The Environs of London: Volume 3, County of Middlesex. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1795.
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Situation, boundaries, extent, &;c.
This place, which in Saxon records is called Willesdune, or Wellesdune (fn. 1), lies in the hundred of Ossulston: the church is nearly five miles distant from Tybourn turnpike. The parish is bounded by Kingsbury, Hendon, Hampstead, a detached part of Chelsea, Paddington, and Harrow. It is computed that it contains about 3400 acres of land; the quantity of arable and pasture is always varying, but the proportion of grass land is by much the greater. The soil is for the most part clay in the low lands, and in the high lands gravel. The quota paid by parishes of Wilsdon and West Twyford jointly to the land-tax, is 7281. which is at the rate of about 2s. in the pound.
The principal hamlets in this parish are Neasdon, Harleston, or Holdsdon Green, and Church End.
King Athelstan either gave or confirmed to the church of St. Paul's ten manses at Neosdune, with the manor of Willesdune (fn. 2). This manor is described in the survey of Doomsday, as parcel of the ancient property of that church, and is said to contain 15 hides (fn. 3). It was appropriated to the purpose of furnishing provisions for the refectory, and was all demised to tenants, the canons reserving no part of it in demesne. This manor I suppose was afterwards subdivided, and became the corps of several prebends belonging to the cathedral, since there are now no less than five distinct manors in this parish, which are held either by prebendaries of St. Paul's, or their lessees.
Prebendal manor of Wilsdon, or Bounds.
The prebendal manor of Wilsdon or Bounds was leased in the year 1560 to Robert Weston, Dean of the Arches (fn. 4). Some time previously to the civil war a lease was granted for three lives to John Awborne (fn. 5). When the church lands were put up to sale, in 1649, this manor was purchased by Ezekiel Tanner (fn. 6). The first lease I have any account of after the Restoration is in 1697, for the lives of Francis Heath, of Greenford, his wife Anne, and Leonard Henchman (fn. 7). Ann Heath, in the year 1720, conveyed her interest in the lease to Thomas Wood, Esq. of Littleton (fn. 8), and Mr. Wood, in 1721, to Mr. John Miles, of Hampstead, who, in 1737, conveyed the reversion, after his own life, to Sir John Lade, Bart. The lease was renewed in 1761 and 1778 (fn. 9). In 1784 it was assigned by the present Sir John Lade to Mr. Foster, coach-maker in Long-acre, and in 1788 was purchased of trustees acting under his will, by Dame Sarah, relict of Sir Thomas Salusbury. A court-leet and a court-baron are held for this manor, which extends over a considerable part of the parish. The demesne lands are about 160 acres (fn. 10); the manor-house is near Kilbourn turnpike. The estate was valued in 1649 at 156l. 7s. 5d. per annum. The reserved rent is 12l.
Prebendaries of Wilsdon.
The most eminent divines who have held this prebend are Henry Mason (author of various devotional and theological works), who resigned in 1637 (fn. 11), and his successor Samuel Hoard, author of several sermons, and a tract called "God's Love to Mankind manifested by disproving his absolute Decree for their Damnation (fn. 12)." The present prebendary is the Rev. Charles Sturges, M. A. who was collated by Bishop Terrick in 1768.
Prebendal manor of Neasdon.
The prebendal manor of Neasdon was on lease to the Roberts family for some time previously to the civil war, and was purchased upon the sale of church-lands by Sir William Roberts, the lesse (fn. 13). There are no demesnes now belonging to it.
The present prebendary of Neasdon is Thomas Jackson, D. D. one of the canons residentiary, who was collated to it in 1792.
Prebendal manor of Broomsbury, or Brandsbury.
