Shoreditch St Leonard, Middlesex Genealogy
SHOREDITCH (St. Leonard), a parish, in the Tower division of the hundred of Ossulstone, county of Middlesex; forming a north-eastern portion of the metropolis, and, with Haggerston and Hoxton (which see), containing 83,432 inhabitants. This place, in ancient records called Sordig, Soresdich, and Shordych, appears to have been so designated from the great common sewer, or ditch, which passed through the district. It seems to have given name to the family of Sir John de Sordig, lord of the manor, and one of the ambassadors of Edward III. to Philip of France. The Roman military way leading from London-wall to the ford at Hackney intersected what is now the churchyard; and some vestiges still remain of the old artillery-ground (originally a Roman Campus Martis), which was celebrated for archery and other military exercises practised there by the citizens of London, but which is now covered with houses. The parish is very extensive, consisting of numerous streets adjoining the city, and of several ranges of building on the roads to Kingsland, Hackney, and Bethnal-Green; it is well paved, lighted with gas, and amply supplied with water. There are some remains of ancient houses. The branches of manufacture carried on are principally such as are connected with the silk factories of the neighbouring parish of Spitalfields; there are several breweries, and some foundries for church bells. The parish is under the new police act; and one of the county debt-courts established in 1847, is fixed at Shorcditch. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £17; net income, £656; patron, the Archdeacon of London. The church, rebuilt in 1740, is a handsome edifice in the Grecian style, with a tower, from which rises an open turret surrounded with Corinthian pillars, supporting an elliptical dome surmounted by a small but well-proportioned spire. The western entrance is through a stately portico of four columns of the Doric order, above which is an enriched entablature and cornice, crowned by a pediment. The interior is well arranged; the east window is embellished with stained glass, and there are numerous ancient memorials, among which may be noticed an altar-tomb with recumbent effigies of Sir John Elrington and his lady, a monument of Sir Thomas Leigh in a kneeling posture, and one to four ladies of the Rutland family, whose figures are represented kneeling at an altar, two on each side, in a recess. The church at Haggerston was erected in 1827. The church in the Curtain-road, containing 1200 sittings, was consecrated, and dedicated to St. James, on the 4th of July, 1839: the living is a perpetual curacy in the gift of the Bishop of London, with a net income of £400.
Churches, also, have been erected in that part of the parish called Hoxton; and in Old-street road is another, completed in 1848, and dedicated to St. Mark: the living is in the gift of the Bishop, with a net income of £150. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Wesleyan and other Methodists. A charity school for boys was established in 1705, and a school-house erected in 1722; a similar institution for girls was founded in 1709, and a house built in 1723: the former has an annual income of £100, and the latter one of £160, arising from rents and persona! estates; and they are further supported by subscription. On the north side of Old-street road are the Weavers' almshouses, containing rooms for twelve widows of freemen belonging to the Weavers' Company. Adjoining these are Walters' almshouses for eight widows of freemen of the Drapers' Company, who place in them two widows, the remaining six being appointed by the parish. Next to these are eight rooms built by Mr. Porter, and given to the parish for aged widows. On the south side of Old-street road are houses founded by Judge Fuller, in 1591, and endowed by him with £50 per annum for twelve widows. In Kingsland-road are the Drapers' almshouses, containing twelve rooms, of which six are occupied by freemen of that company or freemen's widows, and six by aged widows chosen by the parish. Further on are the Ironmongers' almshouses, founded in 1703, by Sir Robert Geffery, for freemen of that company or freemen's widows: the buildings form three sides of a quadrangle, the area of which is laid down in turf, and comprise fourteen houses of four rooms each. With a neat chapel in the centre of the principal range; the chaplain resides in one of the houses, and another is occupied by the matron. Beyond these, on the same road, are the almshouses of the company of FrameworkKnitters, consisting of twelve tenements for freemen of that company or freemen's widows. In Gloucesterstreet are houses founded by Mrs. Fuller, for sixteen aged widows. There are also some houses established by Egbert Guede, of Overyssel, for four men belonging to the Dutch church in Austin-friars. The Refuge for the Destitute, a spacious establishment in the parish, consists of two separate buildings; one for males, situated in Hoxton Old Town, and the other for females, in the Hackney-road.
1. Samuel Lewis, ed. "Shobdon - Shorwell," In A Topographical Dictionary of England 87-90. (London: S. Lewis and Co., 1848), Online here, (accessed: 29 April 2010).
Sir Henry Ellis's 1798 history of the parish has been digitized:
- Ellis, Henry. The History and Antiquities of the Parish of St. Leonard Shoreditch, and Liberty of Norton Folgate, in the Suburbs of London. 1798. Digital version at Internet Archive.
Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.
To find the names of the neighbouring parishes, use England Jurisdictions 1851. In this site, search for the name of the parish, click on the location "pin", click Options and click List contiguous parishes.
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Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Middlesex Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.
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