THIS parish is supposed to have derived its name from the
quantity of oak timber which it produced; Ac, in the Saxon
language, signifying an oak. The hedge-rows still abound with
Situation and boundaries.
The village of Acton lies in the liberty of Finsbury and Wenlakesbarne: it is situated upon the Uxbridge road, at the distance of
five miles from Tyburn turnpike. The parish is bounded by that of
Ealing on the west, the Hammersmith division of Fulham on the
east, Chiswick on the south, and Wilsdon on the north.
Extent, soil, &c.
The parish of Acton contains about 1900 acres (fn. 1) of land, the
greater part of which is arable; the soil towards the north is a
stiff clay; towards the south a rich loam; ten acres only are occu
pied by market gardeners. Action is assessed the sum of 6402l. to
the land-tax, which, in the year 1792, was at the rate of 2s. 3d. in
About half a mile from East Acton are three wells of mineral
water, springing out of a deep clay, which were in great repute for
their medicinal virtues about the middle of the present century.
The assembly room was then a place of very fashionable resort,
and the neighbouring hamlets of East Acton and Friar's Place were
filled with persons of all ranks, who came to reside there during
the summer season. The wells have long since lost their celebrity,
fashion and novelty having given a preference to springs of the
fame nature at a greater distance from the metropolis. The site of
Acton Wells is the property of the Duke of Devonshire. The assembly room being nearly in ruins, is now about to be converted into
About half a mile to the north of the village, in a field called the
Moated Meadow, is a deep trench, inclosing a parallelogram of
about 100 yards in length, and 40 in breadth, supposed by some
to have been a Roman camp; but the name of the meadow seems
to intimate that it is the site of a moated house, of which there
have been several in the neighbourhood, and some still remain.
Essex's army at Acton.
In November 1642, a few days before the battle of Brentford,
the Lord General (the Earl of Essex) and the Earl of Warwick,
marching with their forces out of London, made Acton the place
of their rendezvous (fn. 2) .
Cromwellmet there by a grand procession.
When Cromwell returned to London after the battle of Worcester,
he was met at this place by the Lord President, the Council of State,
many of the Nobility, the House of Commons, the Lord Mayor,
Aldermen, and Common Council of the city of London, &c. &c.
forming in the whole a train of more than 300 coaches. The Recorder
of London accosted him with a congratulatory speech on the occasion (fn. 3) .
The principal manor of Acton has belonged to the see of London
from time immemorial. As it is not mentioned amongst the lands
of that see in Doomsday-book, I suppose that both this parish and
Ealing were included in the manor of Fulham, which is there said to
contain 40 hides. When the church lands were alienated in the last
century, the manor of Acton seems to have fallen into the hands of
Francis Allen, Esq. who presented to the living in 1656 (fn. 4) .
Peter son of William, son of Alulph, granted to Eustace de Fauconberg (who was consecrated Bishop of London in 1222) 40 acres of
arable land, paying yearly a pound of cummin feed (fn. 5) , which rent was
Mr. Lethieul lier's manor.
There is another manor in this parish called also the manor of Acton, the history of which may be thus deduced:-Peter son of Alulph,
granted to Geoffry de Lucy, Dean of St. Paul's (fn. 6) , his mansion at Acton
under the Wood, with the garden and grove adjoining, and 20 acres
of arable land, held of the King by knight's service. The dean
granted the said premises, together with five acres of land which he had
purchased of Walter de Actune, to the chapter, reserving 51. to be
paid annually towards a chantry which he had founded in St. Paul's
cathedral; viz. 5 marks to a priest to pray for his foul and the fouls
of the late Bishop of London and his successors; 20s. yearly to celebrate his own obit; and a mark to celebrate that of Philip de Fauconberg, Archdeacon of Huntingdon (fn. 7) . The chapter afterwards leased
all this their manor of Acton, with the mansion-house, &c. to
the said Geossry for his life, rendering annually a wax light of
a pound weight (fn. 8) ; and it was ordained that it should always be
held of the chapter by his successors in the deanery (fn. 9) . The
dean and chapter had a charter of free warren in their manor of
Acton 9 Edw. II. (fn. 10) In the year 1544 they granted this manor to
the King (fn. 11) , who immediately gave it to John Lord Russel, Lord Privy
Seal, subject to a fee-farm rent of 34s. (fn. 12) From him it descended to
John Lord Russel, son of Francis Earl of Bedford, whose only child
Anne married Henry Lord Herbert, afterwards Earl of Worcester. It
afterwards descended to a younger branch of his family. After the
death of Henry Somerset, Esq. (fn. 13) . (great grandson of Henry first
Marquis of Worcester, and grandson of Sir John Somerset, Knt.)
