St Pancras, Middlesex Genealogy

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England Gotoarrow.png Middlesex Gotoarrow.png Middlesex Parishes Gotoarrow.png St Pancras

See "A Comprehensive List of St Pancras' Churches in Pre-1900"

Parish History

"St Pancras (which was once called St Pancras in the Fields), the old church of, is situated on the North Side of the road leading from Kings Cross, Battle-bridge, to Kentish town. The parish is of great extent, including one third of the hamlet of Highgate, and the whole of the hamlets of Kentish town, Camden town, Somers town and Pentonville. It extends to the South end of Gray's Inn Lane, and includes the streets westward of it to Cleveland Street and Rathbone Place. The new church of this parish is a very handsome elaborate structure, on the south side of the new road... This parish is a vicarage in the County of Middlesex, in the diocese of London, a peculiar of the archbishopric of Canterbury, and in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's [Cathedral]. There are also two parish chapels, which are both curacies in the patronage of the vicar, one called the parish Chapel and...[sic] ¹"

"PANCRAS, ST., a parish, in the Holborn division of the hundred of Ossulstone, county of Middlesex, a suburb to London; containing 129,763 inhabitants. This parish exhibits, in an extraordinary degree, the vast increase which, within the last half century, and particularly during the last twenty years, has taken place in the districts bordering upon the metropolis. In the year 1765, it was a remote and isolated spot, consisting of a few scattered dwellings, and containing only 60 inhabitants; and its ancient church of diminutive size, suited to the smallness of the population, formed a romantic feature in the landscape. Since that period, however, large tracts of meadow land have been covered with buildings, and it is now one of the most populous parishes in the vicinity of London, comprising KentishTown, Camden-Town, Somers-Town, and part of Highgate. The streets are well paved, and lighted with gas, and the inhabitants are supplied with water by the West Middlesex and New-River Companies, the latter of which has a reservoir in the Hampstead-road. Among the buildings on the south side of the New-road, is University College, which, with its grounds, occupies an area of seven acres, at the upper end of Gower-street; it is noticed under the head of London, as is the adjacent hospital.

"The Colosseum, in the Regent's Park, which was sold by auction, in May 1843, for 23,000 guineas, was erected in 1824, for the exhibition of the grand panoramic view of London, and its environs for ten miles round, taken by Mr. Horner, from the cross of St. Paul's Cathedral. It very much resembles the Pantheon at Rome, being a stately polygonal building of stone, 400 feet in circumference, with a massive and boldly projecting portico of six columns, of the Grecian-Doric order, supporting a cornice and triangular pediment. From the main building rises a spacious and well-proportioned dome, crowned with a parapet forming a circular gallery, from which an extensive and pleasing view of the country is obtained. The gardens in the rear are laid out with great variety; and besides the panorama, are various objects of attraction, comprising a museum of sculpture, a Gothic aviary, classic ruins, conservatories, caverns, fountains, and other beautiful designs. The extent occupied by the building and grounds is little short of five acres. Beyond the Colosseum, on that side of the park which is in the parish, are, Cambridge-place, a range of plain substantial houses; Chester-terrace, an elegant pile of building, consisting of a centre decorated with eight Corinthian pillars supporting an entablature and cornice, and of two handsome wings; Cumberland-terrace, consisting of a centre and two continuous wings of the Ionic order, the central pediment and the pediments in the wings being enriched with alto-relievos, and each surmounted on the apex and at the ends with finely-sculptured statues; and Gloucester-terrace, a handsome range, having in the centre six Ionic pillars supporting a cornice surmounted by an open balustrade. At the north-western extremity of the park are the gardens of the Zoological Society, laid out in walks and shrubberies, and divided into compartments, in which various buildings have been erected, for the reception of animals of every description.

"The cavalry barracks in Albany-road are neatly built of brick, and occupy an area of eight acres and a half; the buildings comprise accommodation for 400 men, with stabling for their horses, a riding-school, infirmary, magazine, and an extensive ground for exercise. The Tottenham-street, now called the Queen's, theatre, is a plain building, arranged for the reception of about 800 persons. Bagnigge wells, anciently noted for its chalybeate water, St. Chad's wells, and Pancras' wells, are in the parish. Brookes' menagerie, in the New-road, has a large collection of foreign birds, constantly on sale. On the line of the same road are the premises of numerous statuaries and masons, and show-rooms for ornamental marble chimney-pieces; also the establishments of several organ-builders and piano-forte manufacturers. The Regent's canal passes through the parish, in which are some wharfs; and near Euston-square is the well-built and handsome terminus of the London and Birmingham railroad. This terminus has lately been enlarged, and now forms an irregular oblong of about 1050 feet north and south, by about 400 at the southern, and 660 at the northern, extremity; several new buildings have been just erected, and altogether the station, with its extensive workshops, ranges of offices, spacious covered way, and entrance of fine Grecian architecture, presents one of the most extraordinary and ornamental business establishments in the metropolis. In addition to Cumberland market for hay, is a general market for butchers' meat and provisions in a part of Somers-Town called the Brill. The parish is under the stipendiary magistrates of the metropolis.

"The living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's, valued in the king's books at £9. 5.; net income, £1700; impropriator, W. Thiselton, Esq. The old parochial church, now used as a chapel, has undergone so many alterations and repairs, that it retains few vestiges of its original character: it was enlarged in 1847-8, at a cost of about £2000. The churchyard has been long the burial-place of Roman Catholics, and contains the remains of many eminent foreigners, including the Archbishop of Narbonne, and seven bishops expelled from France; General Paoli; several French marshals; and the Chevalier D'Eon. Here also were buried, Mary Wolstoncroft Godwin; John Walker, compiler of the Pronouncing Dictionary; Tiberius Cavallo, a philosophical writer; Woollett, the eminent engraver; Webbe, the glee composer; Dr. J. E. Grabe, a learned divine; and Jeremy Collier. The living of the old church is a perpetual curacy; net income, £200; patron, the Vicar. The new parochial church in Euston-square, a splendid structure begun in May 1819, and consecrated May 7th, 1822, was built and furnished at an expense of upwards of £76,600, and is after the model of the Temple of Erectheus at Athens, with a lofty tower of three receding stages, resembling the Temple of the Winds. At the west entrance is a stately portico of six fluted Ionic columns, sustaining an entablature and cornice, surmounted by a pediment; at the east end are two projecting wings forming the vestry and registry, the roofs of which, on the fascia, are supported on caryatides. The interior is chastely decorated; the altar-piece is ornamented with six verd antique columns of Scagliola marble.

"A church was erected in Regent-square, by grant of the Parliamentary Commissioners, in 1824, at an expense of £16,025; it is a handsome edifice in the Grecian style, with a portico of the Ionic order, and an octagonal tower of two stages. The living is a district incumbency, in the patronage of the Vicar; net income, £400. ChristChurch, Regent's Park, consecrated June 13th, 1837, and containing 1800 sittings, was erected at a cost of about £6000, raised by subscription: the living is in the gift of the Bishop of London. Trinity church, Gray's-Inn-road, built of brick, with a small steeple of stone, at a cost of about £7200, and capable of accommodating 1500 persons, was consecrated December 13th, 1838: this church belongs to St. Andrew's, Holborn, but is surrounded on all sides by St. Pancras. All Saints', Gordon-square, was consecrated in 1842, and contains 1200 sittings: the living is in the Bishop's gift. The church of St. John the Evangelist, in Charlottestreet, Fitzroy-square, was consecrated in July 1846, and is a Norman edifice, with a tower and spire rising 120 feet from the ground. St. Jude's temporary church, in Britannia-street, Gray's-Inn-road, was opened October 1847. In the parish are, Fitzroy proprietary episcopal chapel, a neat building of brick; an episcopal chapel in Gray's-Inn-road, belonging to the Rev. Thos. Mortimer, B.D.; Percy chapel, Charlotte-street; and Woburn chapel. Two incumbencies have been just formed, called St. Luke's, King's-cross, and St. Matthew's, Oakley-square, Bedford-Town; and besides these, are, a chapel to the church of St. James', Piccadilly, with an extensive cemetery; a chapel and cemetery belonging to St. Giles'-in-the-Fields; and the burial-grounds of the parishes of St. Andrew Holborn, St. George Bloomsbury, St. George the Martyr, and St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Other churches or chapels are noticed in the articles on Camden-Town, Kentish-Town, and Somers-Town. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, Wesleyans, and Calvinistic and other Methodists, a Scottish church, and a Roman Catholic chapel: of these the Scottish church, in Regent-square, is in the later English style, with two lofty towers at the western entrance.

