The Environs of London: Volume 3, County of Middlesex. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1795.
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STANMORE PARVA, or WHITCHURCH.
This parish was formerly called Stanmere Parva, or Stanmere the less, to distinguish it from the other Stanmere. I have not seen its present name of Whitchurch in any records more ancient than the beginning of the 16th century. Most of the houses belonging to this parish are contiguous to the high road forming the west side of the town of Edgware. The church stands almost alone, about a quarter of a mile to the west. The parish of Whitchurch lies in the hundred of Gore, and is bounded by Edgware, Great Stanmore, Harrow, Kingsbury, and Hendon, in Middlefex, and by Aldenham in Hertfordshire. It contains 1500 acres of land, of which 130 only are arable, the remainder meadow and pasture. The soil is principally clay. This parish pays the sum of 343l. 17s. 10d. to the land-tax, which, in the year 1794, was at the rate of 2s. 9d. in the pound.
Algar, a servant of Earl Harold's, previously to the Conquest, held a manor in Stanmere, which, when the survey of Doomsday was taken, belonged to Roger de Rames, or Reymes. The manor there mentioned was in this parish, and appears to have been of equal extent with the Earl of Cornwall's manor of Stanmere (fn. 1).
Manors of Canons and Wimborowe.
The family of Rames, or Reymes, had great possessions in Essex, which were erected into a barony. Upon the marriage of Isabell, sister of Henry III. with Frederick Emperor of Germany, half a Knight's fee was paid by Henry Bocoynte for his lands in Stanmere Parva, held of the barony of William de Reymes (fn. 2). The greater part, if not the whole, of this estate was given at some future period to the priory of St. Bartholomew in Smithfield, and was granted after the dissolution of monasteries (anno 1544) by the name of the Manors of Canons and Wimborough (fn. 3), or Wimborowe, in Whitchurch, to Hugh Losse, Esq. (fn. 4), whose descendant, Sir Hugh Losse, sold them to Sir Thomas Lake in the year 1604 (fn. 5). The manor of Canons continued in the family of Lake till the intermarriage of James Brydges, Esq. afterwards Duke of Chandos, with Mary, daughter and eventually heir of Sir Thomas Lake, grandson of King James's secretary, who purchased it of Sir Hugh Losse. It is now vested in the Duchess of Chandos, relict of the late Duke; and settled after her death on Lady Anne Eliza Brydges, their only child.
The Duke of Chandos's magnificent mansion at Canons.
Pope's satire on canons.
The magnificent mansion built upon this estate, about the year
1712, by Mr. Brydges, afterwards Duke of Chandos, has been frequently celebrated in verse (fn. 6) and prose. It stood at the end of a
spacious avenue, being placed diagonally so as to show two sides of
the building, which, at a distance, gave the appearance of a front of
prodigious extent. Vertue describes it "as a noble square pile, all
"of stone; the four sides almost alike, with statues on the front:
within was a small square of brick, not handsome, the out-offices
of brick and stone, very convenient and well disposed. The hall
richly adorned with marble statues, busts, &c. The cieling of
the staircase by Thornhill, the grand apartments finely adorned
with paintings, sculpture, and furniture (fn. 7)." The columns which
supported the building were all of marble, as was the great staircase,
each step of which was made of an entire block, above 20 feet in
length (fn. 8). The whole expence of the building and furniture is said
to have amounted to 200,000l. (fn. 9) James of Greenwich was the architect. Dr. Alexander Blackwell, author of a treatise on agriculture, was employed to superintend the works without doors (fn. 10); and
it is probable that he laid out the gardens and pleasure-grounds,
which abounded with vistas, lakes, canals, and statues in the taste
then prevalent. The Duke's manner of living corresponded with
the magnificence of his mansion, and fell little short of the state
of a sovereign Prince. When Pope's well-known satire against
false taste came out, it was immediately supposed to have been
directed against Canons and its noble owner, there characterized
under the name of Timon (fn. 11). Dr. Johnson in his life of that poet
says, "from the reproach which the attack on a character so amiable
brought upon him, he tried all means of escaping. He was at last
reduced to shelter his temerity behind dissimulation, and endeavoured to make that disbelieved, which he never had the considence
openly to deny (fn. 12). He wrote an exculpatory letter to the Duke,
which was answered with great magnanimity, as by a man who
accepted his excuse without believing his professions (fn. 13)." There is
a print of Hogarth's, in which he represents Pope white-washing
the Earl of Burlington's house, and bespattering the Duke of
Chandos's carriage as it passes by. Admitting, what there is little
doubt of, the Poet's intended application of his satire to Canons, his
concluding lines are singularly prophetic:
"Another age shall see the golden ear
Imbrown the slope and nod on the parterre;
Deep harvests bury all his pride has plann'd,
And laughing Ceres reassume the land (fn. 14)."
