Notting Hill in Bygone Days: Chenesitun and Knotting Barns

Chapter 1 of the book "Notting Hill in Bygone Days" by Florence Gladstone (1924)

Click here to log in on Facebook Advanced
MAPPING YEAR:1750180018301860190019302018Fullscreen map
Article · Notting Hill · W11 · Contributed by Scott Hatton
The Thames Valley in Roman Days

Chapter 1 of the book "Notting Hill in Bygone Days" by Florence Gladstone (1924)

On the north side of the Thames as it crosses London there is a range of low hills. Beginning with Tower Hill close to the river, the range ends with Campden Hill, three-quarters of a mile from its bank. Each hill is divided from the next by a stream. These streams rise on the northern edge of the Thames Valley and fall into the left bank of the winding river. Campden Hill, Bayswater Hill and the ” Knoll ” surmounted by St. John’s Church form one group which practically constitutes Notting Hill. This high land is bounded on the east by the Westbourne or Bays ‘Water, and on the west by a “rivulet” known as Bridge Creek or Counter’s Creek. Both the Westbourne and Counter’s Creek are now carried underground.

The map shows this formation of hill and stream. It also shows two important Roman roads which approached the town of Londinium from the north and west : Watling Street, now Edgware Road, and that portion of the Great West Road at present represented by High Street, Notting Hill, Bayswater Road and Oxford Street. These roads were cut through densely wooded country, known at a later date as the Forest of Middlesex, and there seems to be little doubt that, before the time of the Romans, both Edgware Road and Bayswater Road had been British trackways.

(Note: In 1916 placards posted in the stations of the Central London Railway stated that Holland Park Avenue was the Via Trinobantia of the Romans, the chief road of the late Celtic Kingdom of the Trinobantes whose capital was Colchester)

Mr. Reginald Smith, F.S.A., of the British Museum, considers that another trackway, not marked on this map, followed the high ground nearer to the river. This also probably was developed by the Romans, and subsequently became the road through Knightsbridge, Kensington and Hammersmith. These two roads joined at Brentford. At Notting Hill Gate the Great West Road ran on the edge of a terrace ninety-five feet above the sea. The forest was not so dense here as it was further to the north, and the high land across the Thames would be visible. It has been suggested that a beacon may have been placed at Notting Hill Gate to correspond with another on the hill-top south-west of Egham.

Except for the name of High Street (Street being derived from Via Strata, the paved way), there seem to be no actual relics of the Roman period within the boundaries of Kensington parish. It has, however, been claimed that a trough of broken masonry, now preserved in the garden of St. John’s Vicarage, Ladbroke Grove, may have been part of a Roman sarcophagus. This stone trough was discovered about 1850 when the foundations of No. 1, Ladbroke Square were being prepared : a likely position for a Roman grave close to a main road. Being a coffin burial the date would be after A.D. 250. The final departure of the Romans early in the fifth century was followed by a period of disorder. Middlesex lay between the quarrelsome kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex and was in a disturbed condition for many years. But, probably, somewhere about A.D. 700, a party of Saxon immigrants, ” sons of Cynesige,” discovered a favourable spot above the marsh lands of Chelsea and Fulham. And here, on the hill-top between the old roads, they founded their little ” tun ” or village. For Chenesitun, the Kensington of those days, only consisted of a few wooden homesteads with barns and cattle sheds, surrounded by a rough stockade : an island of cultivation in the midst of woodland and common. About the same time Poedings, or ” sons of Padda,” settled dose to Watling Street, and another Saxon family, the Cnot-tingas, or ” sons of Cnotta,” may have made a clearing for themselves in the denser wood to the north.

No less an authority than Dr. Walter W. Skeat suggests this Saxon solution for the name of Notting Hill. Other writers have thought that the encamp-ment was founded by followers of King Knut. Whether Saxon or Danish in its origin the little colony seems to have been entirely wiped out before the Norman Conquest ; nothing but the name remaining to testify to its former existence.4&5 The popular belief that Notting Hill owes its name to the nut bushes which grew upon its slopes is a pleasant, but untenable, tradition. The name occurs in the Patent Rolls for A.D. 1361. There it is ” Knottynghull,” proving that the ” k ” is original as is also the double ” t.”

The old village of Knotting in Bedfordshire is thought by some antiquaries to derive its name from ” Noding,” a Danish term for a cattle pasture. In the Cotswolds there is an entrenched camp known as Notting Hill.

The Forest of Middlesex has already been mentioned. William Fitz-stephen’s well-known description, written about 1170, tells of ” densely wooded thickets, the coverts of game, red and fallow deer, boars and wild bulls.” There are no records of such game in this district, but remains of a wood can be traced on St. John’s Hill, and there is other proof of forest land within the present area of North Kensington. At the British Museum is a Deed of the time of Edward the Confessor, which states that Thurstan, Chamberlain or Master of the King’s Household, bequeathed his share of the Manor of Chelsea for the benefit of King Edward’s new religious foundation at Westminster.

Among lands belonging to Chelsea was a detached piece of woodland, given specially to supply faggots for the Abbey fires, and acorns for the Abbot’s pigs. This portion of woodland, 137¾ acres in extent, is now covered by the houses of Queen’s Park Estate and Kensal Town. Chelsea Outland is shown on the map of 1833 on page 40, where also are seen many local names recalling the trees : Acton, or ” place of oaks,” Old Oak Common and Six Elms, Wormholt or Wormwood Scrubbs and the names ending in ” den,” like Neasden and Harlesden, which were valleys where swine might be fed.

