Hackney
The Parish Church

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Victoria County History

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T.F.T. Baker (Editor)

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1995

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115-122

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'Hackney: The Parish Church', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney (1995), pp. 115-122. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=22711 Date accessed: 29 November 2014.


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THE PARISH CHURCH

The parish church of Hackney was a sinecure rectory, (fn. 72) presumably by 1275 when it had a vicar (fn. 73) and until 1821 when the incumbent vicar became rector and the rectory and vicarage were merged. (fn. 74) The rectory was in the gift of the bishop of London and from 1550 of his lay successors as lords of Hackney or Lordshold manor. Licences to appropriate the rectory to the precentorship of St. Paul's in 1352 (fn. 75) and to the bishop's table temporarily c. 1385 and permanently in 1391 (fn. 76) had no lasting effect. From the former dedication of the church to St. Augustine, (fn. 77) a connexion has been assumed with the Knights Hospitallers or Knights Templars, whose rules derived from those of St. Augustine of Hippo. (fn. 78) The church was said to be exempt from the archdeacon's jurisdiction and subject wholly to the bishop in 1708. (fn. 79)

Although there were proprietary chapels in the 18th century at Kingsland, Homerton, and Stamford Hill and a chapel of ease from 1810 for southern Hackney, (fn. 80) the parish remained undivided until in 1825 the church building commissioners established the three rectories and parishes of Hackney, South Hackney, and West Hackney. (fn. 81) Several new churches, to which parishes were assigned, were founded within the reduced parish of Hackney; (fn. 82) in 1971 a Scheme united the benefice and parish of the mother church with those of St. James with Christ Church, Clapton. (fn. 83)

The vicarage had evidently been endowed by 1291. (fn. 84) Its patronage belonged to the rector, but by 1650 it was customary for the rectors to lease the rectory to the lords of Hackney manor, who thereby presented both rectors and vicars. (fn. 85) The vicar Calybute Downing unsuccessfully petitioned parliament in 1640 for institution to the rectory also, (fn. 86) the Crown's presentation in 1664 of the vicar to the rectory was revoked, (fn. 87) and only Nehemiah Moorhouse and Robert Wright were both rector and vicar (fn. 88) before the benefices were merged in 1821. Thereafter the lord of the manor retained the advowson of the mother church, Lord Amherst of Hackney being patron in 1987. (fn. 89)

The value of the sinecure rectory was comparatively high, at £33 6s. 8d. in 1291, (fn. 90) £26 in 1535, (fn. 91) and £140 in 1650. In 1622 its house stood in 5 a., and in 1650 there were three glebe houses. (fn. 92) The vicarage, valued at £8 in 1291, (fn. 93) may thereafter have been augmented at the expense of the rectory, being valued in 1535 at £20, (fn. 94) which sum the vicar received in 1548. (fn. 95) By 1657 the vicar had a share of the tithes, which he was then leasing to the vestry, (fn. 96) and of which the records could not be found in 1690. (fn. 97) The vicarage was valued in the mid and late 18th century at £400. (fn. 98) It included two payments of 20s. for sermons from Thomas Jeamson's charity from 1679, (fn. 99) a share of the fees, (fn. 1) £10 a year from the vestry to replace burial fees lost when new vaults were banned in 1759, (fn. 2) and the option of £10 a year from the vestry for doing the duty of the assistant curate or reader appointed from 1704. (fn. 3) The vestry combined and increased its payments in the 1780s to £21, in 1800 to £30, and in 1802 to £40, (fn. 4) which the incumbent J. J. Watson gave up in 1822 to help pay for services at the workhouse. (fn. 5)

In 1825, following the merging of the rectory and vicarage, the newly established rectories of South and West Hackney were endowed with their respective portions of the rectorial and vicarial tithes. (fn. 6) The average net income of Hackney rectory 1828-31 was £1,082 a year. (fn. 7) There were nearly 3 a. of glebe in 1887, (fn. 8) when a rent charge of £981 10s. was received for commuted tithes. (fn. 9)

Land for a dwelling house was licensed in 1345 to be settled by William Langford on the vicar and his successors. (fn. 10) It may have been next to the churchyard, where the vicar had a house and 1 a., besides 2 a. in parcels in Hackney marsh, in 1622. (fn. 11) In 1650 he was leasing his house from year to year for £12, though it was thought to be worth £50. (fn. 12) The Vicarage stood north of the churchyard and immediately south of the Old Mermaid's garden in 1698. (fn. 13) It was 40 ft. long, with three rooms on the ground floor and three above, in 1705, when no vicar had lived there for more than 60 years; adjoining the north-east corner stood a brewhouse and cellar, with one room over, behind which a boarded barn served as stabling. The new vicar was licensed to replace all three buildings with a brick residence of two storeys, garrets, and cellars, set back farther from the road in the garden. (fn. 14) Subscriptions were raised from 94 benefactors, the old house was taken in part payment by the chief builder John Hill, and the new one was inhabited from 1706. (fn. 15) As the Rectory, it was refronted and extended to the design of James Spiller in 1828-9 with three storeys and six bays, the four central ones being slightly recessed. (fn. 16) It formed a 'very respectable residence' in 1842 and survived, as no. 356 Mare Street, in 1952. (fn. 17) It was demolished and a smaller house was built on the site in 1956. (fn. 18)

Benefactions suggest that the church was served by a priest and two chaplains in the late 14th and early 15th century but that later there were only two priests, since bequests were made for more services in 1349 and 1453. Various wards maintained lights (fn. 19) and there were fraternities for Church Street ward by 1428 and, of the Blessed Virgin, for Homerton ward by 1451. (fn. 20) A guild of the Holy Trinity and the Virgin Mary recorded in 1453 was to be reestablished by the rector and Simon and John Elrington in 1478, with two wardens for its brothers and sisters. Sir James Bartholomew, a former mayor, in 1480 left property in London to the guild, (fn. 21) which at its dissolution in 1548 was served by a brotherhood priest and an additional priest. Other chantry lands in 1548 supported 6 obits, 2 lights, church repairs and ornaments, and a church house built by the parishioners for meetings. (fn. 22)

