Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for MARGARET (ST.) WESTMINSTER

MARGARET (ST.) WESTMINSTER, a parish and a subdistrict, in Westminster district, Middlesex. The parish forms a compact and prominent part of the metropolis; lies on the Thames above and below Westminster bridge, 1½ mile WSW of St. Paul's; adjoins Victoria r. station and the pneumatic railway tunnel beneath the Thames; is traversed by the new underground metropolitan District railway; has post offices‡ and postal-pillars under London SW; contains Privy Gardens, Whitehall, Old Palace-yard, Downing-street, Parliament-street, and Victoria-street; includes a detached portion comprising Kensington Palace and Gardens and part of Knightsbridge; includes another detached portion at Wright's-lane, Kensington, forming the site of Westminster district workhouse; and contains Westminster Abbey, the New Houses of Parliament, Westminster Hall, Westminster Guildhall, Tothill-Fields house of correction, Wellington barracks, Hyde Park barracks, and many other conspicuous buildings. Acres, with the Close of the Collegiate church of St. Peter, 657; of which 28 are water in the Thames. Real property, with St. John-the-Evangelist, in 1860, £413,193; of which £44,318 were in railways, and £22,354 in gas-works. Pop. of St. M. alone, in 1851, 30,942; in 1861,30,407. Houses, 3,039. A decrease of pop. has been progressive since about 1850; first, from the pulling down of houses to form Victoria-street. which was opened in 1851; next, from clearing space for new government offices; next, from the removal of shopkeepers and others, in consequence of local changes and of loss of trade; next from private families having left their abodes for the advantage of letting them to be used as solicitors', engineers' and railway contractors' offices. Some prominent features have been noticed in the articles KENSINGTON, KNIGHTSBRIDGE, and LONDON;.and others, including the most remarkable, will be noticed in the article WESTMINSTER.

The parish is cut ecclesiastically into the sections of St. Margaret, Christchurch-Broadway, All SaintsKnightsbridge, St. Andrew-Westminster, and part of St. Stephen-Rochester-row. Christchurch was constituted a separate charge in 1844; All Saints, in 1849; St. Andrew, in 1856; and St. Stephen, in 1847. Pop., of St. Margaret, ecclesiastically, 8,697; of Christchurch, 6,874; of All Saints, 7,041; of St. Andrew, 4,028; of the St. Margaret portion of St. Stephen, 3,767. The living of St. Margaret is a rectory, those of All Saints and St. Stephen are vicarages, and the others are p. curacies, in the diocese of London. Value of St. M., St. A., and St. S., each £500;* of Ch., £500; of All Saints, not reported. Patron of St. M., the Crown; of St. S., the Bishop of London; of the others, the Rector of St. Margaret. St. Margaret's church stands in the Abbey churchyard; is used by the House of Commons; was built by Edward the Confessor, largely rebuilt in the time of Edward I., and restored in 1735 and 1758; retains, after all its alterations, some remains of early date; measures 130 feet by 65; has a tower 85 feet high, rebuilt in 1735; has also a stained E window, with a representation of the crucifixion, and portraits of St. Catherine, St. George, Prince Arthur, and Catherine of Arragon; and contains some old stalls, a brass of 1597, tablets to Caxton and Sir Walter Raleigh, and mounments to Lady Dudley, Mrs. Corbet, the Seymours, and the Egertons. The E window was made by the city of Dort for the chapel of Henry VII.; proved displeasing to Henry VIII.; was placed in Waltham Abbey, and removed, after the dissolution, to the Abbot's chapel, New Hall, Essex; became the property of successively Queen Elizabeth, Villiers Duke of Buckingham, Oliver Cromwell, General Monk, Mr. Olmins, and Mr. Conyers; and was sold to the vestry of St. Margaret for £420. The remains of Caxton, Sir W. Raleigh, Sir James Harrington, and the poet Skelton were buried in the church; and those of Oliver Cromwell's mother, Milton's second wife, Adumiral Blake, Sir William Constable, John Pym, Col. Mackworth, Col. E. Popham, the engraver Hollar, and the parliamentary secretary Thomas May were buried in the churchyard. Several remarkable scenes occurred in the church in the times of the civil wars of Charles I. The parliament here swore the covenant in 1643; Cromwell, Pym, and other parliamentarian leaders here listened to fiery pulpit harangues, while the churchyard was guarded by troops; and Hugh Peters here, in Jan. 1649, preached the sermon in which he urged the putting to death of the king. Christchurch-Broadway was built, under the name of New Chapel, in 1631-6, by M. Darell; was rebuilt in 1842-3, by A. Paynter; is in the pointed style, with a tower 200 feet high; and contains the remains of Gen. Waller and Col. Blood, and a monument to Margaret Pattens, who died at the age of 136 years. The Independent chapel, at the corner of James-street, and Castle-lane, was rebuilt in 1865, at a direct cost of £13,484, with additional indirect cost of about £4,500; is in the Lombardic style, of stock bricks, with red bricks in bands, and Bath stone dressings; has a recessed entrance-portico, flanked on one side by a campanile and heavy spire 145 feet high; forms interiorly an oblong, with rounded ends, 130 feet by 67; contains about 2,400 sittings, all ranged in curved lines to face a circular platform-pulpit, a proportion of them in two galleries, the lower of which is carried entirely round; and behind the chapel are a capacious lecture-room, vestries, and other apartments.