At the date of the Deed mentioned above, the Manor of Chenesitun was held by Edwin, one of Edward the Confessor’s ” thegns.” ” Edwin the Thegn suffered the fate of most Saxon noblemen,” for, before the Domesday Book was drawn up in 1086, the Manor of Chensitun had been granted by William the Conqueror to Geoffrey, Bishop of Coutances, under whom it was held by Aubrey de Vere. It became Aubrey de Vere’s freehold property during the reign of William Rufus. The Survey of the Manor in 1086 may be read both in Latin and English in Mr. Loftie’s book. A picture is there drawn of the priest or rector, the eighteen farmers and seven slaves with their families, 200 to 240 persons in all, cultivating some 1,400 acres, and living near the church, which was practically if not actually on the site of St. Mary Abbots.

For the pasturage of their cattle there were about 500 acres of common land, making 1,900 acres as against the 2,290 acres of to-day. ” But while the men went forth to follow the plough, to sow their seed or garner their corn, the women and children drove ‘ the cattle of the town ‘ to the pasture, and their herd of 200 pigs to pick up beech mast and acorns in the woods to the northward.” Aubrey de Vere and his successors owned the Manor of Kensington from the reign of William I to that of James I, a period of over five hundred years. ” De Vers ” had been amongst the noblest of the old Norman aristocracy. Later on they were created Earls of Oxford, and held many important State Offices. They took part in the Crusades, they fought at Crecy, Poictiers and Agincourt. Twice at least their lands were forfeited to the Crown, but were restored to subsequent holders of the title, and the twelfth Earl of Oxford and his son were beheaded. But, as they were always absentee landlords, it is probable that everyday life in Kensington was not deeply affected by the fate of the heads of the house.

During the lifetime of the first Aubrey 270 acres of land, extending from Church Street to Addison Road, was granted to the monastery of Abingdon, and became the independent Manor of Abbot’s Kensington. Gradually the remaining portion of the parish was divided into three parts : the separate manors of Earls Court, covering what is now known as South Kensington, the Manor of West Town, originally called ” the Groves ” and consisting of fields west of Addison Road, and the Manor of Notting Barns with which these Chronicles are chiefly concerned. The story of how the De Veres parted with this northern division of Kensington is so characteristic of the times that it must be given in some detail.

When John the twelfth Earl of Oxford and Aubrey his eldest son were beheaded in February 1462, by order of Edward IV, on account of their allegiance to the House of Lancaster, their lands, including the Manor of Abbot’s Kensington and Notting Barnes, valued together at twentv-five marks, were forfeited to ” the Lord the King.” Shortly after this for-feiture the King’s brother, afterwards Richard III, was receiving ” the issues and profits ” from these lands, as if they had been granted to him ; whereas, evidence given in 1484 and in 1496 proves that ” Richard, Duke of Gloucetir ” only enjoyed and retained them ” of his inordinate covetyse and ungodly dispocion.” Added to this ” by compulsion, cohercion and emprisonment ” he had forced the widow of the beheaded Earl to release to him divers other lands, thus reducing her and her daughter-in-law to a state of absolute want.

Meanwhile ” John Veer,” the thirteenth Earl, was in exile and was suffering many hardships. When, however, Henry Tudor, Duke of Richmond, felt himself strong enough to make a bid for the throne of England, the Earl of Oxford joined his company. In 1485 they fought side by side on the fateful Field of Bosworth, and shortly after Henry VII had become King, the whole of the Vere family were reinstated in their lands, honours and dignities. But, although he had been made Constable of the Tower, the Earl was so impoverished that he found it necessary to realize money on his estate, and in 1488 ” the Manor of Notingbarons ” passed into the hands of William, Marquis of Berkeley, Great Marshall of England. By means of a somewhat secret transaction with Sir Reginald Bray, the Manor was then sold for four hundred marks to Margaret, Countess of Richmond and Derby, mother of the King. Probably ” Lady Margaret ” hoped in this way to ease the burdens of a staunch supporter of her son’s cause. Shortly after the purchase was completed this Manor, valued at £10 per annum, was joined with other properties in the county of Middlesex, making in all the ” yerely valow ” of £90.

These properties were conveyed by the Countess to the Abbot, Prior and Convent of Westminster, with the specification that after her death the income should be spent on masses for her soul in the Abbey Church of Westminster, and for the upkeep of the professor-ships which she had founded at Oxford, and in St. John’s and Christ’s Colleges, Cambridge. At the death of Lady Margaret in June 1509, in the midst of the Coronation festivities of her grandson, Henry VIII, these lands became the property of the Abbey, and were held by the Abbot ” as of his Manor of Paddington by fealty and twenty-two shillings rent.” When the Earl of Oxford had parted with the Manor of Knotting Barns in 1488 it comprised ” a messuage, 400 acres of land fit for cultivation, 5 acres of meadow, and 140 acres of wood in Kensington : 545 acres in all.”

Another 140 acres, forming the Norland Estate, and certain fields called North Crofts lying along the old Roman road, belonged to the Manor of Abbot’s Kensington. These lands with the Manor of Knotting Barns seem, practically, to have covered the irregular triangle of North Kensington. In a Deed of 1526, ” The Manor called Notingbarons, alias Kensington, in the Parish of Paddington ” is described as including ” dyvers lands and tenements in Willesden, Padyngton, Westburn and Kensington in the countie of Midd ; which maners, landes and tenements the said Princes late purchased of Sir Reynolde Bray, Knight.” Mr. Robins, see note 8, believed that all this land and more was included in the parish of Paddington. A simpler explanation seems to meet the case.