The sinecure rectors were mostly absentee pluralists. (fn. 23) They included Thomas de Cobham, bishop of Worcester, the French cardinal Gaucelin Jean Deuza (d. 1348), (fn. 24) William Booth (d. 1464), archbishop of York, the diplomatists Christopher Urswick (d. 1522), dean of Windsor, and Richard Sampson (d. 1554), bishop of Chichester and later of Lichfield and Coventry, the Jesuit Thomas Darbyshire (d. 1604), and the scholar Christopher Carlile (d. ? 1588). (fn. 25) Darbyshire was a Marian intruder whose predecessor John Spendlove was reinstated under Elizabeth I. (fn. 26) The royalist George Moore, rector 1622-64, having leased his rights, was apparently not formally deprived: in 1653 courts were held in the name of the parliamentarian Richard Blackwell. (fn. 27)

Most medieval vicars were probably resident. (fn. 28) Exceptionally Robert Bromyard, chaplain to Archbishop Booth, was licensed to hold the vicarage with one other benefice in 1455. (fn. 29) Many later vicars were pluralists. John Willoughby, vicar 1546-8, Robert Stokes, 1549-70, Henry Wright, 1570-1, (fn. 30) Thomas Knell, 1571-3, the verse writer, (fn. 31) and Hugh Johnson, 1573-1619, (fn. 32) held benefices in London or nearby in Essex. David Dolben (d. 1633), vicar from 1619, acquired a Welsh living and prebend and in 1631 became bishop of Bangor, but he died in London and was buried in Hackney. Gilbert Sheldon (d. 1677), later archbishop of Canterbury, was vicar 1633-6 and at the same time a canon of Gloucester. (fn. 33)

Calybute Downing (d. 1644), vicar 1636-43, grandson of a Hackney resident, was alleged to have sought royal favour through the earl of Strafford before 1640, when his charges against the rector marked the start of an association with the parliamentary cause. (fn. 34) William Spurstowe (d. 1666), vicar 1643-62, a moderate puritan, was deprived of the mastership of Catharine Hall, Cambridge, in 1650 after opposing the king's trial; he supported the Restoration but welcomed the presbyterian Richard Baxter at his vicarage house and resigned over the Act of Uniformity in 1662, thereafter living in retirement at Hackney. (fn. 35) The 'able and godly minister' serving the parish in 1650 (fn. 36) was presumably Spurstowe. Downing and Spurstowe may have established a tradition that was reinforced when George Clarke's charity of 1668 provided for a protestant sermon on the anniversary of Elizabeth I's coronation. (fn. 37)

Thomas Jeamson or Jameson, vicar 1662-87, was pulled from the pulpit by his congregation for preaching that London ought not to be rebuilt after the Great Fire. (fn. 38) Neither he nor his successors Nehemiah Moorhouse, 1687-89, Robert Bruce, 1690-1703, and Peter Newcome, 1704-38, held other preferments with Hackney. (fn. 39) Newcome (d. 1738), who published some sermons, was grandfather of the antiquary of the same name. (fn. 40) Despite competition from nearby nonconformist meeting houses, (fn. 41) the church drew both rich residents and visitors such as Pepys, who found it full in 1667. (fn. 42) The vestry spent much time in allocating pews, which in 1700 it vainly decided not to grant to individuals, (fn. 43) and in 1753 the beadles were instructed to control the crowd of coaches trying to draw up at the church steps. (fn. 44)

Robert Wright, vicar 1738-53 and rector from 1730, was also a chaplain to the prince of Wales, a canon of Lichfield, and from 1746 rector of Downham (Essex), but apparently spent much time at Hackney until 1749. (fn. 45) Thomas Cornthwaite, vicar 1753-99 and perpetual curate of Mortlake (Surr.), normally lived in Hackney until 1786 (fn. 46) but later was non-resident, probably through ill health. (fn. 47) Services were held twice on Sunday in the mid and late 18th century; (fn. 48) c. 1790 communion was administered monthly to c. 100 people and the children were catechized in Lent. (fn. 49)

The vicar's assistants had varying titles and functions. William Barnard was chosen jointly by the vicar and vestry in 1628 to give Sunday afternoon lectures for one year. (fn. 50) His reappointment was not recorded but Samuel Tomlins was chosen lecturer in 1634, to be assisted in reading prayers and administering communion by the schoolmaster Mordecai Keydon. (fn. 51) Tomlins was described as curate at vestry meetings, which the vicar Gilbert Sheldon rarely attended. (fn. 52) There may have been no need for an assistant until 1657, when Spurstowe was to have one, supported by subscriptions. The first two appointed failed to arrive; (fn. 53) at the Restoration Spurstowe was assisted by Ezekiel Hopkins (d. 1690), later bishop of Derry. (fn. 54)

In 1631 and 1671 the schoolmasters were not ordinarily to perform pastoral functions, (fn. 55) but several acted occasionally as assistant curate and attended the vestry in the vicar's absence. Robert Skingle did so between 1661 and 1670; (fn. 56) his teaching was unsatisfactory in 1666, when he was not to be paid from parish funds if the vicar insisted on employing him as reader. (fn. 57) The lectureship, apparently in abeyance, was revived in 1669 for John Worthington (d. 1671), formerly master of Jesus College, Cambridge, who was to receive £80 a year from subscriptions. (fn. 58) In 1670 the vestry agreed that there should also be a reader, under the vicar and Dr. Worthington. (fn. 59) Jonathan Bowles, Skingle's successor as schoolmaster in 1671, was made lecturer in 1683, and a curate was employed from 1684. On Bowles's death in 1686 Nehemiah Moorhouse was made lecturer, and when Moorhouse became vicar Timothy Hall (d. 1690), (fn. 60) already curate, and appointed by James II as bishop of Oxford in 1688, became lecturer. (fn. 61) John Lupton, who succeeded Bowles as schoolmaster and so remained until his death in 1741, (fn. 62) acted as assistant curate between 1690 and 1700; he was not to be paid from the poor's money in 1692 but was voted an annual gratuity from 1694. (fn. 63) It is not clear whether an assistant curate was employed between 1704, when the vicar was voted £10 a year for that purpose, and 1724. John Lewis, licensed in 1726, (fn. 64) took over the parish school on Lupton's death and continued as curate. (fn. 65)

