Jacksfield

Agricultural/Land Estate in/near West Hampstead, existed between 1387 and 1865

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Agricultural/Land Estate · West Hampstead · NW6 ·
APRIL
5
2015

Jacksfield was one of the smaller but well-documented copyhold estates in the West Hampstead area.

In 1701 a Berkshire man, Jethro Tull, invented the drill, a machine for sowing seeds in regular rows instead of wastefully scattering them by hand. He also encouraged the use of the hoe which we see illustrated here.
It was a 'heritable copyhold' consisting of just eight acres and was first mentioned in 1387 as held by a Nicholas Fletcher.

Copyhold refers to the tenure of lands being parcel of a manor, 'at the will of the lord according to the custom of the manor', by copy of the manorial court roll.

Unlike freeholders, a copyholder could not just transfer their land to his heirs or a third party. If the copyholder died, their death would be entered in the manor court rolls. The heir(s) had to present to the manor court to seek admission as the new tenant and pay a sum of money known as a fine or relief. The admission was also noted in the court rolls.

Similarly if a copyhold tenant wished to transfer land to a third party, the surrender took place in court and was recorded with the admission of the new tenant. The new tenant was given a copy of the court roll entry to prove his title to the land - hence 'copyhold'.

Copyholders succeeding Fletcher were by William Hunt (died 1439), Edward Westby and by John Gilling (died 1475). Gilling was parish clerk of St. Sepulchre and left Jacksfield to his kinsman Thomas Gilling for life, then to be sold for charity.

It was held in 1646 by Martin Dawson, who owned three houses. In his will of 1662, Dawson left his copyhold property to his wife Susan, but he had incurred debts as a royalist and she apparently lost the property between 1664 and 1668 when it was held by Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Bt., Attorney-General.

Palmer left it to his daughter Frances, wife of John De La Fontayne, who conveyed it in 1686 to Anthony Keck. Anthony was succeeded in 1696 by Francis Keck, whose estate in 1704 consisted of an 8 acres close (Jacksfield), a house and 1¼ acres of orchard (Frognal Hall) and 4 acres of demesne land adjoining the churchyard, which he leased.

Francis was succeeded in 1730 by his seven sisters or their heirs, who in 1735 conveyed all the estate to Joseph Stanwix or Stanwick, on whose death in 1747 it passed by will to his widow Mary, with remainder to his daughters Mary, wife of James Battin, and Jane, wife of Robert Slaughter. Mary conveyed her share to Jane, who in 1765 conveyed Jacksfield to John Taylor, butcher, who in turn conveyed it in 1769 to Christopher Fowler. Thence it passed in 1771 to Thomas Boone and in 1775 to Thomas Wildman. Wildman left it in trust for Maria Beckford. It passed in 1800 to Richard Howard, earl of Effingham, as devisee of Maria Beckford and, on his death in 1818, by will to Samuel March Phillips, who was the owner in 1841. In 1858 it passed to one Walters, who enfranchised it.

The house associated with Jacksfield by 1646 was probably Frognal Hall. It was presumably one of two houses owned by Susan Dawson in 1664: she occupied one with 11 hearths and another with 10 hearths was empty. In 1668 Pepys visited Sir Geoffrey Palmer 'in the fields by his old route and house'. In 1761 Frognal Hall was detached from the Jacksfield estate, and during the 18th century became part of the West End House estate. Canterbury House was built on Jacksfield in the 1860s.


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In 1701 a Berkshire man, Jethro Tull, invented the drill, a machine for sowing seeds in regular rows instead of wastefully scattering them by hand. He also encouraged the use of the hoe which we see illustrated here.
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West Hampstead

The name "West Hampstead" was a 19th century invention - the original name was West End.

Lacking its own supply of spring water and situated away from the main roads, medieval West End barely qualified as a hamlet until a few country houses were built here from the 17th century onwards. The tendency for West End Lane to become impassably muddy after heavy rain further enhanced the hamlet's isolation.

By 1815 West End was still excep­tionally quiet – so much so that its inhab­itants claimed to have heard the cannon fire at Waterloo. The construction of the Finchley Road in the 1830s brought few additions to a population that consisted of a handful of squires and some farm labourers, gardeners and craftsmen. By 1851 West End had one inn and two beershops.

Railways were the prime stimulus of growth in many country corners of modern London but few places were trans­formed as wholly as West End. With the arrival of the Hampstead Junction Railway in 1857, the Midland Railway in 1868 and the Metro­politan and St John’s Wood Railway in 1879, the new suburb of West Hampstead spread in all directions.

Rapid development in the 1880s and 1890s swept away the large houses and the streets were laid out in today's pattern. A local estate agent in Kilburn claimed that he coined the name ‘West Hampstead’, for one of the local railway stations. Public amenities such as street lighting, gas and electricity were provided and much of the frontage to West End Lane was developed as shops.

Some of the new estates were the work of big developers like the United Land Company, whose inclination was to build fairly densely, and during the latter decades of the 19th century parts of West Hampstead became increasingly working-class in character, with policeman, travelling salesmen and railwaymen mixing with clerks and artisans. Engin­eering workshops operated near the railway lines.

Twentieth-century building was limited mainly to interwar blocks of flats in the north of the district, often in place of Victorian houses that had already become run-down.

The West Hampstead ward now has relatively few families and a great number of young single people. A large proportion of homes are privately rented and fewer than a quarter of adults are married, compared with more than half for the country as a whole. This socio-economic profile is evident in the upmarket cafés that have lined West End Lane in recent years.

Famous West Hampstead residents have included the singers Dusty Springfield, Joan Armat­rading, Olivia Newton John and Jimmy Somerville, author Doris Lessing, actresses Imelda Staunton and Emma Thompson, and the playwright Joe Orton, who lived on West End Lane with his lover Kenneth Halliwell from 1951 to 1959. Stephen Fry has also lived here.
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