Stepney is a district of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in London's East End that grew out of a medieval village around St Dunstan's church and the 15th century ribbon development of Mile End Road. The area built up rapidly in the 19th century, mainly to accommodate immigrant workers and displaced London poor, and developed a reputation for poverty, overcrowding, violence and political dissent
Stepney formed a large ancient parish in the Ossulstone hundred of Middlesex; bounded by Bromley and West Ham to the east, the River Thames to the south, Shoreditch and Hackney to the north and the City of London and the Liberties of the Tower of London to the west. The parish included the hamlets of Mile End Old Town, Mile End New Town, and Ratcliff. At its early extent it additionally included Whitechapel, Wapping, Stratford Bow, Shadwell, Spitalfields, Bethnal Green, Limehouse and Poplar. Over time the parish was broken up with these settlements forming new independent parishes, leaving a residual parish of 830 acres comprising Mile End Old Town, Mile End New Town and Ratcliff
Stepney is an episcopal area in the Anglican Diocese of London, which covers the London boroughs of Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets, and has its own suffragan bishop.
The Metropolitan Borough of Stepney was formed in 1900, then dissolved in 1965 when it was absorbed into the newly created London Borough of Tower Hamlets which currently administers the area
One of the Liberties of London