The lectureship again became a separate office in 1689 with the appointment of the historian John Strype (d. 1737), who remained vicar of Leyton (Essex) but spent his later years at the Hackney home of a surgeon, Thomas Harris. He held the lectureship, renewed annually, until 1724, (fn. 66) when all ratepayers were allowed a voice in the appointment and four lecturers were chosen in rotation and, to calm public dissension, two more were added in survivorship. (fn. 67)

The lectureship was held by the curate John Lewis (d. 1770), whose son Robert succeeded him as a joint lecturer. (fn. 68) Robert, who had been licensed curate in 1765, continued as joint lecturer for 57 years, for most of which time he was rector of Chingford (Essex). His fellow lecturers were Robert Bromley, who from 1775 held a London rectory and in 1791 was accused of neglecting Hackney, (fn. 69) and from 1806 George Paroissien, who served for many years as assistant curate before becoming the first rector of West Hackney. In 1828 J. J. Watson relieved the parish by himself paying for the afternoon sermon. (fn. 70)

Watson, vicar from 1799 and incumbent rector 1821-39, was also rector of Digswell (Herts.) from 1811 and later archdeacon of St. Albans and a canon of St. Paul's. (fn. 71) He was normally resident at first (fn. 72) but c. 1828 lived partly at Digswell. (fn. 73) The 'Hackney Phalanx', formed around Watson, his younger brother Joshua (d. 1855), treasurer of the National Society, and their brother-in-law Henry Handley Norris (d. 1850), the 'bishop-maker', largely inspired a national High Church revival. In 1811 Joshua took a house in the parish, where Norris, a native and, like the Watsons, the son of a rich merchant, was already unpaid minister of a chapel which he had helped to establish in South Hackney. Too informal to be termed a pressure group, the Phalanx was a body of friends whose religious and political beliefs made them prominent both in the National Society, founded in 1811, and in its offshoot, the commission formed under the Church Building Act, 1818. J. J. Watson, although hampered by ill health, encouraged both church and school building, providing his own parish as a field where the group's ideals could be put into practice. (fn. 74)

J. J. Watson made possible the division of his parish by enlisting public support for new churches and by surrendering part of his own income. In particular he stressed the need for large endowments, so that most pews should be free. (fn. 75) Although his later years saw repeated assaults on the church rates, as in South and West Hackney, vestrymen of all denominations praised his generosity and moderation. (fn. 76) Watson bought many ornaments for the church (fn. 77) and opposed the formation of an Auxiliary Bible Society, fearing unnecessary trouble with dissenters and preferring the older S.P.C.K. (fn. 78) His churchmanship was not so high as that of T. O. Goodchild, his successor 1839-77, who followed Bishop Blomfield's charge of 1842 by wearing a surplice in the pulpit. Faced with a dwindling congregation and a 'tempest of popular indignation', the rector withdrew several innovations, while asserting his right to preach in a surplice on days when the sacrament was administered. (fn. 79)

Several assistant curates were appointed in the late 18th century, normally with stipends of £100, including Jelinger Symons, who published some sermons and in 1802 became minister of Stamford Hill chapel. (fn. 80) Distinguished assistants to J. J. Watson were Frederick Nolan (d. 1864), George Townsend (d. 1857), and Renn Dickson Hampden (d. 1868), later bishop of Hereford. (fn. 81) In 1810 two assistant curates were resident, a third being available on Sundays. (fn. 82) There were three for the reduced parish in 1835, with stipends totalling £340, (fn. 83) and in 1889 and 1907. (fn. 84)

Morning and evening services at St. John's had attendances of 700 and 500 in 1851, (fn. 85) of 1,093 and 960 in 1886, (fn. 86) and of 714 and 756 in 1903. (fn. 87) Numbers were higher than at any other Hackney church in 1886, although they were nearly equalled by those at West Hackney, which had taken the lead by 1903. (fn. 88) In 1882 a mission house was opened at nos. 21-3 the Grove (later Hackney Grove), where in 1903 there were 150 morning and 135 evening worshippers. It was rebuilt in 1938 with proceeds from the sale of St. John's Institute (Sutton House) and survived in 1988. An additional hall was opened in 1929. Two halls were let in 1988 to the I.L.E.A. and one to Dr. Barnardo's. (fn. 89)

Rectors in the 19th and 20th centuries included Arthur Brook, 1877-88, a prebendary of Lincoln, A. G. Lawley, later Baron Wenlock (d. 1931), 1897-1911, and H. A. S. Pink, 1951-65, who were prebendaries of St. Paul's, and Henry Mosley, 1911-19, later bishop of Stepney and then of Southwell. (fn. 90) After 1907 there were often two curates until 1971, from which time Hackney had a rector and two team vicars, aided in the 1980s by a non-stipendiary curate. One team vicar was responsible for the church of St. John, the other for that of St. James, Clapton. (fn. 91)

There was a strong musical tradition. An organ bought by 1500 (fn. 92) presumably did not survive the Reformation, as one by Ralph Dallam (d. 1672) was to be set up in 1666 and a salary was ordered for the organist in 1667. (fn. 93) It was the new organ, together with the young ladies at school, which drew Pepys to Hackney church. (fn. 94) Organists' appointments were renewed every Easter with those of other parish officers. In 1720 the vestry warned against long voluntaries and 'light, airy, and jiggy tunes'. (fn. 95) Edward Henry Purcell, grandson of the composer Henry, was appointed in 1753 and was rebuked for lightness and for irregular attendance, (fn. 96) as was his successor. (fn. 97) Singing was a qualification sought in the parish clerk, in 1778 without success. (fn. 98) Francis Edward Bache (d. 1858) served briefly as organist in 1855. (fn. 99)

The church of ST. JOHN, which stood east of Church Street, (fn. 1) was called St. Augustine's from the 14th to the 17th century. (fn. 2) From c. 1660 it was known as St. John of Jerusalem, (fn. 3) St. John the Baptist, (fn. 4) or simply as St. John at Hackney. (fn. 5) Only the 16th-century tower survives from what may have been a complete rebuilding, formerly commemorated by the arms of Sir John Heron (d. 1521) carved between each arch of the nave and also placed, with those of the rector Christopher Urswick (d. 1522), in the chancel. Thereafter the church consisted of a chancel, aisled and clerestoreyed nave, and south-west tower. (fn. 6) The so-called Rowe chapel, properly a mausoleum, was built on the south side of the chancel in 1614 (fn. 7) and a vestry was added on the north side. In 1741 the church measured 105 ft. along its north wall and 64 ft. across; the tower bore a vane surmounted by a crown which reached to 118 ft. The walls, with fenestration of c. 1500, showed a variety of materials, (fn. 8) as they did at the time of the church's demolition, when the exterior presented 'an incomprehensible jumble of dissonant repairs, without a trace of the original building, except the windows of part of it'. (fn. 9)

