Clearwell - Clerkenwell

Pages 626-632

A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.

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CLEARWELL, a chapelry, in the parish of Newland, union of Monmouth, hundred of St. Briavell's, W. division of the county of Gloucester, 7 miles (W. by N.) from Blakeney; containing 674 inhabitants. A considerable number of persons belonging to Clearwell are employed in the coal and iron mines in the parish and in the adjacent Forest of Dean. A church has been built and endowed, containing 460 sittings, 380 of which are free. There is a curious stone cross.


CLEASBY, a parish, in the union of Darlington, wapentake of Gilling-East, N. riding of York, 3½ miles (W. by S.) from Darlington; containing 164 inhabitants. The parish is bounded on the north by the river Tees, and comprises by computation 839 acres, mostly arable land; the surface is generally flat, but with a singular and very high embankment, which runs through the parish on the south side. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £188; patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Ripon. The old church, a small and inferior structure, built, with the parsonage-house, by Dr. John Robinson, a native of the parish, a distinguished plenipotentiary, and Bishop of London, was replaced in 1828 by an edifice in a superior style of architecture, containing a curious monument to the prelate. Dr. Robinson also founded a school in 1723, and endowed it with 16 acres of grass land, of the annual value of £22, free for six boys. Mrs. Cornwallis, a step-daughter of the bishop, left in 1785 funds now producing £10. 15. for the relief of poor housekeepers.


CLEATHAM, a township, in the parish of Manton, union of Glandford-Brigg, wapentake of Corringham, parts of Lindsey, county of Lincoln, 6 miles (S. W.) from Glandford-Brigg; containing 99 inhabitants. It comprises about 1087 acres, of which the soil is light and sandy. The tithes have been commuted for £206.


CLEATLAM, a township, partly in the parish of Staindrop, partly in that of Gainford, and partly in that of Winstone, union of Teesdale, S. W. division of Darlington ward, S. division of the county of Durham, 2 miles (S. S. W.) from Staindrop; containing 95 inhabitants. The township comprises 1098a. 1r. 28p., of which 612 acres are arable, 451 meadow and pasture, and 34 woodland. The soil is mostly a strong clay, and the surface chiefly elevated ground, commanding extensive views of the surrounding country, including the castles and parks of Raby and Streatlam, and in the distance the Cleveland hills: freestone is quarried for building purposes. In the centre of the village is an ancient cross. The tithes have been commuted for £131. 12. payable to the rector of Winstone, and £21 to the vicar of Gainford: the Duke of Cleveland is impropriator of the lands situate in the parish of Staindrop.

Cleator (St. Leonard)

CLEATOR (St. Leonard), a parish, in the union of Whitehaven, Allerdale ward above Derwent, W. division of Cumberland, 5 miles (S. E. by S.) from Whitehaven; containing 763 inhabitants. The manorhouse was burnt about 1315, by a party of Scots under James Douglas. The parish comprises 2693a. 1r. 38p. of which about 1162 acres are arable, 32 wood, and 1500 inclosed common. Coal, limestone, and iron-ore are wrought, and a great quantity of lime is burnt and sent to Scotland: here are also forges for the manufacture of spades and other edge-tools, and an extensive establishment for spinning hemp and tow, making sewingthread, &c. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £77; patron and impropriator, T. R. G. Braddyll, Esq. The church was rebuilt in 1841, when 272 sittings were added. A Roman causeway passed through the parish, from Egremont to Papcastle, near Cockermouth; but few traces of it are apparent.


CLECKHEATON, a township, in the parish of Birstal, union of Bradford, wapentake of Morley, W. riding of York, 9 miles (W.) from Leeds; containing 4299 inhabitants. This township, which is situated in a rich and fertile vale, includes the hamlets of Oakenshaw and Scholes, and comprises by admeasurement 1686 acres; Miss Currer is lady of the manor. Several coal-mines of excellent quality are in operation, and a quarry of freestone of inferior kind is worked. From its favourable situation on the Leeds and Elland, Leeds and Halifax, and Bradford and Dewsbury roads, the place is well adapted for the woollen and worsted manufactures, which, together with the making of cards and machinery used in the woollen-trade, are carried on to a great extent; there are also two iron-foundries. Vast quantities of cloth for the army are made. The village is situated on the slope of a hill commanding a fine view of the vale, whose acclivities are richly wooded, and of the surrounding country, which abounds with picturesque scenery. It is neatly built and well lighted with gas from works established in 1837, at an expense of £4000, by a proprietary of £10 shareholders; a newsroom is supported by subscription, and there is a mechanics' institution, established in 1838. Considerable improvements have recently taken place in the village, and numerous villas have been erected in the immediate vicinity. Fairs for cattle, which are well attended, are held on the first Thursday in April, and on the last Thursday in August.