it was purchased A. D. 1731, in trust for Benjamin Lethieullier, Esq. M. P. the present proprietor, then an infant. This manor was held of the King in capite, being the 20th part of a
knight's fee (fn. 14) .
Gregory, son of Walter, late rector of Acton, gave (temp. Hen.
III.) three messages with their appurtenances in that parish to the
church of St. Paul, towards the maintenance of a chaplain (fn. 15) . Adam
de Herwynton gave a carucate and a half of land, 7 acres of meadow, 60 acres of pasture, and 40 of wood, held under the bishop
of London, as of his manor of Stortford, to the abbot and convent
of St. Bartholomew in Smithfield, to pray for his good estate whilst
living, and to celebrate his obit after his death (fn. 16) . In Bishop Braybroke's Register (fn. 17) is an agreement of the prior and convent of St.
Bartholomew, to pay a relief to the bishop and his successors on
the election of a new prior. John Chishull, William Stoteville, and
John Harpesfield, 47 Edw. III. gave one tost, 116 acres of arable
land, valued at 2d. per acre ; 5 acres of meadow, valued at 1 s. 6d.
an acre; and 6 acres of wood, to the said convent; which land they
held under the convent at the annual rent of 2 s. or a sparrowhawk (fn. 18) . I suppose the site of this estate to have been at or near the
hamlet called Friar's, or Prior's Place. John de la Wodeton,
51 Edw. III. granted to John Holmes and Isabell his wife, a piece
of land in Acton, called Childesland (fn. 19) . Sir Francis Leake, Knt.
and Christopher Rithe, Esq. were the principal freeholders in this
parish, 17 & 18 Eliz. (fn. 20) Lord Chief Justice Vaughan appears to
have been an inhabitant of this place in 1673 (fn. 21) . William Saville,
Marquis of Halifax, had a feat at Acton, where he died, August 31,
1700 (fn. 22) . His daughters were admitted the next year to the copyhold lands of their late father (fn. 23) ; Lord Halifax's feat was afterwards
the property of Evelyn the first Duke of Kingston. Sir Crisp
Gascoyne, Lord Mayor of London in 1753, had a seat at Turnham Green within this parish (fn. 24) .
The church of Acton, which is dedicated to St. Mary, stands near
the road. It consists of a chancel, nave, and two aisles, separated by
circular pillars and pointed arches; the walls have been rebuilt with
brick, and the windows are modern: at the west end is a square
tower which was newly cased with brick in 1766. The church
underwent considerable repairs in 1780. The font is ancient, supported by four small pillars, and ornamented with Gothic tracery
On the east wall of the chancel are the monuments of Elizabeth,
daughter and heir of Robert Searles, merchant, who died in 1674,
and Francis Stratford, Esq. who died in 1704 (fn. 25) . On the north wall
is the monument of Catherine Viscountess Conway, who died at
her house at Acton, June 30, 1639 (fn. 26) . She was wife of Edward Vifcount Conway, principal Secretary of State to King James and
Charles I. and daughter of Giles Hueriblock of Ghent in Flanders.
