A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7, Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1982.
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The manor of EALING or EALINGBURY was presumably the 10 hides at Ealing granted in 693 × 704 by Ethelred, king of Mercia, to the bishop of London for the augmentation of monastic life in London. (fn. 1) Only in 704 × 709 was the bishop granted 50 hides in Fulham, (fn. 2) of which Ealing was probably thought to form part at the time of Domesday Book. (fn. 3) Ealing and Acton were said to be members of Fulham in 1294 (fn. 4) and in 1388 the tenants of Ealing owed 11s. 10d. of the 33s. 4d. common fine due from Fulham and its members, (fn. 5) although the issues were accounted for separately. (fn. 6) In 1588 the tenants denied that Ealing had ever been part of Fulham: while admitting that their courts were usually held there, they pointed out that their business and officers were separate, and that courts were occasionally held at Ealing. (fn. 7) The tenure of the bishop was interrupted only during the Interregnum, when the manor was sold in 1647 to Col. Edmund Harvey and belonged from 1654 to 1658 to Alderman Francis Allen, and in 1659-60 to the regicide Sir John Barkstead (d. 1662), (fn. 8) as Lord Barkstead. (fn. 9)
The bishop farmed the royalties from at least 1749: the farmer, who was also the gamekeeper, paid partridges and pheasants as part of the rent. (fn. 10) The 648 a. of demesne in 1840 lay mostly in the east part of the parish and south of Uxbridge Road, with the largest block south and east of Gunnersbury Park; some was interspersed with other estates and some was included in Ealing and Gunnersbury parks. (fn. 11)
The manor house was called Ealingbury in 1422, (fn. 12) Ealingbury House in 1813, (fn. 13) and Ealingbury or Gunnersbury Manor House in 1835. (fn. 14) North-west of the junction of Gunnersbury Lane and Pope's Lane, (fn. 15) it was said to have been a fine house with well appointed outbuildings but was sacked in 1642 and was uninhabitable in 1647. (fn. 16) Thereafter it was either rebuilt or remodelled: in 1898, despite recent alterations, it was considered to be substantially of the late 17th century except the cellars, which were older, and was a large redbrick and tiled house of three storeys, with pedimented windows, described as the ideal country house. (fn. 17) Modernized in 1935, (fn. 18) it was later demolished.
The demesne was already leased in 1381, when John Eustace was farmer in succession to his father Robert. (fn. 19) In 1539 the lessee was William Honyng of London, (fn. 20) servant of Sir Thomas Wriothesley, Secretary of State, under a lease to John Langton. Honyng obtained a new lease, (fn. 21) which included the woods, in 1545. (fn. 22) In 1547 the bishop granted a 200-year lease of Ealing and Fulham to Edward, duke of Somerset, on whose attainder it was forfeited to the Crown. The lease was granted in 1600 to Simon Willis, who divided the estate in 1601: he assigned the lands north of Uxbridge Road, Ealing, to Thomas Fisher, skinner of London, and the larger part, including those lands in Ealing south of Uxbridge Road, to Thomas, later Sir Thomas, Penruddock. (fn. 23) The Penruddocks' possession was disputed in 1615 by Thomas, son of Anthony Mason, a former tenant, (fn. 24) perhaps as beneficiary under an earlier lease.