The chapel called the White chapel, about a mile from the village, was rebuilt about a century since, by Dr. Richardson, of Bierley, and again, on a larger scale, in 1821; it is a neat edifice in the early English style, and contains 800 sittings, of which 186 are free. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of Miss Currer; net income, £150. A district church dedicated to St. John was erected on a site given by the late Mrs. Beaumont, of Bretton Hall, by a grant from the Parliamentary Commissioners, at an expense of £2700, and consecrated in 1832; it is in the early English style, with a square embattled tower crowned by pinnacles, and contains 500 sittings, of which 60 are free. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Vicar of Birstal; net income, £150, with a glebe-house. The Independents and Wesleyans have places of worship. There were some remains of a Roman camp, which have long been obliterated by the plough; and many coins, chiefly of the Lower Empire, have been found on the site. Several coins, also, were discovered in earthen jars near Scot Lane, in 1818 and 1830.

Clee (Holy Trinity)

CLEE (Holy Trinity), a parish, in the parliamentary borough of Grimsby, union of Caistor, wapentake of Bradley-Haverstoe, parts of Lindsey, county of Lincoln, 2 miles (S. E. by E.) from Grimsby; containing, with the township of Cleethorpe, and the hamlets of Thrunscoe and Weelsby, 1002 inhabitants. The parish is bounded by the river Humber on the north and east, and comprises by computation 3400 acres, the surface of which is rather flat, excepting towards the sea, where there is a considerable elevation commanding a fine view of the Yorkshire coast and German Ocean. An act for inclosing land was passed in 1840. In the parish are many of the fountains called Blow Wells, which are deep circular pits, supplying a continual flow of water. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8; net income, £93; patron and appropriator, the Bishop of Lincoln: there is about an acre of glebe. The church has some fine Norman piers and arches, and an ancient circular font: an inscription on one of the pillars in the south aisle contains a memorial of the dedication of the church to the Holy Trinity in the reign of Richard the First, 1192. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.

Clee (St. Margaret's)

CLEE (St. Margaret's), a parish, in the union of Ludlow, hundred of Munslow, S. division of Salop, 8¼ miles (N. E. by N.) from Ludlow; containing 269 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy, valued in the king's books at £2. 8. 4.; net income, £172; patron, Mrs. F. Thursby. There is a place of worship for Roman Catholics at Clee Hills.

Cleer, St.

CLEER, ST., a parish, in the union of Liskeard, hundred of West, E. division of Cornwall, 2½ miles (N. by W.) from Liskeard; containing 1412 inhabitants. It comprises 7370 acres, of which 2673 are uninclosed common and coppice, with some oak woods; the soil in general is light, with the exception of some boggy peat soil: there is a great quantity of granite, locally termed moor-stone, and of porphyry; and a copper-mine has been opened. The river Fowey runs through the parish, and several rivulets empty themselves near Looe. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £19. 6. 8., and in the patronage of the Crown; impropriator, E. P. Bastard, Esq.: the great tithes have been commuted for £330, and the vicarial for £330; the impropriate glebe contains 2 acres. The church is a handsome and spacious structure, in the early English style. There are a few chalybeate springs; also an ancient Druidical monument, called the Hurlers, consisting of rude upright stones arranged in three circles, their centres in a right line, and the middle circle the largest.


CLEETHORPE, a township, in the parish of Clee, union of Caistor, wapentake of Bradley-Haverstoe, parts of Lindsey, county of Lincoln, 3 miles (E. S. E.) from Grimsby; containing 803 inhabitants. This township, which comprises the hamlets of Far and Near Cleethorpe, contains about 700 acres of land, and is pleasantly situated on the south shore of the Humber, near the confluence of that river with the German Ocean. It is much resorted to as a bathing-place, for which it is highly eligible; the air is pure, the scenery good, and besides a few lodging-houses and smaller inns, there is a large hotel, built some years since, on an eminence embracing extensive views of the sea, the Humber, and the Yorkshire coast. Many of the population are employed in the oyster-fisheries. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.

