BOUNDARY OF THE PARISH OF ST. GILES-IN-THE-FIELDS.
The earliest mention of the parish boundary of St. Giles-in-theFields occurs in a decree of 1222, terminating the dispute between
the Abbey of Westminster and the See of London respecting the
ecclesiastical franchise of the conventual church of St. Peter. According
to this the boundary of the Parish of St. Margaret, Westminster, began
at the watercourse of Tyburn and stretched towards London as far as the
garden of the Hospital of St. Giles, "thence as the way beyond the same
garden extends as far as the boundaries dividing Marshland and the parish
of St. Giles." (fn. 1) This is pretty clear evidence that in those early days the
southern portion of the western boundary of St. Giles passed along the
thoroughfare bounding the Precinct and Marshland on the west, thus
agreeing precisely with the limits at the present day.
Although, however, there does not seem to have been any change
in that comparatively small part of the parish boundary, in many other
respects the limits of the parish have undergone serious modification.
The first considerable alteration took place in 1731, when the Parish of St.
George, Bloomsbury, was formed out of the old parish, and made to include
all that part which lay to the north of High Holborn and east of Dyot
Street and of a line drawn northwards from the latter's termination in
Great Russell Street (see Plate 6). This northward line was afterwards
slightly modified. Again, quite recently, the parish was further curtailed
as a result of Orders made under the London Government Act, 1899.
The south side of Lincoln's Inn Fields, and the area lying between Wild
Street and Drury Lane, were thereby taken from St. Giles, a give-and-take
line was adopted between the west side of Lincoln's Inn Fields and the
junction of Kemble Street and Wild Street, and certain small additions
to the parish were made at Francis Street on the north and Broker's Alley
on the south.
The stone tablet, illustrated on the next page, is a relic of the old
boundary line of the parish. It was built into the wall of No. 2, Sheffield
Street, which premises were demolished in 1903 in connection with the
formation of Kingsway. The stone was preserved by the London
County Council and has been lent to the London Museum.
The boundary between the parishes of St. Giles-in-the-Fields
and St. George, Bloomsbury, cuts through Bedford Square in such a way
that although the greater part of the square is in the former, all the houses
on the east side and a few on the south side are in the parish of St. George.
As it was felt that there were advantages in dealing with the square as a
whole it was decided that, as had been done in the case of Lincoln's Inn
Fields, (fn. 2) the entire square should be treated in one volume.
Stone Boundary Tablet (1691) from No. 2, Sheffield Street