A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 4, Harmondsworth, Hayes, Norwood With Southall, Hillingdon With Uxbridge, Ickenham, Northolt, Perivale, Ruislip, Edgware, Harrow With Pinner. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1971.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
MANORS AND OTHER ESTATES.
In 1086 NORTHOLT was held by Geoffrey de Mandeville and in the time of King Edward it had belonged to Ansgar the Staller. (fn. 1) The estate of fifteen hides, of which eight were in demesne, recorded in Domesday Book seems likely to have comprised most of the ancient parish. There is no mention in the Survey of subsidiary estates nor of the manor later known as Down or Down Barns. (fn. 2)
The Mandeville family retained Northolt until some time between 1227 and 1230, when Maud, daughter of Geoffrey Fitz Peter, Earl of Essex (d. 1213), alienated it to Thomas d'Eu or de Augo. In 1231 D'Eu released the manor to Peter Botiler (Pincerna) at a yearly rent of one pound of pepper. (fn. 3) Northolt then descended in the Botiler family (fn. 4) until 1339, when Stephen Botiler leased the manor at an annual rent of twenty marks to John Russell, the first of a succession of London merchants to acquire the estate. (fn. 5) Stephen Botiler quitclaimed the mano to Russell in 1342; (fn. 6) the significance of the transaction is uncertain, however, since in the same year William, Stephen's brother, quitclaimed an estate called the manor of Northolt to Geoffrey de Wychingham, later Sheriff and Mayor of London. (fn. 7) Wychingham acquired other interests in the manor from Stephen Botiler in 1346 (fn. 8) and from John Waleys of Great Waltham (Essex) in 1343. (fn. 9)
John Russell released the manor to Simon Francis, another London merchant, in 1346, (fn. 10) and in 1352 Agnes, Russell's widow, surrendered her rights of dower to Francis. (fn. 11) In 1355 Simon Francis caused Northolt to be released to himself and one Thomas Loughtborough. (fn. 12) On Francis's death in 1357 Northolt, which was then worth, as it had been in 1086, £5 a year, passed to his son Thomas, (fn. 13) and on his death in 1368 to Alice, his widow, for life with reversion to Thomas's sister, also called Alice, who was married to Sir Thomas Travers. (fn. 14) The manor was mortgaged several times between 1368 and 1370; (fn. 15) and in 1370 the Sheriff of Middlesex instituted an enquiry into the sale and destruction of the manorhouse and lands by Alice Francis. (fn. 16)
During the 1370s Nicholas Brembre, several times Mayor and Sheriff of London, gained control of the capital estate by acquiring the interests of Thomas Loughtborough and of the Travers family. (fn. 17) Brembre continued to hold the manor until he was convicted of treason in 1388. After his execution his wife Idony was permitted to retain his estate and to purchase the moveables forfeit to the Crown. (fn. 18) By this date the manorial demesnes of Northolt and Down comprised in all 595 a., (fn. 19) together with land and rents in Stickleton and Greenford. (fn. 20) Idony Brembre probably continued to hold Northolt until after 1390, but the manor seems to have changed hands several times before 1396, (fn. 21) when it was ratified in the possession of Sir Richard Waldegrave, Speaker of the House of Commons, and others. (fn. 22) Three years later the Crown's claim to the forfeited estate was exercised, and Northolt was granted in free alms to Westminster Abbey. (fn. 23) The abbey retained possession of the estate until 1540.