Cleeve, Bishop's (St. Michael)

CLEEVE, BISHOP'S (St. Michael), a parish, forming the hundred of Cleeve or Bishop's-Cleeve, in the union of Winchcomb, E. division of the county of Gloucester; comprising the township of Bishop'sCleeve, and the hamlets of Gotherington, Stoke-Orchard, Southam with Brockhampton, and Woodmancote; and containing 1944 inhabitants, of whom 682 are in the township, 3 miles (N. by E.) from Cheltenham. This parish derives its name Clive or Cleeve from the Saxon Cliv, "a steep ascent;" and its adjunct, distinguishing it from Prior-Cleeve, from its having been the property of the bishops of Worcester, whose ancient palace is now the rectory-house. It comprises 8746a. 1r. 2p., of which more than 1000 acres are common. The village is seated on an eminence, on the road from Cheltenham to Evesham; and the Birmingham and Gloucester railway crosses the common. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £84. 6. 8.: patron and incumbent, the Rev. W. L. Townsend, D.D.: the rectorial tithes have been commuted for £1278, and the impropriate for £107. 6., and there are 181 acres of rectorial glebe. The church is a curious and spacious structure, principally of Norman architecture, with a noble arch of exquisite workmanship in that style over the western entrance: the spire fell down in 1696, and caused considerable dilapidation, but in 1700 it was replaced by the tower that now rises from the centre of the building. There is a chapel of ease at Stoke-Orchard. On the ridge of Cleeve-Cloud Hill is a large double intrenchment called the Camps, in the form of a crescent, 350 yards in length, but accessible only in front. Within the parish are some springs, the water of which is strongly saline.

Cleeve, Old (St. Andrew)

CLEEVE, OLD (St. Andrew), a parish, in the union of Williton, hundred of Williton and Freemanners, W. division of Somerset, 18 miles (N. W.) from Taunton; containing, with the chapelry of Leighland, 1351 inhabitants. The parish adjoins the Bristol Channel, and is remarkable for its craggy rocks, which abound with alabaster; it comprises by measurement 4700 acres, whereof about 2900 are arable, 1500 meadow, pasture, and orchard, 200 woodland, and 100 uninclosed. On the beach a great quantity of kelp is gathered and burnt for the market at Bristol. Lodging-houses have been erected for the accommodation of persons resorting hither for the benefit of sea-bathing. The living is a discharged vicarage, endowed with the rectorial tithes, and valued in the king's books at £7; patron and incumbent, the Rev. W. Newton, whose tithes have been commuted for £600, and whose glebe comprises 3¼ acres, with a glebe-house. At Leighland is a distinct incumbency. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. A Cistercian abbey, in honour of the Virgin Mary, was founded here in 1188, by William de Romara, the revenue of which, in 1534, was valued at £155. 9. 4½.: there are still some remains, part having been converted into a private mansion, called Cleeve Abbey. At the hamlet of Chapel-Cleeve was a chapel, also dedicated to the Virgin; it stood on a rock, and was the resort of numerous pilgrims.

Cleeve, Prior (St. Andrew)

CLEEVE, PRIOR (St. Andrew), a parish, in the union of Evesham, Upper division of the hundred of Oswaldslow, locally in the Upper division of that of Blackenhurst, Pershore and E. divisions of the county of Worcester, 5½ miles (N. E.) from Evesham; containing 366 inhabitants. The parish is situated on the navigable river Avon, which here receives the waters of the Arrow, on its entering the county. It comprises 1454a. 3r. 17p., whereof 900 acres are arable, and 500 meadow and pasture; the soil is a clayey loam, resting upon blue limestone, and the scenery is rich and pleasing, and abounding with fine orchards. There are quarries of lias and blue limestone, which are wrought for building, slabs for hearthstones, and various other purposes; and also a species of marble susceptible of a high polish, and resembling that of Derbyshire. The village is beautifully situated on an eminence rising from the southern bank of the Avon; the grounds immediately around it are flat, and the meadows occasionally subject to floods. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8; net income, £156, derived from 110 acres of land; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Worcester. The church is in the early English style, with a handsome embattled tower. On a bank or terrace above the Avon, is a mount having the appearance of an ancient barrow; near it, in lowering a portion of the bank, in 1824, above thirty skeletons were found scarcely two feet below the surface. In working the quarries, in 1811, two earthen jars were discovered at three feet from the surface, having Roman coins in a state of good preservation; one jar contained gold and the other silver coins, of the reigns of Gratian, Valentinian, and Theodosius.