Repairs were paid for by bequests, recorded from 1378, (fn. 10) and by periodic assessments from 1586 or earlier; (fn. 11) some parish funds were set aside in 1628 as church stock, distinct from the poor's stock. Major repairs were needed in 1659 (fn. 12) and 1720. (fn. 13) Plans for rebuilding proved too expensive in 1756, when it was decided to repair the existing fabric, and 1779. (fn. 14) The Rowe chapel, built by Sir Henry Rowe with a monument to his father the lord mayor (d. 1612), proved difficult to maintain: the parish was obliged to repair it in 1691. (fn. 15) Further negotiations took place with the Rowes' heirs in 1719 and again in 1768, when the earl of Hillsborough agreed to repair the chapel but warned that he would insist on a new one if the parish should rebuild the church. (fn. 16) Other embellishments included a clock, which was to be bought in 1628, (fn. 17) and bells, of which there were at least four in 1596 and six from 1678; a peal of eight bells and a new clock were ordered in 1743. (fn. 18)

To increase space subscriptions were collected for a gallery in 1659. (fn. 19) Another gallery was needed in 1671 and piecemeal additions had raised the seating to 1,000 by 1789. (fn. 20) The need for seats, rather than disrepair, led the vestry to secure an Act to rebuild in 1790, amended by a further Act in 1795. (fn. 21) The body of the church was pulled down in 1798, regretted by some as an antiquity that was sound, spacious, and unusually rich in monuments. (fn. 22)

The tower was spared lest its eight bells should be too heavy for the new church, although in 1854 they were moved there after it had been underpinned. (fn. 23) Fragments of monuments were kept beneath the tower in 1811, including that of Lucy, Lady Latimer, (fn. 24) which was also moved. In 1992 the tower, maintained from 1912 by Hackney M.B., (fn. 25) survived as an early 16th-century Kentish ragstone structure, of four stages beneath a restored parapet and with diagonal buttressing; (fn. 26) a paved area to the east marked the site of the old church. The Rowe chapel, dominating the surrounding tombs and repaired c. 1835 and after 1877, was demolished in 1896. (fn. 27)

The new church of St. John was begun in 1791, in a field north-east of the old church, and consecrated, after a costly delay caused by contractors' bankruptcies, in 1797. (fn. 28) Designed by James Spiller, (fn. 29) it is on the plan of a large Greek cross, with massive yellow-brick walls that were to have been mostly stuccoed, and white stone dressings. The windows are round-headed in two storeys and the walls have broad Tuscan pilasters beneath boldly projecting eaves. The semicircular porch on the north side and smaller porches for the east and west lobbies are additions of 1812-13. So too are a white stone tower and clock steeple, 'of the most unconventional shape', also on the north side. After a fire in 1955, restoration by N. F. Cachemaille-Day and W. C. Lock involved the removal of the north and south pediments. The building was rededicated in 1958. (fn. 30)

Spiller's church came to be much criticized both for its plan and for its appearance, (fn. 31) although recently an appreciation of its originality has evoked comparisons with the work of Hawksmoor and Soane. (fn. 32) Attitudes to its seemingly disembodied tower illustrate the changes in taste: in 1909 it was 'only prevented by a perpetual miracle from crashing through the structure'; (fn. 33) later it was held to add a touch of fantasy, floating 'in sublime independence of the sturdy brown temple which really supports it'. (fn. 34)

The interior is reached through vestibules, which in the 1880s were derided as resembling those of a theatre or town hall. (fn. 35) It is almost square, measuring 104 ft. into the shallow arms of the Greek cross, (fn. 36) of which the eastern one forms the chancel. Galleries fill the other arms and curve round the north-west and south-west corners. A shallow stuccoed vault, reinforced in 1929, covers the wide central area; like the walls, it is plain and has been rendered white as a result of the fire of 1955. There was seating for 2,700 in 1811. (fn. 37) A chapel beneath the gallery on the south side of the altar was moved to the north side after the fire, the area to the south being partitioned off as a parish room. At the same time the entrances through the porches on the east side of the church were closed and the north-eastern vestibule was converted into the Urswick chapel. (fn. 38) Many fittings were burned in 1955, including the 18th-century organ in the west gallery, which was replaced by an organ from All Saints', Ennismore Gardens (Kensington). A new east window, by Christopher Webb, was installed in 1958. (fn. 39)

Monuments which have survived from the old church include, in the Urswick chapel, the combined altar-tomb and Easter sepulchre of Christopher Urswick (d. 1522), beneath a recessed canopy and with inscriptions behind. (fn. 40) Nearby are brasses to John Lymsey (d. 1545) and to Arthur Dericote (d. 1562) and his four wives, besides a wall monument to David Dolben (d. 1633). In the north porch the reconstructed tomb-chest of Lucy (d. 1583), widow of John Nevill, Lord Latimer, has an alabaster effigy 'of a quality good enough for Westminster Abbey', and the marble wall monument to Thomas Wood (d. 1649) and his wife is noteworthy for its advanced style. There are also figures from the monuments to Sir Thomas Rowe (d. 1570) and to Henry Banister (d. 1628) and his wife. The crest to the epitaph to James Sotheby (d. 1750) is by Roubiliac. (fn. 41) Memorials designed for the new church include those to Capt. Henry Newcome (d. 1797) and to Lieut. Harry Sedgwick (d. 1811) by Charles Regnart, to Mary Field (d. 1825) by J. E. Carew, to Philip Lucas (d. 1830) by Samuel Nixon, and to Eliza Livermore (d. 1831) by John Soward. (fn. 42)

