Pages 320-327

The Environs of London: Volume 3, County of Middlesex. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1795.

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Name. situation, boundaries, extent, &;c.

This parish, in ancient records called Northwude, or Northwode, (that is, the North Wood,) lies in the hundred of Elthorne, about eleven miles distant from London, between the Hounslow and Uxbridge roads. It is bounded by Heston, Cranford, Hayes, Northall, and Greenford, and contains 2360 acres of land; of which 1354 are arable, 981 meadow (fn. 1), and 25 waste. The soil is for the most part gravelly. This parish pays the sum of 3921. 12s. 4¾d. to the land-tax, which is at the rate of 2s. 4¼d. in the pound. The grand junction canal passes through this parish.

Manor of Norwood.

Among the lands given by Warherdus to the church of Canterbury in 830 was an estate at Northwude in Middlesex, consisting of 120 acres (fn. 2). The manor of Norwood does not occur in the survey of Doomsday, being included (I suppose) in the archbishop's manor of Hayes. The first mention I have found of it upon record is in a court roll, bearing date 1481; in which year John Peke, master of the mystery or guild of ironmongers, held his first court for this manor (fn. 3). In the year 1484, Thomas Grafton and others held a court as feoffees. Edward Chefeman, Esq. who died anno 1510, was seised of the manor of Norwood held under the Archbishop of Canterbury (fn. 4). His son Robert, who died in 1547, left a daughter (Anne) married to Francis Chamberlayne, Esq. (fn. 5) It seems to have been aliened by Robert Chamberlayne, Esq. to Gregory Fynes Lord Dacre, about the year 1580 (fn. 6). After the death of Lady Dacre, which happened in 1595, the manor of Norwood was sold by her executors. Francis Awsiter, Esq. held his first court there in 1602; and the manor continued in his family till 1756, when it was purchased of John Awsiter, Esq. in trust for Mrs. Agatha Child, widow (fn. 7). It is now vested in Robert Dent, Esq. and others, as trustees under the will of the late Robert Child, Esq. This manor was held by the relief of a Knight's fee (5l.) payable on every death or alienation to the lord of the manor of Hayes. The release of this payment was purchased about the year 1783 by Mr. Child.

Manor of Southall.

The manor of Southall (held under the Archbishop of Canterbury) was in 1395 and in 1440 the property of John Shoredych, Esq. (fn. 8) In 1473 was held the court of Matilda, relict of Richard Willy, then lady of the manor. In the reign of Henry VII. courts were held jointly for the manors of Norwood and Southall (fn. 9); and they passed together to the Chesemans, Chamberlaynes, and Dacres. Lady Dacre disposed of them differently by her will (fn. 10); yet the names of both manors appear in the court rolls when the Awsiters held their first courts, and have been so continued to the present time; but no manerial rights (fn. 11) are exercised at Southall, which lies within Mr. Ascough's manor of Hayes. Mr. Ascough has a weekly market at Southall, and two annual fairs (on the Wednesday in Easter week, and the first Wednesday in October); by virtue of a grant from William the Third to his ancestor Francis Merick, Esq. bearing date 1698.

Dorman's Well.

Dorman's Well near Southall, in the parish of Norwood, formerly the seat of Lord Dacre (fn. 12), is now the property of George Merick Ascough, Esq. Norden describes it as surrounded with a park pale (fn. 13).

The chapel.

Norwood chapel, a small structure, consists of a nave, chancel, and north aisle. It exhibits the architecture of various periods. The north door has a Saxon arch; the windows of the chancel are lancet-shaped, and very narrow; those in the nave are of a later Gothic.

Monument of Robert Cheseman.

John Merick.

Various monuments.