She bequeathed a considerable part of her fortune to charitable uses, as
is expressed upon her monument: her benefactions to this place will***
be noticed hereafter. On the fame wall is the monument of
" Philippa, late wife of Francis . . . . Rous . . . . . . . . .,"
who died in 1657, aged 85 (fn. 27) . Francis Rous was created a peer by
Cromwell, and was one of his privy council; his titles have been
erased from the monument by some zealous royalist. Rous died at
his house at Acton, in January 1658-9. The following account of
his funeral and character is taken from a newspaper of that date (fn. 28) :
"Monday the 24th being the day appointed for the interment of
the corpse of the Right Hon. Francis Lord Rouse, it was performed in this manner. The lords of his Highness privy council met at his house at Acton, as also divers of the commissioners
of the admiralty, and of the officers of the army, with many
other persons of honor and quality. His Highness was also pleased
to send several of his gentlemen in coaches with six horses to be
present at the solemnity; three heralds likewise or officers at arms
gave their attendance. The corpse was placed in a carriage covered with a pall of black velvet, adorned with escutcheons, and
drawn with six horses in mourning furniture. The lords of the
council followed it, and the rest in their order, towards Eaton college by Windsor, where the deceased lord, having been provost,
desired he might be interred. The corpse being arrived there, it
was received by the learned society of that college with much
sorrow for the loss of so excellent a governor, and the young
scholars had prepared copies of verses to express their duty and
bear their part of sorrow upon this sad occasion. The body being
taken off the carriage, was born towards the college chapel, four
lords and gentlemen holding up each corner of the pall, and the
whole company following it to the grave. A sermon was preached
afterwards by Mr. Oxenbridge, one of the fellows; and so the
ceremony ended. He needs no monument besides his own printed
works to convey his name to posterity; the other works of his
life may be termed works of charity, wherein he was most exemplary, as the poor in many parts now with tears will tell you.
He hath added three fellowships to Pembroke college, Oxford,
the place of his education, and a good part of the rest of his
estate he by will disposed of to pious uses. He chose to lay his
bones in his college, because the society had his heart, being men
of the same christian temper with himself; and in his testament
he prayed that God would please to continue it (as it is) a famous
nursery of piety and learning. I shall add no more but this, that
his death was an extraordinary loss to his Highness, and good
men in particular, and to the whole nation in general." Others
of his contemporaries give him a very different character: Lord
Clarendon says (fn. 29) , that he was made provost of Eaton, being thought
to have some knowledge of the Latin and Greek tongues, but that
he was in reality a person of a very mean understanding; and
Wood says (fn. 30) , that he was called the illiterate Jew of Eaton. Though
allowance must be made for the prejudices of party writers, it is
certain that Rous's works (fn. 31) are now quite forgotten, and that his
benefaction to Pembroke college is his best monument. Wood
tells us, that the provost of Eaton, in 1661, removed the standard
and escutcheons from his grave. Rous was speaker of the little
parliament. His portrait, with the mace lying before him, is in the
dining-room at Eaton; there is another portrait of him in the hall
at Pembroke college, Oxford; of the latter, there is a scarce print by
Faithorn. On the site of Rous's house at Acton, now stands a
modern mansion called the Bank-house, the property of Samuel
Wegg, Esq. in right of his wife.
Monuments in the church.
To return to the monuments in Acton church:—On the north
wall of the chancel is that of John Peryn, Esq. alderman of
London (fn. 32) , who died in 1656, and left all his estates in Acton to
charitable uses: his bequest to this parish will be noticed in the
account of benefactions. On the same wall are the monuments of
Jonathan Rogers of Chippenham (fn. 33) , who died in 1694; Richard
Dewell, A. M. (1717 (fn. 34) ); Edward Dickinson, Esq. (1782); Edward
Cobden, D. D. rector of Acton, (1764); and his wife Elizabeth
(1762). On the same monument are mentioned Elizabeth, widow
of Thomas Jessop, rector of Wells in Norfolk, and Ann, widow
of John Kay, curate of Acton ; the dates are not inserted. On a
white marble tablet adjoining, is a long epitaph in verse, to the
memory of Mrs. Cobden, written, I suppose, by her husband, some
of whose poems are in print. On the south wall is the monument
of Anne Lady Southwell (fn. 35) , who died in 1636. She was daughter
of Sir Thomas Harris, of the county of Devon; and wife, first,
of Sir Thomas Southwell, Knt. of Pixworth in the county of
Norfolk, and afterwards of Henry Sibthorpe of the province of
Munster. On each side of the monument hangs a wooden tablet,
inscribed with panegyrical verses, of which the following may serve
as a specimen—
"The South wind blew upon a springing Well,
Whose waters flow'd, and the sweet stream did swell
To such a height of goodness," &c. &c. &c.