The churchyard was enlarged in 1671 by the gift of part of Church field from Sir George Vyner. (fn. 43) In 1707 it was to have a brick wall (fn. 44) and in 1741 it had gates to Church Street on each side of the school house. (fn. 45) A cleaner for the churchyard was regularly appointed from 1723, paving was to be laid from the church to the road in 1724, and lamps were ordered in 1756, by which time more land was needed. (fn. 46) In 1759 no more vaults were to be made without the vestry's leave either in the churchyard or in part of Church field which had been bought as an extension. The new ground was consecrated in 1763, when burials in the old ground, except in family vaults, were forbidden. (fn. 47) Some 4½ a. of Church field, bought under the Act of 1790, were consecrated for the new building and its churchyard in 1797. (fn. 48) The ground was well planted with chestnuts and other trees but, lacking a yew and being intersected by busy walks, was later held to be unsuitable for sober reflection. (fn. 49) Burials were restricted in 1854 (fn. 50) and were to cease, except in family graves, from 1859. (fn. 51) Nineteenth-century monuments, many in railed enclosures, existed around the church in 1992; they included that of the hydrographer Sir Francis Beaufort (d. 1857). (fn. 52)

The plate includes two flagons of 1638 × 1657 given by Sir George Vyner, two cups and covers of 1637, patens of 1663 and 1781, that of 1781 presented in 1822 by J. J. Watson, a dish of 1671, and a fine seal-topped spoon perhaps of 1641, all silver gilt, and pewter almsdishes of 1758 and later. Four electroplate dishes were also acquired in 1822. (fn. 53) The registers of baptisms date from 1555, of marriages from 1590, and of burials from 1593. (fn. 54)

CHURCH EXTENSION.

Additional places of worship in the 18th century were provided only by the proprietary chapels of Kingsland, Homerton (Rams's chapel), and Stamford Hill. (fn. 55) Stephen Ram bought land in Hackney in 1723, when he vainly sought a pew in the parish church. (fn. 56) The vestry declined to take responsibility for Ram's chapel in 1764, (fn. 57) although the parish plate could be used there, (fn. 58) and from 1771 until 1776 it compensated the vicar, whose outgoings as lessee of the chapel, including £50 for a curate, exceeded the chapel's pew rents. (fn. 59) In 1776 and 1779 the vestry declined to support Stamford Hill chapel, also leased to the vicar. (fn. 60)

The division of the mother parish (fn. 61) into three rectories was presaged by the opening of St. John's chapel of ease, which the vestry agreed to keep in repair (fn. 62) and which became the church of South Hackney. It was served by H. H. Norris, who acted as J. J. Watson's unpaid curate. (fn. 63) Both its establishment and its later rebuilding resulted from the personal benevolence and the promotional activities of the Hackney Phalanx, as did the early building of many daughter churches. (fn. 64)

In 1839 a local committee under J. J. Watson found that there was accommodation for less than one fifth of the increased population of the central parish. With promises of grants from the church building commissioners and the bishop of London, the committee raised much of the money to build and endow St. Philip's, Dalston, and St. James's, Clapton, (fn. 65) both of which were consecrated in 1841. St. Peter's, De Beauvoir Town, was also consecrated in 1841 and St. Barnabas's, Homerton, in 1847. Including Ram's chapel and Stamford Hill chapel, there were nine Anglican churches within the ancient parish by 1851, when services were also held at the workhouse and the London Orphan Asylum. (fn. 66) After a pause, eight more churches were opened between 1866 and 1872: St. Michael and All Angels', St. Augustine's, and Christ Church, all in South Hackney, St. Matthew's, All Saints', and Christ Church, in Clapton, St. Mark's, Dalston, and St. Luke's, Homerton. There followed Holy Trinity, Dalston, All Souls', Clapton Park, and St. Michael and All Angels', Stoke Newington Common, and, in the 1890s, St. Paul's, Homerton, St. Mary of Eton, Hackney Wick, and St. Bartholomew's, Dalston. Thus Hackney contained 23 Anglican churches by 1902, many of them with missions. (fn. 67) The last daughter church, St. Barnabas's, Shacklewell, was begun in 1909.

Anglican church attendance in 1886 was roughly equal to that of all protestant nonconformists: excluding missions it was 25,162. (fn. 68) Anglicans were still the largest single denomination in 1902, by which time numbers had fallen to 15,414 at the churches and c. 2,000 at missions, while the nonconformists had gained. (fn. 69) Hackney, still with many prosperous inhabitants, had the best worship attendance in east London; numbers were particularly high in Dalston, although they were very low in the working-class Hackney Wick. (fn. 70)

Closures began with that of Ram's chapel in the 1930s and continued after damage during the Second World War. A Church Commissioners' Scheme of 1953 converted ten benefices into five united benefices, permitting the demolition of the bombed churches of Christ Church, Clapton, St. Philip, Christ Church, South Hackney, and St. Augustine, and the use of St. Bartholomew's as a hall. A sixth bombed church, St. Michael's, South Hackney, was to be replaced on a new site. Thirteen damaged churches were to be restored, including that of West Hackney, which in the event was rebuilt with a new dedication, (fn. 71) to St. Paul, its benefice being united with that of St. Barnabas, Shacklewell. (fn. 72) In the 1970s St. Matthew's and All Souls' were rebuilt and All Saints' was demolished. St. Paul's, Homerton, was later taken over by spiritualists. By 1982 there were fifteen Anglican churches within the ancient parish, of which two served central Hackney, three South Hackney, two West Hackney, four Clapton, two Dalston, one Homerton, and one the borders of Stoke Newington. (fn. 73) The introduction of team ministries, beginning with one for Hackney (St. John the Baptist and St. James, Clapton) in 1971, (fn. 74) continued with the establishment of the benefice of Hackney Marsh (St. Barnabas, Homerton, and All Souls, Clapton Park) in 1985. (fn. 75)

Two Sisters (fn. 76) of St. Margaret, an order based at East Grinstead (Suss.), moved from Soho to Ash Grove, off Cambridge Heath Road, in 1865 and opened an orphanage and guild for working girls as a centre for work in South Hackney, Haggerston, and Shoreditch. In 1866 the Revd. R. Tuke, from St. Anne's, Soho, (fn. 77) turned two houses in Ash Grove into a small orphanage, initially for boys orphaned by cholera. He also held classes there and acted as spiritual director of the nearby sisters. Tuke's so-called order of St. Joseph, which adopted the Franciscan habit, was disbanded on his conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1867, when several sisters followed him. Sister Kate Warburton, who remained, moved briefly to no. 334 Kingsland Road, in 1869 called St. Saviour's priory, and then to Great Cambridge Street in Shoreditch.

