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Adam Dant’s Hackney Treasure Map

July 21, 2011
by the gentle author

With the dog days of Summer upon us, what could be better diversion than this treasure map of Hackney newly drawn by Adam Dant? Inspired by the discovery of the Hackney Hoard by Terry Castle and informed by the knowledge of Stephen Selby the Hackney Antiquarian, this map describes the pre-industrial riches of the borough and is conveniently marked with suitable spots to dig. (Click to enlarge and study it further)

Prince Rupert’s Mill. Prince Rupert’s secret died with him – it was a composition from which indestructible cannons were cast and bored here in Hackney.

Temple Mills. Once belonging to the Knights Templars, these mills were used for grinding points on pins and needles, sent on to Worcestershire to receive eyes.

Beresford’s White House. Occasional residence of highwayman Dick Turpin, attached to the house was an extensive fishery, offering sport for one shilling.

Roman Burial Ground. Discovered under Hackney Marsh, part of the Roman stone causeway to Essex, and a marble sarcophagus at Brooksby’s Walk.

Lord Zouch’s House. A peer who sat in judgement on Mary Queen of Scots, Edward Lord Zouch amused himself with experimental gardening.

The Mermaid Tavern. 12/8/1811, Mr Sadler ascends in a balloon above Mr Holmes’ pleasure gardens, bowling greens and Hackney brook.

Sutton House. Known as “Bryck House,” it was built for Henry VIII’s courtier Ralph Sadleir who sold it to cloth merchant John Machell. The house still stands.

The Black & White House. Home of Robert Vyner, drinking partner of Charles II, its name “Bohemia Place” arising from the residence of the Queen of Bohemia.

Loddige’s Nursery. George Loddige’s forty foot palm house and orchid houses maintained tropical heat. Many of his plants and houses were removed to Crystal Palace.

Barber’s Barn. Home of the low-born John Okey, sixth signatory of Charles I’s death warrant, its grounds later cultivated by John Busch, nurseryman to Catherine II of Russia.

St John’s Place/Beaulieu. Said to have been home the priory of of St John, it later acquired the name “Shoreditch Place” after Jane Shore, lover of King Edward IV.

Brook House. Granted by Edward VI to the Earl of Pembroke, the house passed to the Earl of Warwick then to Dr Monro as a ‘recepiticle for insane persons.’

Gothic Hall. Mr Thomas Windus fitted out his house as a museum containing china, grecian pottery and six hundred drawings and paintings by Rubens, Van Dyke etc.

Shacklewell House. The ancient seat of the Herons, and residence of Cecilia, Thomas More’s daughter, later home of regicide Owen Rowe.

Abney House. Built for Thomas Gunstone to hymn writer & divine Isaac Watts’ plans. Gunstone died on its completion.

Brownswood House. The Hornsey Wood Tavern was formed out of the old Copthall and the Manor House of Brownswood. Victoria halted here in 1848.

Newington Green Manor. An area home to dissenters in the seventeenth century, Daniel Defoe unsuccessfully bred civet cats nearby.

Palatine House. Built to house protestant refugees from the Rhine Palatinate, later used as a retreat by John Wesley, friend of owner C. Greenwood.

Whitmore House. A moated house adapted by London haberdasher Sir William Whitmore for his son Sir George Whitmore.

Francies House. Built  by William Francies, a merchant tailor, in 1706, owned by the Tyssens family and leased to carpenter Richard Tillesley.

Baumes House. Built by two Spanish merchants in 1540, it became known as Sir George Whitmore’s house and in 1691 hosted King Charles I. It later was used as a madhouse.

Alderman John Brown’s House. Home of the serjeant, painter to Henry VIII.

Nag’s Head. A coaching inn and haunt of robber & highwayman Dick Turpin.

The Theatre. Home of Shakespeare & Burbage’s Lord Chamberlain’s New Acting Troupe. The timber was dismantled and used to construct the Globe.

Holywell Mount. Nearby the priory of St John the Baptist, plague burials were said to take place at Holywell Mount.

The Rectory, Hackney. Site of the Manor of Grumbolds and home of John & Jane Daniel, accused of blackmailing the Countess of Essex.

Geffrye Almshouses. Paid for by Sir Robert Geffrye in his will of 1703 which declared his remaining fortune to the Ironmongers’ Company for provision of almshouses.

Map copyright © Adam Dant

The original of Adam Dant’s map can be seen in an exhibition entitled Hackney Hoard which opens this evening with an introduction by Terry Castle (6-9pm) and runs until 28th August at Galerie 8 in the Arthaus Building, London Fields.

You may also like to take a look at

Adam Dant’s Redchurch St Rake’s Progress

or his Map of the History of Shoreditch,

or his Map of Shoreditch in the Year 3000,

or his Map of Shoreditch as New York,

or his Map of Shoreditch as the Globe,

or his Map of Shoreditch in Dreams,

or his Map of the History of Clerkenwell

4 Responses leave one →
  1. July 21, 2011

    I live in a neighborhood where the oldest house dates from about 1950.

    You have no idea how I’d love to live in an area that can boast a map like this. Buried treasure, indeed.

  2. Vicky permalink
    July 22, 2011

    It’s Adam Dant’s maps that are the treasures, may he do many more.

  3. January 7, 2014

    “Mr Holmes’ Pleasure Gardens etc.”
    The ‘Mr Holmes’ may refer to a relative of my 3rd gt/grandmother Mary HOLMES who lived in this area after she married John Welch in St John’s Church, Hackney. Mary née CROOK is also possibly related to the Parish Clerk of the time, Benjamin CROOK, a man with the same name (but not the same man) as her grandfather from Devizes.
    A William Henry HOLMES, a haberdasher, and his family, also lived in Hackney at the same time & could be a relative of Mary, maybe brother or cousin, and of course be related to either and/or both Benjamin CROOK’s.
    Further first name coincidences within the HOLMES & CROOK families in Hackney around this time does also suggest (but not prove) these may related branches of the same families.
    Maybe other interested descendants of any of these people could add some more flesh to the bones of this excellent historical treasure map by Adam Dant?
    Also maybe descendants of any of the other people named on Mr Dant’s map of old Hackney could add further interesting information surrounding the inhabitants at that time?

  4. Pauline Taylor permalink
    May 9, 2014

    I cannot add anything about the HOLMES or CROOKS but my great grandfather had a florists and garden contractors business in Upper Clapton Road, and a nursery garden elsewhere in Clapton, exact address unknown. The shop was, I am told, rather grand with a fountain and ferns inside, and great grandfather, Owen Charles GREENWOOD, supplied flowers to theatres in London. His son, Stanley Fielder Greenwood, took over the business after Owen Charles died in 1936.

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