Clehonger (All Saints)

CLEHONGER (All Saints), a parish, in the hundred of Webtree, union and county of Hereford, 3½ miles (W. S. W.) from Hereford; containing 396 inhabitants. The parish is situated on the right bank of the river Wye, which bounds it on the north; it is intersected by the road from Hereford to Hay, and consists of 1888 acres. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £4. 4. 2., and in the gift of the Dean of Hereford: the appropriate tithes have been commuted for £180, and the vicarial for £164. 15., and the glebe consists of half an acre.

Clement's (St.)

CLEMENT'S (ST.), a parish, in the union of Truro, W. division of the hundred of Powder and of the county of Cornwall; containing 3436 inhabitants. This parish, of which a very considerable, and by far the most populous, portion adjoins the town of Truro, comprises by computation 3200 acres. The surface is hilly, but of moderate elevation, and the soil is generally fertile, more especially in those parts bordering on the town, where some of the meadow land is let at £12 per acre. The grounds are watered by two small rivulets; the one, the Tresilian river, which falls into an arm of the sea at the north-east extremity of the parish; and the other the Alleyn, which flows by Truro, and bounds the parish on the south-west. Polwhele, anciently a castle of some strength, and subsequently the family seat of the ancestors of the historian of the county of Cornwall, was the temporary residence of Charles I., who, for a short time, took refuge here after his defeat in 1646; it has been much improved, and is now occupied by Major Polwhele. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £9, and in the patronage of the Crown, in right of the duchy of Cornwall; net income, £243: impropriators, H. P. Andrew, Esq., and the heirs of Mr. Vivian. The church, a plain neat structure with a tower, contains a handsome monument to Samuel Thomas, Esq., one of the last and best works of the artist Bacon, and a monument of white marble, executed in Italy, and inscribed by Admiral Lord Exmouth to the memory of Rear-Admiral Reynolds, who was shipwrecked on board the St. George of 98 guns, off the coast of Jutland, on the 24th of December, 1811. There are some mineral springs in the parish.

Clement's (St.)

CLEMENT'S (ST.), a parish, in the union of Headington, hundred of Bullingdon, county of Oxford; containing 1769 inhabitants. The parish is bounded on the west by the Cherwell, over which is a neat stone bridge leading into the city of Oxford. Near the bridge, baths on an extensive scale have been constructed. The living is a rectory not in charge, in the patronage of the Crown, with a net income of £120. From the inadequate accommodation which the old church afforded, a new building, in the Norman style, has been erected by subscription, on ground given by Sir Joseph Lock; it is situated near the margin of the Cherwell, and, as seen from Magdalene bridge, forms an interesting feature in the vale. Stone's hospital, here, for poor persons, was founded pursuant to the will of William Stone, principal of New Inn Hall, dated May 12th, 1685, for eight women; Boulter's almshouses were established agreeably to the will of Cutler Boulter, dated March 21st, 1736, for eight single men. Various lands and tenements, producing at present about £14 per annum, but capable, on the expiration of the present leases, of increase to the amount of £300 per annum, have been left, in moieties, for the benefit of the poor, and for repairing the church. Adjoining the parish, but on extra-parochial ground, is the hospital of St. Bartholomew, founded by Henry I., in 1126, for infirm lepers, and which, having suffered considerable impoverishment, was granted by Edward III. to Oriel College, on condition that the society should maintain a chaplain and eight almsmen in perpetuity. About the time of the siege of Oxford, the house was demolished, and rebuilt by the society; the remains are now appropriated to stabling and cow-houses. Here were preserved relics of various saints, the supposed efficacy of which, in performing miraculous cures, attracted numerous pilgrims. On the demesne lands of Mr. Morrell, a skeleton of a gigantic horse was discovered in 1821, completely caparisoned in the Roman costume.

Clenchwarton (St. Margaret)

CLENCHWARTON (St. Margaret), a parish, in the union of Wisbech, hundred of FreebridgeMarshland, W. division of Norfolk, 3 miles (W.) from Lynn; containing 597 inhabitants. At the time of the Norman survey this place was called Ecleuuartuana, signifying a watery situation by a river. The parish comprises by admeasurement about 2880 acres, two-thirds of which are arable; 160 acres consist of the old bed of the river Ouse, formed into pasture ground: salt-marshes extend to the Wash between Terrington and North Lynn. About 1100 acres are titheable only to the livings of West and North Lynn. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £14. 6. 8., and in the patronage of Mrs. Goldfrap; net income, £337: the glebe contains 32 acres. The church is in the later English style, with a square embattled tower. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.


