The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 51.516039, -0.047738

6 Annotations

First Reading

vincent  •  Link

Original name Stebonheath (Stepney); known in 1733:
Stepney, a little of the history
Stepney Parish, 1.38 miles northeast of the city centre of London, is in the Tower division of the hundred of Ossultone, "2

vicenzo  •  Link

more on Stepny and the real estate deals and the connection to the Montegu, Cleveland and Wentworths.
Interesting to those that are into names that are lost in the dirt of time.…

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Stepney is a district of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in London's East End that grew out of a medieval village around St Dunstan's church and the 15th century ribbon development of Mile End Road.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The parish of Stepney (including Limehouse, Poplar, Whitechapel, Blackwall, Shadwell and Wapping) owed its development to the naval enterprise which began in the reign of Henry VII.

Deptford, Kent, rose to prominence, the shipyards eventually extending upriver to Rotherhithe, and, on the north side of the Thames some of the more famous shipbuilders laid out their yards at Blackwall, Poplar and Wapping.

As the shipbuilding increased, Stepney attracted adventurers including Humphrey Gilbert, Stephen and William Borough, and many others famous in maritime history, and here, too, the Trinity House transferred from its original home at Deptford, probably in the late 16th century, although it always retained its title of the Trinity House of Deptford Strond (in accordance with the wording of its charter) and here it soon became a monopoly of the merchant mariners of Stepney who were largely prominent in the chartered companies, such as the Virginia Company, the East India Company, and others.

The Trinity House moved in 1661 from Stepney to Water Lane near Tower Hill.

Also drawn to the riverside parishes were the mariners and shipbuilders of Leigh, Woodbridge, Aldeborough and other Essex and Suffolk ports which were declining.

Coincident with the rise of Stepney was the growth of Puritanism, which had its birth in East Anglia, Leigh being foremost in the controversy. By 1580 it was firmly established in Stepney, although it would be decades before it broke from the established church.

Nehemiah Bourne was born in 1611, so he was old enough to remember the departure of the Pilgrim Fathers in the Mayflower in 1620; the Mayflower was a Rotherhithe ship just across the river from Wapping.

Nehemiah Bourne would also have seen and appreciated the significance of the steady stream of adventurers who followed them. Brought up in a Puritan environment, which had now spread over the southern counties, he would see the growing political and religious confusion which eventually led to the Civil Wars, and the frequent persecutions which were creating in some of the best craftsmen a desire to emigrate to a land of economic opportunity, and freedom for the religious life they wished to lead, and wished to see their neighbors lead.

This 1952 paper was presented by Captain William Robert Chaplin, of the Trinity House, London, and information about the growth of shipbuilding under James I and Charles I, the Civil War years, shipbuilding in Boston and Wapping, the history of the Seething Lane offices, and the characters "Major" Nehemiah Bourne was related to by marriage ... the entire Trinity House Brotherhood were his Puritan in-laws from Wapping during the Cromwell years.

And yes, Pepys and the Diary get some mentions.…

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.



  • Jan