On the same wall are the monuments of Mary, wife of Philip
Skippon, Esq. who died in 1655 (fn. 36) ; Catherine daughter of Thomas
Henslow (fn. 37) (1680); John Crayle, Esq. (fn. 38) (1728); and Crayle Crayle,
Esq. (1780). Within the rails of the communion-table is a brass
plate with English verses to the memory of " John Byrde, preste
" and person of Acton, fyfty yere and thre;" he died in 1542: there
are also the tombs of three daughters of Sir Charles Scarborough,
(an eminent physician,) who died in 1706 and 1707. In the chancel are also the tombs of Elizabeth Godolphin, daughter of Sir John
Godolphin, (maid of honour to the Queen,) who died in 1683;
Elizabeth wife of Henry Ramsey, Esq. (1689); William James,
Esq. and Col. Roger James (1712); Charles Moren (1733); and
Henry Lloyd, Esq. (1760). In the north-east corner of the nave
is the monument of Daniel Wait, Esq. of the Inner Temple,
secondary of the Chirographer's office, who died in 1677, and his
wife Anne, (afterwards married to Sir John Coryton, Bart.) who died
in 1707 (fn. 39) . On one of the north pillars of the nave is the monument of
Frances, daughter of Samuel Trotman (fn. 40) , (by his wife Elizabeth, only
daughter of William Montagu Baron of the Exchequer,) of Siston
in the county of Gloucester, who died in 1698. On the wall of
the north aisle is a brass plate to the memory of Humphrey Cavell,
Esq. who died in 1558 (fn. 41) . In the same aisle is the tomb of Edward
Smyth, Esq. who died in 1724. In the south aisle are the monuments of Barbara, wife of Henry Pigot, Gent. who died in 1649;
Martha, wife of James Cocks, Esq. and daughter of Admiral Watson, who died in 1790; Robert Adair, Esq. who died the same year;
and the Right Hon. Lady Caroline Adair his wife, daughter of
William Anne Earl of Albemarle, who died in 1769. There is a
bust of the latter in white marble. In the same aisle is the tomb of
Col. James Cunningham, who served in all Queen Anne's wars, and
died in 1774, at the age of 83.
Weever mentions the tomb of Henry Gosse, who died in 1485,
and that of Sir Thomas Cornwall, Baron of Bursord in the county
of Salop, Knight and Banneret, who died in 1537. He adds,
that he was not a parliamentary baron, but his family were so denominated, as holding their manor of Burford by service of a barony.
He died at Acton on his journey into Shropshire (fn. 42) .
In the church-yard are the tombs of William Aldridge, who died
in 1698, aged 115; Thomas Chettle, Gent. (1746); Mrs. Elizabeth
Turst, the wife of Philip Elias Turst, Esq. (1768); Martin Bulmer
(1774); Mrs. Ann Way, widow (1777); William Church, merchant (1783); William Villebois of Knightsbridge, Esq. (1784),
and others of his family; Charles Shephard (1787); and John
Hemming, adjutant of the thirteenth regiment of foot, 1788. The
church-yard was enlarged in 1792.
