A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 6, Friern Barnet, Finchley, Hornsey With Highgate. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1980.
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Agrarian History. Finchley was not mentioned in the Domesday survey and in 1086 was probably included in the woodland for 1,000 pigs which formed part of Fulham manor. (fn. 1) Clearance of the woodland, which covered much of the parish until the 18th century, may have begun from Hendon during the land hunger of the 12th and 13th centuries. In spite of one reference in 1668 to land in a 'common field', (fn. 2) it is unlikely that there were regular open fields. The villagers, who were mostly freemen, probably collaborated in clearance and divided the assarts among themselves. (fn. 3) In the 13th century there was land 'in a field called le Reding', a name given to many such clearings in the parish. (fn. 4) Land described as a cultura belonged to tenants of Bibbesworth in 1365 (fn. 5) and some fields were still shared c. 1500 (fn. 6) but most were consolidated into closes, held severally. By the end of the Middle Ages farm-land, although still interspersed with woodland and surrounded by thick hedges, covered the western side of the parish, between Dollis brook and Ballards Lane and Whetstone Street, and stretched eastward along Mutton brook to the palings of Hornsey park.
In 1341 half of the 120-a. Bibbesworth estate was sown in winter or spring and half was fallow, indicating a two-course rotation. (fn. 7) On the bishop's demesne lands in 1318, however, all the arable, Lordsfield (20 a.), Little Redings (20 a.), and Sorfield (8 a.), was apparently sown. (fn. 8) Continuous exploitation would have exhausted the soil and the fields when next mentioned were used for pasture. (fn. 9)
Most farm-land until the late 15th century was arable. (fn. 10) In 1297 arable was valued at 3d. an acre, compared with 2d. an acre at Hendon. (fn. 11) In 1303 at the bishop's grange in Finchley oats (34 qr.) were by far the largest crop, compared with rye (2 qr.), barley (2 bu.), beans (2 qr.), and peas and vetch (4 qr.). (fn. 12) Oats were sown on a small estate in 1380 (fn. 13) and rye was bought for winter and spring sowing on the bishop's demesne c. 1404. (fn. 14)
Pannage for pigs formed part of the demesne revenues (fn. 15) and herbage within the park became increasingly important among the demesne estates. The name 'Somerlese', which was part of the Bibwell estate in 1464, indicates some form of transhumance (fn. 16) and place-names like Hogmansherne and Pigensland record pigs, especially on the edges of Finchley wood. (fn. 17) Stray animals were mainly pigs and cattle. (fn. 18) Sheep were mentioned in 1393 (fn. 19) and 1447 (fn. 20) but there is no evidence for the theory that wool-merchants raised them on their Finchley lands. (fn. 21) Wills of the 14th and 15th centuries indicate that farming was mixed, most peasant farmers growing grain and hay, pasturing pigs and cattle, and using oxen and horses as draught animals. (fn. 22) A few sheep were kept for domestic use (fn. 23) and cows were owned even by the carpenter and wheelwright. (fn. 24)
Apart from a reference to bond land leased in 1393, (fn. 25) there is no evidence for any ancient customary tenements held of the bishop. There were some twelve ancient freehold tenements upon which reliefs and fines of alienation were payable. (fn. 26) In 1647 it was stated that there were no copyholds except for a few cottages on the waste, (fn. 27) the earliest of which had been granted in 1463. (fn. 28) Some copyhold tenements were held from Bibbesworth manor in 1365, and autumn carting works and reliefs, but not heriots, were owed by freehold and copyhold tenants alike. (fn. 29)
The lordship of Finchley brought the bishop little profit. Perquisites of court were rarely more than £1 in the Middle Ages, (fn. 30) while assised rents rose from some £3 5s. a year in 1318 to £4 4s. in 1404-5, £4 5s. 7¼d. in 1509-10, and £5 10s. 11¼d. in 1555-6. (fn. 31) By 1647 they yielded £6 1s. 6d. (fn. 32) From c. 1681 to 1711 the yield was £7 10s. 2d. (fn. 33) but by the late 18th century there was no regular rental and the bishop received only fixed admission fines 'of no great account'. (fn. 34) The direct exploitation of Finchley wood and the woodland within Hornsey park was, for a time, very profitable. (fn. 35) Timber, usually faggots or underwood, from Finchley wood was sold for £22 19s. 2d. in 1406, £31 6s. 4d. in 1436-7, and £4 7s. in 1464-5. (fn. 36) Deforestation was particularly destructive in the 16th century, £360 being obtained for wood and underwood from 120 a. in the years 1577 to 1579. (fn. 37)
Cultivation of the demesne on both Finchley and Bibbesworth manors drew little on customary services, a fact which may have encouraged the early and widespread practice of leasing. The rent for Bibwell, leased for £3 6s. 8d. in 1434, had risen to £5 6s. 8d. in 1538. (fn. 38) Little Redings and Lordsfield were leased for £1 2s. in 1464-5 and £2 in 1542 (fn. 39) and from 1570 the rent for Bibwell, Little Redings, and Lordsfield remained £7 6s. 8d. until the 19th century. (fn. 40) Ballards Reding, leased for 10s. in 1464-5, (fn. 41) was from 1540 leased with Oxleas and herbage in Hornsey park for £13 18s. 8d. (fn. 42) With the leasing of the woodland within Hornsey park from 1645, all the demesne was farmed out. Bibbesworth, for most of the Middle Ages held by London merchants, was also apparently farmed mainly by lessees.
