The Environs of London: Volume 3, County of Middlesex. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1795.
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This place, lying at the extremity of the county towards Hertfordshire, was formerly called Stanmere, i. e. the boundarystone. The addition of Magna, or, as it occurs in some records, the more," was to distinguish it from the adjoining parish of Stanmore "the less," now Whitchurch. It is not unlikely that they were originally one parish. The record of Doomsday speaks of the former as the manor of Stanmore; of the latter as a manor in Stanmore. Their extent was precisely the same, and I believe they vary very little in that respect at present. The parish of Stanmore is computed to contain 1400 acres, that of Whitchurch measures 1500. The epither of parva must have been applied to that parish as the least populous. The land at Stanmore is divided nearly in the following proportion; about 300 acres of arable, 850 meadow and pasture, and 250 commons and roads.
Stanmore lies in the hundred of Gore, about 10 miles northwest of London. The parish is bounded by Harrow and Whitchurch in Middlesex, and Bushey in Hertfordshire. It pays about 270l. to the land-tax; which, by and equal proportion, comes to about 2s. in the pound.
Dr. Stukeley thinks that the ancient city of Sulloniaca, or Suelloniaca, mentioned by Antoninus in his Itinerary, was in this parish,
not far from Brockley-hill. Camden and Norden agree in supposing it to have been on or near that hill (fn. 1). Great quantities of
Roman antiquities, as coins, urns, gold-rings, &c. have formerly
been found in this neighbourhood, which is said to have given rise
to the proverb,
"No heart can think, nor tongue can tell,
What lies between Brockley-hill and Pennywell."
In the reign of Edward the Consessor, this manor was the property of Edmer Atule, the King's Thane. William the Conqueror gave it to his half brother, Robert Earl Moreton, and Earl of Cornwall (fn. 2). Henry I. seized all the estates of William the succeeding Earl (fn. 3). This manor was in the hands of the crown anno 1221 (fn. 4). Soon afterwards it was given to the Abbey of St. Albans, under which it was held by the family of Francis. Simon Francis died seised of it in 1358 (fn. 5). The inquisition taken after his death states, that he had it by the grant of Elias Francis, who gave it to him, his wife Matilda, and their heirs in fee. In 1361, David Wollour, being possessed of the reversion of this manor after the death of Matilda Francis, gave it to the prior and convent of St. Bartholomew, in Smithfield. It was then held under the Abbey of St. Alban's, by an annual rent of 10 marks and 8d (fn. 6). In 1393, it was agreed, that the prior and convent of St. Bartholomew should pay to the abbot of St. Alban's 5 marks per annum, in lieu of all payments demandable on the death of copyholders within this manor (fn. 7). After the dissolution of monasteries, it appears to have been granted to Jeffrey Chambers; who, in the year 1543, mortgaged it to the King (fn. 8), and in 1547 made an absolute surrender (fn. 9). It was then granted to Sir Peter Gambo (fn. 10), a Spaniard, who was murdered near St. Sepulchre's church, on the 17th of January 1550, by one Charles Gavaro, a Fleming. For this murder Gavaro and his accomplices were executed on the 24th (fn. 11). It is probable, that on Sir Peter Gambo's death, the manor of Stanmore escheated to the crown for want of heirs. Queen Elizabeth granted a lease of it in 1563, to Dorothy Blake, or Blage (fn. 12); in 1576 to Thomas Marsh (fn. 13), and in 1593 to John Kaye (fn. 14). Each lease was for a term of years in reversion; the rent was 64l. 2s. 2d. In 1604, the manor was granted in fee, after the expiration of the aforesaid leases, to Sir Thomas Lake (fn. 15). The family of Burnell were in possession for several years after this grant (as heirs, it is probable, or assignees, of John Kaye). John Burnell, Esq. lord of the manor, died in 1605 (fn. 16) : his widow, Barbara, was lady of the manor for 26 years (fn. 17). After her death, it was for some time the property of her son, Thomas Burnell, Esq. (fn. 18); and it was not till 1645, that Sir Thomas Lake (son of the grantee) appears to have held his first court. In 1663, Dorothy Lady Lake sold this manor to William Bockenham, Esq. and others (fn. 19), trustees, it is probable, for Richard May, who was lord of the manor from 1668 to 1678. In the latter year, it came into the possession of Matthew Smith, Esq. who died in 1680. His widow held a court, as lady of the manor, the ensuing year. In 1684, William and John Powell occur as lords; from 1685 till 1700, John Powell only; from that year till 1713, John Rogers (fn. 20). In 1714, the manor was purchased by Humphrey Walcot, Esq. in trust for the first Duke of Chandos (then Earl of Carnarvon). It is now vested in the Duchess of Chandos for life; and afterwards settled on Lady Anne Eliza Brydges, only daughter and heir of the late Duke.