Sisters of the Holy Childhood established a children's home (fn. 78) at their mother house, no. 19 Clapton Common, in 1881, where they also did parish work and remained until c. 1940.

The community of St. Augustine of Hippo, for men skilled in a trade or profession who did not yet feel able to live in a strict community, briefly existed at no. 58 Pedro Street, Clapton, c. 1920, before moving to Clapham.

Sisters of St. Francis, on their return to London from Hull (Yorks.), in 1908 moved into a small house in Malvern Road, Dalston, and soon afterwards into no. 155 Richmond Road, acquiring no. 157 in 1920. (fn. 79) A convent chapel was consecrated in 1924. The sisters, who did missionary work, remained until the site was taken by the L.C.C. in 1962, when they moved to Compton Durville (Som.).

Footnotes

72 For the rectory estate, above, manors (Grumbolds).
73 Cal. Close, 1272-9, 165.
74 Vestry mins. 9 Apr. 1822; Hennessy, Novum Rep. 177-8.
75 Cal. Pat. 1350-4, 239.
76 Cal. Papal Reg. iv. 410.
77 Below, this section (building).
78 R. Simpson, Memorials of St. John at Hackney, i (1882), 42. Apart from the dedication, there is no evidence that the ch. belonged to the Knights of St. John (Hospitallers), as in Guildhall MS. 9557A, f. 31.
79 Newcourt, Rep. i. 617.
80 Below, this section (church extension).
81 Lond. Gaz. 19 Mar. 1825, p. 460.
82 Below, this section (church extension).
83 G.L.R.O., P79/JSG/38; below, list of churches.
84 Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 17b.
85 Home Counties Mag. iii. 224; Newcourt, Rep. i. 617; Robinson, Hackney, ii. 79.
86 Hist. MSS. Com. 3, 4th Rep., H.L. p. 33.
87 Cal. S.P. Dom. 1663-4, 671, 642.
88 Below, this section (vicars).
89 Crockford (1980-2); inf. from rector.
90 Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 17b.
91 Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i.433-4.
92 H.A.D., D/F/TYS/2, pp. 53-4 (copy of cert. of ch. lands in vestry mins., mentioned in Newcourt, Rep. i. 618); Home Counties Mag. iii. 224.
93 Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 17b.
94 Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i. 433-4.
95 Lond. and Mdx. Chantry Cert. (Lond. Rec. Soc. xvi), 68.
96 Vestry mins. 6, 27 Nov. 1657; 10 May 1658.
97 Ibid. 29 Nov. 1690.
98 Guildhall MSS. 9556, f. 51; 9557, f. 31.
99 Vestry mins. 13 June 1679; below, charities.
1 Vestry mins. 1 Jan., 9 Apr. 1690; 16 Mar., 7 Apr., 1 Dec. 1801.
2 Ibid. 4 Aug. 1759; 19 Apr. 1760.
3 Ibid. 22 June 1704; 15 Aug. 1705; 19 Apr. 1760.
4 Par. mins. 5 Mar. 1781; vestry mins. 26 Mar. 1799; 15 Apr. 1800; 7 Apr. 1801.
5 Vestry mins. 9 Apr. 1822; 1 Apr. 1823.
6 Lond. Gaz. 19 Mar. 1825, p. 460.
7 Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues, 649.
8 Return of Glebe Lands, H.C. 307, p. 85 (1887), lxiv.
9 Return of Tithes Commuted, H.C. 214, p. 122 (1887), lxiv.
10 Cal. Pat. 1343-5, 471.
11 H.A.D., D/F/TYS/2, p. 53.
12 Home Counties Mag. iii. 224.
13 G.L.R.O., M79/G/11/1-2.
14 H.A.D., D/F/AMH/527.
15 G.L.R.O., P79/JN1/24 (list of donations at back of reg.).
16 H.A.D., print F 97 (anon. pencil sketch); D. Mander, St. John-at-Hackney (bicentenary booklet, 1993), 27-8.
17 Robinson, Hackney, ii. 79, 117 (plan); Lysons, Environs, ii. 474; Pevsner, Lond. ii. 168.
18 Inf. from rector.
19 McDonnell, Med. Lond. Suburbs, 146.
20 Guildhall MSS. 9171/3, f. 211v.; 9171/5, 42v.
21 Ibid. 9171/5, ff. 110-111; Cal. Pat. 1476-85, 126; Cal. of Wills in Ct. of Husting, ii (2), 588.
22 Lond. and Mdx. Chantry Cert. 67-8.
23 Rectors from 1306 are listed in Hennessy, Novum Rep. 177-8.
24 Le Neve, Fasti, 1300-1544, Coventry and Lichfield, 11.
25 D.N.B.
26 Hennessy, Novum Rep. p. xxxv; Darbyshire was a nephew of Bishop Bonner: ibid. p. xlvi.
27 G.L.R.O., M79/G/4/2/1/1; P.R.O., C 5/513/80.
28 Vicars from 1328 are listed in Hennessy, Novum Rep. 178. Earlier vicars were Thomas in 1275 and John of Foxcote in 1292: Cal. Close, 1272-9, 165; P.R.O., JUST 3/87, m. 29. Thos. of Wickham was vicar by 1326: Cal. Pat. 1324-7, 287.
29 Cal. Papal Reg. xi. 95; D.N.B.
30 Hennessy, Novum Rep. 178; Newcourt, Rep. i. 483, 540; ii. 680.
31 Newcourt, Rep. i. 505; D.N.B.
32 Le Neve, Fasti, 1547-1857, St. Paul's, Lond. 60.
33 D.N.B.
34 Ibid.
35 D.N.B.; Cal. S.P. Dom. 1659-60, 420.
36 Home Counties Mag. iii. 224.