The descent of Fisher's share is not known. Penruddock's estate descended in his family, except when sequestrated in the Interregnum, (fn. 25) until Edward Penruddock devised it to his brother-in-law Joseph Cage. By will dated 1700, Joseph left it to his son John Cage, a minor, whose administrators assigned it in 1717 to Richard Webb, later of Cavenham (Suff.). (fn. 26) In 1735 the bishop granted three new leases to Webb, Sir William Halton, Bt. (d. 1754), and Anne and Mary Brand. (fn. 27) Thereafter the estate leased out in 1547 was repeatedly divided, until there were seven separate leases of the demesne in Ealing by 1840. (fn. 28)
The estate leased in 1735 to Richard Webb consisted of 285 a. in Fulham and 376 a. in Ealing, (fn. 29) most of it south of Uxbridge Road. In 1749 the issues were divided into five, two shares for Richard's brother William, the lessee, and one share for Richard Long of Cavenham. (fn. 30) The lease was held by Long from 1756 and his trustees from 1777, (fn. 31) until in 1798 the estate was divided between his sons-in-law George Hardinge and Richard Vachell. (fn. 32) Hardinge assigned his share by 1806 to Peter Thorne of Ealing, who relinquished lands outside Ealing in 1813 (fn. 33) but retained the manor house and 245 a., most or all of which were sold in 1822 to William Booth (d. 1833) of Brentford, distiller. The bulk was again sold in 1835 to George Robinson of Kew (Surr.) (fn. 34) who held episcopal leasehold estates of 276 a. in 1840, (fn. 35) including some from Vachell's share. Vachell's 365 a. of leasehold, including 125 a. in Ealing, were for sale in 1829: London Style farm of 96 a. was sold to Samuel Ware, while 29 a. were sold to William Booth but acquired in 1835 by Robinson, himself lessee of London Style farm from 1841. (fn. 36) After Robinson's death in 1852 his estate was held by his sons until 1861 when the lease of 331 a. surrounding Gunnersbury Park, including the manor house and London Style farm, was assigned to Baron Lionel Nathan de Rothschild, who bought the freehold. (fn. 37)
The land leased in 1739 to Sir William Halton consisted of 61 a. near Little Ealing, 34 a. north of Uxbridge Road, 24 a. at Stamford Brook, and 40 a. at Fulham. (fn. 38) It was held by trustees until 1806, when the lessee was William Halton, a Canadian, (fn. 39) but was broken up in 1813, when four separate leases were granted: the largest estate was Little Ealing farm of 54 a., leased to Jonathan Knevett. (fn. 40)
In 1739 Anne Brand, widow, and her daughter Mary Brand of Edwardstone (Suff.) were leased a mansion house and 101 a., formerly woodland, on Hanger Hill west of Hanger Lane. The lease was renewed for John Williams in 1746, for King Gould in 1754, and in 1761 for William Tanner of St. Marylebone, who immediately assigned it to Richard Latham. It was auctioned in 1769 and renewed in 1775 to Richard Wood, (fn. 41) who held Hanger House and land west of Hanger Lane in 1777. (fn. 42) The lands formed the nucleus of the Wood family's large estate on both sides of Hanger Lane. Richard Wood was dead by 1785, when his youngest son James was admitted to 6 a. of copyhold, (fn. 43) and the leasehold estate had passed by 1790 to Thomas Wood (fn. 44) who was rated on a new house and c. 240 a., (fn. 45) and by 1811 to William Wood (d. 1817), who had acquired 100 a. of copyhold from Jonathan Gurnell in 1787. (fn. 46) The estate was later held by William's trustees and from 1844 under the will of Edward Wood (d. 1844). (fn. 47) From 1838 or earlier the tenant for life was George Wood (d. 1864), who held 501 a. in 1840, including 167 a. of leasehold. (fn. 48) The Woods bought the freehold of the land held by lease in or after 1854, and the copyhold was enfranchised in 1862. (fn. 49) In 1899 the Wood estate included 560 a. east of Hanger Lane, much of it in Acton parish; Hanger Hill House and 145 a. were leased to Sir Montague Nelson, tenant from 1874 and chairman of Ealing U.D.C. (fn. 50) George Wood's son Edward (d. 1904) moved to Shropshire in the 1870s and was succeeded by his son Lt.