over to him. It now went on without interruption, and on the 29th of September 1613, the water was let into the bason at the place now called the New-river-head at Islington.
Ceremony of opening the New-river.
The following account of the ceremony used upon that occasion was
published at the time, and is reprinted in the Biographia Britannica (fn. 152) : "A troop of labourers, to the number of 60 and upwards,
all in green caps alike, bearing in their hands the symbols of their
several employments in so great a business, marching with drums
before them, twice or thrice round the cestern, orderly present
themselves before the mount; and after their departure, the speech"
(being 48 lines in verse) ending thus:
"Now for the fruits then, flow forth pretious spring
So long and dearly sought for, and now bring
Comfort to all that love thee, loudly sing,
And with thy chrystal murmurs strucke together,
Bid all thy true wellwishers welcome hither.
At which words the floodgate opens, and the stream is let into the cestern, drums and trumpets giving it triumphant welcome, and for the close of this their honourable entertainment, a peal of chambers."
One of the most difficult parts of the work now remained to be accomplished, which was to convey the water to the various parts of the metropolis. The expence attending this was very great, and it was a considerable time before the water came into general use, so that the shares (for the undertaking was then divided) became of very small value; and the annual dividends were for many years under 5l. The general establishment of the plan, the great advantages and convenience of which were at length universally acknowledged; the prodigious number of new buildings, and the alteration in the value of money, have, in the course of a century and a half, so raised the shares, as to increase the annual income nearly an hundred fold. When the New-river was first brought to London, it was not foreseen that a deficiency of water might at some future time, especially in the Summer-months, be attended with great inconvenience. When this was learned from experience, the Company borrowed from the overplus of the millstream of the river Lee, which, after a practice of some years, became a subject of litigation, finally determined by an act of parliament about the year 1738. It was then agreed that the New-river Company, on condition of their paying a sum of money towards improving the navigation of the river Lee, and continuing to pay an annuity for the same purpose, should have a certain quantity of water from the millstream, to be measured by a balance-engine and gage, then constructed near Hertford, and rebuilt by Mr. Mylne about the year 1770. The Company have since bought the mill, with the unrestricted use of the water.
The number of bridges upon the New-river are about 200. Some account has been already given of the wooden aqueducts, which were constructed for preserving the level near Highbury and at Bushhill (fn. 153); a subterraneous channel, about 200 yards in length, was made for the same purpose at Islington, where it passes under the lower street from the thatched house to Colebrooke-row. At the New-river-head is a circular bason, now thrice its original size, whence the water is conveyed by sluices into various large cisterns of brick work; from these it passes, in a subdivided state, by means of large wooden pipes, of six or seven inches bore, (called mains and riders, and distinguished by names appropriated to their several districts,) to all parts of the metropolis. The distribution of the water from these pipes to the very numerous houses which are supplied by it, exhibits a very wonderful system of hydraulics. The fire-engine near the New-river-head, is for the purpose of raising water into a large reservoir near Pentonville, which supplies many parts of the west end of the town, which are so nearly on a level with the bason at the river-head, that the water would not slow with sufficient velocity. At the New-river-head is a house belonging to the Company, originally built in 1613, and repaired and newly fronted in 1782, under the direction of Robert Mylne, Esq. surveyor to the Company, who resides there. A large room in this house, with wainscot pannels, was fitted up for the meetings of the Company about the latter end of the last century. On the cieling is a portrait of King William, and the arms of Middelton and Green. Under this room is one of the above-mentioned cisterns.
The property of the New-river is divided into 72 shares, which division took place soon after the commencement of the undertaking. Thirty-six of these were originally vested in Sir Hugh Middelton, the first projector, who, having impoverished himself and his family (fn. 154), by an undertaking which has proved so beneficial to the public, as to render his name ever honoured and respected, was obliged to part with his property in the undertaking, which was divided among various persons. These shares are called the Adventurers Shares. The moiety of the undertaking which was vested in the crown, having been divided into the same number of shares, was alienated by King Charles I.; but the crown having never had any concern in the management of the undertaking, the holders of these shares are still excluded from the direction, which, under the charter of King James (by which the Company was incorporated anno 1619), is vested in 29 holders of Adventurers Shares, who form a board. When a vacancy happens in this number, the remaining 28 elect (fn. 155). The officers belonging to the corporation are a governor, deputygovernor, treasurer, and clerk. The present governor is Peter Holford, Esq. Master in Chancery; the deputy-governor, Charles Berners, Esq.; the treasurer, Richard Hulse, Esq.; the clerk, John Rowe, Esq.
The well-known place of public amusement, called Sadler's Wells, takes its name from a spring of mineral water, which they now call Islington Spa, or the New Tunbridge Wells. This spring was discovered by one Sadler, in 1683, in the garden belonging to a house which he had then just opened for the public reception as a musichouse (fn. 156). A pamphlet was published in 1684 (fn. 157), giving an account of this discovery, with the virtues of the water, which is there said to be of a ferrugineous nature, and much resembling in quality and effects the water of Tunbridge Wells; this is confirmed by Dr. Russel in his account of mineral springs (fn. 158). The author of the pamphlet says, that the well at Islington was famed before the Reformation for its extraordinary cures, and called the Holy Well; but that it had been stopped up many years when it was discovered by Sadler.
Sadler's music-house came after his death to one Francis Forcer, whose son was the first who exhibited there the diversions of ropedancing and tumbling (fn. 159). To these have for many years been added musical interludes and pantomimes, the machinery of which is in general extremely well managed.
White-Conduit-house, a well-known place of entertainment near Islington, takes its name from a conduit which formerly supplied the Charter-house with water. A pipe belonging to this conduit is still existing, and conveys water to Dr. De Valangin's house at Pentonville.