Monken Hadley: Introduction

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.

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A P Baggs. Diane K Bolton. Eileen P Scarff. G C Tyack, 'Monken Hadley: Introduction', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham, (London, 1976), pp. 260-263. British History Online [accessed 12 June 2024].

A P Baggs. Diane K Bolton. Eileen P Scarff. G C Tyack. "Monken Hadley: Introduction", in A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham, (London, 1976) 260-263. British History Online, accessed June 12, 2024,

Baggs, A P. Bolton, Diane K. Scarff, Eileen P. Tyack, G C. "Monken Hadley: Introduction", A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham, (London, 1976). 260-263. British History Online. Web. 12 June 2024,


Monken Hadley (fn. 1) lay in north-east Middlesex about 12 miles from London and at the south-western corner of Enfield Chase, north of the market town of Chipping Barnet (Herts.). (fn. 2) The name Hadley was first recorded c. 1136, when a hermitage there belonged to the abbey of Walden (Essex). Hadley was sometimes said to lie within Edmonton (fn. 3) but in practice was a separate parish by c. 1175. (fn. 4) It was sometimes called Monkenchurch until the end of the 15th century. (fn. 5)

The 19th-century parish was shaped like a narrow wedge, bounded on the west by South Mimms, on the north by Enfield, and on the south by Chipping Barnet and East Barnet (Herts.); the Great North Road ran across its western, and shortest, side. Before the division of Enfield Chase the parish was said to contain 340 a. (fn. 6) but that was probably too low an estimate, since no more than 240 a. were allotted from the Chase under the Act of 1777 (fn. 7) and the total acreage in 1871 was 641. (fn. 8) In 1866 the southern boundary followed the county boundary for over 2 miles from the Great North Road at no. 142 High Street, Barnet, to the hamlet of Cockfosters. The western boundary ran northward from Barnet for about ½ mile along the western side of Hadley Green to a point adjoining the modern Old Fold Manor golf club house. (fn. 9) From there the northern boundary ran south-eastward to Cockfosters, crossing the Great North Road by the Windmill inn and forming for most of its length a straight line dividing Hadley Common from the rest of the former Enfield Chase. (fn. 10) A narrow leg of land about ½ mile long, projecting northward near the parish church, was allotted to Monken Hadley as glebe land in 1779, (fn. 11) dividing 46 a. at the extreme south-western corner of Enfield from its parent parish. A further 8 a. at the southern end of the leg of land, around Mount House and its grounds, remained a detached portion of Enfield until in 1882 they were transferred to Monken Hadley. (fn. 12) The isolated 46 a. of Enfield were transferred in 1894, increasing the size of Monken Hadley to 695 a. (fn. 13)

In 1889 Monken Hadley was transferred to the administrative county of Hertfordshire (fn. 14) and in 1894 it was divided into the civil parishes of Hadley, 27 a. in the south-west under Barnet U.D.C., and Monken Hadley, 668 a. under East Barnet Valley U.D.C. (fn. 15) From 1965 both civil parishes formed part of Barnet L.B. (fn. 16) The article, except where otherwise stated, deals with the area covered by the civil parishes in 1894.

The western part of the parish lies over 400 ft. above sea level on a plateau of pebble gravel; the soil to the east is London Clay. (fn. 17) The ground slopes from the western plateau to the valley of Pymme's brook, 200 ft. above sea level, whence it rises again towards Cockfosters. Pymme's brook cuts across the eastern end of the parish for ¼ mile.

