Monken Hadley: Local government

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: Local government', 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. 266-267. British History Online [accessed 19 June 2024].

A P Baggs. Diane K Bolton. Eileen P Scarff. G C Tyack. "Monken Hadley: Local government", 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) 266-267. British History Online, accessed June 19, 2024,

Baggs, A P. Bolton, Diane K. Scarff, Eileen P. Tyack, G C. "Monken Hadley: Local government", A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham, (London, 1976). 266-267. British History Online. Web. 19 June 2024,


The abbot of Walden, after claiming view of frankpledge and the assizes of bread and ale in Hadley, Mimms, Edmonton, and Enfield in 1294, altered his plea to claim the rights in Enfield alone. (fn. 1) Hadley was part, probably originally a tithing, of Edmonton manor. (fn. 2) Officers for Hadley were elected at the court leet for Edmonton, held in Whitsun week. Two ale-tasters were recorded only in 1661, the date of Edmonton's first extant court book, (fn. 3) but a constable was elected regularly until 1740, after which date Hadley was not mentioned. (fn. 4) A signer of beasts was appointed in 1682 (fn. 5) and regularly from 1703, although the office was sometimes combined with that of constable. (fn. 6)

Vestry minute books survive from 1672 to 1914; (fn. 7) there are also churchwardens' accounts from 1717 to 1821 and, with a few gaps, overseers' accounts from 1678 to 1835, and parish rate books from 1757 to 1852. (fn. 8) The vestry met about four times a year in the late 17th century and from 1722 it normally met monthly in the church. (fn. 9) Incumbents, although present at more than half of the meetings, presided irregularly in the 18th century and more frequently in the 19th. From the mid 18th century leading residents seem to have wielded considerable influence; at the end of the century members of the Thackeray, Day, Quilter, Cottrell, and Smith families were all frequent attenders. A vestry clerk was first recorded in 1733. (fn. 10)

There were two churchwardens and two overseers in 1580 (fn. 11) but by 1677 each office was held by one man only. (fn. 12) In 1689 the vestry successfully claimed that the incumbent, as a donee, could not appoint the churchwarden. (fn. 13) The number of overseers was restored to two c. 1775 and sometimes four were appointed. (fn. 14) There were two constables in 1614 and subsequent years (fn. 15) but by 1661 there was only one, appointed by the vestry. A headborough was appointed by the vestry from 1696 onwards. There were two or more surveyors of the highways from 1677 and statute duty was still in force in 1828. In 1734 the surveyors were warned to be more careful in collecting rates. A pauper was made a salaried street-keeper in 1826 but his office was abolished in 1835. (fn. 16)

Large areas of common land, together with several charities and two sets of alms-houses, reduced the necessity for parish relief, although after 1799 use of the common was restricted to those who paid land tax. (fn. 17) A workhouse was opened in rented premises in 1738, when 3 paupers were moved there and it was agreed that all persons receiving alms from the parish should be badged. From 1799 male inmates were enjoined to wear yellow stockings and the women to wear uniform blue clothes. The poor were farmed from 1740 until 1768, when the parish took over direct management of both workhouse and out-poor, moving the workhouse to a building which had served as a foundling hospital. (fn. 18) The first workhouse may have been Bonnyes Farm, which was used as such before 1778; the second perhaps stood on the edge of Hadley Common, near Latimer's Elm between Hadley and Cockfosters. (fn. 19) The reorganization of 1768 adversely affected the paupers, whose diet was increased by half in 1776 after complaints that it had been severely cut. In 1780 the vestry blamed conditions in the workhouse on the mistress, who, however, was not dismissed and in 1787 was given charge of the new Sunday school. A salaried parish doctor was appointed in 1782. (fn. 20) In 1775-6 £185 was raised by poor-rates, of which £142 was spent on the poor. (fn. 21)