No leases of the manor are recorded before 1489, and it seems probable that the abbey farmed the estate directly. From 1489 to 1540 Northolt was leased to one or more lessees at an annual farm of £15 8s. Fines and perquisites of court were always reserved to the abbot. (fn. 24) In 1535 woods in the manor were valued at £1 and perquisites of courts at 16s. 6d. (fn. 25) By 1540-1 the value of the manor had increased slightly. (fn. 26)
In January 1540 the abbey surrendered its estates to Henry VIII. (fn. 27) A year later Northolt was granted to Thomas Thirlby, Bishop of Westminster, as part of the endowment of the new bishopric. (fn. 28) In 1550 Thirlby, who had fallen into disfavour, surrendered his bishopric to Edward VI, (fn. 29) and the king granted Northolt, together with other manors included in the endowment, to Sir Thomas Wroth, a gentleman of the Bedchamber. (fn. 30) Members of the Wroth family continued to hold the manor until 1616 when the executors of Sir Robert Wroth conveyed Northolt to Sir John Bennet, a master of the Court of Chancery and Judge of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. (fn. 31) In 1622 Bennet sold the manor to William Pennifather, Sheriff of London, (fn. 32) who in 1638 conveyed it to John Hulse. (fn. 33) Hulse died in 1653 leaving an only daughter, Lettice, who, under a marriage settlement made in 1647, became entitled to the property subject to the life interest of Elizabeth her mother. (fn. 34) Lettice, who had married Charles Goode of Malden (Surr.), died without issue in 1667. Her mother, remarried to Christopher Eyre, died in 1675, so that Charles Goode, despite the attempts of the Hulse family to deprive him, (fn. 35) succeeded to the reversion. Between 1675 and 1700 Goode frequently mortgaged the estate, (fn. 36) and in 1701 it passed to John Walker, Clerk Assistant of the House of Lords. (fn. 37) On Walker's death in 1715 Northolt was purchased by James Brydges, Earl of Carnarvon (later Duke of Chandos). He conveyed the manor to William Peere Williams, a Chancery lawyer, in 1722 and Williams's son, Sir Hutchins Williams, sold the property to Agatha Child, a member of the London banking family, in 1756. (fn. 38) The Childs continued to hold Northolt until 1804 when Sarah Sophia Fane married George Villiers, Earl of Jersey. (fn. 39) In 1827 Villiers sold Northolt manor, which then comprised only 269 a., (fn. 40) to Sir Lancelot Shadwell, last ViceChancellor of England. (fn. 41) The manor remained in the hands of the Shadwell family (fn. 42) until the estate was split up and sold for building purposes during the early 20th century. (fn. 43)
Archaeological excavation on a moated site northeast of Northolt church, started in 1950, has revealed much of the structure of the medieval manorhouse. (fn. 44) The neck of land which later formed the manor site appears to have been occupied at least as early as the 8th century. A moat was probably dug shortly after 1300, and enlarged later in the century when the first stone buildings were erected. In 1370 an inquiry was instituted into the partial demolition of the manor-house by Alice, widow of Thomas Francis. She was alleged to have dismantled and sold the timbers of a hall and inner court, four chambers, a grange, and a cattle shed, valued in all at more than £250, and to have destroyed oak, apple, and pear trees. (fn. 45) Buildings said to have been bought at Northolt were erected on the manor of Sutton (in Chiswick) about 1400. (fn. 46) Subsequently the manor-house appears to have been rebuilt on a smaller scale. Substantial repairs and rebuilding, probably to farm buildings adjacent to the manor-house, were effected in the 1530s. (fn. 47) The house seems to have been seldom occupied during the 16th century. It was possibly still standing in 1637, (fn. 48) but had been demolished by 1718. (fn. 49) Late-17th-century references to a manorhouse (fn. 50) probably refer to a house called Northolt Court at which the manor lord was living in 1653. (fn. 51) The site and date of demolition of this building are unknown, but in 1700, when it was still occupied by the lord of the manor, the house was said to stand next to the church. (fn. 52) In 1935 the manor site was acquired by the local authority for preservation as an open space, and in 1963 it formed part of Belvue Park.
The origins of the manor of DOWN or Down Barns, which covered some 300 a. in the west of Northolt parish, are uncertain. Roger de la Downe (Dune), who is mentioned as early as 1203, (fn. 53) held freehold land in Northolt in 1212, (fn. 54) assessed at 32s. in 1220. (fn. 55) His land is mentioned several times during the 1230s, (fn. 56) but the descent of the holding during the later 13th century is obscure. In 1293 Down was in the possession of William de Scaccario. (fn. 57) By 1326 the bulk of his estate seems to have been acquired by Ralph Basset of Drayton, (fn. 58) who shortly afterwards sold what was henceforth called the manor of Down to John de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Essex. On Bohun's death in 1336 the manorial demesne comprised 300 a. of arable, 5 a. of meadow, and 20 a. of woodland. (fn. 59) The Bassets seem to have retained some interest in the manor since Joan, widow of Ralph Basset, released her rights to one Edmund de Bereford in 1348. (fn. 60)
In 1354 Sir Thomas Holland and his wife Joan, later the wife of the Black Prince, sold Down to Simon Francis, (fn. 61) who had already purchased Northolt manor. (fn. 62) In the following year Francis acquired from Ralph, grandson of Ralph Basset of Drayton, the interest which he had retained in Down. (fn. 63) From this date until 1616 the descent of Down followed that of Northolt manor. (fn. 64) During the lordship of Westminster Abbey, although the two manors submitted a joint account, (fn. 65) Down was leased separately at an annual farm of £13 6s. 8d. In 1535 woods in the manor were valued at £3, and perquisites of court at 3s. 4d. (fn. 66)