Notable inhabitants not mentioned elsewhere in this article included Arthur Jackson (1593-1666), divine, Sir Robert Atkyns (1647-1711), historian of Gloucestershire, John Monro (1715-91), physician, Hester Chapone (1727-1801), essayist, and Frances Trollope (1780-1863), novelist and mother of Anthony Trollope. (fn. 18)

In the 18th century the Great North Road from Barnet was the only major route through Monken Hadley. A road led north-eastward from the Great North Road past the church and across Enfield Chase, where it was called Camlet Way, (fn. 19) and a short road, called Dury Road after a late-18th-century family, (fn. 20) skirted the northern side of Hadley Green. A track, in 1971 a bridle way, ran along the south side of Hadley Common to Cockfosters, following for most of its length the boundary hedge which marked the southern limit of Enfield Chase (fn. 21) and crossing Pymme's brook by a wooden bridge, (fn. 22) which was replaced in 1827 by a brick one. (fn. 23) The western part of the track, later called Hadley Wood Road, was metalled in the late 19th century. In 1798 the Great North Road through Hadley and South Mimms was 'insufferably bad'. (fn. 24) Apart from the many coaches which regularly passed through, (fn. 25) the village itself was served by coaches which left the Old Bell, Holborn, twice daily c. 1836, (fn. 26) while in 1845 four coaches in the opposite direction left the Two Brewers on weekday mornings and another left in the early evening. (fn. 27) The main line of the Great Northern Railway was cut across the eastern corner of the parish in 1850. (fn. 28) There have been no major alterations to the pattern of communications in the 20th century: in 1971 the Great North Road alone carried public transport, with London Transport motor-buses and Green Line coaches providing links with Barnet, Hatfield, and central London.

The hermitage, established c. 1136 within the park later called Enfield Chase, was the first recorded settlement. (fn. 29) The village of Hadley, whose name implies a clearing, (fn. 30) apparently grew up near by at the edge of the Chase. It stood on the gravel-topped plateau at the western end of the parish and doubtless was influenced by the Great North Road and the growth of Chipping Barnet. (fn. 31) There is no evidence that there were open fields.

Hadley Common, containing 190 a., was allotted to Monken Hadley in 1779 in lieu of the parishioners' rights in Enfield Chase. (fn. 32) It was sometimes called Hadley Wood or the New Common and was managed after 1777 by curators appointed by the vestry. Preservation of the woodland was regarded in 1789 as very important: (fn. 33) trees were planted, new gates were provided in 1824, (fn. 34) and in 1876 parishioners still pastured their animals there. (fn. 35) From 1799 the surveyors of the highways acted as curators, assisted by a deputy. (fn. 36) In 1971 Hadley Common, which was managed by trustees, stretched from the church to the easternmost tip of the parish at Cockfosters, thickly wooded and little affected by the spread of suburban London to its borders.

Hadley Green or the Old Common, a flat, badlydrained open area of 24 a. crossed by the Great North Road, was never part of Enfield Chase. There was a William atte Green among the inhabitants of Hadley in 1345. (fn. 37) In 1777 the vestry tried to prevent soil, gravel, and turf from being taken from the green, (fn. 38) while attempts at inclosure were later encouraged by the lord of the manor, Peter Moore, who planted a semicircle of trees on it and made a ha-ha around it. The vestry won an action against him in King's Bench in 1815 and finally secured the green as an open space after a further action in 1818. (fn. 39)

Some timber-framed cottages from Hadley Green, which were removed in 1936 to the Abbey folk park, New Barnet (Herts.), contain 15th-century features. (fn. 40) The manor-house was built, probably in the 16th century, on the eastern side of the green, (fn. 41) and in 1971 a cottage on the south side of Hadley Common also survived from the 16th century. (fn. 42) In the mid 17th century Monken Hadley village clustered around the parish church and spread eastward along the edge of Enfield Chase, as well as to the south and west by the sides of the green. By 1656 several houses had been built along the southern edge of the common (fn. 43) and by 1754 they formed a continuous line from Barnet High Street along the eastern side of Hadley Green and beyond the parish church. (fn. 44)

Hadley had wealthy residents by 1664, when 8 houses had ten or more hearths. (fn. 45) Growth was encouraged by the proximity of the Great North Road, several large brick houses being built in the 18th and 19th centuries, some of them by speculators. (fn. 46) In 1798 Monken Hadley's small, genteel houses illustrated the fact that near London poor soil at the summit of a hill generally commanded a better price than rich soil in a valley. (fn. 47) The village had many gentry c. 1814. (fn. 48) Building since that date has done little to alter its appearance or its social composition.

