English Place-name Society

Survey of English Place-Names

A county-by-county guide to the linguistic origins of England’s place-names – a project of the English Place-Name Society, founded 1923.

The Borough of Stepney

Metropolitan Borough in the County of Middlesex


The Metropolitan Borough has three components: (a ) The greater part of the medieval parish of Stepney. This included the hamlets which later became the separate parishes of Shadwell (1669), St George-in-the-East, formerly the hamlet of Wapping (1727), Christ Church Spitalfields (1729), St Anne Limehouse, with part of the hamlet of Ratcliff (1730), and also those of Bethnal Green and Poplar, and the chapelry of Bow, now in other boroughs; while what remained was divided into the civil parishes of Mile End Old Town (in which the church was situated and which kept the rest of Ratcliff). (b ) Whitechapel, separated from Stepney in the 14th century, and its daughter parish, St John's Wapping. (c ) Some areas bordering on the City, including the Tower, with Tower Hill, the little remaining of the precinct of St Katharine's, the Liberty of East Smithfield and the civil parish of Holy Trinity Minories (now ecclesiastically in the parish of St Botolph Aldgate, to which East Smithfield has always belonged).The Domesday vill of Stepney seems to have included Hackney, and the border areas were once, probably before they became exempt from the jurisdiction of the City, in the Portsoken, a ward without, except the western part of the Tower and most of Tower Hill which were originally within the Wall of the City itself. See further Madge, Early Records of Hornsey 31–45.

Parishes in this Metropolitan Borough