The prebendal manor of Broomsbury, or Brandsbury, was leased in the year 1638 to Edward Roberts, Esq. for three lives (fn. 14). In 1649 it was purchased by Ralph Davies and others (fn. 15). At the Restoration the former lessees were reinstated. This manor was for a considerable time held on lease by the Marsh family. Mr. Ralph Marsh assigned his interest in two thirds of it, anno 1749, to John Stace, Esq. (fn. 16) by whom this share was made over to Joseph Gibson, Esq. in 1765. In 1777 Mr. Gibson conveyed it to William Cowley, Esq. Mr. Cowley to Mrs. Elizabeth Craswell in 1779, and the latter in 1782 to Mr. John Millet, who being declared a bankrupt in 1784, it was purchased of his assignees by Lady Salusbury in 1788. The remaining third part was conveyed by Ralph Marsh, in the year 1708, to Lydia, wife of Richard James, and Eliz. Baker her sister; after the death of Richard James, his widow Lydia married Denington Bradley; she had issue a daughter, by each of her husbands; but Lydia, her daughter by James, died unmarried, and left her interest in the estate to Margaret Bradley, who married Edward Wife. Elizabeth Baker married Thomas Marsh, and after his death Philip Oyles. Mr. Oyles, by will (1748), left his interest in the lease to John Marsh, his son-in-law, who, in 1758, conveyed it to Edward Wife. The whole of this third part being vested in the Wises, was purchased of that family by Lady Salusbury in 1790. This manor was valued at 111l. 5s. 11d. per annum in 1649. The demesne lands are about 210 acres; the reserved rent 11l. 3s. 4d.
Prebendaries of Brandsbury.
Matthew Hutton (afterwards Archbishop of York) was collated to this prebend anno 1562; Richard Bancrost (afterwards Bishop of London) 1589 (fn. 17). The present prebendary is N. R. Baldwin, M. A. collated in 1792, on the resignation of East Apthorpe, D. D. author of Letters on the prevalence of Christianity, &;c. &;c.
Prebendal manor of Mapesbury.
The prebendal manor of Mapesbury (fn. 18) was demised, anno 1628, to Richard Bancrost, for three lives. In 1649 it was sold to James Noell, citizen of London (fn. 19). The lease of this manor was vested, for many years, in the Marsh family. It was purchased by Charles White, Esq. who bequeathed it to Captain Hyatt for his life (fn. 20); and after his decease, to his nephew, John White, Esq. who is the present lessee.
The demesne lands of this manor are about 310 acres (fn. 21). The reserved rent is 20 l. The manor-house is near Kilbourn.
Prebendaries of Mapesbury.
William Packington, prebendary of Mapesbury, is supposed to have been the same person who was secretary to Edward the Black Prince, and wrote his life, and the History of the Kings of England from the reign of King Richard I. (fn. 22) John Arundel (afterwards Bishop of Chichester) was collated to this prebend in 1456; John Bothe (afterwards Bishop of Exeter) in 1463; Samuel Harsnett (afterwards Archbishop of York) in 1598 (fn. 23). The present prebendary is Richard Beadon, D. D. Lord Bishop of Gloucester, who was collated by Bishop Terrick in 1775.
Prebendal manor of Chambers, or Chamberlain-wood.
The prebendal manor of Chambers, or Chamberlain Wood, was leased in 1627 to Francis Roberts, Esq. for three lives, and in 1649 was purchased by Sir William Roberts, Knt. in whom the lease was then vested (fn. 24). It is now held by William Godfrey, Esq. whose father purchased the lease of Mr. Robert Steele in 1761 (fn. 25).
The demesne lands of this manor are 42 acres, according to the survey taken by order of parliament in 1649. The reserved rent is 7 l.
Prebendaries of Chamberlain-wood.
William Bothe (afterwards Archbishop of York) was collated to this prebend in 1443; William Knight (afterwards Bishop of Bath and Wells) in 1517; Cuthbert Scott (afterwards Bishop of Chester) in 1554; and Nicholas Felton (afterwards Bishop of Ely) in 1616 (fn. 26). The present prebendary is the Rev. William Gibson, M. A. collated by Bishop Lowth in 1781.
Prebendal Manor of Harleston.
The manor of Herulvestone (now Harleston), in Wilsdon, is described in the survey of Doomsday (fn. 27) as containing 5 hides, parcel of the ancient demesnes of the canons of St. Paul's. This manor, the demesnes of which are very small, is now annexed to the prebend of Harleston in St. Paul's cathedral. In 1593 it was leased to Francis Roberts, Esq. for three lives. In 1649, when the church lands were put up to sale, it was purchased by Sir William Roberts, the only survivor in the lease (fn. 28). This manor has been held for a considerable time by the family of Tayler. The lease is now vested in Mrs. Tayler, relict of the late Robert Tayler, Esq. of Charltonhouse, near Sunbury. The reserved rent paid to the prebendary is 2l.
