ACTON, MIDDLESEX, an urban district in the Ealing parliamentary division of Middlesex, England, suburban to London, 9 m. W. of St. Paul's Cathedral. Pop. (1861) 3151; (1901) 37,744. Its appearance is now wholly that of a modern residential suburb. The derivation offered for its name is from Oak-town, in reference to the extensive forest which formerly covered the locality. The land belonged from early times to the see of London, a grant being recorded in 1220. Henry III. had a residence here. At the time of the Commonwealth Acton was a centre of Puritanism. Philip Nye (d. 1672) was rector; Richard Baxter, Sir Matthew Hale (Lord Chief-Justice), Henry Fielding the novelist and John Lindley the botanist (d. 1865) are famous names among residents here. Acton Wells, of saline waters, had considerable reputation in the 18th century.
ACT ON PETITION, the term for a part of the procedure in the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division, now of infrequent occurrence. It was more freely used in the old Admiralty and Divorce courts before the Judicature Acts. (See PLEADING.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)