-Col. Charles Peevor Boileau Wood (d. 1932), who in 1906 sold most or all of the land to the Prudential Assurance Co. (fn. 51) Hanger Hill House, a large three-storeyed building of the 18th century, was used by Hanger Hill golf club from 1901 and survived until 1935 or later. (fn. 52)
COLDHALL or WEST EALING manor at Little Ealing was probably held of Ealing manor. It was recorded from 1377 when John Torngold, alderman of London, died seised of Coldhall and his daughter Alice was heir. (fn. 53) It may have been held in 1408 by William and Agnes Powe, who exchanged it for a pension with John Spartgrave of Spargrove (Som.), (fn. 54) perhaps in connexion with his marriage: in 1415 Powe was executor of Spartgrave, who left the manor to his wife Agnes, daughter Agnes, and their heirs. (fn. 55) Presumably it was the younger Agnes who married Sir Nicholas Stukeley and later one Montgomery: her son Thomas Montgomery inherited her copyhold estate and perhaps Coldhall, (fn. 56) which was sold in 1496 by Henry Barnes and his wife Anne, with 250 a. and rent, to Richard Awnsham or Amondesham, alderman of London, (fn. 57) who had been accumulating land in Ealing since 1482 or earlier. (fn. 58) Coldhall descended with other manors in Heston until 1643, when it passed to Robert Awnsham's sisters Jane, wife of Henry Mildmay, and Margaret, later wife of Gideon Awnsham. (fn. 59) Their tenure was disturbed by litigation (fn. 60) until in 1667, by authority of parliament, they sold Coldhall to William Dennington (d. 1681) of the Inner Temple. (fn. 61) Each of Dennington's three sisters and coheirs received some land in Ealing but Coldhall itself was assigned in 1688 to his sister Anne and her husband Thomas Watts, mercer of London, (fn. 62) who in 1701 sold it to John Loving of Place House. Loving also bought Twyfords in 1708 (fn. 63) and sold Holly House in 1722 and Coldhall and Twyfords in 1728 to Charles Lockyer of Ilchester (Som.), M.P., who had made at least nine other purchases by 1735. (fn. 64) Lockyer was succeeded in 1752 by his illegitimate son John Lockyer or Green, (fn. 65) who left the estate in 1762 to his widow Elizabeth and daughter Elizabeth. The elder Elizabeth was admitted to the copyhold estate in 1764 (fn. 66) and the younger, who had married Henry Burgoyne Sharp, to 134 a. of copyhold in 1774: (fn. 67) the total estate including Coldhall totalled c. 330 a. c. 1774 (fn. 68) and 302 a. in 1817, when some had been sold. (fn. 69) In 1819, following Sharp's death, the copyhold estate was held jointly by Francis Brodrip's trustees and Lockyer Sharp. (fn. 70) Frederick Sharp was admitted in 1828 and on his death, trustees were admitted in 1835. (fn. 71) Much had been sold, perhaps including Coldhall, by 1840, when the total estate of the executors of Brodrip and William Sharp was only 174 a. (fn. 72) Coldhall later belonged to the Meacock family: in 1886 it was sold by John and William Meacock, (fn. 73) perhaps already to Blondin (Jean François Gravelet) the tightrope walker, who renamed the house Niagara and died there in 1897. (fn. 74) The manor house, mentioned in 1693, (fn. 75) probably stood beside the modern Northfield Avenue, Little Ealing, (fn. 76) near Niagara and Blondin avenues.
