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Chapel, was said to have been erected by the two In a previous chapter we have spoken of the brothers, Walter and Thomas de Cantelupe, during Fleet River, which used to flow through this parish. the reign of King John. According to a survey Hone, in his “Table Book,” 1827, thus describes made during the Commonwealth, this manor con- it as winding its sluggish course through Camden tained 210 acres of land. The manor house was Town and St. Pancras in its way to King's Cross : then sold to one Richard Hill, a merchant of “ The River Fleet at its source in a field on the London, and the manor to Richard Utber, a land side of the Hampstead Ponds is merely a draper. At the Restoration they were ejected, sedgy ditchling, scarcely half a step across, and and the original lessees reinstated; but again in winds its way along, with little increase of depth, 1670 the manor changed hands, the father of by the road from the 'Mother Red Cap' to Alderman Sir Jeffreys Jeffreys (uncle of the noto- Kentish Town, beneath which road it passes rious Judge Jeffreys) becoming proprietor. By the through the pastures to Camden Town ; in one of intermarriage of Earl Camden with a member of these pastures the canal running through the tunnel that family, it is now the property of that noble- at Pentonville to the City Road is conveyed over man's descendants. The estate is held subject to it by an arch. From this place its width increases a reserved rent of £20, paid annually to the Pre- till it reaches towards the west side of the road bendary of St. Paul's. Formerly the monks of leading from Pancras workhouse to Kentish Town. Waltham Abbey held an estate in this manor, In the rear of the houses on that side of the road called by them Cane Lond, now Caen Wood, it becomes a brook, washing the edge of the garden valued at thirteen pounds. It is said by anti- in front of the premises late the stereotype foundry quaries to be the remains of the ancient forest of and printing-office of Mr. Andrew Wilson, which Middlesex. Of this part of the manor we shall stand back from the road; and, cascading down have to speak when we come to Hampstead. behind the lower road-side houses, it reaches the
The manor of Tottenham Court, or Totten Hall Elephant and Castle,' in front of which it tunnels -in “Domesday” Tothele, where it is valued at to Battle Bridge." £5 a year-was kept in the prebendary's hands Tradition would carry the navigation of the Fleet till the fourteenth century; but in 1343 John de River far higher up than Holborn Bridge, which Caleton was the lessee, and, after the lease had has been stated in a previous part* of this work as come to the Crown, it was granted in 1661 in the utmost limit to which it was navigable, since it satisfaction of a debt, and became the property, relates, say the Brothers Percy, in their “London," shortly after, of the ducal family of Fitzroy, one that “an anchor was found in this brook at of whose scions, Lord Southampton, is the present Pancras wash, where the road branches off to possessor.
Șomers Town.” But they do not give a date or The manor of Ruggemere is mentioned in the other particulars. Down to a very late date, even survey of the parish taken in 1251, as shown in to the year in which the Metropolitan Railway was the records of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's. constructed, the Fleet River was subject to floods “Its exact situation,” says Mr. Palmer, “is not on the occasion of a sudden downfall of rain, when now known. Very possibly," he continues, "at the Hampstead and Highgate ponds would overthe breaking up of the monasteries it reverted to flow. the Crown, and was granted by bluff Harry to some One of the most considerable overflows occurred Court favourite. The property of the Bedford in January, 1809. “At this period, when the family was acquired in a great measure from that snow was lying very deep,” says a local chronicler, monarch's hands. It is, therefore, very probable | “a rapid thaw came on, and the arches not affordthat the manor of Ruggemere consisted of all that ing a sufficient passage for the increased current, land lying at the south-east of the parish, no the whole space between Pancras Church, Somers portion of that district lying in either of the other Town, and the bottom of the hill at Pentonville, manors.”
was in a short time covered with water. The flood The village church stood pretty nearly in the rose to a height of three feet from the middle of centre of the parish, which, with the lands about the highway; the lower rooms of all the houses Somers Town, included the estates of the Skinners' within that space were completely inundated, and Company, of the Duke of Bedford, and of Mr. the inhabitants suffered considerable damage in “Councillor” Agar. The land which the parish their goods and furniture, which many of them comprises forms part of what is called the London had not time to remove. Two cart-horses were Basin, the deposits of which are aqueous, and belong to the Eocene period.
* See Vol. II., p. 418.
