The Environs of London: Volume 2, County of Middlesex. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1795.

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Daniel Lysons, 'Hanwell', in The Environs of London: Volume 2, County of Middlesex( London, 1795), British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/london-environs/vol2/pp552-558 [accessed 23 July 2024].

Daniel Lysons, 'Hanwell', in The Environs of London: Volume 2, County of Middlesex( London, 1795), British History Online, accessed July 23, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/london-environs/vol2/pp552-558.

Daniel Lysons. "Hanwell". The Environs of London: Volume 2, County of Middlesex. (London, 1795), , British History Online. Web. 23 July 2024. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/london-environs/vol2/pp552-558.


Situation and boundaries.

Extent, soil, &c.

Hanwell is situated in the hundred of Elthorne, at the distance of between eight and nine miles from Tybourn turnpike. The parish is bounded by New Brentford, Greenford Magna, Ealing, Northall, Hayes, and Heston. It contains about 1200 acres of land, of which about 120 are waste; the remainder is divided in nearly an equal proportion between arable and pasture. The soil is clay. Fifty-four acres belonging to Hanwell are insulated by the parish of West Twyford.

The river Brent runs through the parish of Hanwell; the new grand-junction canal now forms its western boundary.


This parish is charged the sum of 172l. 18s. 5½d. which, in 1793, was at the rate of 2s. 6d. in the pound.


The manor was given to Westminster Abbey by King Edgar, and confirmed by Edward the Confessor. Hanwelle, says the survey of Doomsday, is taxed at eight hides, the land is five carucates; four hides and one virgate belong to the demesnes, on which one plough is employed. The villeins have four ploughs. One villein holds two hides, four others one hide jointly, six bordars hold three virgates; there are four cottars also, and two slaves. There is a mill yielding 2s. 2d. per ann.; meadow equal to one plough-land; pannage for 50 hogs, in the whole valued at 110s. per ann.; in the time of the Confessor, at 7l. This manor, adds the record, was and is part of the demesnes of St. Peter's church. The subsequent history of the manor of Hanwell is in every respect the same as that of Greenford Magna (fn. 1).


The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, is a small neat structure of brick. Its form is that of an oblong square; at the west end is a turret with a cupola. It was rebuilt in the years 1781 and 1782 (fn. 2), at the expence of about 1765l. which was desrayed principally by subscription. Dr. Glasse, the late Rector, contributed 200l. The only monumental inscription in the church is on a flat stone near the West door, to the memory of Sir John Clerke, Bart. who died in 1727, and his mother Dame Catherine Clerke, who died in 1741.

Tombs in the church-yard.

In the church-yard are the tombs of Robert Andrews, Esq. (no date); John Hamborough (no date); Thomas Vincent, Rector (1742); Jane, wife of Thomas Lovett (1746); Mr. John Durham, druggist (1760); Rev. Joseph Baker (1771); John Gee, Esq. (1771); Mr. Thomas Hall (1772); Mary, wife of the Reverend Robert Lancaster, of Arlsey in the county of Bedford (1779); Thomas Anguish, Esq. (fn. 3) Master in Chancery, and F.R.A.S. (1785); Matthew Bloxam, M.A. Rector of Bourton on the Water, in the county of Gloucester (1786); Martha, relict of William Bludwick, Esq. (1787); and Miss Sarah Zinzan (1790).


The church of Hanwell (with the chapel of Brentford annexed) was rated, anno 1327, at 10 marks (fn. 4). In the King's books the rectory is valued at 20l. In 1650 the tithes, with the glebe, which consisted of 25 acres, were valued at 100l. (fn. 5) King Stephen exempted a virgate of land (being, it is probable, the glebe just 7, 1781; the first stone of the new church was laid on the 21st of the same month, and mentioned) from all taxes to the King and his ministers, and all temporal payments (fn. 6). The advowson of the rectory has been always annexed to the manor. The parsonage-house, which is very pleasantly situated on the banks of the Brent, has been much improved by the present rector.

Rectors. Rowland Stedman, &c.

The living of Hanwell having been sequestered from Jonas Cooke, Rowland Stedman, author of a few theological treatises, was presented to it by the Lord Protector, in the year 1654 (fn. 7). He continued there till about the time of the Restoration, when he died at the house of Lord Wharton, to whom he was chaplain (fn. 8).

The present Rector is George Henry Glasse, M. A. who was collated by the Bishop of London in the year 1785, on the resignation of his father Samuel Glasse, D. D.

Parish register.

Comparative state of population.

Extracts from the Parish Register.

Average of Baptisms. Average of Burials.
1580—9 4 7/10 2 1/10
1630—9 51/5 43/5
1680—9 72/5 9 1/10
1730—9 8 3/10 13 1/10
1780—4 11 143/5
1784—9 114/5 14 1/10
1790 16 14
1791 23 15
1792 13 25
1793 21 19

The present number of houses is 107.

Sir Edward Spencer.

"Mr. Edward Spenser, son to the Right Hon. the LdSpenser, and Ladie Marie Read, wyf somtyms to the ryght worshipfull SrWilliam Read, were married in our parish of Hanwell, the 19 of September 1625." Mr. Spencer, afterwards Sir Edward Spencer of Boston-house in the parish of Brentford, was fourth son of Robert Lord Spencer of Wormleighton. Lady Read was daughter of John Goldsmith, Esq. of Welby in the county of Suffolk (fn. 9).

Sir John Clerke.

"Sir John Clerke, buried Feb. 27, 1726–7." Great grandson of Sir John Clerke of Hitcham, Bucks, who was created a baronet in 1660, and son of Sir William Clerke by Catherine, daughter of Sir Arthur Onslow, Bart. Catherine Lady Clerke was buried at Hanwell in 1741. Sir John dying without issue, was succeeded by his brother William (fn. 10).