By the middle of the fifteenth century the forest in this part of Middlesex had almost disappeared, and was being replaced by pasture land, used either for grazing purposes or for hay. The scattered meadows, purchased to increase the property which Lady Margaret was about to place in the hands of the Abbot of Westminster, may well have been grouped together under the name of the principal farm, which was in Kensington, while the holder of the property lived in Paddington. This at least was the condition of affairs some thirty years later. All this is distinctly puzzling. Naturally there is also much variety in the forms of the name. Knottyng-hull, the steep hill on the high road, is mentioned a century earlier than the Manor House with its spacious barns which stood amidst the pastures to the north.

But in 1462 Knottyngesbernes is met with, and Knottinge Bernes in 1476, whilst the Manor appears as Notingbarons 1488, Notingbarns 1519, and Nuttingbars 1544. Other varieties occur later on.

After the death of Lady Margaret the Abbot promptly leased the Manor to a wealthy citizen of London described variously as Roper, Fenroper, Fenrother, etc. Alderman Robert Fenrother held the post of Sheriff in 1512 and again in 1516. A member of the Goldsmiths’ Company and a Yorkshireman, he owned estates in various parts of England, but lived in the heart of the City, and when he died in 1526 he was buried in the Church of St. John Zachary at the corner of Mayden Lane. The Wills of Robert and Juliana, his wife, afford much information on the life and surroundings of a rich and worthy merchant family in the early sixteenth century. The Fenrothers had three daughters, Audrey, otherwise Etheldreda, Julian and Margaret, the eldest of whom married Henry White, gent., who was a sheep farmer.

Notes from the Parish Church Registers, in Kensington Parish Magazine for 1884 and subsequent years, Mrs. Henley Jervis, who was an indefatigable investigator, came to the conclusion that in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries Kensington South as well as North was a wool-producing district.

At the time of their marriage, about 1518, Nottyng Barnes was given over to the young couple for their use, and was to become their property after the death of Mistress Fenrother. But, whereas in 1488 the Manor had covered 545 acres, in 1526 it was reckoned at 420 acres, though the value was still £10 per annum. It now consisted of 40 acres of arable land, 140 acres of meadow, 200 acres of wood, 20 acres of moor, 20 acres of furze and heath and 40 shillings rent. A farm-bailiff may have been put in charge of the Manor farm, for the Whites made their home at Westbourne or Westbourne Place – a house which stood on ground now covered by the Lock Hospital. This house was superseded by the handsome mansion of the same name built for himself by Isaac Ware in 1794.
Notting Barns Farm, about 1830.Adapted by E. Woolmer from an old drawing

Notting Barns Farm, about 1830.Adapted by E. Woolmer from an old drawing

In 1527, a year after his father-in-law’s death, ” Henrico White, pastur in padington ” in conjunction with William Person, obtained from Lord Sands, owner of Chelsea Manor, a lease for twenty-one years of the four pasture closes, or fields, adjoining Notting Barns, and covering the whole area of the detached portion of Chelsea. Up to the fourteenth century this had been forest land, known as Kingsholt in 1365. Before 1535 both Henry White, Esq., and his wife Etheldreda had died, probably from some infectious disease, and when Mistress Fenrother passed away at her house in Mincing Lane, early in the year 1536, Notting Barns with other estates was placed in trust for the orphan grandchildren, Robert, Frances, Albone, or Alban, and Elizabeth White, until they should marry or become of age. The young Whites lived on at Westbourne for another seven years.

An Ecclesiastical Valuation, carried out at the King’s command in 1535, had opened the eyes of Henry VIII to the extent and character of lands belonging to the Church, and he determined to seize this rich booty. First the smaller religious houses and then the larger monasteries were despoiled. By the year 1540, the Lady Margaret’s munificent gift to the Abbot and Convent of Westminster had become vested in the Crown, and the King, as owner of these lands, confirmed Robert Whyte, the eldest son of Henry White, in the ” messuage called Westbourne-place with certain lands therto belonging.” In 1541 Master Whyte attained his majority, and paid a tax of 15s. on his lands in Kensington.

Five years before this date the King had ousted Baron Sands from the Manor of Chelsea, and had granted him in exchange a Priory in Hamptonshire. In 1543 the Manor of Chelsea was assigned as a marriage portion to Catherine Parr. Robert White owned some house property in Chelsea, and the lease of the four fields granted to his father in 1527 had not yet expired. It may be that King Henry became aware of the attractions of Knotting Barns when examining into the titles of the proposed gift to his sixth bride, for, in that same year of 1543, Robert White was forced to surrender his lands and the home where he and his brother and sisters lived, and to accept instead the Manor of Overburgate. In the Deed of Exchange the transaction is thus described : ” Robert White, esquire, bargained and sold to the King his manor of Knotting Barns, in Kensington, with all messuages, cottages, mills, etc., to hold to the King, his heirs and successors, in exchange for the Manor of Over Burgate in the county of Southampton.”

Another deed states that ” The said Robert White, Esq., having bargained and sold the Manor of Nuttingbarnes, with the appurtenances in the county of Middlesex, and the farm of Nuttyng-barnes, in the parish of Kensyngton, and the capital messuage with the appurtenances called Westbourne in the parish of Paddington, in the same county, and also the wood and lands called Nuttyngwood, Dorkyns Hernes, and Bulfre Grove, in the parish of Kensington, as also two messuages and tenements in Chelsaye, with all other the possessions of the said Robert White, in the same places and parishes ; and in consideration of £106 5s. 10d. had other lands conveyed to him by the King.”

It has usually been taken for granted that the young Whites were defrauded of their home in order that the land might be added to the royal park then being formed on the north side of London, but these preserves ” sacred to the King’s owne disport and pastime,” do not appear to have extended so far to the west. In any case there is no record that Henry VIII hunted or hawked in the thickets of Kellsal Greene or Nuttyngwood. And in 1547 he died.