Londoners' connexions with Finchley, (fn. 43) apparent from the 13th century, were most obvious in the history of Bibbesworth. Both the goldsmith Michael Tovy and the draper Adam de Basing were mayors of London. Adam's son Thomas was a leading wool-merchant, who died young, whereupon his property was disputed between his executor Richard de Ashwy, a mercer and alderman, and his sisters' husbands William de Hadestok, alderman, and the cordwainer Henry le Waleys, who was twice mayor. Hadestok's son-in-law Adam de Bedyk was a merchant tailor, whose son Henry was collector of customs for Middlesex and appointed John de Pulteney, a draper and alderman, as his son Thomas's guardian. Simon Francis was a mercer and alderman, as was John Shadworth, trustee in 1400, and many other late-14th-century trustees were probably also Londoners. Drew Barentyn was a goldsmith and twice mayor, William Chester a skinner and merchant of the staple, and John Plomer or Leynham a grocer and alderman.
Marches estate, too, was associated with Londoners: John Barnes, alderman and mayor, Walter Kersebroke, sherman, William Creswick, grocer and alderman, John Bestchurch, barber, and John Norman, draper and mayor. Other citizens with interests in Finchley were Richard de Manehale, chandler (1362-3), John Horwood (c. 1365-81), Thomas atte Welle, Richard French (1400-1), Thomas Brown, grocer (1412), and one Mancell, butcher (1489).
Londoners probably were mainly interested in drawing rents or using property as security in business transactions. Some lords of Bibbesworth, notably the Bedyks and possibly also the Basings, Tovy, Barentyn, and Plomer, may have stayed at the manor-house. Apart from the Bedyks, whose three generations in the male line ended in Sir Thomas, more a country gentleman than a merchant, Londoners did not found dynasties. That was due largely to high mortality of children in London, (fn. 44) to the continuing attraction of the city itself, and to the need to pay debts at death. When heirs inherited, as did Thomas Francis in 1357, Reynold Barentyn in 1415, or Margaret Plomer and Richard Fisher in 1479, they often sold the estate.
In contrast the local families which worked the land, as small freeholders or as lessees, were often both prolific and long-lived, with names that survived for centuries. Such families (fn. 45) were Bigmore or Bekmore (c. 1270-1616), (fn. 46) Blakewell (c. 1270- c. 1473), (fn. 47) Pratt (1297-1679), (fn. 48) Goodyer or Godzer (1321-1657), (fn. 49) Shepherd (1365-1669), (fn. 50) Warren (1365-1488), (fn. 51) Sanny (1375-1804), (fn. 52) Heybourn (1377-1474), (fn. 53) Martin (1384-1498), (fn. 54) Osborne (1392-1779), (fn. 55) Luce (1393-1531), (fn. 56) Noke (1401- 1576), (fn. 57) Haynes or Heyne (1405-1616), (fn. 58) Nicholl or Nicoll (1445-1762), (fn. 59) Copwood (1453-1577), (fn. 60) and Rolfe (1473-1664). (fn. 61)
The Tudor period brought changes, notably the growing dominance of London, which had effects upon the land market, agriculture, and the appearance of the countryside. Some of the medieval London merchants had financial links with the Crown and there were also men like Hugh Cressingham, clerk of the Exchequer and treasurer of Scotland (d. 1297), (fn. 62) and Thomas Aldenham, surgeon to Henry VI (d. 1431), (fn. 63) who held land in Finchley. It was during the 16th century, however, that men connected with the court became prominent among the local landowners. Both the Hastings and Compton families, which held Bibbesworth, were closely associated with the king, as was William Brereton, gentleman of the Privy Chamber, who was executed with Anne Boleyn. Sir Thomas Frowyk (d. 1506), Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, was first connected with Finchley through his wife Elizabeth Barnville (fn. 64) and was often visited at Bibbesworth by his clients. (fn. 65) By 1508 his widow had married Thomas Jakes, keeper of the records of the Common Bench, more commonly described as 'clerk of Hell'. (fn. 66)
The bishop's demesne, at first leased to natives like the Sannys, Shepherds, Osbornes, and Rolfes, from the 16th century was leased to outsiders like Robert Lister (d. 1547), an Exchequer official 'well friended and allied', who intimidated the inhabitants. (fn. 67) From that time most of the demesne lessees were Londoners who sub-leased to local farmers: both Alexander King and Sir James Altham, who bought parts of Thomas Compton's large estate, were Exchequer officials. The descendants of Edward Allen, the alderman who bought Bibbesworth in 1622, remained squires of Finchley until 1830. Increasingly other freehold estates passed to outsiders, many of whom retired to Finchley as 'gentlemen'. Such were John Dorchester, clothworker (d. 1604), (fn. 68) Simon Scudamore, goldsmith (d. 1609), (fn. 69) Thomas White, grocer and holder of East India stock (d. 1610), (fn. 70) James Middleton, clothworker (d. 1654), (fn. 71) and Robert Fluellin, tallow-chandler (d. 1680). (fn. 72) Finchley boys were apprenticed to Londoners, (fn. 73) and some of the citizens who held land in Finchley may have come from there, including William Heybourn, clothworker (fl. 1557), (fn. 74) Walter Osborne, leather-seller (d. 1636), (fn. 75) William Rolfe, chandler (d. 1649), (fn. 76) and William Rolfe, barber-surgeon (fl. 1637-68). (fn. 77) Farming and local government continued to be dominated by the old Finchley families. Among new names were Somerton (1504-89), (fn. 78) Page (1545- 1777), (fn. 79) Odell (1641-1762), (fn. 80) Clewin (1649-1793), (fn. 81) Roberts (1705-1800), (fn. 82) Jordan (1725-1835), (fn. 83) Claridge (1756-1842), (fn. 84) and Cobley (1798-1881). (fn. 85)