Adam Merimouth, a writer of English history, had this prebend in the 14th century; Nicholas Harpesfield, an eminent divine and miscellaneous writer, was collated to it in 1554; Antonio Corano, author of a Spanish grammar, and various critical and theological works, in 1582 (fn. 29); Dr. Jortin, an eminent writer of the present century, in 1762. The present prebendary is Joseph Warton, D. D. (author of an Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope, a translation of part of Virgil, &;c.) collated by Bishop Lowth in 1782.
Prebend of Oxgate.
The corps of the prebend of Oxgate is in this parish. It was purchased by Sir William Roberts in 1649; but I cannot find from the parliamentary surveys of that date, or by other inquiries, what it consists of, or that there is any reserved rent paid to the prebendaries. William de Wykham (afterwards Bishop of Winchester) was instituted to this prebend in 1361. Polydore Virgil, the historian, was collated to it in 1513; William Sancrost (afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury) in 1664; John Tillotson (who succeeded Archbishop Sancroft in the see of Canterbury), in 1674 (fn. 30). The present prebendary is the Rev. Henry Greene, collated by Bishop Terrick in 1772.
Manor of East Twyford.
Durandus, a canon of St. Paul's, who was also prebendary of East Twyford, held a manor in that hamlet of the king, which is described in the survey of Doomsday as containing two hides (fn. 31). In the year 1640, Robert Lee, Esq. aliened the manor of East Twyford, consisting of three houses, 100 acres of arable land, 80 of meadow, 200 of pasture, 50 of wood, with free fishery in the river Brent, to John Hooker and his heirs (fn. 32). It is now the property of Charles Brett, Esq. who married an heiress of the Hooker family.
Prebend of East Twyford.
The corps of the prebend of East Twyford is said by Newcourt to have been in this parish; but there is no estate now belonging to it.
Thomas Cartwright (afterwards Bishop of Chester) was collated to this prebend in 1665. The present prebendary is the Rev. Henry Waring, who succeeded John Mangey, M. A. in 1782.
Manor of Malorees, or Malurees.
In the year 1354, William Northwell released the manor of Malorees or Malurees (in the parishes of Wilsdon, Paddington, Chelsea, and Fulham) to Bartholomew Lord Burghershe, who the same year granted it to John Pecche, citizen and clothier (fn. 33), who died seised of it in 1379, leaving Sir William Pecche, his son and heir (fn. 34). In the year 1412, John Pecche, grandson, it is probable, of John abovementioned, granted the reversion, after the death of William Constantyn and his wife (to whom he had before, made a grant for the term of their lives), to Elias Davy (fn. 35). After various deeds of trust and mortgage, it was conveyed by William Crowmere and others to Thomas Chichele and others, who surrendered it to Henry the Sixth. The King granted it immediately to the warden and fellows of All Souls college in Oxford, to which society it still belongs.
The manor or farm of Malorees is described in the records just quoted, as consisting of some houses and about 120 acres of land: certain fields bearing that name are now held under All Souls college by William Godfrey, Esq.
In the year 1344, Robert de Woodhouse held a messuage, 200 acres of arable land, 2 of meadow, and 10 of wood, in Wilsdon, of the dean and chapter of St. Paul's (fn. 36).
Sir John Franklyn.
The parish church, dedicated to St. Mary, is an ancient gothic structure, consisting of a chancel, nave, and south aisle, with circular pillars and pointed arches. On the south wall of the chancel is the monument of Richard Franklyn, Esq. (fn. 37). 1615; on the east wall, that of Sir John Franklyn, Knt. (fn. 38). 1647; and on the north wall, those of of John Barne (fn. 39), Esq. 1615, and Francis Roberts (fn. 40), Esq. 1631. On the floor are the tombs of William Lichefeld, LL. D. residentiary of St. Paul's and vicar of Wilsdon, 1517; Edmund Roberts, Esq. (fn. 41). 1585; Jeane, daughter of Richard Langton, Gent, and wife of John Barne, Esq. (with a figure in brass of the deceased) 1609; and General Otway (fn. 42), 1764. In the nave are the tombs of Anne, wife of Thomas Benning, Gent. 1658; Elizabeth, wife of Frances Brende of West Moulsey, and daughter of John Pawlett, 1667; Mary, wife of William Hawkins, and daughter of Thomas Roberts, Esq. 1726; and Charles Eatton, Captain in the horse-guards, 1735. In the window of a chapel at the east end of the south aisle, are the arms and quartering of Roberts, in stained glass (fn. 43). On the east wall is the monument of Richard Paine, Esq. (fn. 44). aged 95, who had been gentleman pensioner to five princes, ob. 1606. On the floor are the tombs of Sir William Roberts, Bart, æt. 50, 1687; Sir William Roberts, Bart. æt. 39, 1698; and William Roberts, Esq. (the date concealed by a pew.)