The description of the estate as given in the deeds of 1543 is most valuable. The spelling of the name of the Manor, in the parish of Kensington, differs in the two documents. The Farm of Nuttyngbarnes no doubt stood ” in the midst of meadows surrounded by spacious barns and outhouses,” as it was standing in 1800, and continued to stand until about 1880). It is shown on most of the maps, see also the illustrations on page 10. Both Lysons, 1792, and Faulkner, 1820, definitely state that the farm and the Manor House were one and the same. The wood called Nuttyngwood covered St. John’s Hill, and seems to have extended in the shape of a wedge between Northlands and North Crofts down to the old Roman road. This area would account for the 200 acres of wood mentioned in 1526. A few elms, known from the rings of growth to be over 250 years old, have survived till recently in the garden to the south-west of the church, and fields called Middle Wood and North Wood once occupied part of the hill.

The lands called Dorkyns Hernes and Bulfre Grove are less easy to trace, but some information is obtained from two lists of the fields belonging to Chelsea Outland, dated respectively 1544 and 1557. These four pasture closes possessed the quaint names of Darkingby Johes or Darking Busshes, Holmefield, Balserfield and Baudelands. Probably a man named Dorking, pronounced Darking, had owned the land, for Dorkinghernes, or Dorkyns corner (Middle English ” herne ” or ” hurne,” a corner), lay to the west of Darking Busshes and seems to have covered the most northern part of Kensington parish. A meadow called Sunhawes (” haw,” a hedgerow) occupied the slope with a southern aspect and abutted on ” the close of Nottingbarnes.” Covering the site of Westbourne Park Station was arable land called ” Downes.” ” Bulfre Grove ” may have been named after some private owner. Possibly this ” land ” abutted on the Norlands Estate, for it is not mentioned in connection with the Chelsea fields.

The messuages on the estate were Westbourne Place and the Manor farmhouse. The cottages will be referred to later. The mills have not been traced.

In these deeds of exchange no mention is made of the ” 20 acres of moor, and 20 acres of furze and heath ” which existed on the estate in 1526. Even now the fringe of Wormwood Scrubbs invades the north-west corner of Kensington. Rough uncultivated land was unimportant as compared with ” 140 acres of meadow.” Reading this description there is no doubt that the bleating of large flocks of sheep and the merry shouts of haymakers resounded on the slope now occupied by gas-works and a vast array of tombstones. In the year of Henry VIII’s death ” the messuage called Westbourne with the land purchased of Robert White ” was demised to one Thomas Dolte, at a rental of one hundred shillings a year. Some connection with Knotting Barns was maintained, for the Parish Registers show that on February 27, 1614, the bodies of two tramps : ” William, a poore boy, name unknown ” and ” Dorothy Daggers,” both of whom died in Westbourne Barne, were brought to Kensington for burial.

The Chelsea fields were already in other hands.

In 1549 Edward VI granted the Manor of Knotting Barns to Sir William Paulet, Lord St. John of Basing, a man seventy-four years of age, but who, shortly after this date, became Lord High Treasurer and Marquis of Winchester : ” that gallant Lord Treasurer of whom Queen Elizabeth playfully declared that, but for his age, she would have found it in her heart to have him for a husband before any man in England.” He held the Manor for thirteen years, until in 1562 ” being indebted in sundry sums to her Majesty ” he surrendered this and certain other properties. Elizabeth then granted Knotting Barns to William Cecil, Secretary of State, created Baron of Burghley (Burleigh) in 1570, and Lord High Treasurer on the death of the aged Marquis in 1572. There seems to be no authenticated account of either of these Lord Treasurers having lived in North Kensington. But a curious letter exists, dated 1586, in which Lord Burleigh describes his interview with a group of officers who were searching scattered houses between St. John’s Wood and Harrow for the fugitive Anthony Babington and other conspirators in the plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth and place Mary, Queen of Scots, on the throne. This interview may well have taken place at Lord Burleigh’s own farmstead of Knotting Barns. In any case the story proves that patches of forest remained, and that this part of the country was very secluded.

Lord Burleigh died in 1598. In March 1599 Sir Walter Cecil, Knight, as one of his trustees, sold the Manor for £2,000 to Walter Cope ” of the Strand.” But, as a debt on the estate was owing to Queen Elizabeth, a ” licence to alienate ” had to be obtained by Sir Thomas Cecil and Lady Dorothy, his wife, heirs of Lord Burleigh. Walter Cope also was obliged to pay £6 for a ” pardon.” This Walter, afterwards Sir Walter Cope, is a very important figure in local history. Between 1591 and 1610 he gained possession of almost the whole of the parish of Kensington, and built for himself the magnificent house first known as Cope’s Castle and afterwards as Holland House. But apparently he bought Notting Barns merely as a speculation, and, in November 1601, he sold it to Sir Henry Anderson for the sum of £3,400 ; this being a handsome profit on his expenditure of £2,006.

Sir Henry Anderson, Knight and Alderman, belonging to the Worshipful Company of Grocers, was Sheriff of London in the year 1601. He was a man of similar type to Robert Fenrother, though he was not so wealthy.Four years later he died leaving a son Richard, aged nineteen, as his heir.

In the Inquisition after the death of Henry Anderson, farms and a wood of 130 acres are mentioned, and the Manor was still held of the Crown by fealty and a rental of two or three pounds. ” A manservant ” died ” at Notting Barnes” in March 1603-4.. This death may have occurred during a visit of the family to their rural farmhouse. For, as there seem to be no entries relating to the Andersons in the Parish Registers, they cannot usually have made their abode in Kensington.

