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St Pancras, Middlesex

Historical Description

Pancras, St, a metropolitan parish in Middlesex. The parish lies on the Regent Canal, and on the London and North-Western, the North London, the Metropolitan, the Great Northern, and the Midland railways, between Maiden Lane, Tavistock Square, Regent's Park, Primrose Hill, and Caen Wood, 2¼ miles NW of St Paul's; includes Camden Town, Kentish Town, Somers Town, King's Cross, Gray's Inn Lane, part of Regent's Park, and part of Highgate; contains the termini of the London and North-Western, the Great Northern, and the Midland railways; and is in the NW postal district Acreage, 2672; population, 234,379. The manor belongs to the canons of St Paul's. St Pancras is mentioned in Domesday book, where it is stated that " the land of this manor is of one caracute and employs one plough." The surface in 1251 was occupied by only forty houses; in the time of Norden, or about. 1680, was a haunt of " rogues, vagabonds, harlots, and thieves;" began about 1750 to assume a suburban character; and now with slight exceptions is all urban. The limits include a great multitude of streets, mostly well-built and rectilinear-Mornington, Gloucester, and Burton Crescents; Cumberland, Chester, and other Terraces; and Russell, Clarendon, Fitzroy, Euston, Mecklenburgh, Brunswick, Tavistock, Gordon, Clarence, Munster, and Oakley Squares. Most of the buildings and also other notable features within the boundaries are noticed in the article LONDON, where also a list of the ecclesiastical parishes is given. B. Thornhill was born in Maiden Lane, F. Baily and Gait lived in Tavistock Square, Flaxman died in Buckingham Street, Douce the antiquary died in Gower Street, and Trevithick the Cornish engineer exhibited his locomotive engine, the precursor of Stephenson's invention, near the site of the L. & N.W.R. terminus. The name St Pancras is taken from a Phrygian youth who was martyred at Rome in 304, and an old tradition asserts that it was here that the first Christian altar was erected:-" The rev'rend spire of ancient Pancras view, To ancient Pancras pay the rev'rence due; Christ's sacred altar there first Britain saw, And gazed, and worship'd with an holy awe, Whilst pitying Heaven diffused a saving ray, And heathen darkness changed to Christian day."

The parish church stands in Euston Road; was erected in 1819-22 after designs by the Inwoods at a cost of £76,679; was modelled after the Erectheum in Athens; has an Ionic portico-vestry wings with caryatides, modelled after the Pandrosium and a steeple 165 feet high, modelled after the Temple of the Winds; and contains a pulpit made out of the Fairlop oak. The eastern apse has fine scagliola columns, after the temple of Minerva. The parish has been subdivided into about thirty-five ecclesiastical districts. Old St Pancras Church stands in the midst of what was once open country; was long called St Pancras-in-the Fields; occupies the site of one of the earliest Christian churches in Britain; was built about 1180; went into a ruinous condition after the Reformation; was restored and enlarged in 1848, with reconstruction of its tower; is in the Norman style; was found at its restoration to contain Roman bricks, an altar-stone, a piscina, and sedilia; and together with its churchyard contains the monuments or graves of Jeremy Collier, S. Cooper the painter, Leoni the architect. Ward the author of the " London Spy," Platt the founder of fellowships at Cambridge, Godwin the novelist, Mary Woolstonecroft, Obadiah Walker, Grabe the Grecian, General Paoli, Chevalier D'Eon, Theobald the editor of " Shakespeare," Walker the author of the " Pronouncing Dictionary," Malcolm the author of " Londinium Redivivum," and many other distinguished persons. A tunnel of the M.R. formed in 1867 passes beneath the churchyard 12 feet below the surface. For parliamentary purposes St Pancras is divided into four divisions, each returning one member. Population of East St Pancras, 60,666; North, 59,233; South, 53,776; and West, 60,704. See LONDON.

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

Administration

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

Ancient CountyMiddlesex 
HundredOssulstone 

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


Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for St Pancras from the following:


Land and Property

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


Villages, Hamlets, &c

Agar Town
Bagnigge Wells
Camden Town
Kentish Town
Somers Town
DistrictCamden
CountyGreater London
RegionLondon
CountryEngland
Postal districtN1C
Post TownLondon