In the church-yard are the tombs of Mr. Ralph Marsh, of Brands, 1709; Mary his daughter, the wife of the Rev. Mr. Vallintine, 1733; Mr. John Sawcer, 1729; Charles White, Esq. of Mapes (no date); Elizabeth, wife of William Richardson, Esq. of the East India-house, 1788; and Ann, daughter of Michael Terry, Esq. of Dummer, 1790.
The rectory of this place has been from time immemorial appropriated to the dean and chapter of St. Paul's, who are patrons of the vicarage. In 1217, the dean and chapter granted the rectory for life to the archdeacon, he paying 10 marks per annum (fn. 45). The Pawlet family were lessees during the greater part of the last century (fn. 46). Elizabeth, daughter and heir of John Pawlet, Esq. married Francis Brende, Esq. who was lessee in 1694 (fn. 47). The lease was purchased about the beginning of the present century by Charles Eatton, Esq. (fn. 48). whose daughter and heir Maria married General Otway. It is now vested in Miss Mary Caroline Wynyard, daughter of General Wynyard, by Sophia, daughter of General Otway. The reserved rent is 18l. it was formerly 14l. and a boar valued at 4l. (fn. 49). In 1327, the rectory was taxed at 18 marks (fn. 50). In 1650 it was valued at 300l. per annum (fn. 51).
The vicarage is endowed with the small tithes, a house and garden, a virgate and 12 acres of land, as is particularly described in an ancient terrier among the records in the chapter-house at St. Paul's (fn. 52). The vicarage is rated in the King's books at 14l.; in 1650 it was valued at 40l. (fn. 53). In 1652, 50l. per annum was voted as an augmentation for Edward Perkins, then vicar (fn. 54). The present vicar is William Clarke, M.A. who was collated on the death of Moses Wight, M. A. in 1795.
The earliest date of the parish register is 1569; it is imperfect during the later part of the 16th century, and in some years of a later date.
Comparative state of population.
|Average of Baptisms.||Average of Burials.|
|1630–1639||17 1/2||15 1/4|
|1680–1689||15 2/5||21 3/10|
|1780–1784||23 4/5||31 2/5|
|1790–1794||29 4/5||25 2/5|
The present number of houses is about 130.
In 1603 there were 13 burials; in 1625, 14; in 1665, 35.
Extracts from the Parish Register.
Family of Glover.
"Thomas Glover, Knt. and Jane, daughter of Mr. Francis Roberts, married Oct. 9, 1605; Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Glover, baptized Aug. 4, 1608; Frances, Oct. 2, 1609 (buried Ap. 12, 1610); William, baptized Dec. 17, 1610; Thomas, Ap. 23, 1612 (buried May 30); Mary, baptized Aug. 4, 1614; Elizabeth, Oct. 5, 1615; Frances, daughter of Lady Glover (buried Dec. 23, 1616."
"Sir James Stonehouse (fn. 55) and Ann Barnsdall, married Oct. 23, 1606."
Family of Franklyn.
"Sir John Smyth, Knt and Mary Franklyn, married Mar. 3, 1616–7 Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Franklyn, baptized Jan. 29, 1628; Richard his son, July 20, 1630; John, Nov. 30, 1631; Elizabeth, buried Aug. 28, 1632; George, baptized March 10, 1633; Mary, Ap. 15, 1634; Edward, Mar. 22, 1635 (buried Jan. 7, 1638); James, baptized Mar. 27, 1636 (buried Dec. 16, 1656); Frances, baptized Mar. 27, 1638; William, Feb. 21, 1639 (buried May 2, 1640); Edward, baptized July 26, 1640; Jane, Sep. 12, 1641; another William, buried Jan. 7, 1643; Henry, buried Oct. 19, 1660; Lady Elizabeth Frankly, buried Nov. 21, 1660; Sir Richard Franklyn, Sep. 16, 1685."
"Laureola, daughter of Sir Thomas Panton, baptized Jan. 2, 1618."
"The Lady Elizabeth Sanders, wife of Sir John, buried Dec. 6, 1628. "Daughter of Francis Roberts, Esq.
Family of Roberts.
Sir William Roberts.
