St Augustine's Tower Hackney

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St Augustine's Tower stands in St John's Church Gardens, in Hackney Central, in the London Borough of Hackney, just off the southern end of the Narrow Way (formerly Church Street). It is all that remains of the early 16th century parish church of Hackney of St Augustine, which replaced the 13th century medieval church founded by the Knights of St John. The Tower comprises four stages beneath a restored parapet with diagonal buttressing. A fine working 16th century turret clock has remained on the third floor of the Tower since at least 1608. The Tower and contents are Grade I listed.The Tower is seen as a symbol for Hackney, and is even represented in the coat of arms of the London Borough of Hackney. During the First World War, it appeared on the cap-badge of the 10th (Hackney) Battalion of the London Regiment.St Augustine's ChurchHistoryThe parish church of Hackney became a sinecure rectory in 1275. This meant there was a vicar and a rector representing the parish, both positions being in the gift of the Bishop of London, and the parish served the entire area of the present London Borough of Hackney until the parish was eventually divided up in the 18th century. Many of the position holders were absentee pluralists (i.e. they had other jobs, and Hackney just formed a part of their income). From the 14th century to the 17th century the church was dedicated to St Augustine. But from about 1660, the church was dedicated to St John of Jerusalem, St John the Baptist, and known as St John at Hackney, representing the links of the parish with the Order of St John of Jerusalem.

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