Survey of London: Volume 8, Shoreditch. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1922.
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By far the larger part of that portion of the parish of Shoreditch which lies to the north of Old Street and Hackney Road was formerly included in Hoxton, which comprised not only all the land west of Kingsland Road as far as the parish boundary, but also as much of that lying to the east of that thoroughfare as was not included in Haggerston. It seems probable that in early times the name applied to an even larger area, for the fact that the manor of Hoxton (fn. 1) seems to have originally lain entirely in Hackney, points to a former northward extension of the name.
There are very few ancient instances of the name Hoxton, the only two really early examples being:
(i) Hochestone, which occurs in Domesday (1086), and
(ii) Hocston, which is used in a fine of 1220–1. (fn. 2)
It seems probable that, as in so many other instances, the name is formed from the A.S. tun (a fortified enclosure, village, manor) compounded with the genitive of the name of a person. (fn. 3)
At the time of the Conquest the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's held two estates (fn. 4) in Hoxton, one of which was dignified with the title of manor. This, no doubt, was coincident with or included the prebendal manor of Hoxton, (fn. 5) while the prebendal manor of Eald Street may represent the other.
With the exception of a few houses at the south end of Kingsland Road, the population of the village of Hoxton seems in ancient times to have been concentrated along the village street (Hoxton Street). Many of the houses seem to have been of good size, and even as late as the second half of the 17th century, when Hoxton Square had become the favoured quarter, Hoxton Street contained many good houses. In earlier times it had contained the residences of many well-to-do, and some eminent, persons. (fn. 6) The Portuguese Ambassador was living there in 1568, although unfortunately it has not been found possible to identify the house. This residence on one occasion provided the parish with a little healthy excitement, causing the parish constable to stand "in greate feare off his liffe. (fn. 7)
It has been found convenient to deal with Hoxton in three sections: (i) that part lying east of Kingsland Road, (ii) the part lying between Kingsland Road and Hoxton Street, and (iii) the part west of Hoxton Street.
(i) Hoxton, east of Kingsland Road.
It has proved a task of more than usual difficulty to ascertain the facts concerning this part of the parish, and the result is far from complete. Nevertheless, sufficient information has been obtained to enable the general history of the district to be traced. It is proposed to deal first with the frontage to Kingsland Road from the corner of Hackney Road, as to which Stow states (fn. 8) that, at the beginning of the 17th century, it was built on "more than a good flight shoote, towardes Kingesland."
On 7th September, 1602, Anne Mayowe sold (fn. 9) to William Muschamp four messuages and a three-acre close. The latter is dealt with below. The former were the Green Lattice, with a garden; the Smith's House, divided into five tenements; the Saracen's Head (fn. 10); and the house "sometymes called the Clarkes house, and nowe knowne by the name or signe of the Spread Eagle." The present Nos. 2 and 4, Kingsland Road, occupy a portion of the site of the Smith's House. (fn. 11)
North of these premises were six houses, sold on 4th August, 1649, by George and John Cressenor to Mary Playsted, (fn. 12) and described as bounded on the south by the land of William Muschamp. The eastern boundary was the land of "Master Hill, scrivener," (fn. 13) and the northern the land "now or heretofore of William Sydom." The houses occupied a site 66 feet square.
By his will, (fn. 14) dated 5th October, 1549, Thomas Armerer left to his wife, Anne, for life "sixe tenementes . . . lately purchased of . . . Mr. Thomas Marrowe," with reversion to Nicholas Appleton. The latter's will (fn. 15) is dated 1st May, 1559. By it he left to his wife, Sisley, "my sixe tenementes at the church ende to helpe to bring upp my children withall," with proviso that on reaching the age of 21 his son, William, should have the four nearest houses and his son, Stephen, the "two furtherest." On 20th January, 1582–3, Stephen sold, (fn. 16) to Richard Grymes, the two "furthiest," described as abutting west on the Queen's highway, east on the orchard or ground occupied by Robert Borne, and north by the oatmeal mill.
The oatmeal mill was a little later in the possession of William Siddon, for on 31st March, 1601, Richard Martin sold (fn. 17) to Henry Siddon and William, his son, a messuage and the " oatemeale myll," described as on the east side of the highway. Inasmuch as Mary Playsted's houses were also bounded on the north by the property of William Siddon, there seems a case for identifying them with the six houses of Appleton. (fn. 18) We may therefore tentatively assume that the order, south to north, ran (i) Muschamp's houses, (ii) Playsted's houses, (iii) Siddon's houses.