CLENNELL, a township, in the parish of Allenton, union of Rothbury, W. division of Coquetdale ward, N. division of Northumberland, 10¼ miles (W. N. W.) from Rothbury; containing 18 inhabitants. This place was the seat and manor of the family of Clennell, and in the 18th of Edward I. was possessed by Thomas Clennell, who in that year obtained a grant of free warren. Luke Clennell, Esq., who resided here, was high sheriff of the county in 1727; and William Wilkinson, Esq., who came to the property by marriage, filled the same office in 1758. The township consists entirely of steep porphyritic hills, covered with short grass, and occupied as sheep-walks, and is situated on the east side of the Alwine, one mile north from Allenton.

Clent (St. Leonard)

CLENT (St. Leonard), a parish, in the union of Bromsgrove, Lower division of the hundred of Halfshire, Stourbridge and E. divisions of the county of Worcester, 4 miles (S. S. E.) from Stourbridge; containing 918 inhabitants. It contains the two manors of Upper or Church Clent, and Nether Clent; is composed principally of a group of lofty hills; and comprises 2365a. 2r. 33p., of which about 1414 acres are arable, 565 pasture, 57 woodland, and 255 common. The living is a vicarage, with that of Rowley Regis annexed, valued in the king's books at £8. 16. 5½., and in the patronage of the Crown; impropriator, J. Amphlett, Esq. The great tithes have been commuted for £340, and the vicarial for £315. The church is an ancient structure, with a tower. There are places of worship for Baptists and Wesleyans. A free school was founded by John Amphlett, Esq., in 1704; and a Sunday school by Thomas Waldron, Esq., who, at his death in 1800, bequeathed £500 for its support. The infant king of Mercia, St. Kenelm, is supposed by some to have been murdered here, in 819, by order of his sister Quendrida; others think that he was slain accidentally.—See Rowley Regis.

Cleobury-Mortimer (St. Mary)

CLEOBURY-MORTIMER (St. Mary), a markettown and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Stottesden, S. division of Salop, 32 miles (S. S. E.) from Shrewsbury, and 137 (N. W.) from London, on the road to Ludlow; containing 1730 inhabitants. The name of this place is derived from its situation in a district abounding with clay, and from the Saxon word byrig, a town; the adjunct, by which it is distinguished from North Cleobury, in the same county, is taken from its ancient possessor, Ralph de Mortimer, who held it at the time of the general survey. Hugh de Mortimer, his son, built a castle here, which, when he revolted in favour of the heir of Stephen, he fortified against Henry II., who, with a powerful army, besieged and entirely demolished it. During the war between Henry III. and the barons, Cleobury suffered greatly from the incursions of the Welsh, who at that time made frequent irruptions into this part of the country. The town is situated on an eminence rising gradually from the western bank of the river Rea, over which is a neat stone bridge, and consists principally of one long street, containing many good houses, and the mutilated remains of an old cross; the inhabitants are plentifully supplied with excellent water from a spring that has its source in the Brown Clee hills, and falls into a spacious basin in the lower part of the town. From its retired situation, in a district almost inaccessible in consequence of the badness of the roads, the trade is rapidly declining; formerly there were some important iron-works, but there are now only two forges. A few of the inhabitants are employed in the manufacture of paper, for which there are two mills. On the Clee hills, about three miles west of the town, are large collieries, producing excellent coal; and on the higher part of them is a remarkably fine, though not extensive, vein of cannel coal, of which many beautiful specimens have been worked into snuff-boxes and ornaments of various kinds, Common stone is also quarried. The market, granted to Sir Francis Lacon in 1614, is held on Wednesday; the fairs are on April 21st, Trinity-Monday, and October 27th. The powers of the county-debt court of Cleobury, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Cleobury.