In 1675 a second Sir Richard Anderson was in possession, probably a son of the youth who succeeded to the estate in 1605.

These seventy years, beginning in the reign of James I and ending in that of Charles II, were years of stress and of great development in the life of the nation. At some time during this period the Manor of Knotting Barns ceased to belong to the Crown and became the property of the Andersons.

Yet, in 1672, when a Presentment of Homage was made by the tenants to the Lord of the Manor, the whole of the northern portion of the parish was included in Abbots Kensington, and Sir Richard appears as Freeholder of 400 acres. “ This,” writes Mr. Lloyd Sanders, “ is a curious illustration of the way in which the Great Rebellion had obliterated old memories.

Notting Hill is treated as if it formed an integral part of the Abbot’s Manor, which it never did, and among the freeholders appears Sir Richard Anderson, its owner. Possibly he did not care to assert manorial rights against his powerful neighbour at Holland House, who at that time was Robert Rich, Earl of Holland.”

With the Sir Richard Anderson of 1675 the olden times come to an end. For this reason the names of the known owners of the Manor down to the eighteenth century have been grouped together. From the beginning of the seventeenth century the population of Kensington increased rapidly.

About 1650 it became the custom to add the name of the district to the entry in the Parish Registers, and at once this “ Charter of the Poor Man,” as the Parish Registers have been called, provides information about the cottagers at Notting Barnes. Between 1650 and 1680 six young couples with the surnames of Brockards and “bronckard,” Ellis or Ells, King, Breteridge and Fell, brought infants to be “ baptised at the Font ” and some of the same children were buried in the churchyard. It must have been a risky proceeding to carry a baby of a few days old along muddy field paths all the way to Kensington Church.

Some delicate children were registered as baptised at home at “Noting-barns ” and also at “ Canselgreene ”; but it is quite evident that many births were not recorded. In the corresponding list of burials between the years 1654 and 1676 appear the names of Alse or Alice Welfare, Thomas Williams, Elizabeth Hihorne and Richard Whitte, each described as of Noting-barns, and Mary Davis, widow, who was buried from the house of Edward Fell. A pathetic little story can be built up round Daniel and Elissabeth King. An Elissabeth King, no doubt their baby daughter, died in I660. Her father died in the following year ;and after his death another little Elizabeth was born, who only survived for a few months. Then poor“ Widdo King ” took someone else’s baby into her desolate home, for a “ nurse child ” was buried from her cottage in 1663.

Just west of the detached portion of Chelsea, was a small collection of houses, the beginnings of the hamlet of Kensall or KellsellGreene.° These cottagers were chie?y “ parished in Wilsdon,” but in the middle of the seventeenth century four families are met with in the Registers of Kensington Church. Their names were Rippon, Shepparde, Cox and Beale. Each household possessed children, many of whom died in infancy. These families must have lived close to a crooked lane, the “ Way from Paddington to Harlestone ” (Harlesden). This ancient “ Horse Tract ” has become the Harrow Road, and forms the boundary between Kensington and Willesden. On the ?elds now covered by Kensal Green Cemetery there was a tenement with three acres of land, the freehold property in 1672 of a certain Widow Nichols. And at least one other little house stood on the south side of the boundary lane.

In the year 1820 Faulkner wrote,“ At Kensal Green is a very ancient public house, known by the name of the ‘ Plough,’ which has been built upwards of three hundred years ; the timber and joists being of oak, are still in good preservation.”

No doubt the oak joists came from the neighbouring woods. The “ Plough ” stands there yet, though,in the modern brick house at the junction of Ladbroke Grove and Harrow Road, there is little to remind the passer-by of the low-timbered building seen opposite,or the rustic charm of the more fanciful drawing on page 14. This wayside inn may go back as far as Faulkner suggests, for the Parish Registers show that “ Marget, a bastard childe, was borne in the Ploughe, and was baptised the 30th day of August, 1539-” A family named Ilford are said to have been landlords of the “ Plough ” for several generations.

It must be remembered that the information from the Parish Registers is over one hundred years later in date than the description of Knotting Barnes as given in the Deed of Exchange. After about 1680 there seems little to record for another hundred years of the northernmost part of the parish of Kensington.

Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Licence

Add your own contribution to Notting Hill in Bygone Days: Chenesitun and Knotting Barns.
Ensure that contributions are kept civilised and are not abusive.
We store your comment's IP address and reserve the right to apply bans where community standards are violated.
Please enter your name:
Enter the information you wish to add to Notting Hill in Bygone Days: Chenesitun and Knotting Barns:
Please prove that you are a human by typing the text that you see in the picture below.
Refresh Image
You can completely dispense with this CAPTCHA palava by logging onto our Facebook app.
Contribution type:

If you authorise our The Undeground Map Facebook app by clicking the Facebook logo at the top right of the screen, you can add stories, photos and more to this location.
Note that the Undeground Map Facebook app does not post to Facebook on your behalf.
William Salter
William Salter   
Added: 19 Apr 2018 23:42 GMT   
Post by William Salter: Wedlake Street Baths

The baths and the half penny steps can be seen in the 1962 film the Traitors

Ian Gammons
Ian Gammons   
Added: 3 Apr 2018 08:08 GMT   
Post by Ian Gammons: Pamber Street, W10

Born in Pamber Street but moved to Harlow, Essex in 1958 when I was three years old. The air wasn?t clean in London and we had to move to cleaner air in Harlow - a new town with very clean air!