From the late 18th century the wealthier householders made attempts, largely unsuccessful, to reduce parish expenditure. Doles of bread were introduced in 1796 and tickets for cheap rice, potatoes, and cured herrings in 1801. A salaried assistant overseer was appointed in 1820 (fn. 22) and a windmill was built for the parish in 1821, to provide both employment and cheap flour. (fn. 23) In 1823 the out-poor were ordered to attend the vestry every quarter and were relieved partly with doles of flour, and the diet in the workhouse was restricted. From 1827 the workhouse was again farmed and in 1832 the system was said to be fully satisfactory. Monken Hadley became part of Barnet poor law union in 1835, whereupon the parish workhouse was closed. (fn. 24)

A whipping-post and cucking-stool were supplied in 1677 (fn. 25) and the constable in 1693 had to furnish the names of persons who were deficient in watching for thieves. Two paid watchmen were appointed in 1786 and parishioners subscribed to the newly formed Barnet association for the prosecution of burglary and robbery in 1792. (fn. 26) The employment of night watchmen was revived in 1820, after a lapse, and a third man carried out a day patrol in 1826. New stocks were erected in 1787; they were placed near the pound in 1788, rebuilt in 1827, and in 1866 stood on Hadley Green west of the Great North Road. (fn. 27)

In 1863 Monken Hadley became part of Barnet local board district (fn. 28) and in 1875 most of the parish came under the jurisdiction of East Barnet Valley urban sanitary district, (fn. 29) later East Barnet Valley U.D. and subsequently East Barnet U.D.; that part of the parish which adjoined Chipping Barnet, however, became part of Barnet urban sanitary district, later Barnet U.D. (fn. 30) The parish was transferred in 1889 to Hertfordshire administrative county and from 1894 the part in East Barnet Valley U.D. became Monken Hadley civil parish, while that within Barnet U.D. became Hadley civil parish. (fn. 31) Both civil parishes became part of Barnet L.B. in 1965, when they were transferred from Hertfordshire to Greater London. (fn. 32)


  • 1. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 479.
  • 2. M.R.O., Acc. 695/42, f. 1.
  • 3. Ibid. /15, f. 1.
  • 4. Ibid. /15-19.
  • 5. Ibid. /16, f. 17.
  • 6. Ibid. /17, ff. 50 v., 147 et seq.
  • 7. At Barnet Mus., apart from the books for 1794-1820 and 1832-1914, which are at the M.R.O., D.R.O. 17/B1/1, /2.
  • 8. Accts. and rate bks. at Barnet Mus.
  • 9. Vestry min. bks. (1672-1712), (1714-31).
  • 10. Ibid. (1714-31).
  • 11. Guildhall MS. 9537/4.
  • 12. Vestry min. bk. (1672-1712).
  • 13. Ibid.
  • 14. Ibid. (1757-94).
  • 15. Mdx. Sess. Recs. i. 445; iii. 232; iv. 152, 202, 281.
  • 16. Vestry min. bks.
  • 17. M.R.O., D.R.O. 17/B1/1.
  • 18. Vestry min. bks.
  • 19. Cass, Hadley, 9.
  • 20. Vestry min. bks.
  • 21. Rep. Cttee. on Rets. by Overseers, 1776, 396.
  • 22. M.R.O., D.R.O. 17/B1/1.
  • 23. Vestry min. bk. (1820-32).
  • 24. Ibid.; Poor Law Com. 1st Rep. 250.
  • 25. Except where otherwise stated, the para. is based on vestry min. bks. (1672-1712) sqq.
  • 26. Mdx. & Herts. N. & Q. iv. 32-5.
  • 27. O.S. Map 1/2,500, Mdx. VI. 3 (1866 edn.).
  • 28. Lond. Gaz. 25 Sept. 1863, p. 4649; 2 Oct. 1863, p. 4745.
  • 29. 37 & 38 Vic. c. 152.
  • 30. Census, 1881.
  • 31. M.R.O., Reps. of Local Inqs. (1889-97).
  • 32. Lond. Govt. Act, 1963, c. 33.