The late George Drummond, Esq. had a considerable estate in this parish, a part of which was purchased by his ancestor Andrew Drummond, Esq. about the year 1729 (fn. 21). The house, which is elegant and commodious, contains, among other pictures (fn. 22), several very valuable original portraits, bequeathed to the Hon. Mrs. Drummond by the late Duke of St. Alban's. Among these are Charles I. and Henrietta Maria; Charles II.; James II. when Duke of York; George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham; the Duchess of Mazarine; the Earl of Rochester; Henry Duke of Graston; Nell Gwyn; Diana (Kirke) Countess of Oxford; Gregory Hascard, Dean of Windsor; Henry Prince of Wales; John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham; Thomas Butler, Duke of Ormond; Charles Duke of Richmond; Prince Rupert; Aubrey de Vere, the last Earl of Oxford of that family; James Duke of Monmouth; Henry Jermyn, Earl of St. Alban's; and William III.; the last nine are whole lengths in the dining-room. Adjoining to the house is an extensive park, which affords some beautiful prospects, particularly from a hill called Belmont, where is a summer-house. This seat is at present in the tenure of John Drummond, Esq. guardian of his nephew, a minor.
On Stanmore-hill is the seat of John Forbes, Esq. in whose gardens are some very curious specimens of Hindoo sculpture. Mr. Forbes has a large and valuable collection of drawings, made during his residence at Bombay, consisting of views of the country, subjects in natural history, &c.
The seat of George Hemming, Esq. which is supposed to stand on the highest spot of ground in the neighbourhood, was originally a banquetting-house, built by the Duke of Chandos as an appendage to a bowling-green which he had made there.
The old church at Stanmore stood about a quarter of a mile to the south of the present site. Where the church-yard was, still remains a tomb to the memory of "Baptist Willoughby, Gent. 50 "years incumbent of the parish," who died in 1610, aged 72.
The present church (dedicated to St. John) was built at the sole expence of Sir John Wolstenholme, Knt. on a piece of ground given by Mrs. Barbara Burnell, Sir Thomas Lake, and Mr. Robinson. It was consecrated by Bishop Laud, on the 16th of July 1632 (fn. 23). The building is of brick, and consists of a nave and chancel. At the west end is an embattled tower, almost overgrown with ivy. The porch was designed by Nicholas Stone. In the east window are the arms of Wolstenholme (fn. 24), and some other coats (fn. 25). On the north side of the communion-table is the tomb of Sir John Wolstenholme, founder of the church, who died in 1639. It was the work of Nicholas Stone, and cost 200l. (fn. 26). The inscription (fn. 27) is on a large slab of black marble, supported by four pillars, under which lies the effigies of the deceased upon a mattress. On the south side of the altar is a massy monument to the memory of John Wolstenholme, Esq. (fn. 28), son of Sir John Wolstenholme, Bart. and grandson of the last-mentioned Sir John. Under a large open canopy of vein'd marble, supported by four pillars, is a black slab, on which are the essigies of the deceased, and of his wife Dorothy Vere. He is represented lying on a mattress as a corpse. She is in a reclining attitude, as a mourner, habited in a close vest, with a necklace of beads, a small cap and low head-dress. On the east wall of the chancel are the monuments of John Burnell, Esq. (fn. 29). citizen and merchant, 1605; his widow, Barbara, who survived him, and was lady of the manor 26 years; Lord Henry Beauclerk (fn. 30), 1761; Andrew Drummond, Esq. (fn. 31), 1769; John Drummond, Esq. (fn. 32), M. P. for Thetford, 1774; Charlotte Beauclerk, 1774 (fn. 33); George Drummond, Esq. (fn. 34), 1789; and the Hon. Charlotte Drummond, 1793. On the north wall are those of Isabell, wife of Captain Peter (fn. 35), and daughter of Andrew Drummond, brother of the Right Hon. Viscount Strathlallan, 1740; Alexander Geddes, Esq. (fn. 36), 1750; Lady Martha, wife of Lord Henry Beauclerk, and daughter of the last Lord Lovelace, 1788; and Jane Diana, daughter of John Drummond, Esq. and wife of Richard Bethell Cox, Esq. (fn. 37), 1790. On the south wall are those of Stephen Whitaker, several years carr-taker to George II. 1735; Dr. Hudson, many years rector of Stanmore, 1749; his wife Dorothy, relict of Matthew Lock, Esq. and daughter of —Dowse, Esq. 1743; and John Sage, Esq. 1787. On the floor are the tombs of Joan, wife of Henry Hayward, Gent. 1646; John Norwood, Gent. 1651; Phoebe Brailsford, 1727; and Thomas Moore, Esq. 1748.