Westminster school, or St. Peter's college, stands in Dean's yard; dates, in connexion with Westminster abbey, from the time of Edward the Confessor; was refounded by Queen Elizabeth, for 40 scholars; educates also about 110 other pupils, called oppidans or townboys; has four scholarships at Christchurch, Oxford, and four at Trinity College, Cambridge; had, for masters, the antiquary Camden, Dr. Busby, Vincent Bourne, and Jordan; numbers among its quondam pupils, Ben Jonson, George Herbert, Giles Fletcher, Jasper Mayne, William Cartwright, Cowley, Dryden, Rowe, Prior, Churchill, Nat Lee, Cowper, Dyer, Southey, Sir Harry Vane, Sir Christopher Wren, Hakluyt, Locke, South, Atterbury, Warren Hastings, Gibbon, Cumberland, the elder Colman, the Marquis of Lansdowne, and Earl Russel; and has a schoolroom which was a domestic appurtenance of the Abbey, a college hall which was the Abbot's refectory, and a dormitory which was built in 1722 by the Earl of Burlington. The green-coat school, or hospital, was founded in 1633 by Charles I., and rebuilt in 1700 by Dr. Busby; is for 25 scholars; and has an endowed income of £723. The grey-coat school, or hospital, was founded in 1698; is for 100 scholars; gives instruction in mathematics and navigation; and has an endowed income of £2,006. The blue-coat school has an endowed income of £199. Emmanuel hospital, or Lady Dacre's alms houses for 40 persons, together with a school for 60, were founded in 1594; and have an endowed income of £3,700. Palmer's alms houses and school have £591; Hill's alms houses, £321; and three other suites of alms houses, aggregately £97. Alms houses for 12 watermen also were founded by Henry VII.; and the entire endowed charities, including those already named, amount to about £8,654. Westminster hospital was founded in 1719, and rebuilt in 1832-4; stands in the Sanctuary; contains accommodation for 230 patients; and has an in come, from voluntary contributions, of about £4,430. There are likewise a large dispensary, a ragged school, and other philanthropic institutions. The workhouse in Wright's-lane, Kensington, at the census of 1861, had 517 inmates; the workhouse in York-street, 134; the Westminster hospital, 171; the Tothill-Fields house of correction, 583; the Wellington barracks, 1,176; the Hyde Park barracks, 461.—The sub-district consists of the rectory district of St. Margaret parish. Pop. in 1851,31,314; in 1861, 30,730. Houses, 3,875.


(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a parish and a subdistrict"   (ADL Feature Type: "countries, 4th order divisions")
Administrative units: Westminster PLU/RegD       Middlesex AncC
Place: Westminster

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