South of Hadley Green, small houses and cottages had spread northward from Chipping Barnet by 1754. (fn. 49) In 1866 that corner of the parish contained terraced houses along the main road and neighbouring courts and alleys, like May Payne's Place. (fn. 50) Population declined in the early 20th century, (fn. 51) when some of the older houses were demolished, but rose again as a result of building east of the main road in Hadley Ridge, East View, and Wyburn Avenue. The White Bear, at the extreme southwestern corner of the parish, in Barnet High Street, existed in 1624 (fn. 52) but was demolished in 1831 and replaced by a building which later became a chemist's shop. (fn. 53) The inn was one of four in the parish in 1752; (fn. 54) by 1803 the number had been reduced to two. (fn. 55)

The area called Hadley Highstone, north of Hadley Green on either side of the Great North Road, formed part of Enfield parish until 1894. Small houses were built on the eastern side of the road before 1754, on encroachment from Enfield Chase. (fn. 56) The Two Brewers inn existed in 1752 (fn. 57) and the Windmill in 1803, (fn. 58) but they were rebuilt c. 1930 and c. 1900 respectively. A third inn, the William IV, retained some early weatherboarded buildings in 1971, when the Great North Road was lined mainly by 19th-century yellow-brick terraces, interspersed with larger houses dated between 1887 and 1908. (fn. 59)

The numerous 18th- and 19th-century houses contributed to the designation of much of the parish in 1968 as a conservation area under the Civic Amenities Act. (fn. 60) Most of the bigger ones face the green and the common. (fn. 61) Between the two tracts of open space, houses, some of them with high brick walls, are scattered along the winding road leading to the church, an area which has changed little since 1816 when it was praised for its picturesque aspect. (fn. 62) Houses on the eastern side of Hadley Green include, at the southern end, the Grange and Ossulston House, the latter with a rusticated surround to the semicircular-headed doorway. They were built soon after 1764 by John Horton, a sugar refiner, on the site of the Rose and Crown inn and conveyed in 1786 to William Makepeace Thackeray, (fn. 63) grandfather of the novelist and brother-in-law of Peter Moore. (fn. 64) North of Ossulston House, beyond two small stuccoed cottages, stood the Elms, Mercers, and the building known in the 19th century as the Manor House, (fn. 65) all of which were destroyed by bombs c. 1944. (fn. 66) The Elms was erected in 1770 by John Tate, a Barnet builder, on land leased from Thomas Lewis, builder, of Theobalds Road (Holborn). (fn. 67) To the north lie Hadley House, (fn. 68) in extensive grounds, and Fairholt, a stuccoed mid-18th-century house with a central pediment and a pedimented doorcase. Monkenholt, farther north, a similar stuccoed building but with a bow front, was built soon after 1767 by Thomas Lewis on land leased from the lord of the manor, John Pinney. (fn. 69) Lewis may also have built Hollybush, to the north, (fn. 70) which adjoins a smaller early-18th-century house. Livingstone Cottage and the adjoining Monken Cottage, between Monkenholt and Hollybush House, are mid-18thcentury buildings of urban appearance. Livingstone Cottage was the residence, 1857-8, of Dr. David Livingstone, who wrote Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa there; (fn. 71) later residents included James Agate (1877-1947), the dramatic critic. (fn. 72) Grandon, at the north-east corner of the green, next to Wilbraham's alms-houses, (fn. 73) is early18th-century.

In 1625 a house stood on or near the site of Hadley Bourne (formerly Dury House), which with its pedimented wooden doorcase seems to have been built soon after the property was sold in 1725 to Percival Chandler, a London fishmonger. (fn. 74) To the west in Dury Road are Stoberry Lodge, an early19th-century stuccoed villa, and, beyond, no. 29, formerly Thorndon Friars, built shortly before 1740 on land belonging to the Chandlers. (fn. 75) Between Thorndon Friars and the Great North Road smaller dwellings, several of them weatherboarded and pantiled, line both sides of the road. They include a pair of early-19th-century cottages with bargeboarded gables, shutters, and a loggia of Gothic arches.