In 1199 King John exempted the bishop of London and his men from tallage and all other exactions within and outside cities and towns. (fn. 86) The charter was confirmed in 1564, with specific reference to the bishop's men within Finchley manor, (fn. 87) and again in 1627. (fn. 88) After it had been successfully 'tried' against the lord mayor of London, (fn. 89) the charter became the basis of Finchley's fight to avoid paying tolls at London markets. Finchley lost a suit brought by the chamberlain of the City of London between 1776 and 1778 (fn. 90) but farmers taking hay to Smithfield still invoked the charter in 1826, usually with success, and sometimes gained exemption elsewhere. (fn. 91) The charter did not, however, protect Finchley's inhabitants against turnpike tolls. (fn. 92) The Victorian King John's Cottages in Long Lane and King John's House in King Street were probably named in commemoration of the charter and not, as local tradition had it, because they marked the site of a royal hunting lodge. (fn. 93)
During the 16th and 17th centuries subsistence farming gave way to an agriculture based on the needs of London. Mixed farming continued on most estates, wheat, oats, and hay being grown and pigs, cattle, horses, oxen, and, increasingly, sheep being raised. (fn. 94) There was a pinfold on the bishopric demesne by 1514-15, (fn. 95) sheep were stolen from one of the Bibbesworth lessees in 1699, (fn. 96) and there were sheep-houses on the Nicholl estate in 1702 (fn. 97) and John Odell's estate at Church End in 1762. (fn. 98) Field-names indicate others at Oxleas by 1788 (fn. 99) and Bibwell by 1799, (fn. 100) while Mutton brook was supposedly so called because it was used for sheepwashing.
Arable accounted for 15 per cent of the 544-a. estate of the Comptons c. 1530. (fn. 101) Wheat and oats were grown as part of a three-course rotation on Bibbesworth in 1623 (fn. 102) but by 1834 there was 'scarcely any' arable on the manor. (fn. 103) The parish in 1801 contained only 69 a. of arable, consisting of 40 a. which had yielded an abundant wheat crop, 24 a. of peas, and 5 a. of potatoes. (fn. 104)
Woodland, too, was converted to meadow and pasture. On the Compton estate c. 1530 pasture and meadow accounted for 55 per cent and woodland for 30 per cent. On the Bibbesworth portion of the estate woodland was reduced from 34 per cent c. 1530 (fn. 105) to 30 per cent in 1590 (fn. 106) and 23 per cent, 100 a., in 1623. (fn. 107) By 1694 it had shrunk to 41 a., mainly in the south-west part, (fn. 108) and by 1708 most had been grubbed up. (fn. 109)
Apart from individual woods and groves, bands of woodland and hedgerows surrounded the fields which had been created by assarting. (fn. 110) The fields expanded as hedgerows were grubbed up and animals ate the young trees, until by 1810 hedges had been reduced to a few pollarded trees. (fn. 111) On the bishop's demesne High Reding, 52 a. in 1640, grew to 76 a. by 1647 and 85 a. by 1792, (fn. 112) while Ballards Reding doubled from 12 a. in 1647 to 23 a. in 1815. (fn. 113) Early leases of Bibwell reserved the timber but from 1570 the woods were leased with the rest and, despite a clause to preserve young trees, (fn. 114) the estate grew from 185 a. in 1647 to 246 a. in 1810, of which 10 per cent, mostly in the south-west part, was woodland. (fn. 115) By 1647 meadow land within the park amounted to 235 a., most of it in Finchley. At that date woodland still covered some 75 per cent of the area bounded by the park (fn. 116) but by 1841, of the 433 a. of the park in Finchley parish, only 88 a., mostly in Bishop's wood, was woodland. (fn. 117) Similarly 46 per cent of the 103-a. Grotes estate was wooded c. 1530, when the rest was equally divided between arable and pasture. (fn. 118) The woods were sold off separately c. 1530 (fn. 119) and one survived in 1754 but all had disappeared by 1841. (fn. 120) In 1795 outside the common there were c. 150 a. of woodland, 100 a. of arable, and 1,950 a. of grassland. (fn. 121) In 1841, of 2,032 a. subject to tithe, 1,769 a. or 87 per cent were meadow or pasture, 124 a. were woodland, and 86 a. were arable; there were also 46 a. of garden and 7 a. of orchard. (fn. 122)
Grass, used at first as pasture, was later grown for hay to feed London's horses. In 1794 there were large hay barns in the Finchley district (fn. 123) and in 1834 farming was said to be almost exclusively devoted to hay for the London market. (fn. 124) It is thought that Dirthouse, later the White Lion, was so called because 18th-century hay waggons stopped there on their return from London, laden with soot and manure. (fn. 125)