It seems likely that the same oatmeal mill is referred to in the sale (fn. 19) by John and Thomas Austen, on 1st April, 1608, to Cuthbert and Richard Burbage (fn. 20) of a house and garden, abutting on the tenement of William King, oatmeal maker, south, the street from London to Ware west, and that from Hackney to London east. The premises can be traced for a century and a half, (fn. 21) but their exact position cannot be ascertained. The fact that they reached from one highway to the other suggests that they must have been south of the open space marked "Thornhill" in Chassereau's Map. This places their northern limit in the neighbourhood of the present Bernales Buildings, about 220 feet north of the corner of Hackney Road.
The next property to be dealt with is Copt Hall. On 6th September, 1502, John Austen sold (fn. 22) to Edward Hales, a messuage, called Copt Hall, with gardens, meadows, etc., and forty years later Marcelyn Hales transferred to Thomas Armerer the close called Copt Hall, on the east side of the King's highway, and another close of 4½ acres. (fn. 23) Armerer died in 1549–50, leaving (fn. 24) "the close called the Copte Hall close, and twoo acres and a half of land lyeng in Huntes Hill . . . whereof one acre . . . and a half I purchased of Thomas Marrowe, Esquyer, and Alice, his wyf, etc." (fn. 25) to his wife Anne, for life, with reversion to John Haryong, and on 17th December, 1555, Anne and John sold (fn. 26) the premises (Copthall close = 2 acres, and close in Hunts Hill = 2½ acres) to John Mery, who seems to have parted with them (and other property) in 1560 (fn. 27) to Simon Burton. From him they apparently passed to his cousin, Simon Waterson. In 1653 John and Isabel Waterson sold to Thomas Webb three messuages and five acres of land. (fn. 28) Webb died in 1662, leaving all his freehold property in Shoreditch to Christ's Hospital for the maintenance and education of three (afterwards six) children belonging to Shoreditch. (fn. 29) These lands are identified by Dr. Denne with "Copthall in Church End," and Chassereau's Map (Plate 1.) shows them lying in three portions (fn. 30) between Kingsland and Hackney Roads.
The same authority shows Copt Hall yard, probably the site of Copt Hall, as entering Kingsland Road on the site of Union Street, and Christ's Hospital property at the present day extends as far south as the rear of the houses on the south side of Union Street.
Another part of Simon Burton's property (probably also purchased from Mery) can be identified with some exactness. By his will, (fn. 31) dated 17th May, 1593, he left to St. Thomas's Hospital his two closes of land and meadow, containing 3½ acres, between "Hargastone Lane leadinge from Kingeslande," east; lands of Roger Haryong, west; the highway leading from Hackney, south; and "the towne of Hargastone towardes the north." The land is marked B on Chassereau's Map. The lands of Roger Haryong are evidently in the main those marked "Ingram L." (fn. 32) In another part of this volume particulars are given of the property mortgaged by Roger Haryong in 1565 (fn. 33) which eventually came into the hands of Ingram. Included were 13 acres of pasture "lying in certeine severalls in Hoxton . . . whereof six acres . . . do lie in a feild there called Nicholl feild; (fn. 34) and one close thereof conteyning . . . three acres . . . is called Crabtreefeild, and one other feild residue thereof is called the Foure Acres, all three lying on the east syde of the highway leadinge to Ware." (fn. 35)
Coming south, the next property in Chasseraeau is marked "Pippit L." This was included in the five messuages, three orchards and six acres of land in Shoreditch and Holy Trinity Minories sold by John and Mary Pascall to John Millington in 1622. (fn. 36) Thirty years later, the latter's son and heir, John, sold (fn. 37) it to Thomas Austen under the description of a close, "heretofore two severall closes" containing 5 acres "abutting on ye lands . . . of Henry Stevens [i.e., the Roger Haryong property] on ye north and west partes, ye lands now or sometymes of one John Stanes on ye south, a parcell of land now or sometymes belonging to St. Thomas Hospitall in Southwarke on ye east parte."
