The Environs of London: Volume 2, County of Middlesex. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1795.

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Daniel Lysons, 'Edgware', in The Environs of London: Volume 2, County of Middlesex( London, 1795), British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/london-environs/vol2/pp241-248 [accessed 15 July 2024].

Daniel Lysons, 'Edgware', in The Environs of London: Volume 2, County of Middlesex( London, 1795), British History Online, accessed July 15, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/london-environs/vol2/pp241-248.

Daniel Lysons. "Edgware". The Environs of London: Volume 2, County of Middlesex. (London, 1795), , British History Online. Web. 15 July 2024. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/london-environs/vol2/pp241-248.


Name and etymology.

Norden supposes, that this place has been corruptly called Edgware; its right name being Edgworth, which he defines, a fruitful place upon the edge of the county (fn. 1). But this etymology appears to be very erroneous; for neither do the Saxon Glossaries affix any such sense to the component parts of the word Edgworth, nor does it seem clear that this place was ever so called. The most ancient record in which I have seen it mentioned (for it does not occur in Doomsday-book) is of the age of Henry II. (fn. 2) In that, and every subsequent record till the reign of Henry VIII. I have found it uniformly written Eggeswere. Since that time it has been spelt, as now, Edgware. The Saxon word waer, is sometimes construed war, and sometimes a sence. A certain large portion of land is called a ware (fn. 3). Perhaps one of these may furnish a derivation in some degree satisfactory.

Situation and boundaries.

Edgware lies upon the road (the ancient Watling-street) to St. Alban's, at the distance of about eight miles from Tyburn-turnpike. It had formerly a weekly market on Thursday, which has been for some time discontinued (fn. 4). The parish is bounded by Hendon on the east, Kingsbury on the south, Elstree in Hertfordshire on the north, and on the west by Little Stanmore or Whitchurch. All the houses which form the west side of the street on the high-road, are in the latter parish.

Extent, soil, &c.

The parish of Edgware contains about eighteen hundred acres of land, of which not more than the twentieth part is arable. The soil is clay. The quota paid towards the land-tax is 357l. 4s. 9d. which in the year 1793 was at the rate of 2s. 3d. in the pound on land, and 1s. 9d. on houses.


The first mention I find of the manor of Edgware is in the year 1171, when Henry Bocointe paid one mark into the King's Exchequer, that he might implead William de Reymes for that manor (fn. 5). Soon afterwards it belonged to Ela Countess of Salisbury, daughter and heir of William D'Eureux, and wife of William Longespee, who granted it to her son Nicholas and his espoused wife, to be held of her by the service of a sparrow-hawk (fn. 6). In the year 1295 Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, who possessed this manor in right of his wife Margaret Countess of Salisbury, had a charter of free-warren therein (fn. 7) : he died in 1311. The manor was then valued at 14l. 17s. 1½d. per annum, and consisted of a grange, a hundred and sixty acres of arable, two of meadow, and sixty of wood (fn. 8). Alice, daughter and heir of the last Earl of Lincoln, (of that family,) married Thomas Earl of Lancaster who was beheaded in 1322 (fn. 9). She afterwards became the wife of Eubulo Le Strange, to whom she is said to have shown an improper partiality during the life of her first husband. This second marriage having taken place without the King's consent, Dugdale says, that all the lands which she held in capite were seized by the crown (fn. 10). I find, that in the year 1324, she surrendered this manor to the King (fn. 11), who appears to have granted it to her again immediately (fn. 12). In 1326 the grant was renewed to her and her husband (fn. 13) Eubulo Le Strange; and again, in 1331, with remainder to his heirs general (fn. 14). Eubulo Le Strange dying in 1335 (fn. 15), Sir Roger Le Strange, his next heir, granted the reversion of this manor, after the death of the Countess of Lancaster, to Sir Nicholas Cantelupe, with remainder to himself and his heirs. The Countess died in 1349 (fn. 16), and Sir Nicholas in 1356 (fn. 17). The manor of Edgware descended afterwards to Richard Le Strange, who inherited it on the death of his grandfather Roger Le Strange, Lord of Knocking (fn. 18), anno 1427, and in the year 1431 aliened it to William Darrell (fn. 19), who sold it again in the year 1443 to Thomas Chichele and others, as trustees for All-Souls college in Oxford, then lately founded by Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury. The trustees immediately surrendered the manor to the crown, and had a fresh grant the same year. It is still the property of the college. Dr. Bartlet, in the reign of Henry VIII. purchased another estate in this parish, consisting of a house and fifty acres of land, which he settled on the college, together with some closes which had been appropriated to a chantry at All-Souls, and which were sold with the other chantry-lands (fn. 20)

Gilbert de Grauncestre held a hundred acres of land under the manor of Edgware anno 1328, by the service of a pair of gilt spurs; and William Page fifty acres, by the rent of a pound of cummin (fn. 21).