Singular mistake.

"Thomas,daughterson of Thomas Messenger and Elizabeth his wife, was born and baptized, Oct. 24, 1731, by the midwife, at the font, called a boy, and named by the godfather, Thomas, but proved a girl."

Jonas Hanway.

"Jonas Hanway, from London, was buried Sept. 13, 1786." This valuable man, whose whole life was a continued scene of active benevolence, was the first promoter of various schemes of public utility, which he lived to see realized and established as permanent institutions. That useful charity the Marine Society, in particular, may be said to have owed its existence to him. His writings were very numerous, and all bore the marks of the most benevolent intentions, whether his object was to secure the health (fn. 11), or improve the morals and religion of his fellow-creatures (fn. 12), to abolish evil customs (fn. 13), or recommend the most deserving objects of charity (fn. 14). Besides the numerous treatises on these subjects, he published an account of a Journey from Kingston to Portsmouth, and his Travels through Russia, Persia, &c. Mr. Hanway, in the year 1762, was appointed a commissioner of the victualling-office, which situation he resigned in 1783. He frequently visited his friend and relation Dr. Glasse at the rectory, and was buried in this parish pursuant to his own request. There is no memorial to him here, but a handsome monument has been lately erected to his memory in Westminster Abbey. A Life of Jonas Hanway was published by John Pugh a few months after his decease.

Instances of longevity.

"Jane Messenger, aged 101, buried Oct. 8, 1741. John Harris, aged 90, buried May 29, 1774."

Hobbayne's benefaction.


In the year 1484, William Hobbayne gave certain lands in Hanwell, then valued at about 6l. per ann., to the parish for charitable uses. These lands produce now about 50l. per ann. the disposal of which is at the discretion of the feossees; who, in the year 1781, came to a resolution to appropriate the sum of 30l. for a master and mistress to instruct 24 poor children in reading, writing, plainwork, and in the principles of the Christian religion. Their number was increased to 30 in the year 1790, in consequence of a report to the feossees that an unknown benefactress had purchased the school-house and orchard adjoining, for the use of the charity. Soon after the institution of the school, a subscription was set on foot to extend its utility, which has met with such encouragement, that 15 boys and 10 girls are now educated in addition to those on the charity list (fn. 15). For these advantages the parish is under considerable obligations to the zeal and liberality of the late and present rector.

Singular account of John Diamond, a blind man.

Before I quit the subject of Hanwell, some notice should be taken of John Diamond, a singular living character. This man was born in the year 1731 at Boston in Lincolnshire, whence he removed a few years afterwards to Hanwell, where his father was a parishioner. When only a month old, he lost his eye-sight by the small-pox. His acquirements, under the accumulated disadvantages of blindness and poverty, form the singular part of his story. Though unable to read himself, he has learned the art of teaching others (fn. 16), and actually makes it his profession. It should be premised, however, that his scholars must previously know their letters, and have some idea of the method of combining them; for the rest, his memory supplies the defect of eye-sight. Perhaps some of my readers may recollect having seen, in several of the periodical publications, a calculation of the middle chapter, verse, &c. of the Bible, with an account of the number of times that some of the most common words occur, with many other particulars, the whole said to have been the labour of three years. When they are told that it was the amusement of this blind man's leisure hours, they will be more apt to admire the wonderful powers of his memory, than to blame him for mis-spending his time. These, however, are not the only calculations in which he has been employed. In the month of June 1790, he published an account of the solar eclipses for 1791 and 1793, and he is sufficiently versed in the doctrine of the celestial aspects, to profess the art of casting nativities; and passes, no doubt, as a conjuror of a very superior class among the vulgar. He frequently walks alone to the distance of one or two miles, with the assistance of a stick. His brother, who kept a little stationer's shop in London, left him 4l. per ann. to buy almanacks for sale, and I understand that he gets a trisle by purchasing some of the weekly publications from Pater-nosterRow, and lending them to be read.


  • 1. See p. 438.
  • 2. The old church was pulled down, June it was opened Aug 11, 1782.
  • 3. Father to the present Duchess of Leeds.
  • 4. Harl. MSS. Brit. Mus. N° 60.
  • 5. Parliamentary Surveys, Lamb. MS. Lib.
  • 6. Archbishop Theobald's confirmation of this grant is in the possession of Thomas Astle, Esq. F.R.A.S.
  • 7. Committee Books, Lamb. MS. Lib. vol. xxxiii. lib. ii. p. 58.
  • 8. Wood's Athen. Oxon. vol. ii.
  • 9. Collins's Peerage, vol. i. p. 366. edit. 1768.
  • 10. Kimber's Baronetage.
  • 11. See his essay on tea; pamphlets on bread; the state of the insant poor; tracts against midnight routs, late hours, and crouded assemblies, &c. With the same view he took up the cause of the chimneysweepers' apprentices; which, since his death, was pursued by James Pettit Andrews, Esq. whose exertions were the occasion of procuring an act of parliament in their favour.
  • 12. See his essays on the reciprocal duties of the wealthy and indigent; the soldier's faithful friend; on the duty of a good citizen, in regard to invasion and war; on the separate confinement of criminals; a treatise on the Lord's Supper; and religious tracts, addressed to various descriptions of persons.
  • 13. See his tract against the custom of taking vails.
  • 14. He wrote several treatises in favour of the Marine Society, the Magdalen Hospital, &c. &c.
  • 15. An account of this charity-school was printed in the year 1790, with the treasurer's report.
  • 16. Archbishop Usher was taught to read by two aunts who had been blind from their cradle. See his Life, p.2.