BROMLEY ST. LEONARD'S (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Poplar, Tower division of the hundred of Ossulstone, county of Middlesex, ½ a mile (S.) from Bow, and 3½ miles (E.) from Cornhill, London; containing 6154 inhabitants. The name appears to have been derived from Brom, broom, and Ley, a field, indicating that a great quantity of broom anciently grew in the vicinity. The village is lighted with gas, and supplied with water by the works of the East London Water Company: there is a distillery on a large scale, near the western entrance into it. A communication with the Regent's canal has been formed by a cut from the river Lea, made by Sir Charles Duckett. Two headboroughs and a constable are annually appointed at the manorial court; and the parochial affairs are under the superintendence of a select vestry. The living is a donative; net income, £190; patron, John Walter, Esq.; impropriators, the Mann family. The church, a small plain structure comprising only a nave and chancel, is surrounded by a high wall, and exhibits some remains of Norman architecture, containing also, in the southern wall of the chancel, some stone seats. It is part of a larger edifice, the conventual church of a Benedictine nunnery founded soon after the Conquest, by William, Bishop of London, and dedicated to St. Leonard: the society consisted of a prioress and nine nuns, whose revenue, in the 26th of Henry VIII., was rated at £121. 16. At New Town is a second church, the living of which is a perpetual curacy; net income, £100; patron, the Incumbent of Bromley. The Bow Wesleyan meeting-house stands in the parish. National and infants' schools are supported by subscription, and a Sunday school is endowed with £1400 three per cents., from the interest of which the minister is paid £20 per annum, to catechise the children once a month, and for an annual examination. Seventeen children of the parish are entitled to receive education at Sir John Jolles's school at Stratford: Sir John also founded eight almshouses for the poor at Stratford and Bromley, opposite to which are almshouses established for the benefit of decayed sail-makers, by John Edmonson; at the upper extremity, between the two rows of almshouses, is a neat chapel.
From: 'Bromeswell - Bromsgrove', A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848), pp. 395-400. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=50834 Date accessed: 17 March 2010.