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.
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At the end of the 13th century Peter Botiler claimed various liberties in his manor of Northolt, including view of frankpledge and the assize of bread and ale. Similar liberties were claimed by William de Scaccario in the manor of Down. (fn. 1) No Northolt court rolls appear to have survived from before 1461, (fn. 2) but after this date the series is substantially unbroken until manorial courts were discontinued in 1919. (fn. 3)
From 1461 until the 1520s it was customary for the lord of Northolt to hold courts leet and baron annually in October. During the 16th and 17th centuries this annual meeting normally took place in April or May. The activities of the leet declined during the 18th century, and the court met with increasing irregularity until the last leet was held in 1828. Courts baron and special courts baron continued to meet, with varying regularity, until 1919. (fn. 4)
In 1461 the lord of Northolt and Down was exercising a leet jurisdiction over what were called the manors of Greenford, Perivale, and Ickenham. (fn. 5) The basis and precise nature of this jurisdiction are uncertain, but the available evidence suggests that it may have originated in an administrative grouping of Mandeville holdings in this area during the 11th and 12th centuries. (fn. 6) Claims to jurisdiction over the estate consistently described as the manor of Greenford probably refer not to the capital manor of that name but to a smaller estate in the south of Greenford parish known variously as the manor of Stickleton or Greenford. Land which seems later to have formed the basis of Stickleton manor was held of the honor of Mandeville from at least as early as 1212. (fn. 7) During the 1530s Stickleton manor was farmed by one James Cole, (fn. 8) and he appears to be identifiable with a James Cole who made returns at the Northolt court from 1534 to 1543 as constable for the so-called manor of Greenford. (fn. 9)
During the 15th and early 16th centuries officers for five manors were appointed at Northolt court. In 1461 Greenford and Perivale each had a single headborough; two each were appointed for Northolt and Ickenham; and three for Down. By 1505 the court was also appointing constables for Northolt and Greenford, and a constable and ale-taster for Ickenham. Apart from the election of manorial officers and occasional presentments, the Northolt court seems to have had little administrative connection with Perivale and Greenford. For several years there are no returns, and the constables, headboroughs, and tenants of both manors were frequently in default for non-appearance. After 1547 returns for Greenford and Perivale cease to appear in the Northolt rolls. The court continued to appoint officers for Ickenham and Down until 1616, when Down seems to have been granted separate courts leet and baron. The earliest surviving Down court roll dates from 1659, and courts leet were held there until the end of the 17th century. (fn. 10) After the separation of Down the Northolt court continued to appoint a constable and headboroughs for Ickenham until 1708. The lord of Ickenham manor was said in 1660 to owe fealty, suit of court, and a rent of £1 6s. 8d. to the lord of Northolt. (fn. 11) This rent was still being paid in 1878. (fn. 12) Although Northolt was described in 1722 as 'a manor paramount' to the manors of Ickenham, Greenford, and Perivale, the connection was by this time of little practical importance. (fn. 13)
Business in the Northolt and Down manor courts after 1700 was concerned almost entirely with admission to copyhold and the regulation of commonfield usage. A manorial constable and headboroughs for Northolt were appointed as late as 1804, but by this date, and probably earlier, their functions appear to have overlapped those of the overseers of the poor and churchwardens. In 1642 there were two parish constables, a churchwarden, and two overseers of the poor. (fn. 14) A 'church-house' on the Green, said to have been built in 1572, (fn. 15) and presumably administered by the overseers, accommodated five widows in 1664, (fn. 16) and three widows and a poor man in 1715. (fn. 17) The church-house remained in use as a parish poor-house until 1806. General poor relief was financed by a rate on the parish. The poor-rates rose from £169 in 1775-6 to £423 in 1803-4, when 28 persons were on permanent relief and 20 received occasional payments. (fn. 18) Poor-relief expenditure rose to a maximum of £503 in 1806. (fn. 19) In that year, however, the vestry resolved to build a workhouse to replace the now inadequate church-house, and the cost of poor relief for the period 1809-22 fell to about £170 a year (fn. 20) The workhouse, built on a site taken from the waste in the modern Mandeville Road, was a substantial building of nine rooms, including a shop and brewhouse. The number of inmates fluctuated between 12 and 22. (fn. 21) Administration was entrusted to a governor to whom the parish farmed out the workhouse at an annual rent of between £200 and £290. The appointment of successive governors and the fixing of the annual farm provided the staple business of the vestry in the early 19th century. In 1834 regular out-relief was given each week during winter to an average of 17 agricultural workers. Ablebodied out-poor were employed on the roads. (fn. 22) After the 1834 Act the parish was included in the Uxbridge Union, and in 1838 the inmates of the Northolt workhouse were removed to the union workhouse at Hillingdon. (fn. 23) The building was then sold, and after conversion licensed as the 'Load of Hay'. The present public house replaced the earlier building in 1930. (fn. 24)
The surviving minutes suggest that the vestry was never more than a routine administrative body. Business in the early 19th century was limited to regulation of the workhouse farm, the appointment of officers, and the provision of poor relief. During this period there were seldom more than five meetings a year, attended by the vicar and parish officers. By 1850 there were only two meetings, held in the schoolroom, for the appointment of officers and the sale of the road-repair contract. With the occasional addition of repairs to the church and village pump, the nature of vestry business remained substantially unchanged until the end of the 19th century. (fn. 25)
In 1894 Northolt became part of Uxbridge R.D. and had a parish council, composed of a chairman and six councillors, and meeting in the schoolroom. Throughout its existence the council was concerned primarily with the organization of petitions against the inclusion of the Mount Park estate in the then Harrow-on-the-Hill U.D., and the provision of amenities for Northolt village. Continued attempts to bring water to the village resulted in the first houses being connected to the main supply in 1898. The council also entered into an agreement in 1914 with the Harrow Gas Co. to provide gas street-lighting in the village, and made frequent representations to the rural district authorities about the condition of roads in the parish. (fn. 26)
Uxbridge R.D. was dissolved in 1928. The Mount Park estate was then incorporated in the urban district and civil parish of Harrow, and the remainder of Northolt civil parish transferred to the municipal borough and civil parish of Ealing. (fn. 27) The more recent history of local administration in Northolt therefore belongs to the boroughs of Harrow and Ealing, (fn. 28) which since 1965 have been part of the London Boroughs of Harrow and Ealing. (fn. 29)