Canons pulled down, and sold by piecemeal.
Eclipse, the famous racehorse.
When the Duke of Chandos died, this magnificent mansion being thought to require an establishment too expensive for the income of his successor, after fruitless attempts to dispose of it entire, was pulled down, and the materials sold by auction in the year 1747. The grand staircase is now at Lord Chesterfield's house in May Fair. An equestrian statue of George the First, which stood in the park, is now in the centre of Leicester-square. The site of Canons, with a considerable lot of the materials, the park, and demesne lands, were purchased by William Hallet, Esq. who built the present villa. His grandson sold it to Dennis O'Kelly, Esq. the well-known possessor of the famous horse Eclipse, whose bones lie buried in the park. Canons is now the property of Patrick O'Kelly, Esq. nephew of Dennis (fn. 15).
Handel's and Pepusch's compositions for this church.
Commemoration of Handel.
The parish church is dedicated to St. Laurence. It was rebuilt (the tower excepted) at the expence of the Duke of Chandos, about the year 1715, but the internal decorations were not finished till 1720. It was opened on the 29th of August that year (fn. 16), for which occasion it is probable Handel composed his sacred Drama of Esther (fn. 17), which was certainly performed at Canons in 1720, when Dr. Randall of Cambridge, with Beard and Savage, the celebrated vocal performers, were among the boys who filled the chorusses. The cieling and walls are painted by Laguerre, the Nativity and a dead Christ on each side of the altar, by Belluchi (fn. 18). Behind is a recess for the organ, supported by columns of the Corinthian order: in the back ground are paintings of Moses receiving the law, and Christ preaching. Whilst the Duke of Chandos lived at Canons, the church service was performed with all the aid of the best vocal and instrumental music. Handel, who resided at Canons as chapel-master, composed the anthems, and Pepusch the morning and evening services, several of which are now in the library belonging to the academy of ancient music (fn. 19). On the 25th of September 1790, a grand miscellaneous concert of sacred music, selected out of the works of Handel, was performed in this church in honour of that great master; when, among other pieces, some parts of anthems composed by him at Canons were sung by Signora Storace, Mrs. Crouch, &c. The profits were intended for the benefit of the Sunday schools in some adjoining parishes, but it did not turn out productive.
The church consists of a chancel and nave, distinguished by the ascent of a step. In the nave are the tombs of Michael Moseley, Esq. 1780; Sarah Dowager Lady Frankland, 1783; and Alexander Ougston, Esq. 1784.
Monuments of the Chandos family.
