Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for BRENTFORD

BRENTFORD, a town, three chapelries, a subdistrict, and a district in Middlesex. The town stands at the influx of the river Brent to the Thames, 7½ miles W by S of London. The Grand Junction canal unites here with the Brent, and accompanies it to the Thames. The Southwestern, the Great Western, and the Metropolitan railways communicate with the town in various ways, and have stations for it with telegraph; and the Great Western connects here likewise with large docks for heavy traffic by water to London. The town is ancient; and took its name from a ford, on the line of a great thoroughfare, across the B rent. It was the scene, in 1016, of a destructive overthrow of the Danes, by Edmund Ironside; and, in 1642, of a still more important overthrow of the parliamentarians by the royalists. A chapter of the garter was held at it in 1445; and six martyrs were burnt in it in 1558. The "Two Kings of Brentford" have done great service with all sorts of poets and poetasters, from William Cowper to Tom D'Urfey. John Lowin, the landlord of the "Three Pigeons" here, in the time of Ben Johnson, was a famous actor, and performed in Shakespeare's own company. The town is described by the poet Gay as a "tedious town, for dirty streets and white-legged chickens known;" and by the poet Thomson as "Brentford town -a town of mud." It now comprises one long principal street; and contains some good houses. A bridge connects the lower end of the town, across the Thames, with Kew; and another bridge, erected in 1825 on the site of a very ancient one, crosses the Brent. The town hall and market house is a handsome brick and stone edifice. St. Lawrence' church is at the end of the town, near the bridge. St. George's church was rebuilt, excepting the tower, in 1764; has been several times renovated; presents a light and pleasing appearance; and contains a splendid altar-piece, a large font, and monuments of the Clitherows, Dr. W. H. Ewin, Sarah Howell, and the father of John Horne Tooke. St. Paul's church was built in 1868; and is in the decorated English style, and highly ornate. There are two Independent chapels, two Baptist chapels, a Wesleyan chapel, a Roman Catholic chapel, literary club and reading rooms, British schools built at a cost of about £3,000, three national schools, a dispensary, a workhouse built at a cost of £9,000, the Grand Junction waterworks, with a chimney 150 feet high, extensive foundries, nurseries, brickfields, tile and pottery works, saw mills, maltings, a brewery, a soap manufactory, a weekly market on Tuesday, and fairs of three days in May and three days in Sept. The town has post offices of Brentford† and Old Brentford, under London W., a banking office, two chief inns, and a policestation; is a seat of sessions and county courts, and the place of election for Middlesex; and comprises part of Isleworth parish. and all its own three chapelries. Sion House, a seat of the Duke of Northumberland, Osterley Park, the seat of the Earl of Jersey, Boston House, the seat of Col. Clitherow, and many handsome villas are in the neighbourhood. Pop. of the town in 1861, 9,521. Houses, 1,902.

The chapelries are St. Lawrence or New Brentford, a township of Hanwell parish, St. George-Old Brentford, in Ealing parish, and St. Paul-Old Brentford, also in Ealing. Pop. of St. L., 11,995; of St. G., 2,591; of St. P., 4,409. The livings are vicarages in the diocese of London. Value of St. L., £283;* of St. G., £300; * of St. P., £300. Patron of St. L., the Rector of Hanwell; of St. G., the Vicar of Ealing; of St. P., alternately the Crown and the Bishop. John Horne Tooke was incumbent of St. George.-The subdistrict includes also the rest of Ealing parish. Acres, 4,034. Pop., 13,958. Houses, 2,725.—The district comprehends likewise the subdistrict of Twickenham, conterminate with Twickenham parish; the subdistrict of Chiswick, conterminate with Chiswick parish, the subdistrict of Isleworth, containing the parishes of Isleworth and Heston; and the subdistrict of Acton, containing the parishes of Acton, Hanwell, Perivale, and Great Greenford. Acres, 20,405. Poor-rates in 1866, 29,895. Pop. in 1861, 50,516. Houses, 9,402. Marriages in 1866, 453; births, 2,030,- of which 101 were illegitimate; deaths, 1,245,-of which 483 were at ages under 5 years, and 31 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 2,925; births, 14,307; deaths, 9,909. The places of worship in 1851 were 17 of the Church of England, with 11,737 sittings; 10 of Independents, with 2,927 s.; 3 of Baptists, with 640 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 160 s.; 5 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 1,206 s.; 2 of Primitive Methodists, with 178 s.; 1 of Latter-Day Saints, with 80 s.; 1 undefined, with 40 s.; and 2 of Roman Catholics, with 250 s. The schools were 38 public day schools, with 4,252 scholars; 116 private day schools, with 2,306 s.; 27 Sunday schools, with 3,126 s.; and 1 evening school for adults, with 8 s.


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

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, three chapelries, a subdistrict, and a district"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Brentford PLU/RegD       Middlesex AncC
Place: Brentford

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