A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 8, Islington and Stoke Newington Parishes. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Daniel Bull (or Ball), rector of Stoke Newington 1657-60, remained in the parish after his ejection at the Restoration, (fn. 54) to become the Presbyterian minister of a community centered on Church Street and patronized by the Hartopps and Fleetwoods. Meetings were held at Sir John Hartopp's house (fn. 55) and, in 1672, at the houses of Thomas Stock's widow and of Daniel Bull. (fn. 56)
Among those indicated in 1686 for attending unlawful conventicles were the Hartopps, Fleetwoods, and John Gould or Gold, a London mercer. The conventicles were held at the houses of Thomas Spenser, a London tallow chandler, and of Elizabeth Bagby, both probably in Church Street. (fn. 57) The congregation described itself as one of protestant dissenters in the 18th century. (fn. 58) There was a tendency towards Unitarianism in the early 19th century but by 1846 the members called themselves Independents and in 1873 they joined the London Congregational Union. (fn. 59)
A second congregation of nonconformists grew up after the Restoration at Newington Green, where several dissenting academies opened (fn. 60) and where, in 1672, meetings were licensed at the houses of Samuel Lee, Mr. Barker, and George Thwing. (fn. 61) Charles Morton and James Ashurst, who had been ejected from his fellowship of Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1660, were first ministers (fn. 62) and early preachers included Samuel Lee in 1672 and Edward Terry, both ejected ministers, and William Wickens in 1690; (fn. 63) John Starkey was minister at Newington Green in 1690. (fn. 64) A permanent meeting house was built on the north side of the green in 1708. Although three ministers between 1727 and 1757 conformed to the Church of England, the chapel remained Presbyterian. The intellectual tradition established by its connexion with the dissenting academies continued throughout the 18th century. Several ministers were also librarians of Dr. William's library and others kept schools. Richard Price, minister 1758-91, writer and friend of Joseph Priestley, Benjamin Franklin, and the Aikin family, (fn. 65) was a founder member of the Unitarian Society and the chapel thereafter became Unitarian. (fn. 66) Ministers included Anna Letitia Aikin's husband Rochemont Barbauld (d. 1808) and Thomas Cromwell, antiquarian author and minister 1839-64, and among the congregation were the poet Samuel Rogers (d. 1855) and the microscopist Andrew Pritchard (d. 1882), who was treasurer of the chapel 1850-72. (fn. 67)
In 1698 Quakers established a fortnightly meeting as a constituent of Peel monthly meeting in the house of Robert Walburton, gardener, in Stoke Newington. By 1716, however, attendance had declined to 8 or 10 and in 1734 the house where they met was taken over as a parish workhouse, although Quakers continued to pay rent until 1741. (fn. 68) There were five or six families of Quakers in 1782 and seven or eight by 1820. (fn. 69) Most lived in Paradise Row in Church Street and were wealthy City merchants. (fn. 70) In 1827, concerned that so many of its members had moved to Stoke Newington. Gracechurch Street monthly meeting held a joint meeting with Peel monthly meeting to consider establishing a new meeting house, and in 1828 a Quaker meeting house was built in Park Street, off Church Street. (fn. 71)
