7a XXX





Yet a fifth picture shows the view looking down Church St from the old Wheatsheaf public house, 138, Edgware Road, to Paddington Church. On the left is the Wheatsheaf. It is taken from an oil painting by an anonymous artist. Every building in the picture has been demolished, but The Wheatsheaf has been rebuilt on the same site.

Clearly Paddington was entirely rural at the beginning of the eighteenth century. It was a mere hamlet at the junction of two major roads, with a number of ponds for ducks and grazing animals, public houses serving the passing trade and most people working on the local farms.

Parishes were organised in Vestries based on the local church so the Vestry Minutes will be of help in understanding the society of the time. Each parish was responsible for looking after those too old to work. The Stone reads 'These Almshouses were erected at the expense of the Inhabitants for the Poor of this Parish past their labours'. The parishioners had paid for the almshouses and 'of this Parish', meant exactly what it said. The Parish was responsible for those born within its borders, but not for those born outside, even if they had moved in at an early age and had worked there all their lives. Parish accounts and diaries contain descriptions of poor people being sent back to their own parishes when too old to work, and even of a pregnant women being kept outside the parish border until the baby was born, in case the child became a charge on the parish in later years.

The Church Wardens' Accounts, 1656-1730, give many interesting details

The 1713 sheet starts:-

'An Account of what Mr Nathaniel King and Mr George Starkey has dispersed for the use of the poor of the Parish of Paddington from 16 of April 1713.'

May was a typical month. The accounts list sums paid out to eight people, varying from 6 to 16 shillings and also for two coffins and shrouds, one for £1-1s-6d and the other for 17s-3d. This came to a total of £5-18s-9d for the month. Most months were like this. Charitable payments and burials, but in 1714 Mr Starkey paid out money for a contract.

Paid to Bricklayer
Paid for ye Bricks
Paid for Lime
£15 - 12 - 00
£18 - 00 - 00
£ 7 - 15 - 00

This seems to be the only time the churchwardens paid for building materials, so this must have been for the Almshouses. Thus we know that it was a brick building laid in lime - no Portland cement then of course. The actual cost was £41 - 7s - 0d pence, plus the cost of carpentry and joinery, tiling, plastering, decoration and fitting out. Presumably the whole total was about £100. Perhaps the other expenses were listed on the 1714 sheet but unfortunately this is missing.


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