Norman Norrington
Norman Norrington   
Added: 19 Jan 2018 14:49 GMT   
Post by Norman Norrington: Blechynden Street, W10

In the photo of Blechynden St on the right hand side the young man in the doorway could be me. That is the doorway of 40 Blechynden St.

I lived there with My Mum Eileen and Dad Bert and Brothers Ron & Peter. I was Born in Du Cane Rd Hosp. Now Hammersmith Hosp.

Left there with my Wife Margaret and Daughter Helen and moved to Stevenage. Mum and Dad are sadly gone.

I now live on my own in Bedfordshire, Ron in Willesden and Pete in Hayling Island.

Have many happy memories of the area and go back 3/4 times a year now 75 but it pulls back me still.

BRIAN WYBROW Ph.D. (Lond.)   
Added: 27 Dec 2017 14:48 GMT   
Post by BRIAN WYBROW Ph.D. (Lond.): Maxilla Gardens, W10

I lived at 11A Maxilla Gardens W10 (now partly gone, but what is left is called Maxilla Walk).
I have provided an account of life in Maxilla gardens on the following website; so, to avoid repetition, please visit this link:

Best wishes to all.


Mary Harris
Mary Harris   
Added: 19 Dec 2017 17:12 GMT   
Post by Mary Harris: 31 Princedale Road, W11

John and I were married in 1960 and we bought, or rather acquired a mortgage on 31 Princedale Road in 1961 for £5,760 plus another two thousand for updating plumbing and wiring, and installing central heating, a condition of our mortgage. It was the top of what we could afford.

We chose the neighbourhood by putting a compass point on John’s office in the City and drawing a reasonable travelling circle round it because we didn’t want him to commute. I had recently returned from university in Nigeria, where I was the only white undergraduate and where I had read a lot of African history in addition to the subject I was studying, and John was still recovering from being a prisoner-of-war of the Japanese in the Far East in WW2. This is why we rejected advice from all sorts of people not to move into an area where there had so recently bee

Message truncated Show whole message

Maria Russ
Maria Russ   
Added: 7 Dec 2017 09:46 GMT   
Post by Maria Russ: Middle Row Bus Garage

My mum worked as a Clippie out from Middle Row Bus Garage and was conductress to George Marsh Driver. They travel the City and out to Ruislip and Acton duiring the 1950’s and 1960’s. We moved to Langley and she joined Windsor Bus Garage and was on the Greenline buses after that. It was a real family of workers from Middle Row and it formed a part of my early years in London. I now live in New Zealand, but have happy memories of the early years of London Transport and Middle Row Garage.
Still have mum’s bus badge.

Happy times they were.

Julia elsdon
Julia elsdon   
Added: 22 Nov 2017 18:19 GMT   
Post by Julia elsdon: Shirland Mews, W9

I didn’t come from Shirland Mews, but stayed there when my father was visiting friends, sometime in the mid to late forties. As I was only a very young child I don’t remember too much. I seem to think there were the old stables or garages with the living accommodation above. My Mother came from Malvern Road which I think was near Shirland Mews. I remember a little old shop which had a "milk cow outside". So I was told, it was attached to the front of the shop and you put some money in and the milk would be dispensed into your container. Not too sure if it was still in use then. Just wonder if anyone else remembers it.yz5

David Jones-Parry
David Jones-Parry   
Added: 3 Oct 2017 13:29 GMT   
Post by David Jones-Parry: Tavistock Crescent, W11

I was born n bred at 25 Mc Gregor Rd in 1938 and lived there until I joined the Royal Navy in 1957. It was a very interesting time what with air raid shelters,bombed houses,water tanks all sorts of areas for little boys to collect scrap and sell them questions asked.A very happy boyhood ,from there we could visit most areas of London by bus and tube and we did.

Debbie hobbs
Debbie hobbs    
Added: 19 Sep 2017 09:08 GMT   
Post by Debbie hobbs : Raymede Street, W10


Susan Wright
Susan Wright   
Added: 16 Sep 2017 22:42 GMT   
Post by Susan Wright: Bramley Mews, W10

My Great Grandmother Ada Crowe was born in 9 Bramley Mews in 1876.

David Jones-Parry
David Jones-Parry   
Added: 7 Sep 2017 12:13 GMT   
Post by David Jones-Parry: Mcgregor Road, W11

I lived at 25 Mc Gregor Rd from 1938 my birth until I joined the Royal Navy in 1957.Our house sided onto Ridgeways Laundry All Saints Rd. I had a happy boyhood living there

Added: 20 Apr 2018 01:20 GMT   
Post by LDNnews: Shepherds Bush

Meghan wears Jackie O dress Commonwealth reception

Meghan wears Jackie O dress Commonwealth reception
’ target=’new’>

Added: 20 Apr 2018 01:20 GMT   
Post by LDNnews: Royal Oak

The Queen and Charles welcome world leaders for state dinner

The Queen welcomed world leaders to feast at Buckingham Palace for a State Dinner on Thursday. Several members of the royal family were in attendance, but Prince Harry was absent.
’ target=’new’>

Added: 19 Apr 2018 23:40 GMT   
Post by LDNnews: Royal Oak
The Guardian view on Stephen Lawrence: we owe his parents better | Editorial
The Guardian view on Stephen Lawrence: we owe his parents better | Editorial

Added: 19 Apr 2018 23:40 GMT   
Post by LDNnews: Shepherds Bush
Hammocks in the park: UK’s April sun in pictures
From clifftop strolls to punting in Cambridge, a selection of some of the sunniest moments from the UK and Ireland Continue reading...

