London Westminster & Middlesex Family History Society

The Ancient Parish of Clerkenwell

Amwell, Clerkenwell, the Charterhouse, Goswell Street, Pentonville, St James Clerkenwell and St John Clerkenwell are places in the Ancient Parish of Clerkenwell. This needs to be known because the Ancient Parish was the organisational hub which generated the records that family historians need. Civil Parishes took over from Ancient Parishes in the 1860s, followed by Urban District Councils in 1894 and then London Boroughs in 1965. Clerkenwell now forms part of the London Borough of Islington.

Clerkenwell was in the county of Middlesex, where it formed part of the Finsbury division of the Ossulstone hundred subdivision of the county. It lies north of the City of London, and also has borders with the parishes of Islington, St Luke Old Street, the Liberty of Saffron Hill, Holborn and St Pancras.

The Society has produced a Parish Guide to Clerkenwell.

 

St James, Clerkenwell Green

Following the dissolution of St Mary’s Nunnery in 1539, its church was converted to the parish church of Clerkenwell and rededicated to St James. This old building was demolished in the 1780s and a new church was built on the site of the choir of the medieval nunnery.

Records of St James Church, Clerkenwell including registers of baptisms (1551-1926), marriages (1551-1945), burials (1551-1853) and banns; financial accounts; minutes and papers of the church branch of the Church of England Temperance Society; vestry minutes and orders; churchwardens’ vouchers; papers regarding charity and relief work; bequests and donations to the church; preacher's books; and details of the reconstruction of the organ are at London Metropolitan Archives, Ref: P76/JS1

 

StJames Clerkenwell

 

All Saints, Battle Bridge, Caledonia Road

This church was constructed by 1838 and gained a district in 1839 from the parish of Holy Trinity, Cloudesley Square, Islington. Parts of All Saints’ parish were later assigned to St Andrews, Thornhill Square and St Silas, Penton Street, Clerkenwell. The parish was joined to St Silas in 1972. In 1975 the church was destroyed by fire and demolished. The church ran various missions including All Saints Mission Church, White Lion Street.

Records of All Saints including registers of baptisms (1839-1979) and marriages (1846-1977) are at London Metropolitan Archives, Ref: P83/ALL1

St James, Pentonville Road aka Pentonville Chapel

Pentonville Chapel was founded in 1778 and was used as a chapel of ease to St James, Clerkenwell. A separate parish was assigned in 1854 and the chapel became the parish church of St James, Pentonville. The church was declared redundant in 1978 and the parish was united with All Saints, Battle Bridge, Caledonian Road. On the union of the parishes of All Saints with St James and St Andrew, Thornhill Square, Barnsbury in 1980, most of the former parish of St James Pentonville was transferred to the parish of St Silas, Penton Street.

Records of St James Pentonville Road including registers of baptisms (1790-1977); marriages (1847-1977) and burials (1790-1855) are at London Metropolitan Archives, Ref: P76/JS2 

St John the Baptist, St John’s Square, Clerkenwell

The Priory of St John of Jerusalem stood on this site before the dissolution in 1539. Part of the building was converted into a private chapel which, in 1723, became the church to a new parish taken out of that of St James, Clerkenwell. St John the Baptist ceased to be a parish church in 1931.

Records of the parish of Saint John the Baptist, Clerkenwell including registers of baptisms (1723-1930), marriages (1723-1929) and burials (1723-1853); Vestry minute books; list of charity subscribers and receipts relating to parochial charities are at London Metropolitan Archives, Ref: P76/JNB 

St Mark, Myddelton Square, Pentonville

The church of St Mark was built between 1826 and 1828 and was intended to be a chapel of ease for St James, Clerkenwell. The land on which it was built was donated by the New River Company, who stipulated that there should be no graveyard around the church. Burials did take place but inside the church and these were discouraged by high fees. The church suffered serious war damage but was later restored.

Records of the parish of Saint Mark, Myddelton Square, comprising registers of baptisms (1828-1979), marriages (1839-1965) and burials (1830-1956) are at London Metropolitan Archives, P76/MRK

St Mark Myddelton Square 1

 

St Paul, Pear Tree Street

St Paul’s parish was made mainly from that of St Luke, Old Street. The church was consecrated in 1875. Before this, services were held at a hall in Allen Street (now Dallington Street). The church was badly bombed in 1940. In 1953 the parish was joined with that of St Luke, Old Street.

Records of the parish of St Paul, Pear Tree Street, including registers of baptisms (1865-1945) and marriages (1875-1952) are at London Metropolitan Archives, Ref: P76/PAU2.

St Peter, St John Street, Clerkenwell  -  Demolished

St Peter Clerkenwell, also known as Smithfield Martyrs Mission Church, was built on the site of the town house of the Marquesses of Northampton and was consecrated in 1871. In 1955 the parish was united with St James, Clerkenwell, and the building was demolished in 1957.

Records of Saint Peter’s, Clerkenwell, also known as the Smithfield Martyrs Memorial Church, including registers of baptisms (1871-1953); registers of marriages (1872-1853); Churchwarden's vouchers; papers relating to the church organ; deeds and leases from 1844-1953 are at London Metropolitan Archives, Ref: P76/PET1.

St Silas, Penton Street, Pentonville

The vicar of St James, Pentonville established an iron mission church here, the permanent one being built before 1863. Initially dedicated as Christ Church, this was changed to St Silas in 1867 at the consecration. At one time the church shared an administration with the All Saints Mission Chapel on White Lion Street.

Records of the parish of Saint Silas, Pentonville, including baptism registers (1866-1960); marriage registers (1868-1953); Church service registers; papers relating to terrier; faculties for the maintenance of the church building and annual accounts are at London Metropolitan Archives, Ref: P76/SIL.

 

 St Silas Penton Street