A MAP OF THE PARISH OF St. DUNSTANS STEPNEY als. STEBUNHEATH Divided into Hamlets
The PARISH of St JOHNS WAPPING The Parish of St PAUL SHADWELL
|Suburbs without the Walls. St. Dunstan Stepney. ||47
say it was some Lady that going out of Town saw the School, and was informed of
great Numbers of poor People Inhabitants of the Parish, not able to give their
Going out of Town from Whitechapel Eastward, are two Rows of Alms Houses on
each side of the Way, opposite to each other. That on the left Hand belongeth
Parish; and containeth sixteen Rooms, for as many poor Widows, who have a weekly
Salary paid by the Parish. That on the right Hand of a later Foundation, was
Will. Meggs, Esq; for twelve poor Widows; that is, such as formerly, or their
Husbands, had paid Scot and Lot to the Parish. They receive Five Pound a Piece
Yearly. Formerly they had a Portion of Coals allowed them also; but is now
There is a pretty Piece of Garden Ground behind their House, belonging to them.
poor People are put into this Alms House, as the Rooms fall, by Sir James
who married Mr. Gouldstons Widow, which Gouldston was Nephew to Mr. Meggs
Almshouses in Whitechapel
The Parish of St. DUNSTANS STEPNEY.
Next adjoining to Whitechapel, on the East, is the Parish of Stepney, washed on
South with the River of Thames, and touching on the West and Noth sides upon
Algate, Bishopsgate, Shoreditch, and Hackney. The Church is called St. Dunstans
Stepney, written anciently Stebunhith, or Stephenhith. And if there were any
Church or Chapel hereabouts dedicated to St. Stephen, I should be apt to suppose
Name to imply a Landing Place (as Hith signifies) for Boats and Vessels at St.
Stephens. Or else perhaps from the Steepness of the Hithe there.
Some thing may be said of this Parish in general; and afterwards of some
it more especially. It was a Parish of very great extent: insomuch that some
have been taken out of it: As Whitechapel (which according to the Name was once
Chapel of East to it) St. Pauls Shadwel, and of later times St. Johns at Wappin,
belonged to Whitechapel, and three others now in building. There be also in
Parish some Chapels of Ease yet remaining, as one at Poplar, another in Spittle
and, in my remembrance, another was on the Northern Part of Bethnal Green: But
is now turned into Houses. So that Stepney may be esteemed rather a Province
Parish, especially if we add, that it contains in it both City and Country: For
the South Parts, where it lies along the River Thames for a great way, by
Poplar, and Radcliff, to Wappin, it is furnished with every thing that may
intitle it to the
Ho-nour (if not of a City, yet) of a great Town; Populousness, Traffick,
Havens, Shiping, Manufacture, Plenty and Wealth, the Crown of all. And were it
eclipsed by the Lustre of the neighbouring City, it would appear one of the
considerablest Towns of the Kingdom, and would give place to very few Cities in
England. And among other Places of Remark, at Blackwal is a Wet Dock belonging
Sir Henry Johnson, of sufficient bigness to contain Ships.
The largee extent of this Parish.
Chapels in this Parish.
On the other Side, Northward, this Parish hath the face of a Country, affording
thing to render it pleasant, Fields, Pasture-Grounds for Cattle, and formerly
Marshes. For in old Writings we read of the Bishops Woods and Stebunhith
The North Parts.
The Bishop of London had a Manour within this Parish of Stepney, and two Woods
lying about it: which Rich. de Gravesend, sometime Bishop of London, the 20 Edw.
about the Year 1292, was
minded to enclose for a Park. And for that purpose had a Grant of Free Warren
the said King; but the Citizens of London would not suffer it. As appears by
Record remaining in the Chamber of London.
A Manour and two Woods in Stepney, belonging to the Bishop of London.
"On Thursdy next before the Feast of St. Gregory the Pope, 20 Edw.1. in the
Presence of Rafe de Sandwich, Custos of the City of London, Robert de Basing,
de Bacquill, William de Hereford, Rafe le Blunt, Robert de Roks, Nicholas de
William de Mazeliner, William de Farndon, &c. Aldermen of the same City,
Men of every Ward summoned, a Petition of the venerable Father R. de Gravesend,
Bishop of London, was shewn to them by the Custos, to this purpose: That the
Bishop might enclose his two Woods in the Town of Stebenhith, lying about his
Manour in the same Town, and to put Wild Beasts or Deer in them. Which Four of
each Ward, being chosen by the Commonalty, taking Counsel upon this Matter,
answered by themselves precisely, that from the Time whereof no Memory is
they had used to take and hunt within the foresaid Woods, and without, Hares,
Conies, and other Beasts; where and when they would. And they say, that they do
believe, that the Lord the King granted him any thing in prejudice of the City's
Liberties. Whereupon they say, that they desire to use the Liberties which
have used: And they pray, that the same Bishop may hold his Woods in the form
manner as his Ancestors and Predecessors have held them. And they will not
that he may enclose them: nor will they grant him any Warren, &c."
Lib. Horn. fo. 268.
Mile-end Town stands here; built with many good Houses, inhabited with divers
Captains and Commanders of Ships: Two East India Captains, by the Name of Brown;
and other Persons of good Quality.
It used also to serve for Country Retirement to Citizens and other wealthy Men.
Witness those many fine Seats and noble Structures that appear scattered about
Parts. For so it was especially in antient times, when Courtiers and Persons of
greatest Quality had their Country Houses here. Among the rest the Bishops of
used to retire hither for some Hundred of Years past. Matthew Paris speaks of
Niger, a Bishop of London that died at his Manour House of Stebunhith above four
Hundred Years ago. Henry Waleis Maior of London, lived at Stepenhith; and
more) at whose House, An. 1299. 27 Edw. the First, that King held a Parliament,
being then Maior of London.
Here the Lord Cramwel, Earl of Essex, had a House. Henry Colet, sometime Lord
Maior of London, had House and Lands here, which descended to his Son John
Dean of St. Pauls, the Founder of Jesus School by Pauls, who gave a fair House
as it seems that very House wherein he dwelt near the Church) to the said
School, for a
Place for the Master and Scholars to retire to, when the Plague should be at
The Dean loved often to retire hither from the City, for Air and Contemplation.
Thomas More who wanted Colet's Company, having been absent abroad, in a Letter
inticeth him home, and among other Arguments he useth for that Purpose, one is,
"That the Country about his Parish of Stepney (as he called it) whereof also
also not to have the least Care [perhaps he was Parson there] afforded him the
Delights to those which he had in the Place wherein he then was. And from
might upon Occasion come to London, as into an Inn. And prayed him there-"
Life of Sir Tho. Moor.