Added: 19 Apr 2018 19:00 GMT   
Post by LDNnews: Earls Court
Anti-Semitism row overshadows Labour's battle for key local elections target Barnet
Jeremy Corbyn will be blamed if this open goal is squandered

The 1750 Rocque map is bounded by Sudbury (NW), Snaresbrook (NE), Eltham (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1750 map does not display.

The 1800 mapping is bounded by Stanmore (NW), Woodford (NE), Bromley (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1800 map does not display.

The 1830 mapping is bounded by West Hampstead (NW), Hackney (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Chelsea (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1830 map does not display.

The 1860 mapping is bounded by Brent Cross (NW), Stratford (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Hammermith (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1860 map does not display.

The 1900 mapping covers all of the London area.


 Upload an image
You can add an image to this location if you are logged into our Facebook app.
 Add new information to this location
You can add text to this location if you are logged into our Facebook app.
 Log on via Facebook
You can use a Facebook id to add material to this website.

Notting Hill in Bygone Days

Notting Hill in Bygone Days by Florence Gladstone, was originally published in 1924 by T. Fisher Unwin.

"Notting Hill in Bygone Days", though published in the 1920s, is still one of the best histories of the Notting Hill area, even if subsequent research has thrown doubt on some of the details.

Florence Gladstone defines Notting Hill "as the whole of that part of Kensington which is north of the road known as Notting Hill Gate".

The Underground Map has republished this out-of-copyright book.

Acklam Road Adventure Playground:   Acklam Road Adventure Playground was created in the 1960s.
All Saints Church:   All Saints church was designed by the Victorian Gothic revival pioneer William White, who was also a mountaineer, Swedish gymnastics enthusiast and anti-shaving campaigner.
Basing Street (SARM) Studios:   SARM Studios is a recording studio, established by Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records.
Holland Park:   Holland Park is a district, an underground station (and indeed a park) in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Horbury Chapel (Kensington Temple):   In September 1849, the Horbury Chapel, Notting Hill was officially opened.
Kensington Hippodrome:   The Kensington Hippodrome was a racecourse built in Notting Hill, London, in 1837, by entrepreneur John Whyte.
Kensington Park Hotel:   The KPH is a landmark pub on Ladbroke Grove.
Ladbroke Grove:   Ladbroke Grove is a road in the North Kensington/Notting Hill. Running from Notting Hill itself in the south to Kensal Green in the north, it straddles the W10 and W11 postal districts.
Ladbroke Square Garden:   Ladbroke Square communal garden lies in Notting Hill.
Luxurious sewers:   The effluent society
Mercury Theatre:   The Mercury Theatre was situated at 2a Ladbroke Road, next to the Kensington Temple.
North Kensington Library:   North Kensington Library opened in 1891 and was described as one of London’s finest public libraries.
Notting Hill:   Notting Hill: A place whose fortunes have come, gone and come again...
Notting Hill in Bygone Days:   Notting Hill in Bygone Days by Florence Gladstone, was originally published in 1924 by T. Fisher Unwin.
St John’s Hill:   St John’s Hill is the highest point in the area.
St John’s, Notting Hill:   St John’s Notting Hill is a Victorian Anglican church built in 1845 in Lansdowne Crescent, Notting Hill.
The Apollo:   The Apollo pub was located at 18 All Saints Road, on the southeast corner of the Lancaster Road junction.
The Bedford family at 3 Acklam Road:   From the 19th century up until 1965, number 3 Acklam Road, near the Portobello Road junction, was occupied by the Bedford family.
The Brittania:   The Brittania was situated on the corner of Clarendon Road and Portland Road, W11.
The Crown:   The Crown was situated at 57 Princedale Road.
The Tabernacle:   The Tabernacle is a Grade II*-listed building in Powis Square built in 1887 as a church.

Albert Hotel (1900s):   The Albert Hotel, on the corner of All Saints Road and Cornwall Road (now Westbourne Park Road).
Political meeting (1920s):   Meeting in front of the Junction Arms situated where Tavistock Road, Crescent and Basing Road met.