"The Foundling Hospital, situated on the north side of Guildford-street, between Brunswick and Mecklenburgh squares, was founded by charter of George II., in 1739, "for the maintenance and instruction of deserted infants," who are put under the care of nurses in the country till of a proper age to receive instruction. There are generally about 400 children in the institution, and the income is about £14,000 per annum, arising from funded property, the produce of sums given for admission to the chapel, the children's work, and subscriptions. The premises consist of a spacious and elegant chapel, which occupies the centre, and two wings containing dormitories, schools, and the apartments for the conductors of the establishment. The chapel is decorated with a fine altar-piece, painted by West; the organ was presented by Handel, who devoted to the use of the charity the profits arising from the performance of his oratorio of the Messiah. The Welsh Charity School, in Gray's-Innlane, was established in 1714, for the maintenance and education of children born of Welsh parents resident near London: the premises, occupying three sides of a quadrangle, are handsomely built of brick. In the institution are preserved several interesting manuscripts illustrative of the history of the ancient Britons. St. Katherine's Hospital was originally founded by Matilda, wife of Stephen, in 1148, and the endowment was augmented by Eleanor, queen dowager of Henry III., for a master, three clerical brethren, three sisters, ten bedeswomen, and six poor clerks: the institution was patronized by succeeding queens of England, and takes its name from Katherine, consort of Henry VIII. On the construction of St. Katherine's Docks, near the Tower, the old premises were taken down in 1826, and the establishment removed to Regent's Park, where the present buildings were erected. They are handsomely built of white brick, and comprise two ranges, each consisting of three separate houses, with an oriel window at the end front, in the Elizabethan style, for the residence of the brethren and sisters, between which is the chapel, an elegant structure in the later English style, with two angular turrets crowned by bold pinnacles. The front of the chapel is ornamented with sculptures, and the entrance doorway and window above it are of good design; the windows generally are of lofty dimensions and enriched with tracery, and the large east window is embellished with painted glass. Adjoining the chapel is a school, in which twenty-four boys and twelve girls are instructed; and opposite to the hospital, in the area of the park, is an elegant villa, built for the residence of the master of the hospital. Baths and Wash-houses for the labouring classes were erected in 1845–6, at the base of the extensive and elevated reservoir belonging to the New-River Company, in the Hampstead-road; the site was presented by the company, and comprises 7000 square feet. In the Pancras-road, nearly opposite the old church, are eight model houses, comprising more than a hundred separate dwellings, completed at the end of 1847, by the Metropolitan Association for improving the dwellings of the Industrious Classes: this was the society's first attempt to accommodate several families in one large building. The parish, under the poor-law act, is superintended by twenty guardians.²"

1. James Elmes, M.R. I. A., Architect. In “A Topographical Dictionary of London and its Envirions,” (London: Whittaker, Treacher and Arnot, 1831). Adapted.

2. Samuel Lewis, ed. A Topographical Dictionary of England 531-535. (London: S. Lewis and Co., 1848), Online here, (accessed: 04 May 2010).


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