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Hackney, Middlesex

Historical Description

Hackney, a metropolitan suburb, a parish, and a parliamentary borough in Middlesex. The suburb is situated; averagely 2½ miles NNE of St Paul's, London; includes Hackney Proper, South Hackney, West Haskney, Homerton,. Clapton, Dalston, and De Beauvoir Town; extends from N to S about 3½ miles; is bounded on the N by Stoke Newingtou, on the E by Stratford-le-Bow and West Ham, on the S by Bethnal Green and Shoreditch, on the W by Islington and Stoke Newington, and measures in circumference about 11¾ miles. It skirts the river Lea on the NE and the E, it is. traversed along the N border by the North London railway, and through the centre by the G.E.R,, and it lies in the London N.E. postal district The whole of the area, with the exception of the London Fields, the Hackney Downs,. South Hackney Common, and a portion of Victoria Park, is now occupied by streets which are mostly straight and well built. Area of the parish, 3299 acres; population, 198, 606. The parliamentary borough has an area of 3937 acres, and is divided into the North, Central, and South Divisions; population of North Division, 77, 181; Central½ 64, 760; South, 87, 601; total, 229, 542. The place was formerly noted for numerous residences of the nobility, who were attracted to it by its salubrity and beauty, and notwithstanding the migration of the higher classes to the western suburbs, it is still to a small extent a favourite residence for persons of the middle classes. It is first mentioned in a record of 1252, and is there called Hackeneye. It is mentioned again in documents of the times of Edward I. and Edward IV., and it figures in connection with an ancient church which is designated variously of St Augustine and St John. The Rnights Templars are said to have had a house or preceptory in Wells Street, and the Rnights Hospitallers are said to have had one on a site in Church Street. Two manors within the limits were called Lord's Hold and King's Hold, and the former belonged to the bishops of London and the Wentworths, the latter to the Herberts, the Hunsdons, the Brookes, and the Vyners, but all the manors, with a considerable extent of demesne land and estates, are now centred in the Tyssen family. The founder of this family was a native of Flanders, naturalized in England by Act of Parliament in 1680, and the present representative of it is Lord Amhurst of Hackney. Hackney village, till modern times, stood quite apart from the metropolis, and hadi a rural character, and it was the place where the Duke of Gloucester and his adherents in arms against Richard II. took post to await the return of a deputation sent to lay their grievances before the king. The Temple Mills, situated. a little S of Lea Bridge, are supposed to have originated with the Rnights Templars, and were used, till a comparatively recent period, for the manufacture of sheet-lead. A water mill was erected in the time of Charles II. on Hackney Marsh, for practising a method of boring guns discovered by Prince Rupert, but went to ruin after the prince's death. Several springs were formerly notable, and one of them gave name to Well Street, another gave name to Shacklewell, another was a chalybeate which had a medicinal reputation, but went into disuse in consequence of the modern attraction of more distant spas. The nursery grounds of Hackney were long celebrated, and they furnished some choice plants for the park at the Crystal Palace. Extensive silk mills. were once here, but have disappeared. Shoemaking is carried on to a considerable extent, and there are some factories for various industries at Hackney Wick. Sir R. Sadlier, Dr South, John Howard the philanthropist, and Major Andre, who suffered death by order of Washington, were natives; and the Earl of Oxford, the poet; Dr Mandeville, the author of the " Fable of the Bees; " Sir J. Caesar, the lawyer; Daniel Defoe, the auther of " Robinson Crusoe;" Richard Cromwell, the grandson of the Protector; Bates, the author of " Spiritual Perfection;" Priestly and Price, the Unitarians; and Sutton, the founder of the Charterhouse, were residents. See also LONDON.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyMiddlesex 
Poor Law unionHackney 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Hackney from the following:

Land and Property

A full transcript of the Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Middlesex is online.


Online maps of Hackney are available from a number of sites:

Villages, Hamlets, &c

Hackney Wick
CountyGreater London
Postal districtE8
Post TownLondon