After 1616 the descent of Down is obscure. By 1659 the manor was in the possession of one Samuel Carlton, in whose family it passed until 1717, when it was alienated to Andrew Hawes of Chatham (Kent) and John Harvey of Ickwell Bury in Bedfordshire. (fn. 67) Representatives of these two families continued to hold the manor jointly until it was broken up and sold in the early 20th century. (fn. 68)
There is little documentary evidence of the existence of a manor-house on the moated site at Down Barns, 1½ mile west of Northolt village. (fn. 69) A capital messuage was said to be of no value in 1336. (fn. 70) The early manor-house, which was probably in existence before 1388, (fn. 71) seems to have been abandoned during the 16th century, and a new house was built east of the moated site. Parts of the Tudor building were incorporated in a farm-house which replaced earlier buildings in the late 17th or early 18th century. (fn. 72) This house was demolished in 1954, and a smaller farm-house was built nearby. (fn. 73)
The freehold estate later known as ISLIPS manor was so named after the Ruislip family who held copy- and freehold land in Northolt as early as 1301. (fn. 74) In 1489 the property comprised a house called Ruislips Place, presumably standing north-west of the village on or near the site of the later Islips Manor, 71 a. in the common fields, 54 a. of pasture in six closes, and 9 a. of woodland in the north-east of the parish. (fn. 75) The estate passed in the Ruislip family until about 1493, when Christopher Morton, son by her first marriage of Edith Ruislip who had later married John Attewood (d. 1489), a London grocer, succeeded to the estate on the death of his mother. (fn. 76) Christopher Morton (d. 1517) was succeeded by his son John. John, son of John Morton, died in 1523 while still a minor, and the copyhold then passed to Margaret King of Hayes, cousin to John Morton the elder. The freehold estate, to which the copyhold lands were never reunited, descended to Catherine, John Morton's widow, who in 1517 married Thomas Roberts (d. c. 1543), a counsellor to the Abbot of Westminster. The estate, referred to as Ruislips and comprising a house and orchard, 20 a. of pasture, and 60 a. of common-field arable, passed on Thomas Roberts's death to his son Michael (d. 1544), and then to Michael's brother Edmund, subject to the life interest of Michael's widow Ursula (d. by 1565). Edmund Roberts sold his reversionary interest in 1565 to Alan Horde of Ewell in Surrey, who shortly afterwards sold the estate to John Gifford of Northolt. (fn. 77) It then descended in the Gifford family until 1629 when William Pennifather, lord of Northolt manor, purchased the bulk of the Islips estate from William Gifford. (fn. 78) The descent of Islips subsequently followed that of Northolt manor (fn. 79) until about 1690 when Charles Goode sold the estate to Charles Hawtrey of Ruislip. During the late 17th century the house, referred to variously as Islips or Gifford's Farm, seems to have served as a manor-house to Northolt manor, and in consequence the estate was frequently styled a manor. (fn. 80)
The descent of Islips during the early 18th century is obscure. By 1740 it was in the possession of John Gibson, later Vicar of Heston Successive members of the Gibson family held the estate until 1853 (fn. 81) when it was sold to the antiquary George Harris. (fn. 82) The property then comprised the house and garden and 123 a. (fn. 83) The house, thereafter called Islips Manor, was rebuilt in 1865. Harris devised Islips to his wife who died in 1895, and the estate then passed to her cousin George Innes. Members of the Innes family leased out the estate until 1927. It was then sold to Robert Rowles, who in the following year sold the whole estate to Ealing Borough Council. (fn. 84) The house has since been used as a clinic and the bulk of the estate turned into recreation grounds.
The estate known in the Middle Ages as Le Freres or Frere Place (fn. 85) and later as Wood End Green Farm originated in an early-13th-century grant of freehold in Northolt to the Hospital of St. Thomas of Acon. The Hospital's Northolt property was valued at £4 11s. in 1291. (fn. 86) After 1521 the estate was leased to Thomas Turner who was also farming Northolt manor from Westminster Abbey. (fn. 87) At the Reformation the estate called Frere Place, which then comprised a farm-house, about 120 a. lying in the north-east of Northolt parish, and 25 a. in the common fields, together with land in Harrow and Greenford, was alienated by the Crown to Richard Andrews and Leonard Chamberlain of Woodstock (Oxon.). (fn. 88) In 1542 Andrews and Chamberlain sold Frere Place to John Thornton who had farmed Northolt manor from Westminster Abbey. (fn. 89) Subsequently the estate, which seems to have remained fairly constant at between 90 and 100 a., passed rapidly through a succession of owners including members of the Gerard and other Harrow families, and, in the early 20th century, to W. H. Perkin, the Greenford chemist. (fn. 90) From about 1800 the estate was known consistently as Wood End Green Farm. (fn. 91) When the Perkin estates were sold in 1907 the farm comprised a substantial house and outbuildings, with approximately 90 a. of land lying between Wood End Lane and the parish boundary. (fn. 92) During the period 1920- 39 the estate was broken up and sold for building, and by 1963 the farm-house had been demolished and the area completely covered by houses.