Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Some Ealing History written in 1795

This is from Daniel Lysons, 'Ealing', in The Environs of London: Volume 2, County of Middlesex (London, 1795), pp. 223-240. British History Online

John Owen (who I am told lived in what is now Warwick Road -GW).

Dr. John Owen, the most voluminous and the most temperate writer among the dissenters of the last century, was for many years an inhabitant of Ealing, where he died August 24, 1683. He was elected member of parliament for the University of Oxford, though a divine ; was made dean of Christ-church by the independents ; and in 1652 was vice-chancellor of the university. "While he did undergo that office, (says Wood,) instead of being a grave example, he scorned all formality; undervalued his office by going in querpo like a young scholar, with powdered hair, snake-bone bandstrings, (or bandstrings with very large tassels,) lawn band, a large set of ribbands pointed at his knees, and Spanish-leather boots with large lawn tops, and his hat mostly cocked .”-

Parish church.

The old church at Ealing having fallen down on the 27th of March 1729, an act of parliament passed for rebuilding it, and a brief was obtained for that purpose; but it was near ten years before the new church was completed (fn. 37). It is a brick building, and forms an oblong square, of which the chancel occupies a certain portion ; at the west end is a square tower with a turret.


Robert Cooper, who had been collated to the vicarage of Ealing in 1638, was ejected by the puritans, and his place supplied by Daniel Carwarthen (fn. 50). Thomas Gilbert was presented in 1654, by Francis Allein, Esq. (fn. 51) who, I suppose, was then in possession of the manor. It happened, that upon the restoration, this Gilbert was the first person who was deprived of his benefice; on which account he desired that it might be inscribed upon his tomb, that he was the proto-martyr to the cause of non-conformity (fn. 52)  (emigrated to New Englan - GW). Cooper was reinstated in the vicarage of Ealing, which he enjoyed but a few months, being succeeded in the month of January 1660-1 by the learned William Beveridge, (afterwards Bishop of St. Asaph,) who continued there thirteen years (fn. 53).


The Presbyterian diffenters have a chapel near Old Brentford, which was built in 1783. In an adjoining cemetery is the tomb of the Rev. Matthew Bradshaw, their late minister, who died in 1792. The average number of burials in this ground is not quite two in a year. The Anabaptists also have a meeting-house at Old Brentford, and there is a third for the people called Methodists.

Plague years.

In 1603 there were 136 burials, 29 of which were in the month of September. In 1665 there were 286, of which 244 were between the last of June and the first of January ensuing. Several of the persons who died of the plague were buried in the fields, particularly about Old Brentford.
Manor of Pits-hanger.


Sir Arthur Atye, who died in 1605, was seised of a manor, or manor-farm, in the parish of Ealing, called Pits-hanger, containing 140 acres (fn. 25). In 1690 this manor was the property of Margaret Edwards, widow (fn. 26), from whom it descended to Thomas Edwards, Esq. the ingenious author of the Canons of Criticism, who it is probable was her grandson. Mr. Edwards spent some of the early part of his life at Pits-hanger, but afterwards removed to an estate which he had purchased in Buckinghamshire (fn. 27). After his death, which happened in 1757, Pits-hanger was sold by his nephews, Joseph Paice, and Nathaniel Mason Esq. to King Gould, Esq. whose son, now Sir Charles Morgan, Bart. aliened it to Thomas Gurnell, Esq. Mrs. Peyton, relict of Jonathan Gurnell, Esq. and wife of John Peyton, Esq. is the present proprietor.The manor is in the bishop's own hands, and the courts are held by his steward. The royalties, or the right of fishing, hunting, &c. were leased to the late Jonathan Gurnell, Esq. and are now held under his representatives by Thomas Cheap, Esq.

The boys' charity-school in this parish. Jonathan Gurnell, jun. who died in 1752, gave 500l. to this school. Jonathan Gurnell, sen. who died in 1753, the same sum.

The Gurnell name lives on in the leisure centre.

In 1729 the old church (St Mary's) fell down bodily after more than six centuries of constant use ..... when the fund raising committee paid a courtesy call on Jonathan Gurnell, a wealthy Quaker landowner, they were surprised to be told, "Thee knows, friends, that I am not in the habit of giving money to build up steeple houses, but here's a hundred pounds to help thee take away the old one." Kate McEwan, Ealing Walkabout, 1983

So he was a benefactor who would have been a good diplomat if not disqualified by his nonconformity. He was a member of the Brentford Friends meeting until expelled for worldliness. -GW


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