St. Pancras. ]
OVERFLOW OF THE FLEET RIVER.
drowned, and for several days persons were the Vestry Hall. The former building was erected obliged to be conveyed to and from their houses, in 1809, at a cost of about £30,000. It has, howand receive their provisions, &c., in at their ever, since then been very much enlarged, and is windows by means of carts."
now more than double its original size. It often Again, in 1818, there was a very alarming flood contains 1,200 inmates, a number equal to the at Battle Bridge, which lies at the southern end of population of many large rural villages. It has Pancras Road, of which the following account not, however, always been well officered. For appears in the newspapers of that date :—“In con- instance, in 1874, a Parliamentary return stated sequence of the quantity of rain that fell on Friday that out of 407 children admitted into the worknight, the river Fleet overflowed near Battle Bridge, house during the previous twelvemonth eighty-nine where the water was soon several feet high, and had died, showing a death-rate of 215 per 1,000 ran into the lower apartments of every house from per annum ! the Northumberland Arms' tea-gardens to the The St. Pancras Guardians have wisely severed Small-pox Hospital, Somers Town, being a distance their pauper children from the associations of the of about a mile. The torrent then forced its way workhouse by establishing their schools in the into Field Street and Lyon Place, which are in- country at Hanwell. In connection with the habited by poor people, and entered the kitchens, workhouse a large infirmary has been erected on carrying with it everything that came within its Highgate Hill, whither the sick inmates have been reach. In the confusion, many persons in attempt- removed from the old and ill-ventilated quarters. ing to get through the water fell into the Fleet, but The Vestry of St. Pancras formerly had no settled were most providentially saved. In the house of a place of meeting, but met at various taverns in the person named Creek, the water forced itself into parish. The present Vestry Hall was erected in a room inhabited by a poor man and his family, 1847. The architect was Mr. Bond, the then and before they could be alarmed, their bed was surveyor of the parish, and Mr. Cooper the builder. floating about in near seven feet of water. They Mr. Palmer, in his work already referred to, menwere, by the prompt conduct of the neighbours tions a tradition that the architect, in making the and night officers, got out safe. Damage to the plans for the building, omitted the stairs by which extent of several thousand pounds was occasioned the first-floor was to be reached, and that he afterby the catastrophe.”
wards made up the defect by placing the present Much, however, as we may lament the metamor- ugly steps outside. phosis of a clear running stream into a filthy sewer, On the north-east side of Pancras Road, near the Fleet brook did the Londoner good service. the Vestry Hall, is the old church of St. Pancras. It afforded the best of natural drainage for a large This ancient and diminutive edifice was, with the extent north of the metropolis, and its level was exception of a chapel of ease at Kentish Town, so situated as to render it capable of carrying off now St. John the Baptist's, the only ecclesiastical the contents of a vast number of side drains which building the parish could boast of till the middle ran into it. “There still remain, however," writes of the last century. It is not known with certainty Mr. Palmer, “a few yards visible in the parish when the present structure was erected, but its date where the brook runs in its native state. At the is fixed about the year 1350 ; there was, however, back of the Grove, in the Kentish Town Road, is a building upon the same spot long before that a rill of water, one of the little arms of the Fleet, date ; for in the records belonging to the Dean and which is yet clear and untainted. Another arm is Chapter of St. Paul's, in which there is noticed a at the bottom of the field at the back of the 'Bull visitation made to this church in the year 1251, it and Last'Inn, over which is a little wooden bridge states that "it had a very small tower, a little leading to the cemetery."
belfry, a good stone font for baptisms, and a small The “ Elephant and Castle," above referred to, marble stone to carry the pax.” is one of the oldest taverns in the parish of St. Norden, whose remarks on the condition of the Pancras. It is situated in King's Road, near the church in the reign of Queen Elizabeth we have workhouse, and is said to have derived its name quoted above, states that “ folks from the hamlet from the discovery of the remains of an elephant of Kennistonne now and then visit it, but not which was made in its vicinity more than a century often, having a chapele of their own. When, howago. King's Road lies at the back of the Veteri- ever, they have a corpse to be interred, they are nary College, and unites with the St. Pancras Road forced to leave the same within this forsyken at the southern end of Great College Street. At church or churchyard, where it resteth as secure the junction of these roads are the Workhouse and against the day of resurrection as if it laie in stately
St. Paule’s.” Norden's account implies that where and in that of burials 1668. The earlier registers the church is situated was then one of the least have long since perished. frequented and desolate spots in the vicinity of the In the table of benefactions to the parish it is metropolis.
stated that certain lands, fee-simple, copyhold of A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, for July, inheritance, held of the manors of Tottenhall Court 1749, in the lines quoted as a motto to this and of Cantelows, “ were given by some person or chapter, states that
persons unknown, for and to the use and benefit of “ Christ's sacred altar here first Britain saw.” this parish, for the needful and necessary repair of Other antiquaries inform us that the original | the parish church and the chapel, as the said parish
establishment of a church on this site was in in vestry should from time to time direct; and that early Saxon times; and Maximilian Misson, in these lands were, by custom of the said manors, writing of St. John Lateran at Rome, says, “This and for the form of law, to be held in the names of is the head and mother of all Christian churches, eight trustees who were elected by the inhabitants if you except that of St. Pancras under Highgate, of the said parish in vestry assembled.” near London.”
There are four parcels of land, the rents and In the last century Divine service was performed profits of which have been immemorially applied in St. Pancras Church only on the first Sunday in towards the repair of the parish church and the every month, and at all other times in the chapel chapel at Kentish Town. By reason of this appliof ease at Kentish Town, it being thought that the cation a church-rate in former times was considered few people who lived near the church could go up unnecessary, and whenever the disbursements of to London to pray, while that at Kentish Town the churchwardens exceeded their receipts, the was more suited for the country folk, and this parishioners always preferred to reimburse them custom continued down to within the present out of the poor-rate rather than make a churchcentury. The earliest date that we meet with in rate. the registry of marriages and baptisms is 1660, From the survey of church livings taken by order
St. Pancras. 1
BENEFACTIONS TO THE PARISH.