Figure 8:

Norwood Church

In the east window of the chancel is a coat of arms in stained glass (fn. 14). On the north wall is a monument with an obtuse Gothic arch, ornamented with foliage and quatrefoils, to the memory of Robert Cheseman, Esq. who died in 1547. It has no inscription, but may be ascertained by the arms (fn. 15). On the same wall is a handsome monument (with the effigies of the deceased, as large as the life, in white marble, recumbent on a sarcophagus) to the memory of John Merick, Esq. (fn. 16) of Norcutt, 1749; and those of Susanna, wife of Robert Kidwell (fn. 17), 1694; and George Charles Blacke, late minister of the chapel, 1775. On the east wall is the monument of Isabel, wife of Thomas Nelson (fn. 18) of Chadleworth, Berks, and daughter of Francis Merick, Esq. 1769, and that of Francis Ascough (fn. 19), Esq. (with his bust in white marble) 1788. On the south wall is a stone with the following inscription: "Here lyved sometimes in this parish, to the glory of God, and this Commonwealth's good, Christopher Merik (fn. 20), Esq. with Agnes his loving and loyal wife, by whom he had issue four sonnes: he departed this life on the blessed birth-day of our Saviour Christ, in the year from thence 1614, and lieth buried in the Temple church, London." On the same wall is a memorial of Sarah Horsnell, daughter of John Huxley, Esq. of Wyer Hall, in Edmonton, and Elizabeth Ascough, daughter of Francis Merick, Esq. On the chancel floor are the tombs of Matthew Hunsley, Gent. (with a brass plate) 1618; Francis Awsiter, Esq. 1624; John Awsiter, Esq. (fn. 21) 1787; John Allanson (fn. 22), Gent. 1628; John Merick, Esq. 1663; Isabel, his wife, daughter of Sir Thomas Burdett, Bart. 1696; Anne, wife of Francis Ascough, Esq. (within the rails of the communion-table), 1763; and Mr. Hopeful Hayward, 1773. On the south wall of the nave is the monument of Francis Merick, Esq. (fn. 23) 1702; and on a pillar of the north aisle, that of Joseph Biscoe, Esq. (fn. 24) deputy-chorographer of the court of Common Pleas, 1750. In this aisle are the tombs of Joseph Alsop Biscoe (son of the above), aged 22, 1740; and Ralph Hodson, Esq. barrister at law, 1774. In the nave, those of Nathan Wright, Esq. son of Sir Nathan Wright (Keeper of the Great Seal from 1700 to 1705), 1736; Anne, wife of Thomas Child, Esq. 1759; William Child, Esq. 1763; George Child, Esq. 1765; and Robert Forster, 1770. In the chapel-yard are no tombs of note.

Minister of the chapel.

Though Norwood is considered in other respects as a separate parish or precinct, yet the chapel is only an appendage of Hayes, the vicar of which place is collated to his benefice with the chapel of Norwood annexed. He appoints the minister, who has a stipend paid out of the great tithes, which has been augmented by Queen Anne's bounty. The commissioners appointed to inquire into the state of ecclesiastical benefices in 1650, reported, that the chapel of Norwood belonged to Hayes; that James Chibbald, the minister, was presented by Thomas Jenings (lessee of the rectory), who allowed him out of the tithes of Norwood 481. per annum. These tithes were then valued at 200l. per annum. The commissioners suggested, that it would be convenient to make Norwood a parish church (fn. 25). Hayes and Norwood are in the peculiar jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The present minister of Norwood is the Rev. Anthony Hinton, M. A. who succeeded Mr. Blacke in 1775.


The earliest date of the register at Norwood is 1654.

Comparative state of population.

Average of Baptisms. Average of Burials.
1680–1689 113/5 17 3/10
1730–1739 132/5 144/5
1780–1789 15 7/10 142/5
1790–1794 204/5 222/5

The present number of houses in this parish, or precinct, is 129; of which 40 are in the village of Norwood, 33 in the hamlet of Southall-green, and 56 in that of Norcott, aliasSouthall, which lies upon the Uxbridge road, about a mile from Norwood chapel.

In 1665 there were only 12 burials; two children (of the same family) died of the plague.