Other early nonconformists included dissenters meeting at the houses of William Spilsworth in 1706 and of Mary Hartopp in 1734. (fn. 72) Isaac Watts (d. 1748) spent the last 13 years of his life at Abney House, (fn. 73) where he was visited by protestants of all kinds, including John Wesley in 1738 (fn. 74) and George Whitefield in 1739. (fn. 75) John Asty, the dissenting clergyman, spent the first years of his ministry in the early 18th century with the Fleetwood family, (fn. 76) and Whitefield also visited Fleetwood House in 1739. The crowds of about 20,000 in Newington, however, to whom Whitefield preached several times in 1739 were probably at Newington common in Hackney. (fn. 77) It was estimated in 1782 that nearly a quarter of the families in Stoke Newington were protestant dissenters. (fn. 78) The proportion increased during the 19th century. A room over a coachhouse belonging to the Falcon in Church Street was used as a meeting house from c. 1796 to c. 1816. (fn. 79) Meeting places were licensed for worship by Independents at Stoke Newington in 1812 and 1813, by Calvinists in 1818, by Wesleyans in 1843, (fn. 80) and by unspecified dissenters in 1811 and 1816, although the last may have been in Hackney parish. (fn. 81) A meeting house for Calvinistic Methodists had opened recently in 1816. (fn. 82) Two of these early chapels were in courts off High Street, respectively north and south of its junction with Church Street. (fn. 83) Salem Baptist chapel, after 1858 in Bouverie Road, claimed to have been founded in 1838, and the Welsh Congregational chapel in Barrett's Grove dated its foundation to 1846 or 1848. The only places of worship recorded in 1851, however, were Abney (Congregational), Newington Green (Unitarian), and Park Street (Quaker) chapels, all long established, and the newer Salem (Baptist) and Primitive Methodist chapels. Nonconformists accounted for 59 per cent of the attendances at worship on census Sunday 1851. (fn. 84)
Rivalry with the established Church was sharpened during the later 19th century by Anglo-Catholic activity among the poor in the southern part of Stoke Newington and especially in the detached parts of South Hornsey. (fn. 85) The rapid increase in population was accompained by a growth in all nonconformist denominations, some 10 chapels and missions opening and 1 closing during the period 1838-70 and 19 opening and 8 closing in 1871-1903, while other chapels were rebuilt or enlarged. By 1903 there were 16 chapels and 6 halls belonging to protestant nonconformists, who formed some 58 per cent of those attending worship on census day. Although numbers did not keep pace with the expanding population, nonconformity was 'vigorously in the ascendant'. The Methodists (32 per cent of nonconformist attendances) were the most numerous, followed by the Baptists (28 per cent), Congregationalists (13 per cent), Salvation Army (9 per cent), and Presbyterians (6 per cent). (fn. 86)
In the 20th century there was a decline, as middle-class supporters of the older denominations were displaced by working-class and Jewish populations from the East End. In the period 1904-39 only six places of worship, mostly mission halls, opened and at least six closed, several of them to become synagogues. Many chapels were damaged during the Second World War. Some did not reopen, and when others were rebuilt it was usually on a smaller scale. The decline of the old denominations was not accompanied by any great expansion of newer, pentecostalist sects, in spite of the growth of a West Indian population, many of whom were Rastafarians.
For abbreviations used in the accounts of protestant nonconformist churches, see above, p. 103. Attendance figures for 1903 are from Mudie-Smith, Rel. Life, 161-2.
CONGREGATIONALISTS. Abney chapel, (fn. 87) traditionally dating foundation to 1662, originated in mtgs. after Declaration of Indulgence, 1672. Mtg. ho. on N. side Church Street demol. c. 1700 to make way for Abney Ho. (fn. 88) Replaced by another c. 1706 farther W. near junction with Barn Street: (fn. 89) single-storeyed plain bldg. with tiled roof and wooden addition, seating 140 before gallery added. (fn. 90) Chapel supported by lds. of man., especially by Lady Abney and protege Isaac Watts, who preached there. Controversy when Martin Tomkins (min. 1709-18) dismissed for Arianism. Decline in early 19th cent. and only 12 members 1814 but recovery by 1838 when new chapel opened S. side Church Street, opposite Abney