The common became increasingly important in the economy during the two centuries before its inclosure, as animals were turned on to it to preserve the hay and as the woodland cover was cleared. Many owners pastured animals on their own land only after the hay crop had been gathered. Pigfarmers were especially dependent on the common, those presented for fattening pigs in 1705 including Jonathan Roberts of East End and Thomas Odell, (fn. 126) whose son John (d. 1762) was one of the leading hog-dealers in England. Most of Odell's property, including a Bibbesworth farm, was leasehold but his wealth lay in his pigs, as shown by the cluster of his buildings around the Hogmarket. He left £4,350 in legacies, besides gifts to the poor. (fn. 127) A hog-butcher from London acquired property on the edge of the common in 1747 (fn. 128) and another Finchley pig-dealer, Thomas Wattnall, acquired property at Brownswell from Jonathan Roberts's heir in 1775. (fn. 129)
Agitation for inclosure began in 1805. (fn. 130) The Act, affecting Friern Barnet and Hornsey as well as Finchley, was not passed until 1811, (fn. 131) the plan being drawn in 1814 and the award published in 1816. (fn. 132) Inclosure was mainly concerned with Finchley common, since there were no open fields and the other wastes were little more than roadside verges. The whole of the common (c. 900 a.) was placed in Finchley parish, although Friern Barnet freeholders and copyholders were granted allotments. The lords of Finchley and Bibbesworth received shares equivalent to 1/18th of the acreage of their manors, giving the bishop 40 a. and Thomas Allen 97 a.; Hornsey was excluded and manorial rights over the common were denied to Friern Barnet manor. The rector of Finchley received 116 a. in lieu of glebe and tithe, 139 a. were sold to defray expenses, and the rest was divided proportionately among the freeholders, copyholders, and lessees of the bishopric demesne. The largest allotments were to John Bacon (94 a.), the marquess of Buckingham (45 a.), and Sir William Curtis (39 a.), holders of the demesne lands of Friern Barnet and Halliwick manors, Alexander Murray as lessee of Bibwell (25 a.), and the earl of Mansfield as lessee of the demesne woods (20 a.).
Inclosure of the common had an immediate effect upon agriculture. The rector's belief that it would lead to great crops of corn (fn. 133) was apparently justified, most of the former common lands being in a 'high state of cultivation' in 1817. (fn. 134) Without careful husbandry, however, the soil became exhausted and in 1834 one lessee decided to drain and fallow his arable and then lay it down to grass. (fn. 135) The former common was excluded from a survey made for tithe commutation in 1841. (fn. 136) Much of the former common was later sold for cemeteries and other municipal enterprises.
For the small man, with little or no pasture of his own, economic hardship may have been made worse by inclosure. In 1819 a few sheep apparently were still kept on the common by such people but most of the hedges were probably already established. Begging seems to have been a growing problem and allotments for the poor were provided by the parish. In 1823 there were many out of employment. (fn. 137)
Inclosure also affected the farmers who had pastured their animals on the common while concentrating on growing hay. Turnpiking and the construction of the Paddington (1801) and Regent's canals made hay less profitable, since horse-feed could be brought from much farther afield and Middlesex lost its advantage. Oats replaced dearer hay as the favoured feed and in 1848 London was said to offer the cheapest market for hay in England. In 1834 the valuer of the Bibbesworth estate recommended a change from hay to livestock, with fodder crops and straw to supplement grass. The tenant at Bibwell went over to grazing and asked permission in 1848 to convert 42 a. to arable. (fn. 138) Beef-cattle and sheep were raised at Salvin's farm at Fortis Green in 1849. (fn. 139) On Henry Stephens's farm at Grove House in 1850 there were bullocks and Welsh sheep bought at Barnet fair, horses, and pigs, fed on grain from the brewers; rabbits and ducks were kept and both hay and beans were grown. (fn. 140) Sheep were stolen from Bibbesworth Manor farm in 1865 (fn. 141) but it was at Sheephouse, the other Bibbesworth farm, that they were especially important: there was a sheep-house by 1834 (fn. 142) and flocks of more than 1,000 were kept before 1868. (fn. 143) By 1867 out of 2,968 a. of farm-land, 2,494 a. (84 per cent) were permanently under grass and 383 a. (13 per cent) were arable, producing mainly vegetable and fodder crops (163 a.), wheat (114 a.), and oats (84 a.). (fn. 144) Sheep (1,897) were by far the most numerous animals, followed by pigs (463), dairy cows (312), and cattle (196); horses were not recorded. Sixty-nine of the 106 farmers possessed land and livestock, 36 had only land, and one kept only livestock.