Singular custom of the manor.

Sir William Blackstone says, that it was usual for the lord of this manor to provide a minstrel or piper for the diversion of the tenants while they were employed in his service. He refers to the manorrolls which are among the archives of All-Souls college; but does not mention the year or period of the record. By permission of the college, I examined the rolls, which are very numerous, to search for that, or any other curious entries which might occur. I had not the good fortune to find what Blackstone refers to; but there can be no doubt of the fact upon his authority. A small piece of ground in the parish still goes by the name of Piper's-green.

Singular fines.

At a court held, anno 1551, two men were fined for playing at cards and draughts (ad pictas chartas & tabulas). The next year the inhabitants were presented for not having a tumbrel and cuckingstool. In 1558 a man was fined for selling ale at an exorbitant price, viz. a pint and a half for a penny. In 1555 it was presented, that the Butts at Edgware were very ruinous, and that the inhabitants ought to repair them; which was ordered to be done before the ensuing Whitsuntide.

Manor of Edgware-Boys.

The manor of Boys, or Edgware-Boys, consisting of near three hundred acres of land, belonged formerly to the priory of St. John of Jerusalem (fn. 22). By some grant or exchange it came to the dean and chapter of Windsor, who, in the year 1483, granted it to the King by the name of the manor of Edgware (fn. 23). Henry VIII. anno 1544, granted it to Sir John Williams and Anthony Stringer (fn. 24), who aliened it the same year to Henry Page, Esq. (fn. 25) In the year 1649 I find it belonged to Lady Coventry, relict of the Lord-Keeper (fn. 26). It continued in the Coventry family till sold by the present Earl, anno 1762, to William Lee, Esq. son of the Lord Chief Justice, and father of William Lee Antonie, Esq. the present proprietor.

Manor of Tidburst.

The reversion of an estate, consisting of some messuages, a carucate of land, twenty acres of meadow, and six of wood, described as parcel of the manor of Tidburst, and lying within the parishes of Edgware and Stanmore Parva, was granted (after the death of Elizabeth, wife of Sir Thomas Barre) to Robert Whitby Clerk and others, and the heirs of the said Robert, with remainder successively to Thomas Beaufort Duke of Exeter, John Earl of Somerset, Cardinal Beaufort, Joan Countess of Westmorland, and King Henry VI. (fn. 27) King James granted the manors of Tidburst in Middlesex, and Kendall in Hertfordshire, being parcel of the duchy of Lancaster, to Robert Earl of Salisbury (fn. 28). I have not been able to discover any traces of this estate in the parish of Edgware. The manor of Kendall is in the parish of Aldenham, about four miles from Edgware; it is the property of William Phillimore, Esq. and is called the manor of Tidburst and Kendall.

The prior and convent of St. Bartholomew in Smithfield had lands in Edgware (fn. 29).


Pictures at Mr. Godfrey's.

At Brockley-hill, in this parish, (situated about two miles from the town, upon the Hertfordshire road, and commanding a very extensive prospect,) is a house formerly the property of—Sharpe, Esq. Secretary to the Duke of Chandos, and now in the tenure of William Godfrey, Esq. of Portman-square. In a handsome draw ing-room, sitted up by Mr. Sharpe for the reception of the Duke and some of the principal officers of state, who occasionally met at his house, are some large pictures fastened into the pannels, and said to have been a part of King Charles's collection. Among these is a whole length of James I.; a portrait of a foreigner, said to be Gundomar; and a picture of two boys, by Murillo: there is a groupe of portraits also of the Sharpe family; the person in the clerical habit is Dr. Gregory Sharpe, Master of the Temple. On the staircase is a head of Gibbs the architect, and some other portraits.

The church.

Monument of Randulph Nicoll.