On the north wall of the nave are the monuments of Elizabeth, wife of John Collins (fn. 38), Gent. 1670; the Rev. John Howarth Lane (fn. 39), 1719; and Elizabeth, wife of John Willet, and daughter of Thomas Phillips (fn. 40), 1738. On the south wall is that of John Dalton, Esq. (fn. 41), son of the Rev. James Dalton, rector, 1785. On the floor are the tombs of Bridget, wife of John Norwood, and daughter of John Atkins, 1631; Jasper Bourne, Gent. 1636; John Playford, citizen of London, 1685; some children of Dr. Willis dean of Lincoln, 1710, and 1712; and Margaret, wife of Humphrey Walcot, of Bitterly in Shropshire (daughter of Edmund Pearce, Esq. of Wilcot), 1715.
On the outside of the east wall of the chancel is a monument to the memory of Joseph Iremonger, 1742, and others of the same family. In the church-yard are the tombs of Edward Billingsley, Esq. 1714; Captain George Jackson, of the Essex East Indiaman, 1766; Philip Jackson, Esq. 1779; Mary, wife of William Wood, merchant (daughter of Thomas Clutterbuck), 1768; George Lindsey, Esq. 1776; Mrs. Elizabeth Sage, 1778; Mrs. Mary Beresforde, 1778; the Rev. Joseph Smith, 32 years rector, 1781; Mr. John Turner, of Clent in Worcestershire, 1782; the Rev. James Dalton, seven years rector, 1788; Joseph Hawkins, Esq. 1789; Mr. Godfrey Barwell, 1790; Mrs. Elizabeth Hawtayne, 1793; and Miss Mary Ireland, 1793.
The rectory of Stanmore was in the patronage of the abbots of St. Alban's, and of the subsequent proprietors of the manor, till the year 1663, when the advowson was sold by Dorothy Lady Lake and others to Thomas Mann, Esq. (fn. 42) It was purchased by the Drummond family about the year 1750, was the property of the late George Drummond, Esq. and is now vested in his son's trustees. A pension of 20s. was formerly paid out of the rectory of Stanmore to the abbey of St. Alban's (fn. 43). In the king's books the rectory is rated at 10l. per annum. In 1650 it was valued at 150l. per ann. (fn. 44)
Richard Boyle (brother of the first Earl of Corke), afterwards Archbishop of Tuam, was rector of Stanmore from 1610 to 1618 (fn. 45). The present rector is Arthur Robinson Chauvel, LL.D. instituted on the death of James Dalton in 1788.
|Average of Baptisms.||Average of Burials.|
In 1603 the number of burials was 26, the average of the three years preceding and that immediately following being only four. In 1625 there were 10 burials; in 1665 one only is entered in the register.