The amount of farm-land contracted steadily from 2,968 a. in 1867 to 109 a. in 1937, with sharp drops in the 1880s and 1900s reflecting the growth of North Finchley and again from 1917 to 1937 reflecting suburban building, particularly on the demesne farms of Hampstead Garden Suburb. The Second World War brought more land (262 a.) into cultivation but by 1957 the area had dwindled again, to 155 a. Permanent grass and hay never formed less than 86 per cent of the total farm-land until the Second World War. They were grown mainly to support livestock, aided by small but important fodder crops. Grain covered only 17 a. in 1887 and thereafter had no significance except during the Second World War, when it took up 54 per cent of the total farm-land. Animal farming reached its peak c. 1887, when there were 738 pigs, 649 sheep, 188 cattle, 335 dairy cows, and 107 horses. In 1897 there were 328 pigs and by 1917 only 76, when many farmers kept a few (fn. 145) and some were kept in back yards; in 1955 25 pigs and 200 fowls were kept in a yard at Prospect Place, near the 18th-century hogmarket. (fn. 146) There were still 434 sheep in 1927 but they disappeared soon afterwards, while beef cattle fell from 141 in 1897 to 59 in 1907 and remained at about that figure thereafter. The number of horses varied between 100 and 200 until 1917 but by 1927 was only 47.
The main change in the late 19th century, as suburban building spread, was towards dairy farming. In 1851 there were 16 farmers and 4 cowkeepers, in 1878 9 farms and 9 dairies, in 1890 6 farms and 11 dairies, and by 1920 only a poultry farm and a goat farm but 17 dairies. Many dairies were short-lived and several were absorbed into Manor Farm Dairies and its successor United Dairies. (fn. 147)
At College farm George Barham, founder of the Express Dairy Co., changed from sheep to dairy herds, stocked Guernsey, Shorthorn, and Kerry cows and a few goats, and built a model dairy. Although the herd was small and most Express Dairy milk came from much farther afield, College farm was a showplace, used for exhibitions and training courses. New developments were tried out, as in 1921 when the first tuberculin-tested dairy was opened there. The farm was therefore retained, on a reduced scale, long after other farms near London had been abandoned. (fn. 148) In 1977, when the company had finally left, it was still used for grazing cattle and a few horses. (fn. 149)
The larger Jersey Farm Dairies, with more than 100 cows, was established between Nether Street and Dollis brook c. 1887. Like College farm it prided itself on its products and was open to the public. The owners may have been succeeded by Dollis Park Dairy Co., which had 28 a. at Nether Street in 1911. Part of the Jersey farm buildings still existed in 1920 but disappeared soon afterwards. (fn. 150) Manor Farm Dairies (fn. 151) were founded c. 1875 by Joseph Wilmington Lane and joined in the 1920s with United Dairies, which had been founded in 1917. Although the company's Manor Farm, Highgate, and Oakleigh Park Farm, Whetstone, were both outside Finchley, much of their land lay within it, while the head offices were in High Street, Whetstone, and later in High Road, East Finchley. (fn. 152) Manor farm survived until 1932. (fn. 153) Dairying also featured on the Woodhouse estate in 1902 (fn. 154) and on Park farm (Bibwell) for many years before 1918 (fn. 155) until the fields were sold for building. (fn. 156)
Market-gardening also accompanied suburban growth. A single nurseryman existed in 1845 and 1851 (fn. 157) and three nurserymen and two florists in 1867 and 1878, by which date there were 4½ a. of orchards and 9¼ a. of nurseries. They had increased to 19½ a. and 28 a. respectively by 1887 and 19¼ a. of orchard and 39¼ a. of soft fruit in 1897. Eleven people had nurseries and commercial greenhouses in 1900, mostly in Whetstone and North Finchley, and seven in 1920. Most had gone before the Second World War but there were four in 1964, when 5¼ a. were under glass and 3 a. were orchard. (fn. 158)
The earliest and most important nursery was that of Peter Kay, who by 1845 leased an acre in Ballards Lane for flowers and fruit. (fn. 159) In 1878 it was owned by Peter and Susan Kay (fn. 160) and a second nursery, called Claigmar, had been started in 1874 in Long Lane by Peter Edmund Kay. During the 1890s the Ballards Lane nursery closed and Claigmar was extended until in 1899 Kay had 18½ a. under glass and 161 greenhouses, producing 100 tons each of grapes and tomatoes and 240,000 cucumbers a year. (fn. 161) Equally large nurseries were opened east of Squires Lane until at their greatest extent the Kay nurseries, between Long Lane and the High Barnet railway line, stretched from Duke Street eastward to Green Lane. (fn. 162) Peter Kay was probably dead by 1930 and his grounds soon afterwards were built over. (fn. 163)
Other nurseries were smaller and short-lived, except those of the Clementses and of James Cutbush, who leased 6 a. of Bibbesworth land from 1864. By 1909 William Cutbush & Son, the Highgate firm, had Plant Farm, which survived in 1938, south of East End Road, next to the St. Marylebone cemetery. (fn. 164) William Clements was a florist who came from Colchester (Essex) in 1874 and built a nursery at the junction of Regent's Park Road and Hendon Lane, which he sold in 1911 on moving to Salisbury Avenue farther south. George Clements was there in 1920 (fn. 165) and there was still a florist's, Clements's of Finchley, in 1977. (fn. 166) William Batho, a nurseryman of Nether Street, started business in 1895 and went bankrupt in 1902, although he had over 40 a. (Furzby farm). (fn. 167) Vegetables and poultry from William Whiteley's Bibbesworth Manor farm supplied his London stores. (fn. 168) There were watercress beds along Mutton brook in 1895 and 1920. (fn. 169)
In 1801 183 people earned their living in agriculture, compared with 56 in trade, craft, or manufacture, and in 1811 and 1831 35 per cent of families were dependent on it. (fn. 170) In 1831 there were 14 farmer employers and 256 agricultural labourers and in 1851 some 18 per cent of people with occupations worked on the land, (fn. 171) including 12 farmers, 76 gardeners, and at least 194 agricultural labourers; in addition, many of the 162 men described simply as 'labourer' may have been farm workers. In the late 19th century those owning or occupying land dwindled from 116 in 1877 to 77 in 1897 and 49 in 1907. In 1901 the 515 men employed in agriculture formed only 5 per cent of the work force and by 1921 621 were so employed out of a work force of 13,253. Numbers fell still further until in 1962 there were six holdings, four of 1-5 a. and two of 50-100 a., employing 17 men and 1 woman.