GUNNERSBURY manor was held of the bishop of London in 1378 for fealty, suit of court, and rents, and included 228 a. land and £1 7s. rent from tenants. (fn. 77) The manor may have been the ½ carucate and 2 marks rent in which Maud, widow of Lawrence del Brok, claimed dower against Joan of Somery in the late 13th century. (fn. 78) In 1347 John of Ceppeham granted two-thirds of the manor to John de Bray and Joan his wife for life, with the reversion of the third held in dower by Maud, widow of Thomas of Gloucester. (fn. 79) John of Ceppeham was dead by 1364, when his son John granted the reversion to Geoffrey Scrope. (fn. 80) Lands including Gunnersbury, late of John of Northwich, goldsmith, were conveyed in 1373 by feoffees to those of Edward III's mistress Alice Perrers. (fn. 81) Alice forfeited them but her husband William of Windsor was granted Gunnersbury in 1380, to hold to the use of her and her heirs. (fn. 82) It was held by Thomas Charlton and Alice his wife, apparently in her right, in 1390, when it was settled in trust, (fn. 83) presumably to Alice's use. The estate was held by her son Henry Frowyk in 1422 (fn. 84) and remained with the Frowyks until the death of another Henry Frowyk in 1520, when it was allotted to his sister Elizabeth, wife of the judge Sir John Spelman, (fn. 85) descending in the Spelman family with Flambards in Harrow. (fn. 86) It was held by the judge John, later Sir John, Maynard (d. 1690) by at least 1656 (fn. 87) and then in turn by his widow Mary, countess of Suffolk (d. 1721), and his great-grandson John Hobart, Lord Hobart, later earl of Buckinghamshire (d. 1756). In 1739, after a private Act, Hobart sold Gunnersbury to Henry Furnese, M.P. (d. 1756), (fn. 88) whose sister Elizabeth Pearce sold it in 1761 to Princess Amelia (d. 1786), daughter of George II. (fn. 89) Lavish entertainments were given by the princess, (fn. 90) who extended the estate by purchase and lease to 236 a. but ordered it to be sold in lots on her death. (fn. 91) The main part, comprising the house and c. 95 a., was bought by Col. Gilbert Ironside in 1788, passed to Walter Stirling in 1792, and was sold by Andrew Stirling to Henry Crawford in 1794. (fn. 92) Crawford sold it to Mr. Morley, a floor-cloth manufacturer, by 1800, when demolition of the house and partition of the estate were impending. (fn. 93)
The north-east corner of the estate, in the angle of Pope's Lane and Gunnersbury Avenue, was bought by Stephen Cosser (d. 1806), who erected the smaller of the two Gunnersbury seats, called Gunnersbury House. (fn. 94) On his death it was bought by Alexander Morrison (d. 1828), whose widow Jane, countess of Carnwath, sold it to Thomas Farmer c. 1833. (fn. 95) Trustees of Mrs. Elizabeth Atkinson (née Farmer) sold it in 1889 to Leopold de Rothschild (d. 1917), (fn. 96) youngest son of Baron Lionel Nathan de Rothschild (d. 1879). The bulk of the estate sold c. 1800, 76 a., was bought by Alexander Copeland (d. 1834), who erected the larger mansion, Gunnersbury Park. (fn. 97) It had been acquired by Nathan Mayer de Rothschild by 1836, (fn. 98) passed to his wife Hannah, who held 109 a. in 1840, (fn. 99) to his son Baron Lionel Nathan de Rothschild, who bought 331 a. nearby in 1861 from the bishop of London, (fn. 100) and to the latter's three sons. Baron Nathaniel Mayer de Rothschild and Leopold de Rothschild bought their brother's share in 1894 and Leopold (d. 1917) became sole owner in 1901. His son Lionel Nathan sold some land for building (fn. 101) and in 1925 sold the remaining 199 a. to Ealing and Acton councils, 186 a. for a park and 13 a. for housing. (fn. 102)