Ho. Largest of all places of worship in par. 1838, with accommodation for 1,000. (fn. 91) Attendance 1851: 797 a.m.; 70 aft.; 541 evg. (fn. 92) Bldg. with pediment and twin pillared entrances with Ionic capitals before frontage altered by large Corinthian portico 1862; (fn. 93) further enlargements 1873, 1877, 1882. (fn. 94) Opened mission in Standford Lane, Hackney, 1878. Membership increased from 174 (1839) to 250 (1850), 500 (1884), and 600 (1895). Attendance 1903: 489 a.m., 425 p.m., when described as strongest place in district, and especially active in social mission work in Hackney. (fn. 95) Decline to 375 members (1914), 100 (1930) when forced to sell mission hall, 43 (1943), and 24 (1951). (fn. 96) Extensive war damage. New brick ch. seating 250 built in shell of old bldg. 1957. Old lecture hall leased for factory use since end of war. Youth club in rebuilt vestry, 40 members (1962). (fn. 97)
Cong. Chapel Bldg. Soc. purchased extensive site in Milton Rd., S. Hornsey, 1851 and 1855, which sold to Harecourt chapel, Islington, 1859 under ministry of Dr. Alex. Raleigh (d. 1880). (fn. 98) Preaching sta. and Sunday sch. opened 1860 and reg. 1861. (fn. 99) Iron chapel seating 560 opened S. of sch. 1867. Membership increased from 14 (1861) to 114 (1867). Independent of Harecourt chapel 1872. Permanent ch. of red brick with stone dressings in Gothic style by John Sulman opened on new site at junction of Milton Rd. with Albion Grove 1880 and reg. as Raleigh Memorial chapel 1881. Chapel accommodated 1,000 and contained lecture hall seating 600, Sunday schs., and libr. (fn. 1) Attendance 1903: 190 a.m.; 167 p.m. Membership 78 (1939). Chapel damaged during Second World War, reopened 1954. Membership 69 (1951). (fn. 2)
Gohebydd Memorial chapel dated foundation to 1846 or 1848 but probably outside par. (fn. 5) Iron chapel built in Barrett's Grove 1873. (fn. 6) Permanent stone ch. seating 270 built in Gothic style for Welsh Congs. 1884. (fn. 7) Attendance 1903: 12 a.m.; 54 p.m. Membership 170 (1939). Disrupted by war and svces. suspended 1946. Demol. by 1952. (fn. 8)
UNITARIANS. Presb. mtg. ho. on N. side Newington Green built 1708 but originated in community of 17th-cent. dissenters. (fn. 9) Became Unitarian at end of 18th century. As area grew poorer, shifted emphasis from cultural interests to social and missionary work. Bldg. accommodated 200 in 1838. (fn. 10) Gallery built 1846. (fn. 11) Attendance 1851: 130 p.m. (fn. 12) Stuccoed chapel with round-headed windows; new roof and frontage, with large pediment and Tuscan pilasters, 1860. (fn. 13) In later 19th cent. chapel supported numerous societies and active in politics but in early 20th cent. weakened by controversy over min.'s social gospel. Attendance 1903: 166 a.m.; 80 p.m. Chapel damaged during Second World War and restored c. 1970.
SOCIETY OF FRIENDS. (fn. 14) Quakers in Stoke Newington from late 17th cent. but mostly met in City of Lond. Mtg. ho. by Wm. Alderson in classical style of three bays with open portico in brick and plaster, seating 385, built 1828 in Park Street (later Yoakley Rd.) and opened 1829. (fn. 15) Surrounded by burial ground, enlarged 1850. (fn. 16) Attendance 1851: 231 a.m.; 127 p.m.; (fn. 17) 1903: 103 a.m.; 51 p.m. Early mtgs. supported by City bussinessmen but change in neighbourhood brought decline in numbers and wealth. Most of site sold to borough council 1955. Mtg. ho. demol. and replaced by small brick bldg., closed 1966 and sold to Seventh-day Adventists 1968. Char. founded 1707 by Mic. Yoakley for almshos. for Quakers in Margate (Kent) and Whitechapel. Whitechapel almshos. rebuilt N. of Stoke Newington mtg. ho. 1834. (fn. 18) Supported by John Kitching's trust. Demol. 1956 and inmates rehoused at Margate. (fn. 19)
BAPTISTS. Chapel Yard, just N. of junction of High Street with Church Street, took name from Bapt. chapel there 1838-45. (fn. 20) Replaced by Salem chapel in Church Street, 1849 and later housed Primitive Meth. chapel.
