Clapham Old Town started out as a medieval village built on higher ground above the Battersea marshes, but only really flourished in the 18th century as a residential destination for the wealthy. Large residences lined the common’s north side with mature gardens behind. At this point, Macaulay Walk was the site of the local cricket pitch, next to the ‘Parochial School’ and rectory to Holy Trinity. The grand church was also the home of The Clapham Sect – a group of evangelical Christians committed
to missionary and, most famously, the opposition of slavery.
Dubbed ‘The Saints’, this unconventional open-house community of political activist included Zachary Macaulay, the founder and governor of Freetown, Sierra Leone - the first colony of freed slaves - as well as William Wilberforce, and Bishop Beilby Porteus, noted for his works defending the rights of slaves in Jamaica and Barbados, and upholding the sanctity of Sundays in law.