The parish comprises about 6000 or 7000 acres. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £13; net income, £448; patron, William Lacon Childe, Esq.; impropriators, the Earl of Craven, Mr. Childe, and others, with the exception of the corn-tithes of a small part of the parish, which belong to the lay deacon. The church is an ancient structure, with a plain tower, surmounted by an octagonal spire of wood, considerably curved from the perpendicular. There are two places of worship for Wesleyans; and a Roman Catholic chapel attached to Mawley Hall, the mansion of Sir Edward Blount, Bart., within a mile of the town. A free school was founded pursuant to the will of Sir Lacon William Childe, Knt., dated in 1714, whereby he bequeathed the residue of his personal estate, after the death of his lady, for its endowment: the income is about £500, including the interest of £1000 given by Mr. John Winwood, in 1810. An infants' school is endowed with £15 per annum. The poor law union of which the town is the head, comprises 17 parishes or places, namely, 13 in the county of Salop, 3 in that of Worcester, and one in that of Hereford; and contains a population of 8708. To the east of the free school are the remains of a Danish encampment; and within the distance of a mile and a half were the three castles of Cleobury, Toot, and Walltown, of which there is not a single vestige. An old farmhouse here is said to have been the first settlement of the Augustine friars. Robert Langford, author of the Visions of Pierce Plowman, a satirical poem on the clergy of the fourteenth century, was a native of the town.

Cleobury, North (St. Peter)

CLEOBURY, NORTH (St. Peter), a parish, in the union of Bridgnorth, hundred of Stottesden, S. division of Salop, 1 mile (N. by E.) from Burwarton; containing 176 inhabitants. It comprises by admeasurement 1145 acres, exclusive of about 430 of uninclosed land forming part of the Brown Clee hill, once a forest, and which is the highest hill in the county, rising to an elevation of 1805 feet. Coal-mines are worked, but they are supposed to be nearly exhausted; and good stone is quarried for buildings. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £5. 12. 3½., and in the gift of Henry George Mytton, Esq.: the glebe comprises 75 acres, with a glebe-house. The church was enlarged and thoroughly repaired in 1834. Upon the summit of the Brown Clee hill are the remains of an encampment, partly in the parish of North Cleobury, supposed to be a work of the Britons when besieged by the Roman army; and on the Burfs, which is the highest peak of the hill, and between a mile and a mile and a half distant from the village, is a poetical inscription, celebrating the independence, valour, and love of liberty of the ancient Britons, written by the Rev. Thomas Warter, a man of great literary attainments, and many years rector of the parish.


CLERKENWELL, an extensive parish, in the Finsbury division of the hundred of Ossulstone, county of Middlesex; separated from the city of London on the south by the intervening parish of St. Sepulchre, and on the west by the liberties of Saffron-Hill and Ely-Rents; and containing, with the chapelry of Pentonville, 56,756 inhabitants. This place derives its name from an ancient well, round which the clerks, or inferior clergy, of London, were in the habit of assembling at certain periods, for the performance of sacred dramas, as noticed in the reign of Henry II. by Fitz-Stephen, who calls the well Fons Clericorum. The site appears to have been well adapted for the purpose, being in the centre of gently rising grounds, that formed an extensive natural amphitheatre, for the accommodation of the numerous spectators who attended. The most celebrated of these festivals occurred in 1391, in the reign of Richard II., and continued for three days, during which several sacred dramas were performed by the clerks, in presence of the king and queen, attended by the whole court. Soon after the year 1100, Jordan Briset and Muriel his wife founded a priory here for nuns of the Benedictine order, dedicated to St. Mary, and the site of which is now occupied by St. James's church: the revenue, at the Dissolution, was £282. 16. 5. The same Jordan and his wife founded an hospital for the Knights Hospitallers of the order of St. John of Jerusalem, which was munificently endowed with lands, and invested with many privileges by several successive monarchs; the lord prior had precedence of all lay barons in parliament, and power over all commanderies and smaller establishments of that order in the kingdom; the revenue, at the Dissolution, was £2385. 12. 8. The institution was partly restored in the reign of Philip and Mary, but was again suppressed in that of Elizabeth. The remains are, the gate, in the later English style, restored in 1846, and the greater part of which is now occupied as a tavern; and the vaults of the old church, which were cleared out some years since, when a beautiful crypt in the Norman style was discovered. St. John's church occupies part of the site. The establishment of these monasteries naturally drew around them some dependent dwellings, but the parish made little progress in the number of its inhabitants prior to the time of Elizabeth, in whose reign, besides several "banqueting and summer houses," it contained a few straggling cottages, and some good residences in the immediate neighbourhood of the religious houses: its increase was afterwards more rapid, and in 1619 noblemen and gentlemen were among its inhabitants. Since that time, the formation of numerous streets, and the recent laying out of Spafields and the New River Company's estate in a variety of streets and squares, have rendered this one of the most populous districts in the vicinity of the metropolis.