This parish is subject to the jurisdiction of the bishop only, and
his commissary, being exempt from that of the archdeacon. The
church is a rectory, being in the collation of the Bishop of London,
who appears sometimes to have granted single turns of the advowson;
J. Fregunnel, LL.D. having presented to it in 1542, and John
Mayle, Esq. in 1562 (fn. 4) . At the taxation of the diocese of London
A. D. 1327 the church of Acton was valued at 20 marks (fn. 44) .
In the king's books the rectory is valued at 14l. per ann.
Rectors. Daniel Featly.
Daniel Featly, of whom some account is given in the parish of
Lambeth, was instituted to this rectory in 1627. After the battle
of Brentford in 1642, some soldiers belonging to the Earl of Essex's
army being quartered at Acton, and hearing that Dr. Featly was
very exact in observing the ceremonies of the church of England,
went in search of him with bitter threats. He had timely notice of
their intention, and made his escape; but they gratified their resentment by setting his barn on fire, and doing other damage to the
amount of 211l. (fn. 45) : they then went to the church, broke open the
door, pulled down the font, broke the windows, and tore up the
communion rails, which they burnt in the street (fn. 46) . Col. Urry took
up his quarters at the parsonage house (fn. 47) . In 1643, Featly was
deprived both of this living and Lambeth. His successor at this place
was Philip Nye, appointed by the parliament; he was one of the
assembly of divines, and a great champion of the Presbyterian party,
in defence of which he wrote several treatises. He afterwards joined
the Independents, and was one of the commissioners sent to Charles
the First in the Isle of Wight, for which service he received 500l.
In 1653, he was one of the triers of public preachers. He made
himself particularly obnoxious to the royal party; and it was debated
whether he should not be excepted out of the general pardon. It
was at length determined, that if in future he accepted any office,
either civil or ecclesiastical, he should then be precluded from the
benefits of the pardon (fn. 48) . Butler in his Hudibras has celebrated
Philip Nye in the following lines—
" With greater art and cunning rear'd
Than Philip Nye's thanksgiving beard."
A note in Dr. Grey's edition (fn. 49) of that poem, informs us, that
Nye was very remarkable for the singularity of his beard; and adds,
that he rode to Acton every Lord's-day in triumph, in a coach drawn
by four horses, to exercise there (fn. 50) . In 1650, John Nye was an
assistant at this church, and received half the profits of the living,
which was then valued at 200l. per annum (fn. 51) .
After the restoration, King Charles II. appointed to this living
Bruin or Bruno Ryves, one of his chaplains, and Dean of Chicester.
He was author of the Mercurius Rusticus (being an account of the
sufferings of the royalists in various parts of the country) and several
sermons (fn. 52) .
Edward Cobden, collated to the rectory of Acton in the year 1726,
was chaplain to Bishop Gibson, who gave him the archdeaconry of
London, and a prebend in St. Paul's cathedral. Dr. Cobden was
one of the late king's chaplains; and in the year 1748, preached a
sermon at court, the subject of which furnished ample matter for
ridicule to the wits of that day: it was a persuasive to chastity,
under which title the Doctor soon afterwards published it, observing in
the preface, that it had given occasion to unjust censures. Dr. Cobden the same year published a volume of poems for the benefit of
his curate's widow; and in 1757, he collected together all his works,
consisting of various poems and discourses, and published them in
one large volume in quarto, divided into two parts; he printed only
250 copies, 50 of which were appropriated to charitable uses (fn. 53) . Dr.
Cobden died in 1764.
The present rector is the Reverend Philip Cocks, A.M. who, in the
year 1768, succeeded George Berkeley, LL. B. son of the celebrated
Bishop of Cloyne.
The parsonage house was built by Mr. Hall just before his death,
which occasioned his successor Cobden to inscribe on one of the
"Hæc vix extruxit dominus dum tecta reliquit,
Sic vos non vobis," &c. &c. &c.