Salem chapel with 180 sittings reg. for Bapts. in converted bldg. in Church Street 1849. (fn. 21) Attendance 1851: 90 a.m.; 95 p.m. (fn. 22) Chapel, S. side of street between Abney chapel and High Street, still there 1860 but replaced soon afterwards by chapel in Bouverie Rd. (fn. 23)
Particular Bapts. built Salem chapel in Bouverie Rd. 1858. (fn. 24) Bldg. of stock brick with stone dressings, with pediment, pilasters, and two projecting entrances, seating 300. (fn. 25) Attendance 1903: 70 a.m.; 75 p.m. Closed 1922. (fn. 26) Used as Presb. mission hall 1925-52 and later as scout hall. (fn. 27)
Strict Bapt. chapel opened in Phillipp Street, Hoxton, 1848, moved to Zion chapel, seating 200, in Matthias Rd., S. Hornsey, 1858. Became Wes. mission room 1876. (fn. 28)
Proceeds of sale of Devonshire Sq., Bishopsgate Street Without, Bapt. chapel (founded 1638) were applied to chapel at junction of Stoke Newington and Walford rds., S. Hornsey, 1870, reg. by Particular Bapts. 1871. (fn. 29) Stone bldg. with plaster facade by Chatfield Clarke, accommodating 1,050. Merged with Wellington Rd. Hackney, chapel 1884; 821 members and 8 preachers 1890, when lecture and classrooms in Gothic style added. (fn. 30) Attendance 1903: 600 a.m.; 691 p.m.; largest Bapt. chapel in Stoke Newington, said to have the best attended svces. in N. Lond. and 'good evangelical preacher'. Had Christian Endeavour soc. and supported Walford hall. (fn. 31) Damaged in 1939-45 war. Rebuilt chapel seated 450 and had 85 members 1982. (fn. 32)
Mother ch. of Old Bapt. Union opened in Victoria Rd., S. Hornsey, 1880, moved to High Street and to Clonbrock hall, Clonbrock Rd. 1884. (fn. 33) Small stock- and red-brick chapel in Gothic style built 1894 in Wordsworth Rd., S. Hornsey, reg. 1898. (fn. 34) Attendance 1903: 70 a.m.; 102 p.m.
Meth. New Connexion chapel, in Milton Rd., S. Hornsey, by 1859, reg. 1861. Primitive Meth. by 1885 and closed c. 1890. (fn. 37)
United Meth. Free chapel in Victoria Grove, S. Hornsey, by 1860, reg. 1861. Attendance 1903: 81 a.m.; 119 p.m. Closed 1910. (fn. 38)
There was a Primitive Meth. chapel at no.3 Barrett's Grove in 1860. (fn. 39)
Wesleyans of Highbury circuit built chapel of flint and stone in Gothic style next New River in Green Lanes 1874. Apogee 1879 when sittings let to 474 people, including many of wealth. Attendance 1903: 283 a.m.; 285 p.m. Social character of area in decline by 1906 when sittings 260. Ch. spire damaged in storm before 1920 and removed. (fn. 40) Church burnt down 1968, and replaced by small brick chapel and youth and community centre in modern style, 1969. (fn. 41)
Primitive Meth. chapel and schs. built 1875 at corner of Castle Street (later Crossway) and Millard Rd. (fn. 42) and reg. 1882. (fn. 43) Attendance 1903: 129 a.m.; 142 p.m. Reg. cancelled 1951 although chapel listed until 1961. (fn. 44)
Green Lanes Wes. chapel opened mission in former Bapt. Chapel in Matthias Rd. 1876. Attendance 1903: 136 a.m.; 341 p.m. Closed 1939. (fn. 45) Adjoining ho., no. 70, reg. as Wes. mission room 1922-52. (fn. 46)
Wes. Meths. built chapel seating 1,024 at Amhurst Pk. on N. border of Stoke Newington 1888. (fn. 47) Large bldg. of stock brick and stone in Gothic style. Attendance 1903: 269 a.m.; 251 p.m. Still Meth. 1952 but housed N. Lond. Progressive synagogue from 1956. (fn. 48)