Addison Avenue, W11 · Airlie Gardens, W8 · Alba Place, W11 · All Saints Road, W11 · Ariel Way, W12 · Arundel Gardens, W11 · Aubrey Road, W8 · Aubrey Walk, W8 · Bangor Street, W11 · Basing Street, W11 · Blenheim Crescent, W11 · Boyne Terrace Mews, W11 · Bulmer Mews, W11 · Cambridge Gardens, W10 · Campden Hill Gardens, W8 · Campden Hill Place, W11 · Campden Hill Square, W11 · Campden Hill Square, W8 · Campden Hill Towers, W11 · Chepstow Crescent, W11 · Chepstow Villas, W11 · Clarendon Road, W11 · Clydesdale Road, W11 · Codrington Mews, W11 · Colville Gardens, W11 · Colville Houses, W11 · Colville Mews, W11 · Colville Road, W11 · Colville Square, W11 · Colville Terrace, W11 · Colville Terrace, W11 · Convent Gardens, W11 · Cornwall Crescent, W11 · Dale Row, W11 · Darnley Terrace, W11 · Denbigh Close, W11 · Denbigh Road, W11 · Denbigh Terrace, W11 · Dunworth Mews, W11 · Elgin Crescent, W11 · Elgin Mews, W11 · Evesham Street, W11 · Farm Place, W8 · Folly Mews, W11 · Freston Road, W11 · Golden Mews, W11 · Hayden’s Place, W11 · Hayden’s Place, W11 · Hayden’s Place, W11 · Hedgegate Court, W11 · Hillsleigh Road, W8 · Holland Park Avenue, W11 · Holland Park Mews, W11 · Holland Park Terrace, W11 · Holland Park, W11 · Holland Road, W11 · Holland Walk, W11 · Holland Walk, W8 · Horbury Crescent, W11 · Horbury Mews, W11 · Hunt Close, W11 · Kenley Street, W11 · Kensington Park Gardens, W11 · Kensington Park Mews, W11 · Kensington Park Road, W11 · Kingsdale Gardens, W11 · Ladbroke Gardens, W11 · Ladbroke Grove, W11 · Ladbroke Road, W11 · Ladbroke Square, W11 · Ladbroke Terrace, W11 · Ladbroke Walk, W11 · Lambton Place, W11 · Lancaster Road, W11 · Lansdowne Crescent, W11 · Lansdowne Cresent, W11 · Lansdowne Mews, W11 · Lansdowne Rise, W11 · Lansdowne Road, W11 · Lansdowne Walk, W11 · Ledbury Mews North, W11 · Ledbury Mews West, W11 · Ledbury Road, W11 · Lidbury Road, NW7 · Lonsdale Road, W11 · Lorne Gardens, W11 · Mcgregor Road, W11 · Needham Road, W11 · Nicholas Road, W11 · Norland Road, W11 · Norland Square, W11 · Olaf Street, W11 · Pembridge Crescent, W11 · Pembridge Gardens, W2 · Pembridge Mews, W11 · Pembridge Road, W11 · Pembridge Villas, W11 · Pencombe Mews, W11 · Penzance Place, W11 · Portland Road, W11 · Portobello Road, W11 · Pottery Lane, W11 · Powis Gardens, W11 · Powis Mews, W11 · Powis Square, W11 · Powis Terrace, W11 · Princedale Road, W11 · Princes Place, W11 · Queensdale Crecent, W11 · Queensdale Crescent, W11 · Queensdale Place, W11 · Queensdale Road, W11 · Queensdale Walk, W11 · Rifle Place, W11 · Rosehart Mews, W11 · Rosmead Road, W11 · Royal Crescent Mews, W11 · Royal Crescent, W11 · Royal Cresent Mews, W11 · Saint Anns Villas, W11 · Saint Luke’s Road, W11 · Saint Lukes Mews, W11 · Saint Marks Place, W11 · Silvester Mews, W11 · Simon Close, W11 · St Anns Villas, W11 · St James Gardens, W11 · St James’s Gardens, W11 · St James’s Gardens, W11 · St John’s Mews, W11 · St Lukes Mews, W11 · St Luke’s Mews, W11 · St Luke’s Road, W11 · St Mark’s Place, W11 · St. Johns Gardens, W11 · St. John’s Gardens, W11 · Stanley Crescent, W11 · Stanley Gardens Mews, W11 · Stanley Gardens, W11 · Swanscombe Road, W11 · Talbot Road, W11 · Tavistock Crescent, W11 · Tavistock Mews, W11 · Tavistock Road, W11 · Testerton Walk, W11 · Uxbridge Street, W8 · Vernon Yard, W11 · Victoria Gardens, W11 · Walmer Road, W11 · Wellington Close, W11 · West Cross Route, W11 · Westbourne Grove Mews, W11 · Westbourne Grove, W11 · Wilby Mews, W11 · Wilsham Street, W11 · Wycombe Square, W8 ·

Print-friendly version of this page


It’s Your Colville
Colville Community Forum
Ladbroke Association
Society for the Ladbroke Conservation Area
RBKC Library Time Machine
Blog from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Library
Old Notting Hill/North Ken History
Facebook group, covering the history of W10 and W11.
North Kensington Histories
Recollections of people from North Kensington, London
Notting Hill Gate
Facebook Page
Westbourne Park
Facebook Page
Ladbroke Grove
Facebook Page
Holland Park
Facebook Page
High Street Kensington
Facebook Page
The Notting Hill & North Kensington Photo Archive
Facebook group
Born in W10
Facebook group


Inner West London (1932) FREE DOWNLOAD
1930s map covering East Acton, Holland Park, Kensington, Notting Hill, Olympia, Shepherds Bush and Westbourne Park,
George Philip & Son, Ltd./London Geographical Society, 1932

Central London, north west (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Central London, north west.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)

Environs of London (1832) FREE DOWNLOAD
Engraved map. Hand coloured. Relief shown by hachures. A circle shows "Extent of the twopenny post delivery."
Chapman and Hall, London

London Underground Map (1921).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1921.
London Transport

The Environs of London (1865).  FREE DOWNLOAD
Prime meridian replaced with "Miles from the General Post Office." Relief shown by hachures. Map printed in black and white.
Published By J. H. Colton. No. 172 William St. New York

London Underground Map (1908).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1908.
London Transport

Ordnance Survey of the London region (1939) FREE DOWNLOAD
Ordnance Survey colour map of the environs of London 1:10,560 scale
Ordnance Survey. Crown Copyright 1939.

Outer London (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Outer London shown in red, City of London in yellow. Relief shown by hachures.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)

Unless a source is explicitedly stated, text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Articles may be a remixes of various Wikipedia articles plus work by the website authors - original Wikipedia source can generally be accessed under the same name as the main title. This does not affect its Creative Commons attribution.

Maps upon this website are in the public domain because they are mechanical scans of public domain originals, or - from the available evidence - are so similar to such a scan or photocopy that no copyright protection can be expected to arise. The originals themselves are in public domain for the following reason:
Public domain Maps used are in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.
This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighbouring rights.

This tag is designed for use where there may be a need to assert that any enhancements (eg brightness, contrast, colour-matching, sharpening) are in themselves insufficiently creative to generate a new copyright. It can be used where it is unknown whether any enhancements have been made, as well as when the enhancements are clear but insufficient. For usage, see Commons:When to use the PD-scan tag.