Hugh of Arderne and his wife Alice quitclaimed a windmill in Finchley to Simon le Ferour in 1310-11. (fn. 172) A mill, possibly the same one, was conveyed with land in Finchley and Hendon in 1314-15 by Robert Kersebroke to Simon the marshal and his wife Alice. (fn. 173) A mill also featured in an estate in Finchley and Hendon conveyed by William the tailor to Eve of Boltby in 1346-7. (fn. 174) Mill fields, part of Bibbesworth manor from 1365 until the break-up of the estate in the late 16th century, indicate that at least one of the mills stood on the edge of the common, east of Ballards Lane. (fn. 175) A water-mill on Dollis or Mutton brook, near their junction, is suggested by closes called Millfields in 1764 in the south-west corner of Finchley, bounded by Dollis brook, Hendon Lane, and Bibbesworth demesne lands. (fn. 176) Either of the Millfields could be identified with the Millcroft mentioned in 1430. (fn. 177)
In 1627 a piece of waste next to Basings pond west of the road to Whetstone was granted to Thomas Rawson to build a windmill and miller's house. Rawson, described as a miller of Hornsey, surrendered the mill in 1628 to the use of Richard Turvin of Paddington, who surrendered it to the use of Michael Grigg of London in 1635. (fn. 178) By 1654 it was held by Edward Crane (d. 1663), who also owned a windmill at Bushey Heath in Harrow. The mill was held by Crane's widow Eleanor and, after her death, probably in 1676, by their son George. In 1676 the mill-house passed to George's sister Ellen or Eleanor (Cropper), who surrendered it in 1691, (fn. 179) and by 1722 it was the Windmill public house, later the Swan with Two Necks. (fn. 180) The windmill itself was recorded c. 1677 (fn. 181) and probably in 1734, (fn. 182) but apparently it had gone by 1754. (fn. 183)
Markets and Fairs.
There was no charter for Finchley's pig market, which grew up at East End on the edge of the common where drovers rested. Several pig-dealers lived near by, often maintaining public houses like the George and the Hog Driver or Sow and Pigs. (fn. 184) By 1717 a customary market was held on Wednesdays and Thursdays for pigs brought from most parts of England and Wales. (fn. 185) At the Hogmarket (fn. 186) at the end of the 18th century hogs from Shropshire were sold to butchers to be fattened on the offal of the London distilling industry. (fn. 187)
When the common was inclosed a small piece of land was allotted to the bishop for occasional use as a pig market, (fn. 188) most of the animals being kept in piggeries surrounding the George inn. (fn. 189) During the 19th century housing crowded around the market (fn. 190) and there were problems over drainage and slaughter-houses. (fn. 191) The market, still much frequented by London butchers, was held on Mondays in 1845 but was extinct by 1869. (fn. 192)
Trade And Industry.
People not employed in agriculture included a bottle-maker in 1393, a wheelwright who left a shop and implements in 1518, and a wheelwright at Whetstone in 1614. (fn. 193) There were tailors in 1599 and 1615, a linenweaver in 1614, two glovers in Whetstone in 1617, (fn. 194) and an optical instrument-maker at Whetstone in 1813. (fn. 195) In 1801 56 people were employed in trade, craft, or manufacturing, (fn. 196) which supported 80 families in 1811, 101 in 1821, and 176 in 1831. Retail trade and handicrafts employed 200 people in 1831. By 1841 the commonest occupation of the 1,161 employed people, apart from agriculture, was domestic service (346); there were 58 craftsmen and 45 shopkeepers. (fn. 197)
Retail trade in 1851 was represented by greengrocers, fishmongers, hairdressers, stationers, and booksellers, besides the more numerous bakers, butchers, and grocers. There were several suppliers of shoes and clothing, and most crafts were available locally. (fn. 198) Finchley had nearly 40 kinds of shopkeeper by 1886 and retail trade remained important, in spite of fears that better transport would lead to shopping in London. (fn. 199) There were 537 shops in Finchley in 1911.
Local industry began to grow c. 1900: there were 73 workshops in 1902 and 88 in 1903, (fn. 200) and 39 factories by 1911. Building was still the largest industry in 1911, with 12 per cent of the male work force. Transport employed 1,428, 10 per cent of the male work force, in 1921, when there 841 men in metal-working, 253 in electrical works, and 335 in carpentry and furniture-making but when building employed only 594, compared with 1,343 in 1911. In 1931 transport, with 1,795 men, still employed 9 per cent of the male work force; building employed 981, metal-working 1,078, electrical working 421, and wood-working 776. By 1961 11 per cent (2,380) of the male work force was in engineering and 42 per cent, mostly working outside Finchley, had professional, commercial, or clerical jobs.