No manor house was mentioned in 1378 (fn. 103) but one evidently existed by c. 1464 when Sir Thomas Frowyk (d. 1506) was born at Gunnersbury. (fn. 104) In 1593 there was an ancient house, formerly of the Frowyks and conveniently situated near woodland and water, which was leased to the Corbet family. (fn. 105) It was presumably the residence of John Maynard until his house was rebuilt c. 1658 by John Webb (d. 1672), nephew of Inigo Jones, with assistance from Edward Marshall (d. 1675). (fn. 106) Webb's was a red-brick three-storeyed building of seven bays with a Corinthian portico on the north front, (fn. 107) described in 1736 as a great and ancient fabric expensive to repair. (fn. 108) The gardens, reputedly laid out by William Kent for Henry Furnese, (fn. 109) were improved by Princess Amelia, who erected the bath-house and chapel. The house had been demolished by 1807. (fn. 110)
Gunnersbury Park and Gunnersbury House stand side by side on a terrace, respectively to west and east. Gunnersbury Park, the larger, was built in 1811 and rebuilt c. 1836 by Sydney Smirke (d. 1877): (fn. 111) white and stuccoed, it consists of two-storeyed wings and a three-storeyed central block with Roman Doric portico. Gunnersbury House was built by 1806 and altered by W. F. Pocock between 1837 and 1850: (fn. 112) an ornate two-storeyed stuccoed house with semicircular terminal bays, it has housed Gunnersbury Park museum since 1929. (fn. 113) The gardens, much admired in the 19th century, (fn. 114) contain several ponds and extensive sports grounds. In 1977 the orangery, reputedly by Smirke, (fn. 115) was derelict and the bath-house had been demolished. The Temple, an 18th-century Roman Doric structure, was restored in 1975. (fn. 116)
PITSHANGER manor was described as a free tenement in 1423, when it was held of Ealing manor for rent, relief, and aid. (fn. 117) The demesne consisted of c. 140 a. stretching northward from Hanger Hill to the Brent. (fn. 118) Members of the Putelshanger or Pitshanger family occurred from 1229 and in 1293-4 Robert of Pitshanger fraudulently claimed woodland at Ealing from the bishop. (fn. 119) The manor was held by William, son of Thomas Bray, in 1423 (fn. 120) and descended in the Bray family to Catherine Welby (née Bray) in 1508, (fn. 121) perhaps the Catherine on whom Pitshanger was settled jointly with her husband John Hall in 1537, with remainder to her son Thomas Webb. (fn. 122) It descended to her son George Hall and was held in 1553 by Edward Bayshe, (fn. 123) who conveyed it in 1563 to Gilbert Gerard, later Sir Gilbert Gerard, Master of the Rolls, and Gilbert Sherrington, (fn. 124) apparently to Gerard's use. Pitshanger belonged to Thomas Stevens in 1575, passed to his son Henry in 1579, (fn. 125) and was conveyed by Uriah and Anne Babington in 1596 to Arthur, later Sir Arthur, Atye, (fn. 126) who held the manor, 3 houses, with gardens and barns, and 331 a. in Ealing at his death in 1605. (fn. 127) Atye's son Robert was succeeded in 1612 by his daughter Eleanor, a minor. (fn. 128) The manor was held by Richard Lee of Kingston from 1620 or earlier until 1663, (fn. 129) when he left it to Thomas and Margaret Edwards. It descended to Thomas Edwards (1699-1757), critic, whose nephew sold it to King Gould (d. 1756). Charles Gould (1726-1806), Judge Advocate General and from 1792 Sir Charles Morgan, Bt., sold it and Botelers farm to Thomas Gurnell, who settled it in 1780 on his son Jonathan and prospective daughterin-law Susannah Swinden, (fn. 130) whose second husband was Admiral Peyton. Her daughter Mary Anne, wife of Henry Armstrong, held 429 a. until her death in 1858. (fn. 131) In 1862 the estate belonged to C. P. Millard. (fn. 132)
