The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 4
The parish of St. Martin in the fields having greatly increased, the numerous inhabitants, for want of places of worship, were deprived of an opportunity of publicly celebrating the divine offices. The inhabitants and owners of the newly erected buildings, therefore, applied to the bishop of London to appoint them a proper spot of ground in Kemp's field whereon to erect a church, and set out a churchyard for a common cemetery.
This request being readily agreed to by his lordship, the inhabitants, under sanction of an act of parliament, erected the present edifice.
After the church had been raised to a considerable height, the district for the intended parish was settled with the vestry of in the fields: and in the year , it was created into a distinct parish, and consequently discharged from all manner of
|dependence upon that of , in all respects, as if it had never belonged to the same, to be called the parish church of St. Anne, within the liberty of ; with a right of choosing parish officers, to make rates, and in all other respects to act as the inhabitants of the other parishes within the city and liberty of .
The act which granted these privileges also empowered the bishop of London to appoint the rector, and he and his successors be enabled to sue and be sued as an incorporate body; and to purchase lands in mortmain not exceeding the yearly rent of
The rector and his successors were also empowered to exercise the same authority as other rectors, and to enjoy the like oblations, &c. as the vicar of enjoys, and also an annuity of to be annually assessed upon the parishioners on Easter Tuesday, by the churchwardens, and or more substantial householders, by a pound-rate, not exceeding eightpence upon every personal estate, to be confirmed by justices of the peace, residing within the city or liberty of ; and to be collected by such persons as the assessors shall yearly nominate, who are to pay the same to the churchwardens, and they to the rector, quarterly, upon pain of imprisonment.
The act makes several other usual provisions, as the appointment by the rector, with the consent of the parishioners, of a parish clerk, &c.
By this act, also, the rector and his successors are, in right of the church, entitled in fee to a parcel of ground, then called King's Field, but now , Soho, of the length of feet, and depth of feet, with a power of granting building leases, for the term of years, at per foot annually, fronting the street; and at the expiration of that term, the rector to devise the houses thereon, for the term of years, upon a reasonable improved rent, without taking a fine.
Though by this act of parliament this district was converted into a parish, and the method of its government thereby settled, yet no provision being made therein for finishing the church and steeple, the parishioners were reduced to a worse condition than at the time of petitioning. They therefore found it necessary to apply to parliament for a power to raise money for the completion of their pious intentions; for the erection of a rectory house, and other parochial works.
In the year it was accordingly enacted, that towards raising the sum required, the bishop of London should be authorised, by an instrument under his seal, to constitute persons to be commissioners for finishing the church and steeple, and all other works essential to the completion of the parish. After they had so completed it, they were to become vestry-men of the new parish during their lives, or till they removed, or were dismissed for malpractices.
These commissioners were empowered to raise the sum of (over and above what the pews should be sold for) in years, at quarterly payments, clear of all deductions ; towards raising which sum, all tenants to be rated at least of the sum charged upon landlords.
The church being finished, it was, together with its cemetery, consecrated by Henry, bishop of London, on the , and dedicated to the mother of the blessed Virgin.
The rector of this parish, in lieu of tithes, receives from his parishioners an annuity of ; which, together with the glebe, surplice fees and Easter book, amount to about per annum. But the parish being taken out of that of , the rector pays neither fruits, nor tenths to the king, nor procurations to the bishop, or archdeacon; and being not in charge is consequently without valuation in the king's books. Indeed, this is the case with all the other parishes within this city and liberty, in the fields and excepted.
This parish is bounded on the north by St. Mary-le-bone, on the west by St. James, on the south by in the fields, and on the east by St. Giles. Its exact bounds are as follows: commencing at the east end of , it turns southward down , thence eastward to , to , down which it pursues its route to , down , along , across to , up Whitcombe-street, , and to , where it turns eastward to the point of starting.