Hackney St John, Middlesex Family History Guide

Hackney Grammar school, c. 1835, with St John at Hackney in the background. Drawn for Sutton Place. Source: Hackney archives.


Hackney St John is an Ancient Parish in the county of Middlesex.

Alternative names: St John Hackney, St John at Hackney

Other places in the parish include: Kingsland, Kingsland Green, Upper Clapton, Shacklewell, and Lower Clapton.

Parish church:

Parish registers begin: 1545

Nonconformists include: Baptist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Independent/Congregational, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Parishes adjacent to Hackney St John

  • Homerton
  • Walthamstow St Mary
  • West Hackney
  • Stamford Hill St Thomas
  • South Hackney St John of Jerusalem
  • Leyton
  • Dalston St Philip

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

HACKNEY, a metropolitan suburb, a parish, a district, and a parliamentary borough, in Middlesex. The suburb is situated averagely 2 ½ miles NNE of St. Paul’s, London; includes Hackney Proper, South Hackney, West Hackney, Homerton, Clapton, Dalston, and De Beavoir Town; extends from N to S about 3½ miles; is bounded on the N, by Stoke Newington, on the E, by Stratford-le-Bow and West Ham, on the S, by BethnalGreen and Shoreditch, on the W, by Islington and Stoke Newington; and measures, in circumference, about 11¾ miles. It skirts the river Lea on the NE and the E; it is traversed, along the N border, by the North London railway, and has stations on it at Church street and Kingsland; and it lies in the London NE postal district, and has post offices‡ in Church street, Dalston, HackneyWick, Homerton, Kingsland green, Kingsland crescent, Mare street, Lower Clapton, Upper Clapton, receiving offices in Pownall road, and Clapton road, and pillarboxes in South Hackney, Dalston, Amherst road, King Edward’s road, Richmond road, Victoria park road, White Post Lane, Wilmot road, and Clapton road. Acres, 3, 290. Real property, in 1860, £336, 002. Pop. in 1851, 53, 589; in 1861, 76, 687. Houses, 12, 352. About half of the area is occupied by streets, mostly straight and well built; and the rest of the area, for the most part, is variously disposed in villa plots, market gardens, and a portion of Victoria Park. The place was formerly noted for numerous residences of the nobility, who were attracted to it by its salubrity and beauty; and, notwithstanding the migration of the higher classes to the western suburbs, it is still a favourite residence of wealthy merchants. It is first mentioned in a record of 1252, and is there called Hakeneye. It is mentioned again in documents of the times of Edward I. and Edward IV.; and it figures in connexion with an ancient church which is designated variously of St. Augustine and St. John. The Knights Templars are said to have had a house or preceptory in Wells street; and the Knights Hospitallers are said to have had one on a site in Church street. Two manors within the limits were called Lord’s Hold and King’s Hold; and the former belonged to the bishops of London and the Wentworths, the latter to the Hcrberts, the Hunsdons, the Brookes, and the Vyners; but all the manors, with a considerable extent of demesne land and estates, are now centered in the Tyssen family. The founder of this family was a native of Flanders, naturalized in England by act of parliament, in 1680; and the present representative of it is W. A. Tyssen Amhurst, Esq. Hackney village, till modern times, stood quite apart from the metropolis, and had a rural character; and it was the place where the Duke of Gloucester and his adherents in arms against Richard II. took post to await the return of a deputation sent to lay their grievances before the king. The Temple mills, situated a little S of Lea-bridge, are supposed to have originated with the Knights Templars, and were used, till a recent period, for the manufacture of sheet lead. A water mill was erected, in the time of Charles II., on Hackney marsh, for practising a method for boring guns, discovered by Prince Rupert; but went to ruin after the Prince’s death. Several springs were formerly notable; and one of them gave name to Well-street; another gave name to Shaklewell; another was a chalybeate, which had a medicinal reputation, but went into disuse in consequence of the modern attraction of more distant spas. The nursery grounds of Hackney have long been celebrated; and they furnished some choice plants for the park at the Crystal Palace. Extensive silk mills once were here, but have disappeared. Various factories for chemicals, waterproofing, bone crushing, and rope making, are at Hackney Wick.