Apart from the land itself, Finchley's main economic resources were wood, brickearth, and the Great North Road. Charcoal-burning may have been widespread in the Middle Ages, although evidence survives mainly from the 16th and 17th centuries. Henry Downer (d. 1558) left 'bush coal' and John Nicholl, who lived at the George in Whetstone before 1575, was a collier. (fn. 201) Two Finchley colliers were indicted for selling defective measures of coal in 1614, (fn. 202) charcoal-burning caused a fire in the bishop's woods in 1727, (fn. 203) and three colliers received poor-relief in 1787. (fn. 204)
A tanner was drowned in Finchley c. 1274 when his horse, laden with bullocks' hides, slipped into a ditch. (fn. 205) By the 17th century tanning was found throughout the parish, at Woodside, East End, and Nether Street. (fn. 206) The bishop apparently exploited the bark for tanning before he leased the woods out in 1645. Timothy Taylor, tanner in 1627, was one of his lessees, Tanners scrubs had been created by 1662, (fn. 207) and the bark continued to be reserved after the rest of the woodland was leased out. Tanning, hereditary in the Rolfes and some other families, died out in the early 18th century as woodland contracted. (fn. 208)
Sawyers and carpenters were recorded from the 14th and 15th centuries, when the Shepherd family included carpenters, (fn. 209) and a saw-pit in Whetstone obstructed the highway between 1616 and 1619. (fn. 210) In 1851 there were 60 carpenters, who were outnumbered only by servants, labourers, and gardeners. (fn. 211) A cabinet-maker worked in Whetstone in 1813 (fn. 212) and several, mostly in North Finchley and Whetstone, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. (fn. 213) The Joyce family had saw-mills in eastern Finchley by 1887 and, as P. O. Joyce Ltd., timber merchants, still traded in 1975. (fn. 214)
The underlying boulder clay could be used for brick-making. A tile-house, later called a tilekiln, existed in the west side of the parish, probably at Whetstone, in 1547, (fn. 215) and bricklayers were recorded from 1604 and brick-makers from 1615. (fn. 216) A Brick field lay at the junction of Long Lane and Squires Lane in 1727, (fn. 217) the field diagonally opposite was called 'Old Brickfield' c. 1867, and there was another 'Old Brickfield' between Hendon Lane and Regent's Park Road. (fn. 218) Totteridge Lane in Whetstone was called Brick Lane in 1817. (fn. 219) There were 58 bricklayers in 1851, some of whom probably worked for the 7 brick-makers, (fn. 220) and 241 brick-makers in 1911. (fn. 221)
Brick-makers included William Woods in High Road (c. 1840-7), William and Adam Wright in East End (c. 1847-1851), George Pymm in Long Lane (c. 1859), Frederick Goodyear (c. 1879), Samuel Lenney (c. 1879), and John Lawford in Summers Lane (c. 1879-1900). (fn. 222) The long-established family firm of Plowman & Co. (fn. 223) may have originated with Charles Plowman, a carpenter at Ballards Lane before 1790. About 1825 Mark Plowman established a building firm at East End. He collaborated with James Frost, the cement manufacturer who bought land at Strawberry Vale in 1816 and began to build there in the 1820s with the yellow bricks characteristic of Plowman's brick-field. (fn. 224) Plowman also worked with Anthony Salvin and was responsible for much building in the 1840s and 1850s, including Holy Trinity church and school, St. Mary's school, the clerk's house, and the rebuilt George inn. By 1851 he employed 15 men and 3 boys at East End Road, his three sons being a builder, a carpenter, and a plumber's apprentice. Thomas Plowman of the Hogmarket, perhaps Mark's brother, in 1851 employed 8 men (fn. 225) and in 1855 carried on an 'extensive manufacture' at his own brick-field. (fn. 226) Legg & Plowman existed as a firm of brick-makers in 1867, (fn. 227) by which date Mark's son Charles, formerly a carpenter, seems to have taken over his father's firm. In 1873 as 'builder, of Ballards Lane', Charles helped to restore the church and by the end of the 1870s he had entered local politics and taken over the brick-field of Legg & Plowman. (fn. 228) After his death in 1906 Chas. Plowman Ltd. abandoned brick-making to concentrate on joinery. (fn. 229) The firm was taken over c. 1952 by David Gomim, who retained the old name, built a new timber-mill, and in 1956 had some 50 employees making fittings for schools and council flats. (fn. 230) The mill closed between 1975 and 1977. (fn. 231)
The Great North Road from an early date stimulated the brewing industry. The many medieval offences concerning ale included brewing against the assize, regrating, selling by cup rather than measure, failing to send for the ale-taster or to display a sign, and, in 1484, placing hops in the ale 'to the great damage and danger of the king's lieges'. (fn. 235) The number of offenders, 10 brewers in 1436 and 14 regrators in 1475, suggests that much ale was brewed for travellers. (fn. 236) Many of the inns were along the high street in Whetstone. (fn. 237) Five of the twelve public houses in 1841 lay along the Great North Road (fn. 238) and at least another two grew up there on the edge of the common. (fn. 239) The White Lion, where the road left Hornsey park and prominent throughout the 18th century, had by 1841 apparently ceased to be a public house.