Richard Baxter, the celebrated non-conformist divine, resided many
years in this parish after the restoration: his house was near the
church (fn. 54) , where he constantly attended divine service, and sometimes
preached, having a licence for so doing, provided he uttered nothing
against the doctrines of the church of England (fn. 55) . Sir Matthew Hale
was his contemporary at Acton, and lived in habits of intimacy
with him (fn. 56) .
The parish register commences in 1539.
||Average of baptisms.
||Average of burials.
Comparative state of population.
The early part of the register I found not sufficiently accurate to enable me to take an average of a greater number of years in the sixteenth
century; nor could I get an average of baptisms for 1680–1689.
The burials at Acton have uniformly exceeded the baptisms, which
is to be attributed to the number of strangers there interred. In the
years 1730 and 1731, 154 persons were buried, of which number 51
were brought from other parishes. It appears by the chantry roll
in the Augmentation-office (temp. Edw. VI.) that there were at that
time 158 howselyng people, that is, communicants, in the parish of
Acton (fn. 57) . In the year 1670, there were 88 houses assessed towards
affording relief to maimed soldiers. In this assessment were included
houses of 2l. per annum rent. The present number of houses in
Acton is about 240.
In 1603, there were 31 burials; in 1625, 38.
Extracts from the Register.
"Elizabeth Lady Sutton, wife of Sir Richard, buried Aug. 19,
"Sir John Ashfield, Knt. buried Nov. 3, 1638." Sir John Ashfield, Knt. and Bart. married Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Sir
Richard Sutton, and relict of Sir James Altham. Lady Ashfield
held 210 acres of land in this parish in the year 1649.
"Sir John Webb, buried Jan. 27, 1639–40."
"Tuesday, 5th of April 1655, Richard Meredith, Esq. eldest son
of Sir William Meredith of Leedes, in the county of Kent, Bart. was
married unto Mrs. Susanna Skippon, daughter to the Right
Honourable Major Generall Philip Traytor (fn. 58) Skippon, by Sir John Thorowgood, Knave in a public congregation, within the parish church
at Acton, in the county of Middlesex; Mr. Philip Nye at the
same time praying and teaching upon this occasion."
"Mary the wiffe of the Phillip Mager Gennerall
Scipon, traytor was buried in the chancill of Acton, the 31st of January
Skippon was one of the most active of the parliamentary generals:
in his youth he had served with much reputation in the Netherlands,
under the Prince of Orange. In 1642, having declared his adherence
to the parliament, he was made major general of all their forces under
the Earl of Essex: the next year he took Graston-house, and signalized himself in various actions during the war; as a reward for which
he was made governor of Bristol and of Newcastle (fn. 59) . He was afterwards appointed marshal general of the forces in Ireland, and had a
grant of 1000l. per ann. till forfeited estates of that value should be
settled on him. Skippon refused to be one of the king's judges.
Cromwell created him a peer. The time of his death is uncertain, but
it appears that he was living at the restoration (fn. 60) . His house at
Acton was near the church. In the year 1686, his son Sir Philip
Skippon, the same it is probable who accompanied Mr. Ray in his
travels upon the continent (fn. 61) , sold it to Sir Hele Hooke, Bart. The
house appears to have been built in the year 1638, by Sir Henry
Garway, and is now the property of James Stratton, Esq. It has
passed through various hands during the present century. Lady
Derwentwater is said to have resided there at the time of her
Sir Matthew Hale.
"Mr. Bishop, buried from the Lord Chief Baron Haile's, Oct.
13, 1670." The learned and excellent Sir Matthew Hale, afterwards
Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench, had a country seat at
Acton. Tradition says, that he was proprietor of Mr. Stratton's
house, which formerly belonged to Major General Skippon: his
name is not to be found in the title-deeds ; but it is not improbable
that he was Sir Philip Skippon's tenant. Bowacke, who wrote an account of this place in 1705, says, that the memory of Sir Matthew
Hale was still dear to the town: he adds, that his house, which was
situated near the church, was then pulled down (fn. 62) . Mr. Stratton's
house appears to have been in a great measure rebuilt about that
"The right worshipful Sir Thomas Coock was buried in the
chancel belonging to the parish church of Acton, Aug. 6, 1678."