37 12th Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 348, p. 137 (1825), x.
38 Cal. S.P. Dom. 1665-7, 283.
39 Vestry mins. passim. Not John Bruce, as in Hennessy, Novum Rep. 178.
40 D.N.B. s.v. Newcome, Hen.
41 Below, prot. nonconformity.
42 Diary of Sam. Pepys, viii. 174.
43 Vestry mins. 8 July 1700; passim.
44 Ibid. 24 Apr. 1753.
45 Alum. Cantab. to 1751, iv. 477; Guildhall MS. 9556, f. 74; vestry mins. passim.
46 Vestry mins. passim; Rec. of Old Westminster, i (1928), 215.
47 Guildhall MS. 9557, f. 31; Gent. Mag. lxix. 530.
48 Guildhall MSS. 9550; 9558, f. 441.
49 Ibid. MS. 9557, f. 31.
50 Vestry mins. 31 Aug. 1628.
51 Ibid. 8 Apr. 1634.
52 Ibid. 1634-6, passim.
53 Ibid. 19 Apr., 7 June, 23 Aug. 1657.
54 D.N.B.
55 Vestry mins. 5 July 1631; 5 Nov. 1671.
56 Ibid. 25 Oct. 1661; 5 Apr. 1670; passim.
57 Ibid. 9 Jan., 5, 6 Feb. 1666.
58 Ibid. 30 Nov. 1669; D.N.B.
59 Vestry mins. 5 June 1670.
60 Ibid. 10 Apr. 1683; 6 Apr. 1686; 17 Apr. 1688; D.N.B.
61 Vestry mins. 1684-6, passim; D.N.B.
62 Vestry mins. 22 Mar. 1686; Alum. Oxon. 1500-1714, 950.
63 Vestry mins. 22 Apr. 1690; 17 May 1692; 29 May 1694; 17 June 1700.
64 Ibid. 22 June 1704; 8 June 1724; Guildhall MS. 9550.
65 Vestry mins. 23 Nov. 1741.
66 Ibid. 2 Apr. 1689; passim; V.C.H. Essex, vi. 216-17; D.N.B.
67 Vestry mins. 18 Nov. 1723; 27 May, 8 June 1724.
68 Par. mins. 10 Apr. 1769; 11 Aug., 10 Nov. 1770.
69 Guildhall MS. 9557A, f. 31.
70 Par. mins. 27 Oct. 1806; 13 Dec. 1823; vestry mins. 3 Jan. 1828; Robinson, Hackney, ii. 220-1.
71 J. Foster, Index Eccl. 1800-40 (1890), 185; D.N.B. s.v. Watson, Joshua.
72 Guildhall MS. 9558, f. 441.
73 Ibid. 9560; V.C.H. Herts. iii. 85.
74 D.N.B. s.vv. Watson, Joshua; Norris, H. H.; M. H. Port, Six Hundred New Chs. (1961), 2, 4, 15; A. B. Webster, Joshua Watson (1954), 18-32; O. Chadwick, Victorian Ch. (1970), 78, 152, 340.
75 Guildhall MS. 9557 (loose insertion); vestry mins. 31 Mar. 1807.
76 Vestry mins. 7 Aug. 1835; Hackney Mag. Mar., Aug., Oct. 1834. For S. and W. Hackney, G.L.R.O., P79/JN1/166, 168.
77 e.g. vestry mins. 9 Apr. 1822; 5 Aug. 1824; 10 Nov. 1828.
78 Vestry mins. 2 Nov. 1812.
79 The Times, 18 Feb. 1845, 7d; 4 Mar. 1845, 5f.
80 Guildhall MS. 9557A, f. 31; Robinson, Hackney, ii. 219. Symons was grandfather of the writer Jelinger Cookson Symons (d. 1860): Alum. Cantab. 1752-1900, 102; D.N.B.
81 D.N.B.
82 Guildhall MS. 9558, f. 441.
83 Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues, 649.
84 Mackeson's Guide (1889), 70; Crockford (1907).
85 P.R.O., HO 129/11/4/1/1.
86 Brit. Weekly, 19 Nov. 1886, 4a.
87 Mudie-Smith, Rel. Life, 63.
88 Below, list of churches.
89 P.O. Dir. Lond. County Suburbs, North (1894 and later edns.); Mudie-Smith, Rel. Life, 63; Mander, St. John-atHackney, 33, 35-6; inf. from Mr. S. E. Piesse, chwdn.
90 Clergy List (1881, 1915); Crockford (1926 and later edns.).
91 Crockford (1935 and later edns.); G.L.R.O., P79/JSG/38; inf. from rector.
92 Guildhall MS. 9171/8, f. 234v.
93 D.N.B.; vestry mins. 9 Jan. 1666; 9 Apr. 1667.
94 Diary of Sam. Pepys, viii. 174.
95 Vestry mins. 6 Apr. 1686 sqq.; 21 Jan. 1714; 19 Apr. 1720.
96 Ibid. 22 Sept. 1753; 25 Sept. 1756; 17 Oct. 1763; D.N.B. s.v. Purcell, Hen.
97 Vestry mins. 27 Dec. 1780.
98 Par. mins. 19 Oct., 7 Dec. 1778; 30 Oct. 1786.
99 D.N.B.
1 Rocque, Map of Lond. (1741-5), sheet 6; Root's map (1741); L.C.C. List of Streets (1901), 330.
2 Guildhall MS. 9171/1, ff.64v. (1378), 77 (1380); Lond. and Mdx. Chantry Cert. 68; Stow, Survey (1720), ii, app. p. 122.
3 Newcourt, Rep. i. 617.
4 Guildhall MSS. 9556, f. 50; 9558, f. 441.
5 Vestry mins. passim.
6 Stow, Survey (1720), ii, app. p. 122; Lysons, Environs, ii. 460-1; Simpson, Memorials of St. John, i (1882), 43-5.
7 Lysons, Environs, ii. 464-5; vestry mins. 16 May 1614.
8 Root's map (1741).
9 Gent. Mag. lxvi (1), 273; above, plate 45.
10 Guildhall MS. 9171/1, ff. 64v., 77 sqq.
11 Vestry mins. 23 May 1585; 12 Sept. 1596; 17 May 1604 sqq.
12 Ibid. 1 Dec. 1628; 17 Oct. 1659.
13 Ibid. 17 Oct. 1719; 19 Apr. 1720.
14 Ibid. 25 Sept., 6, 20, 27 Nov. 1756; par. mins. 28 July 1779.
15 Vestry mins. 16 May 1614; 25 Feb., 1 June 1691; 17 May 1692.
16 Ibid. 11, 18 July 1719; par. mins. 21 Apr. 1768.
17 Vestry mins. 1 Dec. 1628.
18 Ibid. 12 Sept. 1596; 25 Sept., 9, 13 Dec. 1677; Robinson, Hackney, ii. 103.
19 Vestry mins. 16 May, 1 June 1659.
20 Ibid. 26 Nov. 1671 sqq.; par. mins. 23 Mar. 1789.