The manor house, usually called Pitshanger farmhouse, stood near the centre of the modern Meadvale Road. A plain house of brick and tile, it was demolished in 1908. (fn. 133) The so-called Pitzhanger Manor House, Ealing Green, in 1979 the public library, stands on former copyhold land of Ealing manor. (fn. 134) The latter house, consisting of a three-storeyed central block with two-storeyed wings, was built c. 1770 for Thomas Gurnell by George Dance the younger and sold in 1799 by Susannah Peyton to John, later Sir John, Soane (1753-1837), architect, who largely rebuilt it in 1801-2. It belonged to Eric Mackay, Lord Reay (d. 1847), from 1832 (fn. 135) and was inhabited by the daughter of Spencer Perceval from 1844 until 1900, (fn. 136) when it was sold to Ealing U.D.C. Soane retained only the south wing of Dance's house, rebuilding the central block and replacing the north wing by sham ruins. Although modest in size, his villa is designed on a grandiose scale. The centre block, of Portland stone and brick, is of three bays and two storeys, fronted by monumental Ionic pillars topped by statues of Coade stone. (fn. 137) The house was adapted as a library by extending Dance's wing westward, and by additions on the north side which were replaced by the modern wing in 1938. (fn. 138)
The manor of BOSTON, BURSTON, or BORDESTON was conterminous with the township of New Brentford. In 1157 the abbot of Westminster held 3 hides in Brentford, Hanwell, and nearby. (fn. 139) By 1179 the vill had been subinfeudated to Ralph Brito, (fn. 140) whose son Robert had granted it by 1194 to Geoffrey Blund. (fn. 141) After 1216 he granted a quitrent from it to his son-inlaw Henry, son of Rainier, who later held Boston. By 1294 it was held by the prioress of St. Helen's, Bishopsgate, as tenant of Westminster, which claimed Boston as part of its liberty (fn. 142) and was sued by the nuns for distraining the plough animals of their tenants. (fn. 143) In 1535 the sacrist of Westminster still received an annual rent from Brentford. (fn. 144) The lordship was retained by the priory until its surrender in 1538, when Boston passed to the Crown and became part of the new honor of Hampton Court. (fn. 145) The manor had been leased for 80 years in 1534 to John Rollesley, presumably a kinsman of the prioress Mary Rollesley. His lease was confirmed in 1542 (fn. 146) and the residue of his term was granted to Jerome Hawley, a clerk of the Petty Bag, in 1567. (fn. 147)
Boston was granted in 1547 to Edward Seymour, duke of Somerset, but reverted to the Crown on his forfeiture and was granted in 1572 to Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, who immediately conveyed it to Sir Thomas Gresham (1519?-79), founder of the Royal Exchange and lord of Osterley. On Gresham's death Boston was held in turn by his widow Anne (d. 1596) and Sir William Reade (d. 1621), her son by a former husband. In 1606 Reade settled it on his bride Mary Goldsmith, (fn. 148) who later married Sir Edward Spencer of Althorp (Northants.), a Royalist during the Civil War. (fn. 149) Having bought out the claims of Reade's heirs, (fn. 150) Mary left Boston in 1658 to her kinsman John Goldsmith (d. 1670), (fn. 151) whose trustee sold it in 1670 to James Clitherow (d. 1682). Boston descended in the Clitherow family until 1923, when the estate was sold by the trustees of the late Col. E. J. Stracey-Clitherow. Most of the land was built over, but Brentford U.D. bought Boston House and 20 a. as a park, opened in 1924. (fn. 152)
The Boston demesne consisted of 230 a. in 1712, (fn. 153) and the lords also held copyhold land in Ealing between Boston Manor and Windmill roads, amounting to 62 a. in 1659 and 80 a. in 1840. (fn. 154) Ralph Brito lived in a house by St. Lawrence's church, (fn. 155) but the site of a manor house mentioned in 1377 and 1584 was not recorded. (fn. 156) The existing Boston House in Boston Manor Road was erected by Mary Reade in 1622-3 in a curve of the river Brent and, after a fire, was extensively repaired by James Clitherow c. 1671. (fn. 157) A three-storeyed red-brick house, with three gables on the longer sides and two on the shorter, it has a large Jacobean stone porch and contains three ornate plaster ceilings and an elaborate fireplace. (fn. 158) It also contained a collection of paintings, dispersed in 1922. (fn. 159) The house was restored in 1960 and since 1963 has been leased to the National Institute of Housework. (fn. 160)