"The right worshipful Sir John Godolfin was buried in the
chancel belonging to the parish church of Acton, Aug. 3, 1679."
Lloyd Bishop of Norwich.
"Edward, son of the Right Hon. and Right Rev. William Floyd,
Bishop of Peterborough, and the Lady Anne his wife, baptised
April 20, 1680." Their daughter Hannah was baptised July 25,
1682. William Floyd or Lloyd, afterwards Bishop of Norwich, was
deprived at the revolution for not taking the oaths.
Instance of longevity.
"William Aldridge, wheelwright, was buried the 21st day of November, 1698, aged 114 years." A portrait of this venerable old
man, from which the annexed engraving was taken, is in the possession
of his great-grandson Mr. Thomas Aldridge, vestry clerk of the
parish; it was taken two years before he died.
William Aldridge, aged 112
"1707, Aug. 12, baptised Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev. Dr.
Willis, Dean of Lincoln." He was afterwards successively
Bishop of Gloucester, Salisbury, and Winchester.
"Mrs. Elizabeth Barry was buried in the parish church of Acton,
in the south oyle, under the end of Madam Lamb's pew, being att
the uper end between the two pillers; she was buried the 12th day
of November 1713."—Elizabeth Barry was daughter of a gentleman of an ancient family and good estatc, which was so much injured
during the civil war, that his children were obliged to make their
own fortunes. His daughter Elizabeth was taken under the protection of Lady Davenant, a widow lady, by whom she was recommended to Sir William Davenant, the patentee of the theatre in
Lincoln's-inn-fields: her first efforts were unsuccessful; but afterwards, by the instructions of the celebrated Earl of Rochester, she
became the most eminent actress that the stage had then seen. She
first distinguished herself by acting Isabella, in the tragedy of
Mustapha, and was thought to excel very much in personating
Queen Elizabeth, and in the character of Roxana (fn. 63) . Mrs. Barry's
last appearance was April 8, 1709, when she acted in the play of
Love for Love, (which was performed for Betterton's benefit,)
and spoke the epilogue. This was three years after she had retired
from the stage. The following inscription is on a marble tablet
affixed to a pillar between the south aisle and the nave of Acton
church. "Near this place lies the body of Elizabeth Barry, of the
parish of St. Mary, Savoy, who departed this life the 7th of
November 1713. Aged 55 years."
"1714, The Right Honourable. John Earl of Marr and the
Lady Frances, daughter of the most noble Marquis of Dorchester,
were married July 20."
"Sir Thomas Travel, Knt. buried Feb. 6, 1723–4."
"Sir Henry Heron, Bart. buried Feb. 26, 1748–9."
"Elizabeth, daughter of Captain Philip Thicknesse and Lady
Elizabeth his wife, baptized Aug. 24, 1750." Of the eccentricities and genius of Philip Thicknesse, his contemporaries need not
be told; as he has published several ingenious works, and written
memoirs of his own life, it is probable they will not be unknown to
posterity. Being of an unsettled disposition he frequently changed
the place of his abode. This may serve as a memorandum that he
once resided at Acton. He died in France in the month of November 1792. Lady Elizabeth was daughter of the Earl of Castlehaven, from whom Capt. Thicknesse's eldest son inherits the ancient
barony of Audley.
"Robert Adair, Esq. buried March 24, 1790". Mr. Adair was a
surgeon of considerable eminence, and held some of the most honourable and lucrative appointments in his profession, being at the
time of his death inspector general of the hospitals, and surgeon of
the Royal Hospital at Chelsea. In the year 1759, he married Lady
Caroline, daughter of William Anne Earl of Albemarle, by whom
he left one son and two daughters.
Instances of longevity.
"Dec. 6, 1761, buried Margaret Fieldhouse, aged 100 and
"Sept. 4, 1762, buried Mary Hill, aged 100."