"Mr John Wolstenholme, housekeeper, was buried May 2, 1603; William, the son of John Wolstenholme, Esq. Sep. 4, 1632; William, the son of Sr John Wolstenholme the younger, Oct. 10, 1638; Joannes Wolstenholme, Eques Auratus, et hujus ecclesiæ novæ fundator sepultus suit Dec. 10, 1632." He was knighted by King Charles I. and was one of the farmers of the customs in conjunction with Sir Abraham Dawes and others. "The Lady Wolstenholme (fn. 46), the wife of Sir John Wolstenholme, Knt. the sonne of Sr John Wolstenholme that built the church, buried Dec. 5, 1661. Joannes, filius senior Joannis Wolstenholme, equitis aurati, sepultus suit sub sacrâ, menfâ, sacro die sancti Matthæi Apostoli, Sep. 21, 1669 (fn. 47). Joannes Wolstenholme, Eques & Baronettus, fil. Joannis Wolstenholme, equitis, Templi de Stanmore fundatoris sepult. juxta patris monumentum, Jul. 15, 1670." Sir John Wolstenholme, the first baronet of the family, (so created in 1664,) suffered losses to the amount of 100,000l. during the civil war, his estates having been unjustly sold, for the payment of certain fines levied upon him and his late father's partners in the customs. After the Restoration he was appointed to the same situation which his father held under Charles I. There was a great friendship between Sir John Wolstenholme and Lord Chancellor Clarendon (fn. 48). "Domina Lætitia Corbett, filia Rob. Knowles, equitis aurati, & Dominæ — Wolstenholme, prædicti Domini Joannis sororis, uxor Domini Joannis Corbett, sepult. una cum prædicto avunculo eodem die eodemque tumulo." Lady Corbett, being on a visit to her uncle during his illness, fell sick herself, and died (fn. 49). They were buried in the same grave and on the same day, as abovementioned. "May 15, 1688, sepulta suit sub illustri tumbâ in adyto honorabilis Dorothea Wolstenholme (fn. 50)."
"Aug. 20, 1683, Mr Charles Hart was here interred." This celebrated tragedian was the Roscius of his age. Contemporary writers speak of him with that enthusiasm which has been excited of late times by those brilliant ornaments of the stage, Garrick and Mrs. Siddons. Among the characters in which he particularly excelled were Othello, Brutus, and Alexander. Whenever he appeared in these and some other favourite parts, the house was crowded as at the first representation of a new piece (fn. 51). Downes says, that he left the stage in 1682, on the union of the two companies. He appears to have had a country-house at Stanmore in 1679, when his name occurs in the court-rolls among the copyholders of that manor. There is no memorial to him in the church or church-yard. Mr. Malone, during his researches at the Prerogative-office, first discovered by the directions in his will, that he was buried at Stanmore.
"Mr. John Drummond, son of Rt Hon. Ld Viscount Strathallan, buried Dec. 6, 1743; John Drummond, Esq. and the Hon. Charlotte Beauclerk (fn. 52), married Dec. 22, 1744; Andrew Drummond, Esq. buried Feb. 9, 1769." Brother of William, the fourth Viscount Strathallan, and founder of the well-known banking-house at Charing-cross. There are several other entries relating to the Drummond family.
"The Marchioness of Abercorn, buried Sep. 19, 1791." Catherine, daughter of Sir Joseph Copley, Bart. and first wife of the present Marquis of Abercorn, who has a noble mansion near this place, situated within the parish of Harrow (fn. 55). The Marquis has a gallery in Stanmore church, and a family vault.
In the year 1508, William Bolton, prior of St. Bartholomew, lord of this manor, at the request of Robert Beckryng his steward, and in consideration of the sum of 5l. paid to him by the said Beckryng, granted to John Warner (fn. 56) and others a certain piece of land, called Staples, containing eight computed acres (fn. 57), as feoffees in trust for the use and benefit of the parish-clerk and his successors.
Robert Hillson, by his will dated 1584, gave 1l. 6s. 8d. per annum, to be distributed weekly in bread among the poor of this parish. John Burnell, Esq. who died in 1605, bequeathed 1l. 6s. per annum for the same purpose; and Mrs. Barbara Burnell, who died in 1631, 2l. 12s. per annum (fn. 58). Thomas Burnell, by deed in 1655, gave 5l. 8s. per annum, for cheese and clothing (fn. 59). Rose Archer (date unknown) gave the interest of 20l. to be distributed annually among six poor widows, in sums of 3s. 4d. each. Sir John Wolstenholme, Knt. anno 1639, bequeathed two houses in Billiter-lane (now let at 13l. per annum), one moiety of the rent to be applied to the repairs of the church, the other to be given to the poor. Mrs. Elizabeth Turner, in 1757, gave a rentcharge of 20l. per annum, issuing out of tithes in Hendon, to be divided in equal portions between ten poor widows, being parishioners, not receiving alms, 40 years of age, or upwards, and residing within the parish.