The church, which stands near the middle of the town, by the road-side, is dedicated to St. John of Jerusalem, and consists of a chancel and nave, which are of brick, and were rebuilt about the year 1764. At the west end is a low square tower embattled—an old building of stone and flints. On the north wall of the chancel is a monument (fn. 30) with the following inscription: "Randulphi Nicoll Georg. fil. reliquiæ híc juxta positæ sunt, qui summo ingenio, indefesso studio ætatem agens literis, maximum eruditionis thesaurum sibi comparavit, multarum linguarum præcipue orientalium ipsiusque etiam Chinensis insignem nactus peritiam, exquisitâ scientiâ geometriæ, astronomiæ, geographic, chronologiæ, cæterarumque disciplinarum mathematicarum nemini secundus: physices aliarumque rerum omnium quævirum decerent polyhistora longè doctissimus; quibus omnibus ad percipiendam colendamque virtutem fæliciter usus. Summâ vitæ integritate morumque candore amicis charissimus vixit, desideratissimus obiit.—Natus in proximâ viciniâ anno salutis partæ, 1595. Denatus quart. non. Jan. 1658, híc sepeliri voluit."

Various monuments.

On the south wall is the monument of the late curate William Totton, M. A. who died in 1787. Within the rails is a brass figure of an infant three weeks old, viz. "Anthonie, son of John Childe," 1599; and the tomb of Samuel Smith, M. A. curate, who died in 1713. On the south wall of the nave are the monuments of Robert Bayzand, surgeon, 1787; and Martha Rawling, widow, 1788. On the floor are slat stones to the memory of Richard Haley, Gent. (1662); Martha, relict of Robert King, Esq. of Catley in the county of Cambridge (1778); and Mrs. Elizabeth Finney (1789).

Over the gallery are the arms of William Lee Antonie, Esq. (fn. 31) at whose charge it was built.

In the church-yard is the tomb of Mr. John Wiblin, who died in 1774, aged 98.

Rectorial tithes and patronage.

The patronage of the church or chapel of Edgware, has always been annexed to the manor of Boys, to the owner of which the rectorial tithes are impropriated. Among the reprises of that manor, anno 1398, are enumerated the following: "A house and garden for the chaplain, with a salary of 33s. 4d. and the alterage or small tithes; consecrated bread for Easter, 6d.; bread, cheese, and ale at Boys on the rogation days, 3s. 4d.; and bread and wax for the celebration of mass, 3s. 4d. (fn. 32)


The benefice is a donative or curacy, endowed from time immemorial with the tithes of hay, and all vicarial profits. Mr. John Jones augmented it with the rent of three houses in Hosier-lane, Smithfield. Randulph, or Randall Nicoll, Esq. gave 1l. Is. for an annual sermon. The commissioners appointed by Cromwell to inquire into the state of ecclesiastical benefices, reported, that it would be advisable to consolidate this parish with Little Stanmore (fn. 33); but the junction never took place. The sum of 30l. per annum was voted as an augmentation to this curacy in 1657 (fn. 34).


Francis Coventry.

Francis Coventry, curate of this place, was author of a well-known romance called The Life of Pompey the Little; and wrote a poem called Penshurst, printed in Dodsley's Collection. He died of the small-pox in the year 1759 (fn. 35).

Thomas Martyn.

The present incumbent is the Rev. Thomas Martyn, well known for his useful publications in botany, and Regius professor of that science in the University of Cambridge. He succeeded his father, the celebrated John Martyn, F.R.S. in the professorship, and was presented to this curacy in 1787, on the death of Mr. Totton.

Parish register.

Comparative state of population.

There is no parish register now extant of an earlier date than 1717.

Average of baptisms. Average of burials.
1730–1739 14 16
1780–1789 13 11 1/0
1790 9 17
1791 14 11
1792 15 14

The present number of houses, exclusive of the alms-houses, is seventy-six.

Extracts from the Register.

Instances of longevity.

"May 30, 1721. Thomas Johnson buried, aged 92."

Mr. Richard Fuller is said to have died at Edgware, April 1, 1785, aged 100 (fn. 36).

Marriage of Bishop Cony bear.

"June 6, 1733. John Conybeare, D. D. (fn. 37) and Dean of Ch. Ch. in Oxon, married to Jemima Juckes of St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, Middlesex."


An alms-house for four poor women was founded by Samuel Atkinson, (a native of this parish,) in the year 1680, and endowed with an estate in Oxfordshire, now let at 20l. per annum.


