Archive:Round about London

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Loftie, William John, F.S.A., Round about London; historical, archaeological, architectural and picturesque notes suitable for the tourist within a circle of twelve miles; to which is added specimens of short walking excursions (London: E. Stanford, 1877).

From Google books.

page 72

Iselworth. Middlesex.

12m. from Waterloo, by Spring Grove Stn. Pop. 19,227.

This name has puzzled and baggled inquirers. It was anciently written (D.S.) Gistelworde and Thistleworth.

HISTORY. Iselworth belonged to Earl Algar before the Conquest, and afterwards to Walter of St. Walerie, who also owned Hampton. In 1414 Henry V. founded a Bridgetine convent for nuns, giving it the name of Sion, and placing it at Isleworth, where a few years later a fine house was built, Henry V. giving them the manor. There were 60 nuns, 17 priests, and various other inmates of both sexes. The commissioners at the Dissolution gave the place a very bad character. the house was kept in the king's hands; and here, in 1541, Katherine Howard was detained before her trial and execution. Edwward VI. have it to the Protector, Somerset. Queen Mary restored those nuns who survived and were unmarried. Queen Elizabeth suppressed the nunnery a second time, when the society went to Portugal, where it remained till lately, but in 1861 the twelve English nuns surviving were received into a modern establishment in Dorsetshire. Sion House was given by James I. to Henry Percey, Earl of Northumberland and has descended through heiresses to the present proprietor, the Duke of Northumberland.

THE CHURCH (All Saints') stands near the entrance to Sion, on the river terrace. The tower is ancient. The body of the church was enacted in 1705, and has been much altered and improved of late years. It contains many monuments and five brasses, four of which are kept in the vestry. The register, which begins in 1566, contains, among other interesting entries, that of the baptism of Dorothy Sidney, 1617, celebrated by Waller as Sacharissa. She was the granddaughter of the Earl of Northumberland, and was born while he was a prisoner in the Tower. In this church were married, 1679, the Earl of Ogle and Lady Elizabeth Percy, the heiress of the last Earl. She became a widow before the end of the year, re-married Mr. Thynne, of Longleat, who was murdered in 1682; and lastly, Charles Seymour, Duke of Somerset, by whom she had an only daughter, the ancestress, by Sir Hugh Smithson, of the present Duke of Northumberland. The living is a vicarage worth, gross, 702l. a year, and is in the gift of the dean and Chapter of Windsor.

page 73

At Isleworth the Thames flows nearly from S. to N., Kew Gardens being on the right or E. bank. Facing the gardens, about half way, stands Sion House, in grounds which stretch for a mile along the river. There are few places in which the Thames is seen to greater advantage, there being woods and fair green lawns on either hand, the ivy-mantled tower of Isleworth Church, the Pagoda in Kew Gardens, and the picturesque, if anomalous, architecture of Sion, crowned by the lion, which so long did duty on the summit of Northumberland House, Charing Cross, coming successively into view as we descend the stream. Sion House is not usually shown to the public. Mr. Thorne mentions the principal rooms - as the great hall, 66 by 31 ft.; the vestibule, 34 by 30, with twelve columns of "verd antique," which cost 1000l. each; the drawing room, 44 by 21; the dining room, 62 by 21, with many family portraits by Reynolds and Lawrence; and several smaller apartments containing pictures, of which the most remarkable are Landseer's Deer Stalkers, a portrait by Albert Durer, and works by other early German masters. There is also a gallery, extending along the whole river front, 135 by 14 feet, which contains many objects of art. The grounds were laid out by a public footway from Brentford End to Isleworth.

The principal seats in the neighbourhood may be briefly enumerated. Worton Manor is on the right, about half way to Hounslow Stn. Wuke House, which, as well as Worton, belonged to the monastery, is close to the entrance of Osterley (see Heston). Sion Hill, on the right of the road from Brentford to Hounslow, is exactly opposite the Park. The house has been pulled down, and the Park is an outlying appendage to Sion House. Beyond Isleworth, and opposite the S. end of Kew Gardens, is Isleworth House, from which there are beautiful views towards Richmond and into the gardens, where a vista was cut by order of William IV. for the benefit of a former occupant. The Royal Naval Female School is in a fine house at St. Margaret's (Stn.), and there are many villas of more or less importance.

Extracted by Adrian Benjamin Burke, Esq.

Copyright © 2008, Adrian Benjamin Burke, Esq., and the Whitney Research Group.

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