21 Par. mins. 23 Mar. 1789; 30 Geo. III, c. 71; 35 Geo. III, c. 70.
22 Lysons, Environs, Suppl. 164; Gent. Mag. lxvi (1), 273. The monuments dated from 1399: Stow, Survey of Lond. ed. J. Strype, ii (1720), 124-9; J. Weaver, Ancient Funeral Monuments (1768), 305.
23 Walford, Old and New Lond. v. 518; Clarke, Hackney, 84; vestry mins. 28 Aug. 1851.
24 Lysons, Environs, Suppl. 164; below.
25 Hackney M.B. Ann. Rep. of Boro. Engineer (1912-13), 75.
26 Pevsner, Lond. ii. 163; Hist. Mon. Com. E. Lond. 43-4.
27 Vestry mins. 22 Sept. 1835; Clarke, Hackney, 64, 291 n. 40; Robinson, Hackney, illus. facing p. 3; Mander, St. John-at-Hackney, 25.
28 Inscription over N. door. Following three paras. based on Pevsner, Lond. ii. 163-4; Clarke, Lond. Chs. 64. Fullest details of rebldg. are by A. Saint in Terrier, Autumn 1992; Mander, St. John-at-Hackney, 16-22.
29 Colvin, Brit. Architects, 773.
30 Wooden tablet inside N. porch; Mander, St. John-atHackney, 39-40; above, plate 44.
31 e.g. J. H. Sperling, Ch. Walks in Mdx. (1849), 128; Walford, Old and New Lond. v. 518; T. F. Bumpus, Lond. Chs. Ancient and Modern, ii (1908), 88-9; J. Tavenor-Perry, Memorials of Old Mdx. (1909), 36-7.
32 e.g. Pevsner, Lond. ii. 163-4; Clarke, Lond. Chs. 64.
33 W. W. Hutchings, Lond. Town: Past and Present, ii (1909), 949.
34 J. Summerson, Georgian Lond. (1978), 214.
35 Walford, Old and New Lond. v. 518.
36 Lysons, Environs, Suppl. 165.
37 Ibid.
38 Inf. from Mr. S. E. Piesse.
39 Brief Guide to Par. Ch. of St. John (leaflet in ch. 1991); Mander, St. John-at-Hackney, 40.
40 Its re-erection, with 4 other monuments, in the new ch. was paid for out of the unappropriated fund: vestry mins. 30 Apr. 1798. The vicar could sell unclaimed monuments: ibid. 15 Apr. 1800.
41 Hist. Mon. Com. E. Lond. 43-4, plates 93-5; Pevsner, Lond. ii. 164-5; Complete Peerage, s.v. Latimer; D.N.B. s.v. Cornwallis, Wm. A brass to Hugh Johnson (d. 1619) was extant in 1958 but not in 1993: Mander, St. John-at-Hackney, 52.
42 Gunnis, Sculptors, 80, 88, 273, 317-18, 361; full inscriptions in Robinson, Hackney, 126-9. Newcome's memorial was not extant in 1993.
43 Vestry mins. 26 Nov. 1671.
44 Ibid. 15 Apr. 1707.
45 Root's map (1741).
46 Vestry mins. 27 July 1723; 6 Nov. 1727; 14 Feb., 25 Sept. 1756.
47 Ibid. 4 Aug. 1759; 17 Oct. 1763.
48 Lysons, Environs, Suppl. 165.
49 Robinson, Hackney, ii. 37.
50 Lond. Gaz. 31 Jan. 1854, p. 273.
51 Ibid. 6 Nov. 1857, p. 3701; 10 June 1862, p. 2290.
52 D.N.B.; inf. from Miss E. Wright.
53 Freshfield, Communion Plate, 22-3; Hist. Mon. Com. E. Lond. 45; inf. from Mr. Piesse; cf. Guildhall MS. 9537/20; vestry mins. 2 Oct. 1738; 9 Apr. 1822.
54 In G.L.R.O.
55 Below, list of churches.
56 Vestry mins. 4 Feb., 22 Oct. 1723.
57 Par. mins. 10, 17 Mar., 22 Dec. 1764.
58 Ibid. 3 June 1765.
59 Ibid. 31 Dec. 1771; 17 Aug. 1772; 12 Oct. 1776.
60 Ibid. 28 Oct. 1776; 19 Apr., 31 May, 7 June 1779.
61 What follows summarizes the detail given below for the several churches.
62 Vestry mins. 23 Nov. 1809.
63 Webster, Joshua Watson, 25.
64 Plaques to commemorate J. J. Watson, Joshua Watson, and H. H. Norris were placed in the S. Hackney chs. of St. Augustine and St. Mic.: H.A.D., D/F/NOR/8/2.
65 Robinson, Hackney, ii. 205; H.A.D., P/J/CW/128, passim.
66 P.R.O., HO 129/11/2-5.
67 Mudie-Smith, Rel. Life, 63. The total excludes St. John's, Vartry Rd., partly in Tottenham: V.C.H. Mdx. v. 352. A few streets in S. Hackney were served from All Saints' or St. Paul's, Haggerston: Booth, Life and Labour, iii (1), map between pp. 113 and 115.
68 British Weekly, 19 Nov. 1886, 2a, allowing for the deduction in respect of Stoke Newington chs. and St. John's, Vartry Rd.
69 Totals for Hackney in Mudie-Smith, Rel. Life, 63, 67, 287-8, deducting for St. John's, Vartry Rd. Some mission attendances were probably from Islington.
70 Mudie-Smith, Rel. Life, 26-7.
71 G.L.R.O., P79/JSG/37/2; below.
72 J. Carrow, By Faith-With Thanksgiving (booklet 1960).
73 Crockford (1980-2).
74 Above, this section.
75 Crockford (1987-8); inf. from the Revd. S. J. W. Cox.
76 Four paras. based on P.O. Dir. Lond. (1869 and later edns.) and P. F. Anson, Call of the Cloister (1964), passim; Official Year Bk. of Ch. of Eng. (1921).
77 Not St. Mary's, as in Anson: Clergy List (1866).
78 Above, misc. institutions.
79 Above, pub. svces.