Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for MIDDLESEX

MIDDLESEX, an inland county, within the basin of the Thames; bounded, on the N, by Herts; on the E, by Essex; on the SE, by Kent; on the S and the SW, by Surrey; on the W, by Bucks. Its outline is very irregular; but may be described as that of a parallelogram, extending from E to W, with two quadrilateral projecttions on the NE and SW. The boundary is traced, along all the E, by the river Lea; along all the SW, the S, and the SE, by the river Thames; and along most of the W, by the river Colne. The length, from NE to NW, is 28 miles; the greatest breadth is 17½ miles; the circuit is about 104 miles,-40 of which are along the course of the Thames; and the area is 180,136 acres. Part of the surface is low and level; most is undulating, without heights lofty enough to be called hills; the SE portion is all occupied by the main body and many outskirts of the metropolis; and the portion northward thence rises in elevation from about 200 to about 400 feet above sealevel. Few parts, except in some artificial sense, can be termed picturesque; but a large proportion abounds with ornature; and the chief eminences command extensive and very pleasing views. The principal streams, besides those on the boundaries, are the New river, the Old river, the Brent, and the Cran. The rocks, or geognostic formations, over almost the entire area, are lower eocene, chiefly London clay; and they are extensively overlaid or mixed with alluvial gravel, and have been found to contain great numbers of fossils. Mineral springs are at Acton, Hampstead, Clerkenwell, and other places.

About 150,000 acres are either arable land, meadow, or pasture. The soil is variously clayey, sandy, and gravelly; and has, in most parts, been worked into a fertile loam, by manuring and culture. Most farms average about 100 acres, but many comprise from 200 to 600 acres; and they are usually held on lease of 14 or 21 years. meadow lands form a large aggregate, usually yield two crops of good hay, and are let at from £4 to £6 an acre. The chief crops on the ploughed lands are wheat, with good returns; barley, about 20 bushels per acre; green pease, 10 to 50 sacks; grey pease, 30 bushels; beans, 30 bushels; potatoes, turnips, and clover. About 15,000 acres are disposed in market-gardens; and about 3,000 acres, chiefly around Twickenham, in orchards. Osiers and willows are grown, in some parts, for basket-makers. Short-horned, Holderness, Ayrshire, and Alderney cows are bred for the metropolitan dairies; draught and riding-horses, of mixed breeds and superior strength and action, are reared for the market; and pigs, in connexion with the refuse of distilleries and other establishments, are purchased for fattening. The rural economy, as a whole, differs widely from that of any average agricultural county; makes comparatively small produce of corn or flax; and figures most in the supply of vegetables, fruit, herbage, and milk to the metropolis. The manufactures are chiefly within the metropolitan portions, and have substantially been noticed in our article LONDON. The canals are the Paddington, the Regent's, and about 17 miles of the Grand Junction; and the railways are the numerous ones radiating northward, westward, and southwestward from the metropolis, and noticed in our account of London.

The county contains about 194 parishes, and 23 extraparochial places, liberties, or precincts,-105 of the parishes being in London city and Westminster; and it is divided into the City of London, and the hundreds of Edmonton, Elthorne, Gore, Isleworth, Spelthorne, and Ossulstone,-the last cut into the divisions of Finsbury, Holborn, Kensington, Tower, and Westminster. The registration county gives off 32,487 acres to the West, North, Central, and East districts of the registration metropolis, and the parishes of Hampton and Teddington to Surrey; takes in the parish of Waltham-Abbey from Essex, and the parishes of Elstree, Shenley, Rigge, Chipping-Barnet, East Barnet, Totteridge, and Cheshunt, from Herts; comprises 176,555 acres; and is divided into the districts of Staines, Uxbridge, Brentford, Hendon,Barnet, and Edmonton. Vastly the greatest seat of population, of course, is the part within the metropolis. The only towns with upwards of 2,000 inhabitants, besides London and its suburbs, are Brentford, Hounslow, Staines, and Uxbridge. Some of the chief seats are Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Busby Park, Sion house, Rose-Bank, St. Margaret's, Caen Wood, Lalcham, Osterley, Flambards, Holland House, Norwood Lodge, Southall, Fulham Palace, Gunnersbury, Camden Hill, Fulwell Lodge, Cullands Grove, Hillingdon, Edmonton House, Isleworth House, Mill Hill, Pinner Grove, Stanwell, Tottenham House, Whitton Dean, Hanworth, Beech Hill, Belsize, Breakspears, Clapton, Drayton, Dyrham Park, Hanwell, Harefield, Heston, Kempton, Littleton, Paradise House, Shepperton, Stanmore Hall, Stanmore Grove, Swakeleys, Teddington House, Trent Park, Twickenham Park, Twyford, Arnos Grove, Ealing Park, Cranford Park, Hanger Hill, Wembly, Wrotham, and Wyke House. Real property, in 1815, £5,675,374; in 1843, £11,345,815; in 1860, £17,682,265,-of which £58,180 were in canals, £4,005,052 were in railways, and £219,185 were in gas-works.