The parish is lighted with gas, and the pathways are well flagged and kept in repair, under the superintendence of two separate Boards of Commissioners, one for each division of the parish, appointed under special acts: it is within the limits of the metropolitan police establishment. The inhabitants are supplied with water by the New River Company, whose works are situated in the parish, where the river terminates. This stupendous undertaking was projected in the reign of Elizabeth, and in the following reign an act of parliament was obtained, enabling the mayor and commonalty of London to carry it into effect; but the commissioners, dreading the difficulty and expense, made no advances for some years. In 1609, Hugh Myddelton, a citizen and goldsmith of London, made proposals to the commoncouncil of the city to undertake the work at his own risk, and to complete it in four years, for which purpose the commissioners transferred to him the powers with which they had been invested by the act. After having persevered in the enterprise till the water was brought to Enfield, the city refusing to grant him any pecuniary assistance, Myddelton applied to the king, who advanced sums of money, amounting in the whole to £6347, with which assistance the work was completed on the 29th of September, 1613. The river, from its source at Amwell in Hertfordshire to Spafields, is 38¾ miles and 16 poles in length; there are nearly 300 bridges over it, and its course is continued through the varying levels of the districts through which it passes, by means of 40 sluices. The Regent's canal passes on the north side of the parish.

Of the numerous Wells with which the parish abounded, several were in great repute for their medicinal properties, and houses of public entertainment were erected near their site. Of these houses, which generally had tea-gardens, and were rendered more attractive by musical performances, the chief were Bagnigge Wells, White Conduit House, and New Tunbridge Wells, or Islington Spa, all still remaining. Of those which have for many years been discontinued were, the Pantheon, in Spafields, now a chapel belonging to the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion; the Cold Bath, in ColdbathFields, of which the bath alone is still frequented; the Mulberry and Vineyard gardens, now covered with buildings, and the names of which probably denote the purpose to which the ground was anciently appropriated; the celebrated bear-garden at Hockley in the Hole; and Sadler's Wells, near the New River Head, which has for many years been converted into a theatre for dramatic representations. Fons Clericorum, or the Clerks' Well, is thought by some to have been situated in Raystreet, where the spot is marked by a pump with an inscription; but it is more probable that the original well, upon which a pump was afterwards erected, was in the centre of Clerkenwell-Green, between the two religious houses; a supposition partly confirmed by the tenor of a deed of grant of the ground by the ancestor of the Marquess of Northampton, wherein the right is reserved to the inhabitants of drawing water from this pump, the site of which is distinctly laid down in Stowe's Survey of London.

The manufacture of clocks and watches, of which the several parts form distinct and separate departments of the trade, has for more than a century been carried on here to a considerable extent: when the duty on clocks and watches was imposed in 1791, not less than 7000 of the inhabitants were deprived of employment, and obliged to have recourse to parochial aid. There is a large manufactory for tin goods, which during the late war supplied the chief of the government contracts; also some extensive distilleries and soap manufactories. The parish, with the exception of a detached portion of about 100 acres locally situated in the parish of Hornsey, was, by the act of the 2nd of William IV., cap. 45, constituted part of the newly-enfranchised borough of Finsbury, the elections for which take place on Clerkenwell-Green. The sessions for the county, and the meetings of the magistrates for the assessment of the county rates, and for other affairs, are held at the Sessions-house on the Green, which was erected at an expense of £13,000, and was repaired and beautified a few years since: it is a spacious and handsome edifice, with a stone front, having in the centre four pillars of the Ionic order, rising from a rustic basement and support ing a pediment. A new police-court for the district of Clerkenwell, the business of which was formerly carried on at Hatton-Garden, was built in Bagnigge Wells road, under the 2nd and 3rd of Victoria, cap. 71, and opened December 16th, 1841: the building is a neat structure, with a frontage of 260 feet, and consists of two distinct parts almost perfectly square, united by a bold archway. The Clerkenwell prison was erected near the site of the old Bridewell, which was incorporated with the new building; it was enlarged and partly rebuilt in 1818, and considerably extended in 1830 by the removal of several adjoining houses. The buildings were, however, pulled down in 1845; and in the spring of 1847 a model prison was completed, for the detention of persons remanded from police courts, and committed for trial: there are 1000 cells. The house of correction for the county, in Coldbath-Fields, was erected in 1794, at a cost of £70,000, including the purchase of the site, and has lately been much enlarged; it is a spacious brick building inclosed with high walls, and the average number of prisoners is about 1000.

