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Acton (St. Mary)

ACTON (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Brentford, Kensington division of the hundred of Ossulstone, county of Middlesex, 5 miles (W.) from London; containing, with the hamlets of East Acton and Steyne, 2665 inhabitants. The name is supposed to be derived from the Saxon word Ac, signifying oak, and tun, a town; the neighbourhood having, in former times, abounded with timber of that description, and some land in the parish, from time immemorial, having been called Old Oak common. Previously to the battle of Brentford, in 1642, the Earls of Essex and Warwick had their head-quarters here; and on Cromwell's return to London, after the battle of Worcester, the lord president and council of state, the members of the house of commons, and the lord mayor, aldermen, and citizens of London, met him at this place, when the recorder delivered a congratulatory address, after which they attended him to the metropolis, forming altogether a train of more than three hundred carriages. The parish comprises 2251 acres, of which 85 are common or waste: the village consists chiefly of one long street, and is plentifully supplied with water; the Paddington canal and the Great Western railway run through. A pleasurefair is held on Holy-Thursday. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £14; net income, £968; patron, the Bishop of London. The church, which exhibits portions in the later style of English architecture, with modern insertions, was enlarged and repaired, at the expense of the inhabitants, in 1825. There is a place of worship for Independents, and the detached buildings of a private mansion have been fitted up as a Roman Catholic chapel. At East Acton are handsome almshouses, built and endowed by the Goldsmiths' Company, for twelve men and twelve women. In a garden on Old Oak common is a mineral spring, formerly held in general repute, but now disused.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.