Church Directories

Parishes in Stepney Rural Deanery in 1903

Outline map of Parishes in 1903

Anglican churches in Stepney in 1890/1905 - we have a list prepared by John Henley. It has some information on records, whether churches are still open, and where they are. The ancient parishes were split into many smaller ones as London grew.


Church Records

FindMypast haev teh Docklands Ancestors searchable index of the Parish Registers of St Peter's, London Docks, St Mary Newington, St John Wapping, St Paul Shadwell, and St James Ratcliff for your Docklands Ancestors. Over 25,000 original entries. Coming soon, St Anne, Limehouse, 1842-1896, 6400 entries.


Civil Registration

Civil registration records for Stepney parish are now held by Tower Hamlets Register Office, who are developing an index to the records.


Description & Travel

Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]

"STEPNEY, a parish and populous district of the metropolis, in the Tower division of Ossulstone hundred, and borough of the Tower Hamlets, county Middlesex, 2½ miles E. of St. Paul's Cathedral. It is a junction station on the North London, the Blackwall, and Great Eastern railways; it lies chiefly between the Commercial-road and the Great Eastern railway, and includes the populous districts of Mile-End, New and Old Town, and part of Ratcliffe. The population of the parish in 1861 was 98,836, and of the ecclesiastical districts of the Holy Trinity and St. Philip respectively 10,478 and 14,805. Previously to 1669 it was much more extensive than at present, comprising, in addition to its present parochial limits, the hamlets Of Stratford-le-Bow, Limehouse, Shadwell, St. George's-in-the-East, Spitalfields, Bethnal Green, Wapping, Whitechapel, Poplar, and Blackwall, which from their increased importance have been successively separated from it, and formed into distinct parishes. " (There is more of this description).

"BOW COMMON, a chapelry in the parish of Stepney, in the county of Middlesex, 3 miles to the E. of St. Paul's. It is a suburb of London, and has a church, dedicated to St. Paul. The living is a perpetual curacy,* value £150, in the gift of W. Cotton, Esq."

"ISLE OF DOGS, a marsh in the parish of Stepney, Tower division of the hundred of Ossulstone, in the county of Middlesex, 5 miles E.S.E. of St. Paul's. It probably derives its name from the king's hounds having been originally kept here. It is formed by a bend of the river Thames, opposite Greenwich, and is 7 feet below high-water mark. It comprises about 600 acres of rich grazing land, and belongs to the Marquis of Westminster. A ship canal has been cut here, thus avoiding the great curve of the Thames between Limehouse and Blackwall. At the S.E. is a ferry to Greenwich. Seaward's steam factory is at Millwall, and there are extensive iron ship-factories and other manufactories for shipping equipments, besides mills for extracting oil, from linseed and for making oil-cake. Chapel-house Farm is on the site .of a chapel dedicated to St. Mary, supposed to have been built before the 15th century. There is a place of worship for Independents.

"OLD and NEW TOWNS MILE-END, hamlets in the parish of Stepney, Tower division of the hundred of Ossulstone county Middlesex, 2 miles E. of St. Paul's Cathedral, London. Here are stations on the Great Eastern and North London railways. The two towns form one of the most extensive suburbs of E. London, stretching in a line from W. to E. along the principal road to Essex, and forming part of the metropolitan borough of the Tower Hamlets. The New Town covers about a quarter of a mile square to the N. of the Whitechapel-road, and is bounded by the parishes of Bethnal Green and Spitalfields, while the Old Town is 2 miles in length by half a mile broad, and lies between the Commercial-road and the Great Eastern railway. The latter is traversed by the Regent's canal and the Mile-End-road, and is only partially built over. " (There is more of this description).

"RATCLIFF, a hamlet and populous suburban district in the parish of Stepney, Tower division of the hundred of Ossulstone, county Middlesex, 1½ mile E. of St. Paul's, London. Its present name appears to be a corruption of Redcliff, an appellation derived from the red cliff, or bank, of the river Thames, which flows southward of the parish. In Camden's time it was a village principally inhabited by sea-faring men, but is now a populous suburb of the metropolis. The main street, called Ratcliff highway, was formerly planted on each side with elm-trees, but now consists of lines of houses, and extends to Limehouse. The living is a perpetual cur* in the diocese of London, value £300, in the patronage of the bishop. The church, dedicated to St. James, was erected in 1838, by a grant from the parliamentary commissioners. There are also several chapels and schools. In the Commercial-road is situated the Eastern Institution, established in 1839, by a proprietary of shareholders for the promotion of literature and science. See Stepney. [On modern maps, close to Limehouse station and the Northern exit of the Rotherhithe tunnel.]"

Description(s) from "The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland" (1868), transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003; intended for personal use only, so please respect the conditions of use.

You can see pictures of Stepney which are provided by:




Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Stepney has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



Mile End Old Town, 1740-1780: A social history of an Early-Modern London suburb by Derek Morris, 2nd edition, (East London History Society, 2007, ISBN 978-0-9506258-6-7).
The accompanying CD-ROM database Mile End Old Town Residents, 1740-1790 covers 6900 tax payers in great detail.

David Morris also has a webpage listing all his publications over the past twenty years, which mainly focus on historical and genealogical topics relating to early modern Stepney. He also has several articles on Captain Cook - a Stepney resident for many years.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference TQ355815 (Lat/Lon: 51.51618, -0.048583), Stepney which are provided by: