The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

Description and History from 1868 Gazetteer
SHOREDITCH, a parish and populous metropolitan district, in the Tower division of Ossulstone hundred and parliamentary borough of the Tower Hamlets, county Middlesex, 1½ mile N.E. of St. Paul's cathedral. It is the terminus of the Great Eastern railway, which terminus is soon to be moved to Liverpool-street, City. The Metropolitan railway has a station opposite the parish church. This parish, which is extensive, lies for the most part between the Regent's canal, Hackney-road, Finsbury Circus, and the City-road. It comprises Hoxton Old and New Town, Holywell, Moorfields, Church-End, and Haggerston, covering 620 acres, and containing a population in 1861 of 129,364.

It was anciently traversed by the Roman military way leading from London-wall to the ford at Hackney; and on the site of the old artillery ground, now built over, traces have been discovered of a Roman camp. In ancient records it is generally written Sordig or Soresdich, evidently from the great common sewer, or ditch, which passed through it. It is well paved and lighted with gas, but the drainage and water supply are imperfect. The principal branch of manufacture carried on here is that of furniture; it is said that nine-tenths of the furniture of England is made here. There are also several breweries. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of London, value £656, in the patronage of the Archdeacon of London. The church was rebuilt in 1740 by Dance, pupil of Sir C. Wren. There are twelve bells, very good. The interior contains ancient monuments; one connected with the royal family of Hungary, with a representation of two skeletons tearing asunder the trunk of a tree. Will Somers, Henry VIII.'s jester, is buried here. Gabriel Spencer, killed by Ben Jonson in a duel 1698. Richard Tarlton, Queen Elizabeth's famous clown (1588); James Burbadge (1596); his more famous son, Richard (1618); William Sly, one of Shakespeare's original performers, lie in the churchyard. The list of vicars begins A.D. 1185. There are, besides the district churches of St. John the Baptist, Holy Trinity, and Christ Church at Hoxton, St. Mary's, Haggerston, All Saints at Stonebridge, St. James's and St. Michael's in the Curtain-road, St. Mark's in the Old Street-road, St. Paul's, and St. Andrew's chapel. Of these the most remarkable is St. John the Baptist's, built in 1830 at a cost of £16,444. The Baptists, Independents, Wesleyans, and several other Dissenting congregations have places of worship. There are about 250 daily and 10 Sunday schools, some of which are partially endowed. The Haberdashers', Drapers', Weavers', Frame-work Knitters', and Ironmongers' Companies have almshouses here; besides several local almshouses. [See also articles London, Hoxton, Spitalfields, &c.]

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