Hackney is within the Shoreditch county court district, and the Metropolitan police district; and it is governed, for certain purposes, by a board of trustees of the poor, appointed under a local act, and by a vestry of 120. The town hall was built in 1866, at a cost of £15, 000; and is in the French-Italian style. A drinking fountain, in Victoria Park, near the Hackney gate, was presented, in 1862, by Miss Burdett Coutts. Old St. Augustine’s church, excepting the tower, was taken down in 1798; and New St. Augustine’s church was built in 1868, and is in the first pointed style. The church of St. John was built in 1797; is a square brick edifice, of nave and chancel; has a steeple and porches, added in 1812; and contains, in the vestibule, some monuments brought from the old church. The churchyard contains a finely carved monument to Sir John Rowe, Lord Mayor of London, of date 1570; a monument to John Nevil, Lord Latimer, of date 1577; the grave of Henry, Earl of Northumberland, who died in 1537; the grave of Christopher Urswick, almoner of Henry VII., supposed to figure in Shakespear’s Richard IlI.; and several other ancient and interesting objects. South Hackney church was built in 1848; and is in the early English style. West Hackney church is a fine modern edifice. The free English church, with 2, 300 sittings, was erected since 1862. A Congregational chspel, eith about 3,000 sittings, was built in 1869. The great Presbyterian meeting house, notable for the ministry of Philip Nye, Adoniram Byefield, and Matthew Henry, was built about 1620. There are chapels for Independents, Baptists, Wesleyans, Primitive Methodists, Unitarians and Roman Catholics. There is also a theological seminary. The chief schools are the grammar school, which had the Hoadleys, dramatists, for pupils; national schools, for boys and girls; British schools, for boys and girls; and several infant schools. The chief institutions, with the number of inmates in each at the census of 1861, are the Hackney workhouse, 616; the East London workhouse, 595; the London Orphan asylnm, 439; the British penitent female refuge, 45; Elizabeth Fry’s refuge, 26; Trewint industrial home, 22; the German hospital, in Dalston, 68; the refuge for the destitute in Dalston, 81; Brooke House, lunatic asylnm, 96; Pembroke House, lunatic asylnm, 157; London House, lnnatic asylnm, 22; and Mare Street House, lunatic asylnm, 15. But the French Protestant hospital, by Victoria Park, was built in 1865; and there are a literary institution, a mechanics’ institute, and two suites of almshouses. The endowed charities, including those for schools, and for Homerton academy, amount to £2, 949. Sir R. Sadlier, Dr. South, John Howard, the philanthropist, and Major André, who suffered death by order of Washington, were natives; and the Earl of Oxford, the poet; Dr. Mandeville, the author of the “Fable of the Bees;” Sir J. Cæsar, the lawyer; Daniel Defoe, the author of “Robinson Crusoe;” Richard Cromwell, the grandson of the Protector; Bates, the author of “Spiritual Perfection,” Priestly and Price, the Unitarians; and Sutton, the founder of the Charterhouse, were residents. The parish, politically, is conterminate with the limits which we have already named as those of the suburb; but, ecclesiastically, it is divided into Hackney St. John, comprising the central portion of the parish, with a pop. in 1861, of 10, 581, South Hackney, constituted in 1824, pop., 15, 458, West Hackney, in 1824, pop., 24, 265, ST. Barnabas, in 1845, pop., 8, 663, St. Philip, in 1848, pop., 10, 247, St. Thomas, in 1828, pop., 5, 483, St. James, in 1863, pop., 1720, St. Michael, in 1864, pop., 7, 300, St. Matthew, in 1866, pop., 1,800, and St. Augustine in 1866, pop., 5, 000; and it also contains the chapelries of St. Peter, De Beauvoir Town, St. Mark, Dalston, and Ram’s Chapel, Homerton. The livings of H. St. John, S. H., and W. H. are rectories, those of St. Barnabas and St. Matthew are vicarages, and all the others are p. curacies, in the diocese of London. Value of H. St. John, £1, 082;  of S. H., £520; of W. H., £464;  of St. Philip, £350;  of St. B., £150;  of St. T., £207; of St. J., £350; of St. Matthew, £150; of St. Michael and St. A., each £200. Patron of St. John, of S. H., and of W. H., W. A. Tyssen Amhurst, Esq.; of St. Philip, St. J., and St. T. the Rector of H. St. John; of St. B. and St. Matthew, the Bishop of London; of St. Michael and St. A., the Rector of S. H.; of St. Mark, the Rector of W. H.; of St. Peter, R. Benyon, Esq.; of Ram’s Chapel, Trustees.The district includes also the parish of Stoke-Newington; and it is divided into the sub-districts of Hackney, West Hackney, South Hackney, Stamford Hill, and Stoke-Newington, the first four of which are divisions of Hackney parish, and the last conterminate with StokeNewington parish. Acres, 3, 929. Poor rates in 1863, £33, 184. Pop. in 1851, 58, 429; in 1861, 83, 295. Houses, 13, 392. Marriages in 1862, 874; births, 2, 784. of which 99 were illegitimate; deaths, 1, 753, of Which 607 were at ages under 5 years, and 41 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 7, 252; births, 22, 232; deaths, 13, 910. The places of worship, in 1851, were 14 of the Church of England, with 12, 759 sittings; 10 of Independents, with 6, 062 s.; 5 of Baptists, with 2, 344 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 385 s.; 2 of Unitarians, with 720 s.; 3 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 1, 976 s.; 1 of Primitive Methodists, with 90 s.; 1 undefined, with 120 s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 300 s. The schools were 28 public day schools, with 4, 070 scholars; 117 private day schools, with 2, 473 s.; and 22 Sunday schools, with 4, 249 s. The parliamentary borough was created by the reform act of 1867; consists of a quondam part of Tower Hamlets borough; comprises the parishes of Hackney, Bethnal Green, and Shoreditch; and sends two members to parliament.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Bankrupts

Below is a list of people that were declared bankrupt between 1820 and 1843 extracted from The Bankrupt Directory; George Elwick; London; Simpkin, Marshall and Co.; 1843.

Adams Alexander, Mare street, Hackney, linen-draper, Jan. 24, 1834.

Administration

  • County: Middlesex
  • Civil Registration District: Hackney
  • Probate Court: Court of the Commissary of the Bishop of London (London Division)
  • Diocese: London
  • Rural Deanery: Not created until 1858
  • Poor Law Union: Hackney
  • Hundred: Ossulstone (Tower Division)
  • Province: Canterbury
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