"Edmund, son of Sir William Roberts, baptized July 23, 1625; William, June 9, 1628 (buried June 14); Mary, baptized Sep. 27, 1629; John, baptized May 19, 1631 (buried Aug. 6.); Anne, baptized Sep. 21, 1632; June, Ap. 7, 1634; Frances, Mar. 8, 1635; William, May 4, 1637; William, June 24, 1638; Elizabeth, Sep. 22, 1639; Eleanor, Aug. 8, 1641; Thomas, July 6, 1645; Francis, Nov. 29, 1646; Richard, Ap. 9, 1648:—Thomas Harrison, Esq. and Mrs. Mary Roberts, married June 27, 1649; Samuel Gibbs, Esq. and Jane Roberts, married Feb: 11, 1651; John Nelthorpe, Esq. (fn. 56) and Mrs. Anne Roberts, married Mar. 15, 1653; William, son of John Nelthorpe, Esq. and Anne, baptized June 10, 1654; John, born Sep. 12, 1655; Eleanor, born Nov. 2, 1656; another John, Mar. 2, 1658 (buried July 21, 1659); a third John, baptized Aug. 19, 1666; Sir William Roberts, buried Sep. 27, 1662." He was one of the commissioners to try Charles I. and was one of the representatives of the county of Middlesex in the parliament which gave Cromwell the title of Protector. He was afterwards called by him to the Upper House (fn. 57). Sir William Roberts lived in a mansionhouse at Neasdon, which, according to a tradition (for which there is no other ground, it is most probable, than some occasional visit) was the residence of Oliver Cromwell. "Luke Cordwell, Esq. and Eleanor Roberts, married Nov. 17, 1664; Sir William Roberts, Bart. (fn. 58) buried Mar. 18, 1688; Sir William Roberts, Bart. May 18, 1698."
"Anthony Crafts, Esq. and the Lady Mary Smith, married July 16, 1633."
"The Lady Pleydell, buried March 21, 1654." Wife of Sir Charles Pleydell, Knt. daughter of Sir John St. John, and relict of Robert Atye, Esq.
Instances of longevity.
"William, son of Ld Visct Howard, buried May 19, 1659."
William Franklyn, aged 107 years, buried March 10, 1627–8."
"Esther Wright, aged 92, buried Feb. 5, 1777; Hughes Dunstan, aged 96, Sep. 2, 1781; Anne Cutler, aged 90, Nov. 6, 1791."
John de la Dune, son of William de Hulm, of Harleston, gave a piece of land, six perches in length and one in breadth, to the church of St. Mary, Wilsdon (fn. 61). Thomas de Blic, of Neasdon, gave half an acre (fn. 62). I suppose these lands to be the parish close, now let at 2l. 10s. per annum.
Sir Thomas Pollet, before the reformation, gave a house and garden to this parish, for the purpose of finding a sheep or wether and a calf, and as much bread and drink as convenient to eat the same with, to be eaten and distributed among the poorest of the parish at his obit (fn. 63). This benefaction was lost at the reformation, as connected with a superstitious custom. William Barber had given also before the reformation, a rent-charge of 6s. 8d. for a light in the church and masses. The parish had a house in the church-yard anno 1547, valued at 16s. 8d. per annum (fn. 64).
Benefaction still enjoyed.
Rent-charge in consideration of a sum of money given by the Council of State.
Francis Roberts, Esq. in 1624, gave a rent charge of 40s. (on lands in Wilsdon), to the poor (fn. 65); this was confirmed, in 1661, by Sir William Roberts, who, having in his hands the sum of 1601. given through his interest to this parish by the Council of State out of the duties on coals, settled in lieu there of a rent-charge of 8l. on lands at Wilsdon-green, to purchase coals for the poor; the owner of his capital mansion at Neasdon (fn. 66), for the time being, is to nominate the proper objects (fn. 67). The parish enjoys also a rent-charge of 1l. per annum, issuing from a house at Kensington; but I could not procure the name of the benefactor.
Inventory of goods and ornaments of the church.
Two masers for brideales.
An inventory of the goods and ornaments belonging to Wilsdon church, anno 1251, mentions, among others, a scarlet banner, with a figure of the Virgin Mary of cloth of gold, the gift of J. the vicar, and two large images of the Virgin. In an inventory of later date, about 1547, mention is made of "two masers that were appointed to remayne in the church for to drynk yn at brideales."