The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868


ISLEWORTH, a parish in the hundred of the same name, county Middlesex, 8 miles W. of Hyde Park corner, and 1 S.W. of Brentford. It is situated on the river Thames, and is a station on the South-Western railway. It contains Brentford End, Smallbury Green, Wyke Green, and parts of Hounslow and Whitton.

In Domesday survey it is written Gistelesworde. Prior to the Norman Conquest the manor belonged to Earl Algar, from whom it passed to Walter de St. Vallery, and subsequently to Richard, king of the Romans, who built a castle here. Simon de Montfort encamped here in 1266. It was anciently celebrated for a monastery called the Monastery of Sion, of the order of St. Bridget of Sweden, originally founded at Twickenham in 1414 by Henry V., but removed to this place in 1432, the revenue of which at the Dissolution was £1,944 119. 8d. The site was granted by Edward VI. to Edward Duke of Somerset, Lord. Protector, who erected the mansion of Sion House, but in the reign of Mary the convent was refounded for an abbess and nuns. In the following reign it was again suppressed, and continued vested in the crown till the reign of James I., when it was given to Henry Percy, the ninth Earl of Northumberland, and is now the property of the present duke. The custom of borough-English prevails in this manor. The village, which consists of one principal street, occupies a situation on the north side of the river Thames, and is lighted with gas, and paved. A considerable part of the parish is laid out in market gardens, which produce large quantities of strawberries, raspberries, and other fruit for the London market. There are an extensive brewery, cement works, and a corn-mill, believed to be one of the largest in England. The Brentford union workhouse is situated in this parish. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of London, value £681, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Windsor. The church, dedicated to All Saints, was built from a design of Sir Christopher Wren, and has an ivy-mantled tower containing a peal of eight bells, belonging to a more ancient structure. In the interior are several monuments, two brasses (one to Chase, bearing date 1544), also effigies of Darcey and Devaux. There is also a district church at Woodlands, dedicated to St. John, the living of which is a perpetual curacy* in the patronage of the vicar. It was erected by subscription on a piece of land given by the Duke of Northumberland; and adjoining it are a parsonage, school, and twelve almshouses, all three built by the late John Farnell, Esq., and the two latter endowed by him. The charities produce £1,903 per annum, of which £551 goes to schools, £826 to almshouses-viz: Tolson's, Ingram's, Bell's, Sermon's, and Farnell's, £325 is dispensed by the Board of Feoffees, and the rest is appropriated to several small charities. There are chapels for Independents, Wesleyans, Quakers, and Roman Catholics, which last have also a school attached to the convent. There are five schools in this parish-viz, three endowed National schools for boys, girls, and infants, a greencoat school, and a new school at Brentford End. There are many seats in the neighbourhood, among which may be mentioned Sion House, the seat of the Duke of Northumberland. It is situated in the midst of a park, through which there is a fine walk. The mansion was originally erected by the Protector Somerset on the site of the old monastery, but has been subsequently considerably altered and enlarged under the superintendence of Inigo Jones. It is a spacious quadrangular and embattled structure, with towers at the angles. There is a tradition of a subterranean passage under the bed of the river Thames communicating with Kew gardens. This seat was the place selected by the parliament for the residence of the children of Charles I., while under the care of the Countess of Northumberland. Gordon House, the residence of Judge Haliburton, the author of "Sam Slick," Isleworth House, Sion Hill, Wyke House, and Silver Hall, are the other principal seats. Keate, who wrote the account of the Pelew Islands, was a native of this place. Among the residents were Lord Baltimore, the founder of Maryland, the Countess of Sutherland, the "Sacharissa" of Waller, Talbot Duke of Shrewsbury, the Duchess of Kendal, the mistress of George I., and Sheridan. A fair is held on the first Monday in July.

[Description(s) from "The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland" (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]
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