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HOUNSLOW
Description and History from 1868 Gazetteer

HOUNSLOW, a chapelry and populous village in the parishes of Heston and Isleworth, hundred of Isleworth, county Middlesex, 2 miles from Hanworth, 3 from Richmond, and 12 W.S.W. of London.

It is a station on the branch line of the South-Western railway, and is within the London W. postal district. It is mentioned in Domesday Book as Hondeslawe, and as giving its name to the hundred, and was formerly a market town. It had a priory for begging friars, founded in the 13th century, and afterwards held under the crown by the Windsors, Bulstrodes, &c. General Roy measured his base line of 27,404 feet for the trigonometrical survey here in 1784. Situated to the W., on Hounslow Heath, formerly called "The Warren of Staines," but disforested in the reign of Henry III., and which contained from 4,200 to 6,500 acres, now mostly enclosed, are extensive cavalry barracks for the London district, with an exercising-ground comprising about 300 acres, also militia quarters and an arsenal; and to the S.W., by the river Crane, are the extensive powder-mills which exploded in 1850, the report being heard from 40 to 60 miles distant. Hounslow Heath was a royal preserve as late as Charles II. Some Celtic or early British coins have been found on the heath. Hounslow is an increasing town, well paved and lighted with gas, has several shops, and an excellent supply of water. The townhall, recently erected, has a library, and a branch of the London and County Bank is held within the building. The 'T' division of the metropolitan police have their station here. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of London, value 125, in the patronage of the bishop. The church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, is a brick-built structure decorated with twelve stone spires, and has a turret containing a clock and one bell. It was rebuilt in 1829 by Hawley, on the site of the old priory chapel, and was restored and enlarged in 1856. In the interior is a very fine font, and a mural monument of a knight and lady kneeling, and another to Whitelocke Bulstrode, ambassador in Charles II.'s time, son of Sir R. Bulstrode. The Particular Baptists have two chapels, and the Independents one. There is a subscription school for both sexes and an infant school. A newspaper called the Middlesex Chronicle is published every Saturday. After the Revolution, Dr. Tenison removed to Conduit-street the portable wooden chapel which James II. used for his "mass priests." The heath, which till within a century ago was noted for highwaymen, was the spot usually selected for reviews in the reign of George III., and was for ages the encamping ground of armies approaching the metropolis. On the old Roman road to Staines are still traces of Csar's camp, and we are informed by history that Gloucester encamped here in 1267, when marching against Henry Ill.; Charles I. in 1642, before the battle of Brentford; Essex in 1642, and again in 1647; James II. from 1685 to 1688, and Marlborough in 1740. Hounslow was the birth-place of Robert de Hounslow, Grand Provincial of the Brethren of the Holy Trinity, who died in 1340; also of Roan, auditor to Queen Elizabeth; and Henry Elsynge, clerk to the House of Commons in the reign of Charles I. Fairs are held on Trinity Monday and the Monday after Michaelmas Day.

[Description(s) from "The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland" (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson 2003]
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[Last updated on 9 Oct 2003 by David Hawgood. 2003]