The largest house in the road leading from Hadley Green to the church was the Priory, demolished after 1953, (fn. 76) a 16th-century building, which was given an elaborate stuccoed Gothic front c. 1800. (fn. 77) The house belonged c. 1800 to the Revd. David Garrow, (fn. 78) whose son, the lawyer Sir William Garrow (1760-1840), was born there. (fn. 79) In 1971 the site was occupied by neo-Georgian houses called the Cedars and Little Pipers. Hadley Grove, lying well back from the road to the east, was a large late-18thcentury house rebuilt in the early 20th century in the neo-Georgian manner, to the designs of H. A. Welch. (fn. 80) Beacon House, next to the church, is smaller and seems to contain parts of the building conveyed by Thomas Fletcher to the parish in 1616; (fn. 81) it was enlarged and refronted in the 18th century, when it belonged to the Shewell family. (fn. 82) White Lodge, on the opposite side of the road, dates from before 1711 (fn. 83) and contains an elaborately covered early-18th-century doorcase, but has been substantially altered. (fn. 84) Hadley Lodge, by the gate at the entrance to Hadley Common, is an 18th-century stuccoed house incorporating some earlier features, with a slate mansard roof and a porch supported on five Ionic columns.

The only large residence north of the church is Mount House, a richly detailed red-brick building, with a pedimented centrepiece and a carved doorcase flanked by Ionic half-columns. It was built in the early 18th century on a hill near the windmill, (fn. 85) on ground inclosed from Enfield Chase, (fn. 86) and remained within Enfield parish until 1882. (fn. 87) Residents have included Joseph Henry Green (1791- 1863), surgeon and author. (fn. 88) South of the common, Lemmons, formerly Gladsmuir House, stands on the site of a house belonging to Henry Bellamy in 1584; (fn. 89) the building, with a Doric porch, an extension to the east, and a room enriched with late18th-century medallions, has been much altered since it was built by the Quilter family, which owned the property from 1736 to 1909. (fn. 90) It was owned by the author Kingsley Amis in 1972, (fn. 91) when the poet laureate Cecil Day-Lewis died there. (fn. 92) Hurst Cottage, to the east, is a stuccoed, early-18thcentury house. The Chase, farther east, has an early19th-century façade. Beyond stands Hadley Hurst, a tall brick house with a hipped roof and a wooden eaves cornice; the central doorway is surmounted by a curved broken pediment in the baroque manner, while the interior contains panelled rooms, with fire-places of Palladian design. The house was built shortly before 1707 (fn. 93) on land which had belonged to Henry Bellamy. (fn. 94) Its extensive stable buildings have been turned into separate dwellings but the landscaped grounds survive.

Apart from four isolated houses - Ludgrove, the Blue House, Folly Farm, and Capons House - on the edge of Enfield Chase, the eastern part of the parish remained almost completely free of building until the British Land Co. bought the Woodcock farm, or Capons House, estate in 1868. (fn. 95) Woodville, Hadley, Clifford, Latimer, and Tudor roads were subsequently laid out as a northward extension of New Barnet, where a railway station was opened on the Great Northern main line in 1852. (fn. 96) Building spread northward to the Crescent, where some large brick houses included Monkenhurst, of ecclesiastical appearance and with a pyramid-capped tower, built in 1881 to the designs of Peter Dollar. (fn. 97) More suburban building took place farther east after the Second World War, stimulated by the opening in 1933 of the northern terminus of the Piccadilly line at Cockfosters, in Enfield parish. (fn. 98)

The battle of Barnet, fought at Hadley and South Mimms in 1471, (fn. 99) probably started on Hadley Green or the western part of Hadley Common and perhaps spread east of the church and down the slopes towards Chipping Barnet. (fn. 100) A commemorative obelisk was erected in 1740 by Sir Jeremy Sambrook of Bush Hill Park, Edmonton, and North Mimms (Herts.). (fn. 101) It stood on the western boundary and later was moved into South Mimms (fn. 102) but there is no evidence that it marked the spot where Warwick fell. The obelisk gave the name Hadley Highstone to the group of cottages built to the south.