On the north side of the church is a spacious light vault, built by the Duke of Chandos for the interment of his family. Over the vault is a large chamber paved with marble, at the west end of which is the monument of James Duke of Chandos, the founder (fn. 20). His effigies, as large as the life, is represented in a Roman habit, between his two first wives, who are in mourning attitudes. On the same side is the monument of Mary, wife of Henry Marquis of Carnarvon (fn. 21) (afterwards Duke of Chandos), 1738. She was daughter of Charles Lord Bruce, son of the Earl of Aylesbury. On the south wall is the monument of Margaret, wife of James Marquis of Carnarvon (fn. 22), who died in 1768. She was daughter of John Nicoll, Esq. and first wife of the late Duke. In the antichamber (from which there is a flight of steps to the inner-room) are the monuments of Francis Brydges, Esq. 1714; John Marquis of Carnarvon (fn. 23), 1727; and Henry Brydges (fn. 24), S. T. P. rector of Agmondesham, 1728. In the church-yard is the monument of Samuel Harding, Esq. 1775.
In the church-yard are the tombs of James Duppa, citizen of London, erected in 1711; Francis Jackman, Esq. 1759; Elizabeth, wife of William Phelips, Esq. 1772; Susanna, wife of the Rev. Henry Poole, 1782, and Elizabeth Triphook, aged 90, 1791.
The church of this place was formerly a donative, or curacy, with a stipend of 40l. per annum (fn. 25). Sir Lancelot Lake being the impropriator of the great tithes, by his will, bearing date 1680, devised them to certain persons in trust for the minister of Whitchurch and his successors, the sum of 33l. per annum being first deducted for the pensioners in the alms-houses. Since this endowment, the incumbents have occasionally styled themselves rectors in the parish register. The advowson continued in the families of Lake and Brydges, till the sale of Canons in 1747. It was then purchased by Mr. Hallet, and is now the property of Mr. George Mutter, of Whitchurch.
John Theophilus Desaguliers, LL. D. appointed to this benesice by the Duke of Chandos about the year 1714, was son of a French protestant divine, and received his education at Christ-church College in Oxford. He became very eminent as an experimental philosopher, and was the first who read public lectures on that science in the metropolis. He continued them many years with great success, and afterwards published the course in two volumes in quarto. He was author also of some other philosophical works, and one sermon preached before the King on a thanksgiving day. He communicated several papers to the Royal Society, before whom he frequently exhibited new experiments, having a salary for that purpose (fn. 26). Dr. Desaguliers died on the 29th of February 1744, at the Bedford coffee-house, Covent-garden (where he had lodgings), and was buried the 6th of March, at the Savoy.
The present incumbent of Whitchurch is the Rev. Henry Poole, M. A. who succeeded the Rev. James Wills in 1776.
The earliest date of the parish register is 1559.
Comparative state of population.
|Average of Baptisms.||Average of Burials.|
|1680–1689||16 9/10||19 7/10|
In 1782, there were (exclusive of the alms-houses) 94 houses, of which 13 were then empty. The number of inhabited houses is now nearly the same.
Extracts from the Register.
"John Wolstenholme (fn. 27), and widow Downer, married Feb. 20, 1570."
Sir Thomas Lake.
"Sr Thomas Lake, of Canons, secretarie to King James, was buried the 19 of October 1630." Sir Thomas Lake was a native of Southampton. He was first noticed by Sir Francis Walsingham, who employed him as his amanuensis. By his recommendation, the Queen appointed him clerk of the signet. King James continued him in his service, and in 1616 made him one of the principal secretaries of state, in which station he acquitted himself with great credit. Fuller says, that his dexterity of dispatch and his secrecy were incredible (fn. 28). He had been secretary about three years, when he got involved in a quarrel which happened between his wife and the Countess Dowager of Exeter, whose son-in-law, Lord Roos, had married Sir Thomas's daughter, Elizabeth. In consequence of this quarrel, he was dismissed from his place of secretary, and sent to the Tower: when the matter came to be heard before the court of Starchamber, he and his lady were fined 10,000l. to the King, and 5000l. to the Countess of Exeter. It is said that the King advised him to give up his wife and daughter, but that he declared he could not cease to be a husband and a father (fn. 29). Sir Thomas Lake died at his seat at Canons on the 17th of September (fn. 30).
Family of Lake.