The premises sold by Anne Mayowe to William Muschamp (fn. 38) in 1602 included "three acres of land or pasture . . . now severed and divided, wherein brick is now made." This was alienated in three portions. First was a plot (marked D on Chassereau) containing one rood and thirtythree perches, sold (fn. 39) by William Muschamp to the parish authorities in 1625 for the purposes of a burial ground. (fn. 40) On 10th October, 1654, Edmund Muschamp, great-grandson of William, sold (fn. 41) to Thomas Muschamp the remainder of the close, said to be 2½ acres, "lying neere a feild there called Nicolls Feild, betweene a lane there called Collyer Lane, leading to Hackney on the east parte . . . and the new churchyard on the south parte." In 1657 it was resold to Edmond, who disposed of it in two portions. On 16th August, 1659, he sold (fn. 42) to William Bevin and Christopher Raymond a piece 131 feet north and south, and 120 feet east and west, with four brick messuages lately built thereon by Bevin. On 28th May, 1660, he sold (fn. 43) to Constance Waddington a new-built messuage, and a parcel of meadow or pasture ground of 2 acres, abutting east on Collier Lane and south on the land of Bevin, and on 8th April, 1689, Thomas Waddington, son of Constance, and others disposed (fn. 44) of the premises to Francis Tyssen, in whose family they continued for very many years. The ground is described as "heretofore meadow or pasture ground, now used for garden ground, being for the most part walled in with a brick wall, containing two acres." Chassereau's Map shows the property as "Tyssen, Esq." The whole of Muschamp's three acres can therefore be identified as reaching from a point about 40 feet north of Union Street to the rear of the premises on the south side of Harman Street.
The history of the property lying immediately south of Copt Hall Close on the Hackney Road frontage is uncertain. On the one hand the land south of Copt Hall Close is stated in the transfer from Anne Armerer to John Mery in 1555 to belong to Thomas and Alice Marrowe, which certainly suggests that it had been part of the estate of Richard Haryong, Alice's father. On the other hand, it is quite certain that the priory of Holywell owned land in this quarter, and the description of a two-acre close belonging to the priory as "abuttyng upon the lane theyre called Colyer Lane on the este and on the highway ledying from London unto Ware on the west and upon a close of Mastelyn Hales on the north," (fn. 45) answers to the land required. (fn. 46)
As regards the Kingsland Road frontage north of Copt Hall, it may be mentioned that in the same sale by Anne Armerer Copt Hall Close is said to be bounded on the north partly by the lands of Sir Thomas Chaloner, and the close north of Copt Hall Close is said to lie "next to the landes of the saide Sir Thomas Chaloner towardes the west." Chaloner had married the widow of Sir Thomas Legh, and the lands in question were probably part of the property belonging to Holywell Priory, which had come into Legh's hands. At the present time the Christ's Hospital estate only reaches the main road at its extreme south-west, and the priory property presumably lay somewhere north of this. In this connection it is to be noticed that in the early part of the 18th century Henry Hunt was in possession of the site of Geffrye's almshouses, (fn. 47) and of three messuages and two closes containing two acres, extending southward from the almshouses along the side of the high road. (fn. 48) Henry Hunt had married Katherine, one of the daughters and heiresses of William Wall (d. 1676). Among the property mentioned in the inquisition (fn. 49) held after the death of William Wall the elder, grandfather of the younger William, are a parcel or close of land called Grinings, containing 3½ acres, and a close called Pingells containing one acre. Both are said to be held of the King in chief by knight's service, a circumstance which suggests that they were originally monastic property. Combining this with the fact that Hunt's property seems to occupy the site of the lands of Sir Thomas Chaloner, i.e., of Sir Thomas Legh, it seems clear that it is to be identified with the three acres in St. Nicholas Field (i.e., Nicholl Field) included among Legh's possessions. (fn. 50)
As will be seen from Chassereau's Map (Plate 1) building in this district was, in the middle of the 18th century, confined to the corner of Kingsland and Hackney Roads and to the frontage of the former thoroughfare, and the foregoing narrative will have made it clear that but little could have existed north of Copt Hall Yard (Union Street) before the beginning of that century. Horwood's map of 1799 shows that by the end of the century it had extended along the frontage of Hackney Road, and that the greater portion of the interior of the tongue of land lying between Kingsland and Hackney Roads had then been built upon.