There were 180 communicants in the parish in 1547. (fn. 103) Ninety-one adult males took the protestation oath in 1642, (fn. 104) 74 persons were chargeable and 22 were not chargeable for hearth tax in 1664, (fn. 105) and 227 persons were recorded in 1676. (fn. 106) Numbers were not affected by the inclusion of Hadley Common: in 1801 there were 584 inhabitants, in 1811 718, and in 1821 926. (fn. 107) The rate of increase then slowed down and in 1891 there were 1,302 inhabitants. The population of the civil parishes of Hadley and Monken Hadley together totalled 1,776 in 1931, that of Hadley having declined from 541 to 253 since 1891. In 1951 the population of the two civil parishes was 4,423. (fn. 108)


  • 1. The article was written in 1971. Any references to later years are dated.
  • 2. O.S. Maps 1/2,500, Mdx. VI. 3,4 (1866 and later edns.).
  • 3. Dugdale, Mon. iv. 148-9.
  • 4. B.M. Harl. MS. 3697, f. 39.
  • 5. P.N. Herts. (E.P.N.S.), 75.
  • 6. Lysons, Environs, ii. 517.
  • 7. Act for Dividing Enfield Chase, 17 Geo. III, c. 17; the division did not take effect until 1779: Robinson, Enfield, i. 216.
  • 8. Census, 1871; the figure of 2,530 a., given in the 1831 Census, possibly includes Enfield Chase.
  • 9. In South Mimms. See p. 283.
  • 10. Robinson, Enfield, i, map facing p. 208.
  • 11. See p. 268.
  • 12. Census, 1891.
  • 13. Ibid. 1901.
  • 14. M.R.O., Reps. of Local Inqs. (1889-97).
  • 15. Ibid.
  • 16. Lond. Govt. Act, 1963, c. 33.
  • 17. Geol. Surv. Map 1", drift, sheet 256 (1951 edn.).
  • 18. D.N.B.; Walford, Greater Lond. 329.
  • 19. See p. 211.
  • 20. F. C. Cass, Monken Hadley (1880), 199.
  • 21. D.L. 42/125.
  • 22. Rep. on Bridges in Mdx. 99.
  • 23. Hadley vestry min. bk. (1820-32) penes Barnet Mus.
  • 24. Middleton, View, 395.
  • 25. Pigot's Com. Dir. (1832-4), s.v. Chipping Barnet.
  • 26. Mdx. & Herts. N. & Q. iv (1898), 105.
  • 27. P.O. Dir. Mdx. (1845).
  • 28. C. H. Grinling, Hist. of Gt. Northern Rly. 90. Hadley Wood stn. was in Enfield. See above, p. 212.
  • 29. Cal. Chart. R. 1226-57, 337; V.C.H. Mdx. ii. 225-6; see below, p. 263. The site of the hermitage is unknown. Geoffrey de Mandeville (d. 1144) mentioned 'brothers' at Hadley: see below, p. 267.
  • 30. P.N. Herts. (E.P.N.S.), 75.
  • 31. A market at Chipping Barnet was granted in 1199: V.C.H. Herts. ii. 330.
  • 32. Act for Dividing Enfield Chase, 17 Geo. III, c. 17.
  • 33. Hadley vestry min. bk. (1757-94) penes Barnet Mus.
  • 34. Vestry min. bk. (1757-94).
  • 35. Thorne, Environs, i. 266; see below, p. 265.
  • 36. M.R.O., D.R.O. 17/B1/1.
  • 37. P.N. Herts. (E.P.N.S.), 75.
  • 38. Vestry min. bk. (1757-94).