Extracts from the Register.

"Susanna Damaris, the daughter of Sir Samuel Morland (fn. 26), Knt. and Bart. was baptized Feb. 28, 1666."

"John Lee and Johanna Maynard (daughter of Serjeant Maynard (fn. 27) ), married Aug. 2, 1666."

Alexander Keith.

May Fair marriages.

"George Keith, the son of the Rev. Alexander Keith, buried Feb. 5, 1739." Mr. Keith (who had four sons buried at this place) was minister of May-Fair chapel (famous in the annals of matrimony), where his conduct was such as to subject him to ecclesiastical censures, and he was publicly excommunicated in the month of October 1742 (fn. 28); when he had the impudence to retaliate, by excommunicating, at his own chapel, Bishop Gibson, Dr. Andrews, the judge of his court, and Dr. Trebeck, rector of St. George's, Hanover-square (fn. 29). When Mr. Keith's wife died in 1749, he had her corpse embalmed, and kept it unburied for many months. One of his advertisements during this period, will, no doubt, amuse the reader: "We are informed, that Mrs. Keith's corpse was removed from her husband's house in May Fair, the middle of October last, to an apothecary's in South Audley-street, where the lies in a room hung with mourning, and is to continue there till Mr. Keith can attend her suneral. The way to Mr. Keith's chapel is through Piccadilly, by the end of St. James's-street, and down Clarges-street, and turn on the left hand. The marriages (together with a licence on a five shilling stamp and certificate) are carried on for a guinea, as usual, any time till four in the afternoon, by another regular clergyman, at Mr. Keith's little chapel in May Fair, near Hyde-park-corner, opposite the great chapel, and within ten yards of it: there is a porch at the door like a country-church porch (fn. 30)." A newspaper paragraph (March 26, 1754) states, that on the 24th, being the last Sunday before the marriage-act took effect, 45 couple were united in the bands of matrimony before eleven o'clock, at May-Fair chapel; that a vast number were then waiting, and that two men were wholly and closely employed in making out the licences (fn. 31).

Instances of Longevity.

"Thomas Colston, aged 95 years, buried Aug. 14, 1679; Dorothy Rouse, aged 90, May 2, 1779; Mary Godin, aged 97, May 10, 1781."

Benefactions for the education and clothing of children:

Francis Courtney, by his will, dated 1706, gave some land and cottages, now let at 5l. 2 s. per annum, for the education of poor children of Norwood, Southall, and Norcutt, "till the world's end." Elisha Biscoe, Esq. by will, anno 1772, gave the sum of 3500 l. for the purpose of clothing and educating 30 boys and 10 girls, belonging to the parishes of Norwood, Heston, and Hayes. The yearly income of this fund is 136 l. 10 s.

For the poor.

Robert Cheseman, Esq. who died in 1547, gave a copyhold estate, called Hill-house, for an obit, expending at the obit and in the chapel, to be given to 12 poor women, 22 s.; and if the estate should not produce so much, the deficiency to be made up out of the lands of Henry Castor (fn. 32).

William Early, William Komyn, and Edward Hiller, by deed, anno 1618, gave a house and lands (now let at 9 l. 10s. per annum) for the poor of Norwood parish, at the discretion of the chapelwardens. Francis Awsiter, Esq. anno 1624, gave by will an annual rent-charge of 30 s. (deducting 8 s. for a sermon, and 2 s. to the clerk) to be distributed among poor widows attending the church on Good Friday.

William Millet, by will, 1631, gave a close of land, now let at 8 l. 13 s. 4d. clear, to the parishes and hamlets of Norwood, Norcott, Heston, and Southall, for the use and maintenance of the poor. George Finch, yeoman, by will (1633) gave an annual rent-charge of 2 l. to the poor, to be distributed on the feast of the Purification.

Benefactions of bread.