Large stables were needed at the inns and from the 16th century Finchley men benefited from the droves of animals and waggons journeying to London. Between 1613 and 1617 a mealman and nine others from Finchley and Whetstone were licensed as badgers and kidders. (fn. 240) Horse-dealing, although not horse-breeding, became profitable in Whetstone and in the 18th century Coleharbour was an important centre. William Castle (d. 1775), (fn. 241) horse-dealer, was probably the father of William Castle of Coleharbour (fl. 1784). (fn. 242) In 1790 Coleharbour was sold to John Kendrick, a dealer from Kilburn who exported to France and who leased the premises, which included stabling for 45 horses, to another dealer, John Shaw of Finchley. (fn. 243) Mark Lemon, a stable-keeper from Oxford Street, bought land in Finchley c. 1800 (fn. 244) and Samuel Wimbush and his sons, job-masters of Oxford Street, trained horses for the royal family. (fn. 245)
Pickford's, the carriers, from their earliest days used the Great North Road. (fn. 246) Joseph Baxendale, a native of Lancashire who worked for the cotton trade in London, began investing in Pickford's in 1817 and soon controlled it. Having purchased property at Whetstone in the 1820s, including some from Francis H. Choppin, a bankrupt horsedealer, (fn. 247) and built a country residence, he established a hospital for 100 sick horses, with fields for 200 more. His sons and grandson maintained the connexion with Whetstone until horses gave way to mechanized transport. (fn. 248)
In 1936 Pickford's took over Chaplin and Horne, their rivals for over a century. Benjamin Worthy Horne, who had stables at the White Lion, and William Chaplin, with more than 82 stables at the Swan and Pyramids in Whetstone in 1840, were London coach-masters who in the 1830s had joined forces in the carrying business. At the height of his prosperity Chaplin had 2,000 horses and 27 mail-coaches leaving London every night, many of which used the Great North Road but most of which were superseded by the railways. (fn. 249) In 1851 there were still 7 horse- or stable-keepers, 4 horse-dealers, 17 grooms and a jockey, 19 smiths, and 2 harness-makers. There were 16 coachmen, some employed privately and others by the 2 coach proprietors, 13 carriers, and 3 carmen. Inns and beer-houses employed 31 people. (fn. 250)
William Onyon and his son Thomas were coachmakers in 1735 (fn. 251) and there was coach-building in Church End at the end of the 18th century. (fn. 252) Bicycles were made, usually in small workshops, from the late 19th century and after the First World War there were several firms connected with motor cars, in 1920 including Blaker Motor & Welding Co. at Manor works in East End Road, the East Finchley Motor Engineering Co. in High Road, East Finchley, and De Dion Bouton (1907) at Woodside works in High Road, North Finchley. (fn. 253) The Finchley branch of Mann Egerton & Co. originated after the First World War, when J. Sherwood began selling surplus army vehicles in Totteridge Lane. He purchased a body-repair department in Ballards Lane, calling it Great Northern Motors, and left Totteridge Lane for Whetstone and North Finchley, where showrooms were built on the Great North Road, in 1936. In 1945 the company was sold to H. A. Saunders, who expanded it to 13 branches and sold it in 1969 to Mann Egerton & Co., employers of some 130 people in Finchley and Whetstone in 1977. (fn. 254)
In 1977 there were several firms connected with motor cars, especially along the Great North Road in North Finchley. The most important was CAV Ltd. at East Finchley, where Frederick Simms, a pioneer in the field of motor mechanics, had bought the Grange and 6 a. at Oak Lane and founded Simms Motor Units (1920). The factory closed between 1921 and 1926 but thereafter production rose and c. 1935 the company acquired a new headquarters in East Finchley. New buildings, including laboratories and an instruction school, were added until in 1960 there was no room for expansion. Subsidiary companies were taken over from the 1950s, in 1968 Simms itself was acquired by CAV Ltd., part of Lucas Industries, and in 1973 the name was changed to CAV Ltd. Rising petrol prices from 1973 stimulated the production of diesel engines and in 1975 major changes were begun, involving rebuilding and the lease of an adjacent site. By 1977 the company employed some 1,960 people in East Finchley. (fn. 255)
Most industry has been small, short-lived, and varied. Among the larger and older firms are Clark's Bakeries, which moved from Upper Holloway and opened in 1927 as Burton's Bakeries on the site of an old house in the Walks, Park Road. The name was changed to Merry Miller Bakeries in the early 1930s and, after Rank's had taken it over in 1961, to Clark's Bakeries in 1963. The premises were extended in 1934 and 1961 and 200 people were employed there in 1977. (fn. 256) Advance Cleaners & Launderers (London), founded in 1928 by the amalgamation of fourteen laundries, employed c. 176 people in 1977. (fn. 257)
One of the biggest employers in 1977 was Ever Ready Co. (GB), with c. 500 in offices at Ever Ready House, which opened in 1966 at the corner of Totteridge Lane and the Great North Road. (fn. 258) Others included Commercial Union Assurance with 180 employees, (fn. 259) and O. C. Summers, which moved its administration to Britannia House in Whetstone from Camden Town in 1963, Aluminium Supply Co., which moved to Whetstone from Hendon in 1966, and the Anglo Continental Clock Co., which moved to North Finchley from Hatton Garden in 1970, each of which employed some 60 people. (fn. 260)