The county is governed by a lord lieutenant and custos, 33 deputy lieutenants, 2 sheriffs, and about 320 magistrates; is within the jurisdiction of the metropolitan police, and that of the central criminal court; and is in the Home military district, and in the diocese of London. The sessions are held at Clerkenwell; the county-house of detention is there; county houses of correction are at Westminster and Cold bath Fields; the county-jail, in common with that of London city, is in Newgate, London; and the county debtors' jail, in common with that of the city, is in Whitecross-street, London. The statistics of police and of crime form a main portion of those of the metropolitan police district, as noted in our article London. Four members are sent to parliament by the City of London, two each by the metropolitan boroughs off Westminster, Marylebone, Finsbury, Tower Hamlet's, Hackney, and Chelsea, and two by the rest of the county. The place of election for the co. is Brentford; and the polling-places are Brentford, Uxbridge, Bedfont, Enfield, Edgware, Hampstead, Hammersmith, Westminster, KingsCross, London city, Bethnal-Green, and Mile-End. Electors in 1833,6,939; in 1865,14,847, -of whom 10,542 were freeholders, 773 were copyholders, and 2,480 were occupying tenants. The poor rates of the registration county, in 1861, amounted to £102,927. Marriages in 1863,1,002,-of which 95 were not according to the rites of the Established church; births, 6,190,-of which 271 were illegitimate; deaths, 4,326,-of which 1,554 were at ages under 5 years, and 104 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60,8,792; births, 49,787; deaths, 34,147. The places of worship within the political county, in 1851, were 419 of the Church of England, with 344,487 sittings; 5 of the Church of Scotland, with 3,866 s.; 10 of the Presbyterian Church in England, with 7,389 s.; 4 of United Presbyterians, with 4,280 s.; 155 of Independents, with 84,514 s.; 84 of Particular Baptists, with 34,123 s.; 1 of Seventh Day Baptists, with 300 s.; 1 of General Baptists, with 250 s.; 3 of New Connexion General Baptists, with 1,180 s.; 13 of Baptists not defined, with 2,540; 10 of Quakers, with 3,265 s.; 7 of Unitarians, with 2,600 s.; 2 of Moravians, with 1,100 s.; 81 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 33,887 s.; 3 of New Connexion Methodists, with 342 s.; 15 of Primitive Methodists, with 2,596 s.; 2 of Bible Christians, with 400 s.; 9 of the Wesleyan Methodist Association, with 1,667 s.; 9 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 1,400 s.; 2 of Welsh Calvinistic Methodists, with 700 s.; 8 of Lady Huntingdon's Connexion, with 5,058 s.; 1 of Sandemanians, with 200 s.; 3 of the New Church, with 880 s.; 5 of Brethren, with 417 s.; 34 of isolated congregations. with 7,130 s.; 6 of Lutherans, with 2,172 s.; 1 of French Protestants, with 280 s.; 1 of the Netherlands Reform Church, with 350 s.; 1 of German Protestant Reformers, with 200 s.; 1 of Italian Reformers, with 150 s.; 6 of the Catholic and Apostolic Church, with 2,400 s.; 16 of Latter Day Saints, with 2,108 s.; 2 of the Greek Church, with 205 s.; 32 of Roman Catholics, with 15,480 s.; 1 of German Catholics, with 300 s.; and 9 of Jews, with 3,492 s. The schools were 772 public day schools, with 138,108 scholars; 2,655 private day schools, with 62,249 s.; 589 Sunday schools, with 111,595 s; and 76 evening schools for adults, with 1,733 s. Pop. in 1801,818,129; in 1821, 1,145,057; in 1841, 1,576,636; in 1861, 2,206,485. Inhabited houses, 279,153; uninhabited, 13,379; building, 3,451. Pop. of the registration county in 1851, 150,606; in 1851,187,326. Inhabited houses, 34,061; uninhabited, 1,790; building, 592.

The territory now forming Middlesex, was inhabited, by the ancient British Trinobantes; fell readily under the Roman power, at the second invasion by Cæsar; was included, by the Romans, in their Flavia Cæsariensis; was traversed by their Watling-street, their Erminestreet, and their road to Staines; formed, for about 3 centuries, a part of the Saxon kingdom of Essex; and took its name of Middlesex, originally Middel-Sexe, signifying "Middle Saxons, ''from being surrounded by the territories of the East Saxons, the South Saxons, and the West Saxons. Its history and its antiquities, with slight exceptions, are entirely identical with those of London; so that any notice of them, additional to what has been taken in our article of London, would be sulperfluous.

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

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "an inland county, within the basin of the Thames"   (ADL Feature Type: "countries, 2nd order divisions")
Administrative units: Middlesex AncC
Place: Middlesex

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