"Thomas, son of Sir Thomas Lake (fn. 33), buried July 13, 1633; Grace his daughter, June 27, 1648; Sir Thomas Lake of Stanmore, May 13, 1653."
"Essex, daughter of Lancelot Lake (fn. 34), baptized Aug. 20, 1638; Lancelot, Aug. 19, 1646 (buried Aug. 22); Lætitia, baptized June 19, 1650; Arthur, Feb. 23. 1654; Charles, April 15, 1655 (buried Oct. 10, 1711); Rogersa, baptized Aug. 10, 1656 (buried Nov. 11, 1693); another Lancelot, buried Aug. 20, 1656; Warwick, baptized April 13, 1661 (buried May 14, 1712); Sir Lancelot Lake, buried May 4, 1680; Frances Lady Lake, Feb. 22, 1678."
"William, son of Thomas Lake, Esq. buried Dec. 22, 1661; Thomas, Sep. 11, 1662; Mary, baptized July 18, 1668; Lancelot, July 25, 1669; James, son of Sir Thomas and Rebecca, baptized Nov. 1671 (buried Mar. 18, 1673–4); Thomas, baptized July 30, 1670 (buried April 15, 1672); Rebecca, baptized April 26, 1673 (buried March 19, 1680); Sir Thomas Lake, eldest son of Sir Lancelot, buried April 24, 1673; Rebecca Lady Lake (fn. 35), Jan. 14, 1681; Lancelot Lake, June 12, 1680; Captain Henry Lake, May 14, 1686; Lancelot Charles, son of Warwick Lake, June 12, 1711."
Family and descendants of James Duke of Chandos.
"James, son of James Brydges (afterwards Duke of Chandos), buried Ap. 10, 1700; Thomas, Dec. 14, 1701; Lancelot, Ap. 8, 1702; Mary, May 24, 1704; Charles, May 29, 1705; Rebecca, Ap. 19, 1710; the Honble Mary, wife of James Brydges (daughter of Sir Thomas Lake), buried Dec. 23, 1712; the most honourable John Marquis of Carnarvon (fn. 36), April 19, 1727; the most noble Catherine Marchioness Dowager of Carnarvon (fn. 37), Jan. 31, 1754; Jane, daughter of William Barkley Lyon, Esq. by Catherine, daughter of the Marquis of Carnarvon, buried Ap. 6, 1754; Catherine Elizabeth, Ap. 16, 1754; William Barkley Lyon, Esq. June 1, 1752; Lady Jane, daughter of John Marquis of Carnarvon, and wife of James Brydges, Esq. buried Mar. 11, 1776; the most noble Cassandra Duchess of Chandos (fn. 38), buried July 26, 1735; the most honourable Mary Marchioness of Carnarvon (daughter of Charles Lord Bruce), buried Aug. 22, 1738; the most noble James Duke of Chandos, Earl of Carnarvon, &c. died the 9th, and was buried the 23d day of Aug. 1744, in the catacomb under his statue in the monument room adjoining to the parish church of Stanmore the Less; the most noble Anne Duchess of Chandos. (fn. 39)., buried Aug. 30, 1759; Henry Duke of Chandos, Marquis and Earl of Carnarvon, buried Dec. 12, 1771; the Rt Hon. Lady Augusta Kearney, daughter of the late Duke of Chandos, and wife of Henry John Kearney, Esq. buried Mar. 29, 1779; Margaret Marchioness of Carnarvon, wife of the now living Marquis of Carnarvon (fn. 40), buried Aug. 29, 1768; the Rt Hon. Lady Georgiana Charlotte, daughter of James and Anna Elizabeth, Duke and Duchess of Chandos, buried Oct. 9, 1778; the most noble James Duke of Chandos, Oct. 10, 1789." The title became extinct by his death. The barony of Chandos has been claimed by the Rev. Edward Timewell Brydges, but the claim has not yet been decided upon by the House of Lords.
Collateral relations of the first Duke of Chandos.