ST. PANCRAS CHURCH IN 1820. (From an Original Sketch.)
of Parliament in 1650, it appears that these lands Thomas Ive in the time of Edward IV. enjoyed were disposed of as follows, by Sir Robert Payne, the same office. In the old parish church is an Knight, Peter Benson, and others, feoffees in trust, altar-tomb of Purbeck marble with a canopy, being by licence granted them from the lord of the an elliptical arch ornamented with quatrefoils, manors of Tottenhall and Cantlows Court :—“To which in better days had small brasses at the back, wit, in consideration of fifty-four pounds to them with three figures or groups, with labels from each, in hand, paid by Mr. Richard Gwalter, they did, by and the figure of the Trinity, and three shields of lease dated the ist June, 9th Charles I. (A.D. 1633), arms above them. This monument was to the demise unto the said Richard Gwalter four acres of memory of Robert Eve, and Lawrentia his sister, the said land for twenty-one years, at twopence a son and daughter of Francis and Thomas Eve, year rent.
And in consideration of £27 in hand, Clerk of the Crown, in the reign of Edward IV. paid by the said Richard Gwalter, they did, by Weever, in his work on “Funeral Monuments," another lease, dated 2nd August in the year afore- informs us that when he saw it the “ portraitures” said, demise unto the said Richard Gwalter two and the following words remained :acres of the said land for the term aforesaid for the
“ Holy Trinitie, one God, have mercy on us. like rent. There was also (A.D. 1650), a lease Hic jacent Robertus Eve et Lawrentia soror eius, filia Frandated 20th June, 9th Charles I., unto Thomas Ive cisci Eve filii (deceased), of seventeen acres of the said land for Thome Eve clerici corone cancellarie Anglie twenty-one years at £17 a year rent; the re
Quorum mainder of which was assigned unto Peter Benson, When Mr. J. T. Smith, as a boy, made an exand was then in his possession.”
pedition to this church as one of a sketching party, The money received by way of premium on the in 1777, he describes it as quite a rural place, in granting of the before-mentioned leases to Richard some parts entirely covered with docks and nettles, Gwalter in the year 1633, was expended in the enclosed only by a low hand-rail, and commanding rebuilding of Kentish Town Chapel, of which we extensive views of open country in every direction, have spoken in the preceding chapter. The site not only to Hampstead, Highgate, and Islington, seems to have been originally the property of Sir but also to Holborn and St. Giles's, almost the only William Hewitt, who was a landowner in this parish building which met the eye in that direction being in the reign of Charles I. It appears by a state-Whitefield's Chapel in Tottenham Court Road, and ment of Randolph Yearwood, vicar of St. Pancras, old Montagu House. dated 1673, that the parish did not buy the site, The first mention, apparently, that has been nor take a lease of it, but that they paid a noble found to be made of the church of St. Pancras per annum to the Hewitts to be permitted to have occurs in the year 1183, but it does not appear the use of it.
whether it then was or was not a recent erection. In 1656, Colonel Gower, Mr. George Pryer, and William de Belmeis, who had been possessed of Major John Bill were feoffees of the revenue be the prebend of Pancras, within which the church longing to the parish church of St. Pancras. The stood, had conveyed the tithes thereof to the land belonging to the rectory was subsequently canons of St. Paul's ; which conveyance was, in leased by various persons, when, in 1794, it was that year, confirmed by Gilbert, Bishop of London. vested in a Mr. Swinnerton, of the “White Hart” | The church tithes, &c., were, not long after, Inn, Colebrook, and then passed into the hands of granted by the dean and chapter to the hospital Mr. Agar, who, as we have already stated, gave a within their cathedral, founded by Henry de notoriety to the spot by granting short building Northampton, they reserving to themselves one leases, which created Agar Town and its miserable | mark per annum. In 1327 the rectory was surroundings, till the whole was cleared by the Mid- valued at thirteen marks per annum. land Railway Company, who are now the owners the advowson, tenths, rents, and profits of the of a large part of this once prebendal manor. church were demised to Walter Sherington, canon
The family of Eve or Ive, mentioned above, is residentiary, for ten marks per annum; and in like of great antiquity in the parish of St. Pancras. In manner the rectory continued to be from time to 1457 Henry VI. granted permission to Thomas time leased, chiefly to canons of the church. At Ive to enclose a portion of the highway adjoining the suppression, the dean and chapter became to his mansion at Kentish Town. In 1483 Richard re-possessed of the rectory, which has from that Ive was appointed Clerk of the Crown in Chancery period been demised in the manner customary with in as full a manner as John de Tamworth and church property, subject to a reserved rent of Geoffrey Martyn in the time of Edward III., and £ 13 6s. 8d,