These are some notes which may help to put the stone in its place in the history of Paddington, and of Great Britain, at about 1714. and help to sum up the political situation at that period.

In 1713, the Peace of Utrecht brought about a partition of the Spanish Empire. [Spain, had been the great power in Europe since soon after Columbus discovered America and with it the gold which would pay for mercenary soldiers. It allowed Spain to fight wars all over Europe and to challenge the Turks in the Mediterranean. Now Spain was defeated and the victors were dividing up the spoils]. Great Britain obtained Gibraltar, Minorca, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, the Hudson Bay territories, and the monopoly of the slave trade with Latin America.

In 1714 came the Peace of Rastatt and Baden. Britain's balance of power policy had been successful and Great Britain became 'the arbiter of Europe, and the political power able to grant the largest subsidies as a result of this 'most businesslike of all our wars',

From Penguin 'Atlas of World History', p. 269.

In Paddington, it was also completely different from today. The Bishop of London's Estate Map, which is dated 1742, a full generation later than the Almshouse Stone, shows an entirely rural Paddington. The estate was a triangle which stretched along the Bayswater Road, from Hyde Park Corner to Craven Hill, and along the Edgware Road to Kilburn Bridge. There were about ten farms and, near Craven Hill, there were Common Fields, presumably still farmed in strips, much as they had been from medieval times.

We have several drawings of the local Parish Church and, by examining them closely, we can imagine what Paddington Green was like in those days. It was not the present St Mary's Church, of course. This was built in 1791, when the earlier church had proved too small for the growing population. St Mary's was one of the first Greek Revival churches in the country. Our drawings are of the earlier church, built about a century before, far more modest than St Mary's. We are not quite certain of its name, but it was probably St James's. The drawings call it simply 'Paddington Church'.

The first view, taken from the north-west, shows that the church was correctly orientated, with the porch at the west end and the altar at the east. It was a small basilica church with a square east end and a short, square bell tower.



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