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Marylebone, Middlesex

Historical Description

Marylebone, a parish and a parliamentary borough in Middlesex. The parish forms a compact portion of the metropolis; lies on the Regent's Canal, the L. & N.W.R., and the M.R., 3 miles NW by W of St Paul's; is bounded on the N by Primrose Hill and Queen's Road, on the E by Cleveland Street and part of Regent's Park, on the S by Oxford Street, on the W by Edgware Road; includes the suburbs of StJohn's Wood and Portland Town; and has several stations on the railways, and numerous post offices under London W and London NW. The ancient, nucleus of it was a village called variously Eyeburn, Aeybourn, and Tyburn, names denoting an insular position on a rivulet, and alluding to a small stream which once supplied water through reservoirs to London City, and now flows underground into the Thames near Vauxhall bridge. A church or chapel, dedicated to St Mary, stood at or near the village, and took the name of St Mary-at-Aeybourn or St Mary-a-le-burn, and that name has become corrupted into Marylebone or popularly Marrybon. The tract around the village continued long to be open country, became eventually a haunt of footpads, and was a hunting-place of Queen Elizabeth. The manor belonged to the Hobsons; passed to the Crown in the time of Henry VIII.; went, in that of James I., to E. Foster; passed to the Austens, to Holles Duke of Newcastle, and to the Harleys; went in 1734 to the Duke of Portland; and reverted in 1813 to the Crown. The extension of the metropolis from about the time of Elizabeth, but especially since the middle of the 18th century, as narrated in the historical section of our article London, gradually transmuted the entire area from a rural to an urbancharacter. The parish, as a whole, is now one of the most splendid portions of the metropolis. It contains Portman Square, Cavendish Square, Manchester Square, Bryanstone Square, Montague Square, Park Square, Dorset Square, Harewood Square, Blandford Square, Cumberland Square, Park Crescent, York Terrace, Sussex Terrace, Portland Place, Baker Street, the upper part of Regent Street, and many other fine streets and places; it enjoys the amenities of Regent's Park; it underwent great improvements, by renovation and modernising of buildings, throughout the portions of it on the Duke of Portland's and the Marquis of Westminster's estates, in 1864-67; and, though it includes some inferior localities and has suffered disparagement by comparison with newer portions of the metropolis further to the W, it still maintains a rivalry with even Kensington and Tyburnia.

Portman Square was built chiefly in 1790-1800; has, at its NW comer, a detached house in which Mrs Montague held her blue-stocking parties. Cavendish Square was built in 1730-60; contains an equestrian statue of the Duke of Cumberland, who quenched the rebellion of 1745, set up in 1770; has, on its W side, the residence of the Duke of Portland, and was to have had all its N side occupied by the entrance to the mansion of the Duke of Chandos. Park Crescent has a statue to the Duke of Kent. Regent's Park lies mainly within the parish; extends from York Gate in the New Road to Primrose Hill; comprises 472 acres; is nearly surrounded with very handsome edificed terraces; was planned in 1812 by Nash, and progressively formed and ornamented till the latter years of William IV.; took its name from the Prince Regent, afterwards George IV.; was designed to have a residence of the prince on its NE side, and to communicate through Regent Street with Carlton House and St James' Palace; is traversed northward, on a line with Portland Place, by a broad avenue with rows of trees; has ramifications of footpath thence in all directions, with inter-spersions of ornamental plantations; contains the Botanic Gardens, the Zoological Gardens, and the garden of the Toxophilite Society; has an inner circular drive around the botanic gardens, commanding a view of some of its finest features, and an outer drive of about 2 miles, passing St Dnnstan's villa, built for the Marquis of Hertford who died in 1842, and containing in its grounds the automaton clock-strikers from St Dunstan's Church in Fleet Street; and is adorned with beautiful isleted sheets of water. The Botanic Gardens comprise a circular area of about 18 acres, together with an extensive winter garden; and are the scene of three public flower-shows in the summer months. The Zoological Gardens, which occupy a large portion of the N end of the park, are noticed under London. The Crown estate within the parish comprises Regent Park, the upper part of Portland Place, Park Square and Park Crescent, Albany Street, Osnaburgh Street, and the adjoining cross streets, York Square, Cumberland Square, Regent Park Basin, Augustus Street, E and W Park villages, and the outer road.

A banqueting-house of the lord mayor of London stood on Conduit Mead, now Stafford Place. Marylebone House stood on a spot now occupied by Devonshire Mews; was, with its gardens, converted into a place of public resort, and continued to be such till 1777; and was taken down in 1791. An ancient house, called the Rose of Normandy, stood close to Marylebone House. Boswell, the biographer of Dr Johnson, lived in Great Portland Street; Sheridan wrote his "Rivals" in Orchard Street; Gibbon wrote part of his " Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" in Bentinck Street; Gratton and Mrs Siddons died in Baker Street; Von Weber died in Great Portland Street; Opie, Fusell, and Sir W. Chambers lived in Berners Street; Lady M. W. Montague, Dr Baillie, Romney the painter, and Shee the painter lived in Cavendish Square; Constable and R. Wilson, the painters, lived in Charlotte Street; Sir F. Bourgeois lived in Portland Road; Lord G. Gordon and the miser Elwes lived in Welbeck Street; and Burnett the botanist was a native. Executions took place till 1783 at Tyburn, at the end of Oxford Street; Lord Ferrers and Dr Dodd were among the persons executed there; and Thistlewood and his associates were taken in 1820 in Cato Street, now Horace Street.

The parish comprises 1506 acres; population, 142,404. The parliamentary borough is divided into the east and west divisions, each of which returns a member. Population of the east division, 66,690; of the west division, 75,714.

The old parish church stands in High Street; is now the chapel of ease, called Parish Chapel; was built in 1741, on the site of a previous edifice, which figures in Hogarth's " Rake's Progress;" and contains monuments to the architect Gibbs, the Italian scholar Baretti, and other distinguished persons. The churchyard contains the graves of the astronomer Ferguson, the sculptor Rysbrack, Charles Wesley, Hoyle, Abbadie, Cramer, the painter A. Ramsey, the painter D. Serres, the painter Stubbs, and one of the Dukes of Portland. The new parish church stands in New Road, directly opposite York Gate, Regent's Park; was built in 1813-17, after designs by Hardwicke, at a cost of £60,000; is in the Grecian style, with a noble Corinthian portico, surmounted by a tower and cupola; has West's picture of the Holy Family over the communion table; and contains monuments to the painters Cosway and Northcote. All Souls' Church stands in Langham Place, Oxford Street; was built in 1822-24, after designs by Nash, at a cost of £16,000; has a circular portico and an angular or " extinguisher" spire; and contains Westall's picture of " Christ crowned with Thorns." Trinity Church stands in Portland Road, was built in 1825, after designs by Soane, at a cost of £21,800, and is in the Classical style, on a variety of models. 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 

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

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Marylebone 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 Marylebone are available from a number of sites:

Villages, Hamlets, &c

Portland Town
DistrictCity of Westminster
CountyGreater London
Postal districtW1G
Post TownLondon