PRESBYTERIANS. Presbs. acquired corner site between Manor and Lordship rds. from Ecclesiastical Com. 1880 and built ch. there 1884. (fn. 49) Bldg. in Gothic style seating 700. Membership 250 c. 1900. (fn. 50) Attendance 1903: 371 a.m.; 280 p.m. Licensed former Bapt. chapel in Bouverie Rd. as mission hall 1925-52. Ch. replaced by smaller brick bldg. in modern style accommodating 140, renamed Manor Rd. United Ref. ch., 1971. (fn. 51)
SALVATION ARMY. Barracks reg. between nos. 12 and 14 Milton Rd., S. Hornsey, 1882. Attendance 1903: 153 a.m.; 281 p.m. Reg. cancelled 1964. (fn. 52)
Barracks reg. at former gospel hall in High Street, opposite Tyssen Rd., 1887. Attendance 1903: 114 a.m.; 249 p.m. Closed by 1947 and reg. cancelled 1952. (fn. 53)
Salvation Army had training garrison at no. 8 Gordon Rd., S. Hornsey, 1892-4 and officers' quarters at no. 98 Hawkesley Rd. 1910. (fn. 54a)
Brethren met at Abney hall, no. 35A Church Street 1903. (fn. 57a) Attendance 1903: 53 a.m.; 47 p.m.
Plymouth Brethren met at libr. hall in Church Street 1928 but ceased to do so after 1930. (fn. 58a)
OTHER DENOMINATIONS AND UNSPECIFIED MISSIONS. Latter-day Saints had chapel in Church Street 1851 and 1855; (fn. 59a) reg. hall at no. 59 Clissold Rd. 1937. (fn. 60a) Hall used for Civil Defence from 1940 and sold to borough council as hall of remembrance 1945. (fn. 61a)
Spiritualists met at no. 99 Wiesbaden (later Belgrade) Rd. 1903. (fn. 62a) Attendance 1903: 37 a.m.; 228 p.m. Housed synagogue after 1912. (fn. 63a) Fourth Ch. of Christ Scientist met in libr. hall in Church Street 1919-29. (fn. 64a) Hebrew Evangelization Soc. reg. mtg. hall at no. 94 Amhurst Park 1965. (fn. 65a) Seventh-day Adventists from Holloway met in Friends' mtg. ho. in Yoakley Rd. 1966 and purchased bldg. 1968. (fn. 66a) Mount Calvary Ch. of God reg. no. 2 Laura Terrace, Finsbury Pk. (formerly Brownswood in Hornsey), 1967. (fn. 67a) The Nigerian Christ Apostolic Ch. held svces. at old St. Mary's ch. from 1980. (fn. 68a)
Gospel hall at corner of Victoria and Stoke Newington rds., S. Hornsey, reg. by those 'who object to ... any distinctive religious appellation' 1853-66. (fn. 69a) Chapel for undesignated Christians built at rear of no. 6 Upper Prospect Pl. in SE. part of Stoke Newington 1871. (fn. 70a) Mission rooms at rear of no. 77 High Street built by Revd. Wm. Booth of S. Hackney 1874 and used as Christian mission until reg. by Salvation Army 1887. (fn. 71a) Walford mission hall in former Trinity Introductory Cong. ch. at corner of Walford and Nevill rds. from 1882; (fn. 72a) supported by Devonshire Sq. Bapt. chapel 1903; (fn. 73a) attendance 1903: 102 a.m.; 115 p.m.; United Meth. 1914, (fn. 74a) synagogue from 1923. (fn. 75a) Abney hall, no. 35A Church Street, reg. by undesignated Christians 1892-1952; (fn. 76a) used as mission hall by Abney Cong. ch. 1902 and by Brethren 1903. (fn. 77a) Gospel hall in Allen Rd., S. Hornsey, from c. 1894-c. 1902 but apparently closed by 1903. (fn. 78a) Mission hall built in Howard Rd. 1923; (fn. 79a) as Derwent hall, opposite Shakespeare Rd., reg. by undenominational Christians 1930-7. (fn. 80a)