The churches of St. James and St. John, formerly the only churches, have each a distinct parochial district attached, and the parish of St. James is subdivided into three parts, viz., the district of St. James', of St. Mark's, and of St. Philip's. The living of St. James' is a perpetual curacy, with Pentonville chapel; net income, £712; patrons, the Inhabitants of Clerkenwell generally, paying church and poor's rates. The church is a substantial structure of brick with a handsome stone steeple, erected between the years 1788 and 1792, on the site of the ancient church of the priory of St. Mary, which had been previously modernised, and which, at the time of its being taken down for the erection of the present edifice, retained many vestiges of its Norman character, and contained the ashes of the last prioress of the nunnery; the last prior of St. John's; Weever, the antiquary; Bishop Burnet; and many other distinguished characters. This conventual church, on being made parochial, at the time of the dissolution of the priory, was dedicated anew to St. James the Less. The living of St. John's is a rectory not in charge, in the patronage of the Crown; net income, £260. The church, with large curtailments and alterations, is the choir of that belonging to the priory of the Knights Hospitallers. The ancient edifice was purchased of the Aylesbury family, in 1721, by Mr. Simon Michell, who, having repaired the choir, built the present west front, and covered the whole with a new roof, disposed of the church and adjoining grounds, in 1723, for £2950, to the commissioners for building fifty new churches in Queen Anne's reign, who constituted it a parish church, and caused it to be consecrated on St. John's day, December 27th. The interior of the building was much improved in 1845. Notwithstanding that it enjoys the privilege of religious rites, the incumbent of St. James' is entitled to the surplice fees, which he has received since the year 1771, when a lawsuit was successfully prosecuted for their recovery: there are separate churchwardens for St. John's church, but the inhabitants of both districts contribute to the repairs of the two churches, and the same overseers of the poor act for the whole.

St. Mark's, in Myddelton-square, containing 1622 sittings, of which 847 are free, was erected in 1826, by a grant from the Parliamentary Commissioners, at an expense of £16,000, and is a neat edifice in the later English style, with a handsome western front containing a square tower having pierced parapet and pinnacles: the cost of furnishing it, which amounted to £2000, was defrayed by a rate voted by the vestry. The living is a district incumbency; net income, £480; patron, the Bishop of London. St. Philip's, in the later English style, with a campanile turret, built in Granville-square, at an expense of £4418, and to which an ecclesiastical district has been assigned out of the district of St. Mark, was consecrated on January 1st, 1834, and was furnished by subscription: net income, £420; patron, the Bishop. The chapel at Pentonville, a neat edifice of brick, ornamented with stone, and having a small cupola, was opened in 1788, under the provisions of the Toleration act, and continued as a private chapel till 1791, when it was purchased by the parish for £5000, and consecrated as a chapel of ease to St. James'. Spafields chapel, formerly the Pantheon, as before noticed, was appropriated for a place of worship by the Countess of Huntingdon, who for many years occasionally resided at the chapelhouse adjoining; and at her decease here in 1791, it was, agreeably to her will, vested in trustees, with other chapels in various parts of the kingdom. There are likewise meeting-houses for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, and Wesleyan and other Methodists, besides a chapel in which the service is performed in Welsh. The parochial school, founded about the year 1700, has been removed from the school-house in Aylesbury-street, to more convenient premises in Amwellstreet, erected in 1829, at an expense exceeding £3000, and forming a spacious and handsome range in the Elizabethan style, capable of accommodating 1000 children. The London Female Penitentiary at Pentonville, established in 1807, is a large building, comprising an infirmary, and apartments for 100 females. In addition to the two religious establishments previously noticed, a convent of Benedictines was founded in St. John'ssquare, in the reign of James II., by one "Father Corker," which was destroyed in the Revolution of 1688. A portion of the Roman Watling-street, and the river of Wells (the Fleta of the Romans), form part of the boundaries of the parish. Among the distinguished natives and residents of Clerkenwell may be enumerated Sir Thomas Chaloner, Bishop Burnet, Sir John Oldcastle, and Baron Cobham; and Edward Cave, who established the Gentleman's Magazine, had his printingoffice in St. John's Gate, an engraving of which has, since the commencement of that publication, adorned the first page of its numbers.