  • 39. M.R.O., D.R.O. 17/B1/1.
  • 40. T.L.M.A.S. xiii. 495.
  • 41. See p. 264.
  • 42. The cottage adjoining Hurst Cott.: Min. of Town & Country Planning, List of Bldgs. (1948).
  • 43. M.P.C. 145.
  • 44. Rocque, Map of Mdx. (1754).
  • 45. M.R.O., MR/TH/5.
  • 46. e.g. the Elms, Monkenholt. See below.
  • 47. Middleton, View, 24.
  • 48. Hughson, British Metropolis and its Neighbourhood, vi. 138.
  • 49. Rocque, Map of Mdx. (1754).
  • 50. O.S. Maps 1/2,500, Mdx. VI. 3, 4 (1866 edn.).
  • 51. See above. The area lay within Hadley civil par.
  • 52. C 142/408/125.
  • 53. W. Marcham, 'Hist. Notes on Hadley Par.' (TS penes Barnet Mus.), 3.
  • 54. M.R.O., L.V. 7/29.
  • 55. Ibid. 10/111.
  • 56. D.L. 31/171.
  • 57. M.R.O., L.V. 7/26.
  • 58. Ibid. 10/111.
  • 59. e.g. Warwick Terrace, 1908.
  • 60. Barnet L.B., Monken Hadley Conservation Area (1970), 1.
  • 61. See plate facing p. 257.
  • 62. Brewer, Beauties of Eng. and Wales, x (5), 741.
  • 63. M.L.R. 1764/3/90, /91; 1786/3/46. See p. 264.
  • 64. Cass, Hadley, 76.
  • 65. See p. 264.
  • 66. Photographs penes Barnet Mus.
  • 67. M.L.R. 1784/2/315.
  • 68. See p. 264.
  • 69. M.L.R. 1768/1/575.
  • 70. Marcham, 'Notes', 13-14.
  • 71. Barnet L.B., Official Guide [1967]; plaque on house.
  • 72. Marcham, 'Notes' 14.
  • 73. See p. 270.
  • 74. Marcham, 'Notes', 5; M.L.R. 1739/2/59.
  • 75. M.L.R. 1740/4/858, /859.
  • 76. Pevsner, Herts. 169.
  • 77. Guildhall Libr., illus. edn. of Lysons, Environs; photographs penes Barnet Mus.
  • 78. Cass, Hadley, 183; Garrow had bought the house in 1760.
  • 79. D.N.B.
  • 80. Pevsner, Herts. 169.
  • 81. See p. 270.
  • 82. Marcham, 'Notes', 9.
  • 83. M.L.R. 1711/1/100.
  • 84. Marcham, 'Notes', 11.
  • 85. See p. 266.
  • 86. M.L.R. 1735/4/150, /151.
  • 87. See above.
  • 88. D.N.B.; Walford, Greater Lond. 329.
  • 89. Prob. 11/67 (P.C.C. 12 Watson).
  • 90. Barnet Mus., L 11, 17-18; M.L.R. 1909/25/961. The house had an estate of 23 a. in 1778: M.R.O., Acc. 549/Bundle 18.
  • 91. Who's Who (1972).
  • 92. The Times, 23 May 1972.
  • 93. C 54/4963/5.
  • 94. Prob. 11/67 (P.C.C. 12 Watson).
  • 95. See p. 265; O.S. Maps, 1/2,500, Mdx. VI. 3, 4 (1866 edn.).
  • 96. Grinling, Gt. Northern Rly. 126.
  • 97. Marcham, 'Notes'.
  • 98. See p. 212.
  • 99. V.C.H. Mdx. ii. 27-8.
  • 100. V.C.H. Herts. ii. 329; Cass, Hadley, 9-17.
  • 101. V.C.H. Herts. ii. 329.
  • 102. See p. 276.
  • 103. Hennessy, Novum Repertorium, 184.
  • 104. H.L., Mdx. Protestation Rets.
  • 105. M.R.O., MR/TH/5.
  • 106. William Salt Libr., Stafford, Salt MS. 33, p. 40.
  • 107. Census, 1801 and later edns.
  • 108. The parish was split among different wards in the 1961 census.