Robert Hampton, by deed (1651) gave a rent-charge of 2l. per annum for the purpose of distributing 13 twelvepenny loaves thrice in the year; the remaining shilling to be given to the clerk. Robert Merick, Esq. gave by will the sum of 100l. to be laid out in land, the produce to be appropriated to the purchasing of 2 s. worth of bread every Sunday in the year, to be distributed among such of the poor as should attend the public ordinances, and were not given to the novelties of the times. The land purchased pursuant to his will produces a clear rent of 3 l. 15 s. 2d.


  • 1. Part of Osterley-park is included in the meadow, being in Norwood parish.
  • 2. Cartulary of Christ Church, Canterbury, in the Bodleian Lib. among Tanner's MSS. p.22.
  • 3. Court Rolls of the Manor, obligingly communicated by Edward Bunce, Esq. the steward.
  • 4. Cole's Escheats, Harl. MSS. N° 756.
  • 5. Ibid.
  • 6. Robert Chamberlayne, son (it is probable) of Francis, was lord of the manor from 1570 to 1574. Lord Dacre held his first court in 1580.
  • 7. From the information of Edward Bunce, Esq.
  • 8. Court Rolls, communicated by Mr. Bunce.
  • 9. Ibid.
  • 10. Lady Dacre left Norwood to the uses of her will. Southall she bequeathed to her brother-in-law Sampson Leonard, Esq.
  • 11. Except some chief-rents paid by certain cottages and lands in Southall to the lord of the manor of Norwood and Southall.
  • 12. Norden's Spec. Brit. p. 18.
  • 13. See the map.
  • 14. Or, on a cross quarterly. Az. and G. five plates.
  • 15. Per chevron embattled 3 mullets pierced.—Cheseman, impaling a chevron between 3 hurts charged with as many escallops.—Dacres. Robert Cheseman married Alice Dacres. Middlesex Pedigrees, Harleian MSS. N° 1551.
  • 16. Arms—Quarterly 1. &; 4. Az. a fesse wavy Arg. in chief two mullets pierced, Or.—Merick. 2. Or, a fret G. bezanty.—Trussel. 3. Arg. a cross flurty Gules,—another coat of Trussel.
  • 17. Arms—Arg. a saltier raguly Sable, impaling Arg. on a bend Sab. three annulets of the field.
  • 18. Arms—Or a cross patonce Az. over all a bendlet Gules, (Edmondson blazons it Sab. a cr. pat. Or,) impaling Merick and Trussel quarterly.
  • 19. Arms—Sab. a fesse Or between 3 asses passant Argent; on an escutcheon of pretence, Arg. a cross dove-tailed between 4 mullets.—Horsnell.
  • 20. This is the ancient manner of spelling the name.
  • 21. The present representative of this ancient family, John Awsiter, M. D. lives in an old mansion at Southall-green. In the garden are several yew trees, cut into the form of temples and other buildings. His brother. Thomas Awsiter, Esq. lives also at Southall-green.
  • 22. This John Allanson had a grant of arms from the Herald's College.—Az. an inecutcheon Arg. within an orle of quatresoils Or.
  • 23. Arms—Merick, bearing those of Trussel (Arg. a fret G. bezanty), on an escutcheon of pretence. Francis Merick married Elizabeth, daughter and heir of George Trussel, Esq. of Seagreens in Fulham.
  • 24. Arms—Arg. three greyhounds current in pale Sable, impaling Sab. on a bend between six doves Arg. (legs and beaks Gules), three pheons of the field—Alsop.
  • 25. Parliamentary Surveys, Lamb. MS. Lib.
  • 26. See vol. i. p. 323. and vol. ii. p. 414.
  • 27. See vol. ii. p. 234, 235.
  • 28. Gloucester Journal, Nov. 9, 1742.
  • 29. London Morning Adver. Dec. 13, 1742.
  • 30. Daily Advertiser, Jan. 23, 1750.
  • 31. London Evening Post.
  • 32. Chantry Roll at the Augmentation-office, temp. Edw. VI.