XXV—THE KING'S ROAD AND AGAR TOWN
Mr. King's description of the King's Road: This is called the Back
Road leading to the City and Grays Inn Lane into Holborn.
The first block of four houses is given no description. There follows:
No. 33. Here stood an Old Farm dairy kept by Mr. Tew to which was
attached several acres of meadow land, after his death it was conducted by his
widow who possessed thereby a good property.
No. 34. This house begins the entra[n]ce of Kentish Town, on the line
with Old St. Pancras Church half a Mile distant.
No. 35 meadow land all covered over with houses and various Streets
leading into Maiden Lane, direct to Kings Cross Battle Bridge on the right and to
Highgate on the left.
The fields depicted were part of the northern portion of the demesne
lands of the manor of Cantlowes and the houses referred to by Mr. King stand
in Camden Road, St. Paul's Road, etc.
No. 36 the ruins of Old St. Pancras Work House, in 1790 transferred
to a plot of Ground the corner of the Hampstead Road and Kentish Town Road
(see No. 1, West Side).
The year 1790 should be 1778 (see above). Moreover, the Old St.
Pancras Workhouse mentioned is said by W. E. Brown to have stood on the
opposite side of King's Road.
No. 37 the seat of Councillor Agar [Plates 9b and 115], whose property
extended as far as Cook's Row. On the road side an immence number of poplar
trees were planted, which grew so high as completely to shade the Road, and in
summer rendered it most pleasant and picturesque when in full foliage. On the
lawn a few friends are enjoying a rural pic-nic, quite in character with his usual
"Counsellor Agar" was William Agar of Lincolns Inn, who purchased
the lease of the mansion house belonging to the Prebend of St. Pancras in
the Fields near London called Kentish Town, from the executors of Henry
Newcombe, in 1810, together with the coachhouse, stable, yard and large
garden, pleasure grounds, plantation, the Lawn, East Field and Near Field.
The freehold of the manor of St. Pancras belonged to the Prebendary of
St. Pancras in St. Paul's Cathedral, it was leased by the Prebendary from time
to time. It was leased on 8th January, 1549, by John Weston, clerk, Residentiary of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul and Penitentiary thereof and
Prebendary of St. Pancras, To Richard Wylkes, citizen and merchant taylor
of London for 40 years, and after his death this lease passed to Henry Spence,
citizen and innholder of London, who obtained an extension of the lease
for a further period of 31 years from the Prebendary (Rev. James Calfhill)
on 24th July, 1564. (ref. 143) Henry Kinge, D.D., Prebendary, leased it on 12th
October, 1641, to John Kinge of the Inner Temple, gentleman, for 21 years,
the area of the manor then amounting to 75 acres. In 1734 it was in the
possession of Lady Millington (Ann Millington of St. George the Martyr)
whose brother, William Bourchier of Salisbury, Doctor of Physic, assigned the
lease to Henry Newcome of Hackney, LL.D., on 5th April, 1755. (ref. 144) The lease
to Henry Newcome was renewed in 1757, by the Prebendary (Rev. Fifield
Allen, D.D.) to his son Henry Newcome, (ref. 145) and again leased 26th March,
1798, to Henry Newcome of Devonshire Place, for 21 years. His executors
obtained a fresh lease for 21 years on 3rd April, 1805, and, on 2nd March,
1816, (ref. 146) it was leased by the Prebendary (the Rev. William Beloe) to William
Agar, the son of William Agar of Dunnington Hall, York. He was born in
1767, called to the Bar in 1791 and died 1838. The last lessee was his son
William Talbot Agar of Milford House, Lymington, (ref. 147) born 1814, died 1907.
When occupied by the Agar family this house was known as Elm Lodge.
Practically the whole of the Prebendal Manor of St. Pancras has since been
occupied by the Midland and Great Northern Railway Companies, now the
London, Midland and Scottish Railway and the London and North Eastern
No. 37. When the canal leading from Paddington (the Regent's Canal)
was formed it meandered thro the grounds of Councellor Agar's property, since then
all the fine poplars have been cut down and 2 and 4 roomed Cottages have been built
by Working Men at a ground rent, on the road side, payable weekly or monthly.
The Leases terminate at the end of 21 years, which have brought together such a
variety of Poor of every description known as Agar Town (Plates 10 and 11),
extending to the Gas Works in Maiden Lane [York Road] beyond contemplation,
as to make it a Second St. Giles, it being very hazardous for any respectable dressed
person to pass or repass without insult or annoyance, as this locallity receives most
of the refuse which the forming of New Oxford Street swept away to improve that
previous impure district, so long the Pest of the parish of St. Giles.
Mr. King's comments refer, of course, to the period preceding the
appropriation of the land by the railway companies and reflect the general
condemnation of this poorly built and congested district which Charles
Dickens described under the name "Hagar Town" in Household Words.
The Regent's Canal Company obtained from the Prebendary the freehold of
5 acres 2 roods of land then leased to William Agar in 1819. (ref. 148) In 1841 Mrs.
Louisa Agar, widow of William Agar (who died in 1838) leased land to the
Imperial Gas Works. (ref. 149)
No. 38. These houses were built by Captain Cook of Hampstead, from 1
to 17 is called Cooks Row. Adjoining No. 1 was a plot of ground belonging to the
Adam and Eve Tavern Tea Gardens, attached to the Old Tavern which formed a
noted place of attraction for Holiday folks; and on Sundays especially, the Gardens
being thronged by Tea parties, and was then considered "Out of Town." No. 39
is a Building belonging to the Parish of St. Giles, the back of which, a portion of
the Tea Gardens, is converted into a Burial Ground usually filled by Catholics.
On the other side of "Tea Gardens" four houses are built, which leaves but a
very small portion of the ground belonging to the Adam and Eve Tavern, but is all
sufficient for its present purposes. The building belonging to St. Giles's Parish was
Erected in the year 1824. The old Adam and Eve has since been pulled down and
rebuilt, when the old wooden railing of the Church Yard was substituted for a
Brickwall boundary with Iron rails thereon.
No. 40. St. Pancras Church. This excellent view of the old church
concludes Mr. King's panorama. It is not necessary to print his notes on it as
the history is dealt with separately in this volume. The freeholders of Cook's
Row were the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's, as rectors of the parish.
GROVE TERRACE, HIGHGATE ROAD