  • 1. Speculum Britanniæ, p. 18.
  • 2. Cart. Ant. Brit. Mus. 53. B. 12.
  • 3. See Jacob's Law Dictionary.
  • 4. I could not find the charter for this market among the records in the Tower.
  • 5. Madox's History of the Exchequer, p. 296. It appears, by some ancient lists of knights' fees at the Exchequer, that Henry Bocointe held an estate in Little Stanmore, or Whitchurch, under the barony of William de Reymes. No mention is made of Edgware in that record.
  • 6. Cart. Ant. Brit. Mus. 53. B. 12. To this deed is annexed the Countess's seal, viz. a female figure between two lions; the legend—Sigillum Ele Comitisse Sarisburiensis; on the reverse her arms, 6 lions rampant, 3, 2, 1, with this legend—Secretum Ele Comitisse Saris. buriensis.
  • 7. Cart. 22 Edw. I. No. 23.
  • 8. Esch. 4 Edw. II. No. 51. If we compare this with the present proportion of arable and pasture land in Edgware, it will be found that the quantity of the former, then belonging to the demesne lands only, was nearly double what is now in the whole parish.
  • 9. The Earl of Lancaster is called lord of the manor, anno 1316, in the Nomina Villarum, Harleian MSS. Brit. Mus. No. 6281.
  • 10. Baronage, vol. i. p. 782.
  • 11. Cl. 16 Edw. II. m. 34. d.
  • 12. Cl. 17 Edw. II. m. 9. The King's mandate to deliver up to the Countess all the hay, corn, &c. upon the manor of Edgware, which he had granted her.
  • 13. Cl. 18 Edw. II. m. 12.
  • 14. This grant is recited in Pat. 17 Edw. IV. pt. 1. m. 4.
  • 15. Esch. 9 Edw. III. No. 42.
  • 16. Esch. 22 Edw. III. No. 34.
  • 17. Esch. 29 Edw. III. No. 6. Sir Nicholas Cantelupe having survived Sir Roger Le Strange the grantee, the manor devolved upon Sir Roger's eldest son of the same name.
  • 18. Esch. 4 Hen. VI. No. 31.
  • 19. Title-deeds, communicated by favour of the Hon. T. F. Wenman, LL. D.
  • 20. Ibid.
  • 21. Esch. 2 Edw. III. No. 61.
  • 22. Cotton MSS. Brit. Mus. Nero, E. 6, where is a terrier of the manor, dated 1398, (20 Ric. II.) at which time it was leased by Walter Grendon, prior of St. John of Jerusalem, to William, John, and Richard Sharp. One hundred acres of this manor were held under Roger Le Strange's manor of Edgware by a rent resolute of 7 s. 7d. per annum; the remainder was held immediately under the crown.
  • 23. Cl. 22 Edw. IV. m. 5. d.
  • 24. Pat. 34 Hen. VIII. pt. 11. Feb. 24.
  • 25. Pat. 34 Hen. VIII. pt. 12. Mar. 22.
  • 26. Parliamentary Surveys, Lambeth MSS. Library.
  • 27. See Esch. 5 Hen. VI. No. 56.
  • 28. Pat. 5 Jac. pt. 17. Dec. 15.
  • 29. Pat. 47 Edw. III. pt. 2 m. 5.
  • 30. Arms—Three eagles displayed in bend between 2 cottises engrailed, and 6 cross crosslets sitchee.
  • 31. Az. 2 bars Or, over all a bend checky Gul. and of the second, the arms of Lee of the county of Bucks, Baronet.
  • 32. Regist. Cartar. Prior St. Joh. Jerus. Cotton MSS. Brit. Mus. Nero, E. 6. f. 82, 83. When the manor of Boys was leased to the Sharps, they were obliged, by agreement, to find a sit chaplain at their own cost, and to keep the chancel in good repair. The manor and rectory were let together at twenty marks per annum.
  • 33. Parliamentary Surveys, Lambeth MS. Library.
  • 34. Minutes of the Commissioners' Proceedings, Lambeth MS. Lib. vol. xxix. p. 327, and vol. xl. p. 62.
  • 35. Nichols's Life of Bowyer, p. 326. note.
  • 36. Gent. Mag.
  • 37. Afterwards Bishop of Bristol.