"James Brydges, an infant son of the Honble Dr. Brydges, buried June 28, 1722; the Hon. and Rev. Henry Brydges, D. D. buried May 18, 1728; Cassandra, daughter of Henry Brydges, Mar. 18, 1740; the Honble Annabella Brydges (fn. 41), aged 84, widow of Dr. Brydges, 176; James Brydges, Esq. their son, July 21, 1789; Francis Brydges, Esq. brother of the first Duke, buried Oct. 1, 1714; Hon. Mrs. Sarah Brydges, widow, May 31, 1724; Mrs. Elizabeth Dawson (sister to the Duke, wife first of Alexander Jacob, Esq. secondly, of Dr. Thomas Dawson), buried Nov. 26, 1739; James Brydges, Esq. July 21, 1789." Several of the families of Inwood, Jacob and Adeane, descended from the sisters of the first Duke, are buried also in the Chandos vault.
Marriage of Lord Rich.
"The Rt Hon. Robert Ld Rich, and the vertuous lady Mrs Anne Rogers, widow, were married at Fryarne (fn. 42), Oct. the 3d, 1645." This Lord Rich married a daughter of William Earl of Devonshire, Anne Rogers must have been a second wife. She is not mentioned by Dugdale.
Duke of Gordon's family.
"Anne, daughter of the most noble Cosmo Duke of Gordon, and Katherine Duchess of Gordon, baptized Mar. 16, 1748, at his house in Conduit-street, in London, by Mr. Perkins, minister of Whitchurch; Katherine, their daughter, baptized at the same place, Jan. 26, 1751."
"The Rev. Mr. Francis Coventry, vicar of Edgware, buried Jan. 9, 1754 (fn. 43)."
"Frances Catherine, daughter of George Viscount Lewisham and Frances, born Sep. 7, 1783 (at Canons)."
"Lady Dowager Sarah Frankland (fn. 44), buried Oct. 21, 1783."
"Rev. Mr. Alexander Jacob, buried in the Duke's vault, Ap. 18, 1785." Author of a peerage, in three volumes folio, with plates. He was descended from a sister of the first Duke of Chandos.
"Mr. John Angles, aged 93, buried Nov. 18, 1792."
"Sir William Johnston, Bart. of Caskieben, in North Britain, buried March 27, 1794."
Dame Mary Lake, in her life-time, built an alms-house, with habitations for seven pensioners (four men and three women). By her will, she directed a rent-charge of 33 l. per annum to be appropriated out of her estates for their maintenance, and to be thus distributed:—A shilling a week to each pensioner; coals for each annually, to the amount of 20 s. and a black gown of the same value, making in the whole 32l. 4s. the remainder to be laid up for repairs: the pensioners to be appointed by Sir Thomas Lake's descendants, as long as they should be possessed of Canons; afterwards by the minister and churchwardens. The annuities were paid, but no rentcharge was ever settled till the death of Sir Lancelot Lake, who charged the above sum upon the great tithes as before-mentioned.
Dame Essex Drax (fn. 45), executrix of Sir Lancelot, by a deed, bearing date 1693, confirmed this rent-charge, and augmented the endowment of the alms-houses with an annuity of 11 l. 13s. 4d. being 1 l. 13s. 4d. to each pensioner.
Sir Lancelot Lake built a school-house in this parish, and by a deed, bearing date 1656, gave certain lands, charged with the payment of 15l. per annum, as a salary to the master, the remainder to be appropriated to charitable uses. By his will, bearing date 1680, he bequeathed the school-house which he had built, to his executors in trust, to remain to the same use. This school is for all children of parishioners and tenants of the manor.
Benefactions to the poor.
John Franklyn, Esq. gave in his life-time 2l. per annum to the poor of this parish, charged on Gunter's-mead (fn. 46). By his will, proved in 1596, he left 20s. per annum to the same use, charged on lands at East Barnet. Richard Franklyn, Esq. by a deed, bearing date 1652, gave 5 l. per annum to the poor.