Alice Dudley's benefaction.
Alice Dudley, created Duchess Dudley by Charles I. gave, says
Dugdale (fn. 64) , certain massy pieces of plate to the church of Acton in
Middlesex. The following extracts from the churchwardens accounts
refer to this benefaction:
|"Paid for a pottle of canary wyne for the ryngers, when
the Lady Dudley brought the plate which she gave to the church
|"Laid out when we went to give the Lady Dudley thanks
for the plate for our dinner, and other expences for 5
persons and their horses
|"Paid to David King for two journies to carry the plate
to be consecrated, and afterwards to bring it home, for his own expence and his horses
|"1640. Given to the Lady Dudlie's men when they brought
the carpet which she gave the church
It does not appear whether Lady Dudley resided at Acton, or
what connection she had with the parish. She was wife of the
celebrated Sir Robert Dudley, made Duke of Northumberland by the
Singular benesaction of Mr. Dickinson
Lady Conway, in the year 1636, left 20l. per annum to this
parish, 10l. of which was to be distributed to the poor at Christmas
and Midsummer, and the other 10l. was appropriated to teaching 6
poor children to read, and distributing bread to 21 poor persons every
Sunday. She left the sum of 20l. per annum also towards apprenticing children. Her executrix, Mary Harrison, left 8 s. per annum
to the like purposes. John Peryn, Esq. and alderman of London,
by his will, dated 1656, bequeathed a capital messuage called Fosters,
and all his estate in East Acton, consisting of above 100 acres of
land, besides several crofts and closes, to the goldsmiths company, in
trust for charitable uses; out of this estate 10l. per annum was to be
paid to the poor of East Acton, to be distributed quarterly at the
discretion of the churchwardens. Henry Ramsey, Esq. in 1693,
left 10l. per annum, issuing out of a house in Holborn, to be
distributed to the poor at Christmas and Midsummer. Mrs. Sarah
Crayle, in 1730, bequeathed the sum of 300l. to purchase lands,
the produce of which was to be thus appropriated: 40s. for a sermon, 61. to be distributed in bread, and the remainder in money. Mrs.
Ann Crayle, in 1759, left 700l. Bank stock 3 per cent. consol. the
interest of which was to be expended thus: 40s. for a sermon, 5s. for
the clerk and sexton, 40s. for a dinner, 12l. 3 s. for clothing 6 poor
men and 6 women, and the remainder to be distributed in coals to
persons not receiving alms. Edward Dickinson, Esq. in 1781, bequeathed a third part of the interest of 5000l. (3 per cent. consol.)
to be distributed annually among three poor couples, (being deemed
labouring, honest, industrious, and sober persons,) who shall have
been married in Acton church during the preceding year ; the remainder of the interest was left to the parishes of St. John and
St. Margaret, Westminster, to be appropriated to the same purpose.
Rebecca Bulmer, in 1789, left the interest of 600l. 4 per cent. to
be divided amongst eight poor families, being housekeepers, not receiving alms.
At the entrance of Acton, on the London side, is a convenient
conduit, made for the benefit of the public, and endowed by Thomas Thorney in the year 1612, with a rent-charge of 20s. per annum to keep it in repair; the overplus to be distributed to the poor.
The parish were in danger of losing this valuable benefaction, when
it was recovered by the timely exertions of Samuel Wegg, Esq.
who, at a considerable expence, instituted a suit in Chancery; and,
in the year 1755, obtained a decree in favour of the parish. Mr.
Wegg, a few years before, had purchased a house which belonged
to Sir Joseph Ayloffe, Bart.
It appears by the inventory of goods, plate, &c. (fn. 65) belonging to
the different parishes in Middlesex, (I Edw. VI.) that this parish
had half an acre of arable ground, then valued at 8d. per annum.
The parish has lately purchased some small houses upon a spot of
ground called the Steine, to be used as alms-houses, in the room of
some others which were built at the parish expence in 1725, and
are now decayed.