Name and etymology.
Norden supposes, that this place has been corruptly called
Edgware; its right name being Edgworth, which he defines,
a fruitful place upon the edge of the county (fn. 1) . But this etymology
appears to be very erroneous; for neither do the Saxon Glossaries
affix any such sense to the component parts of the word Edgworth,
nor does it seem clear that this place was ever so called. The most
ancient record in which I have seen it mentioned (for it does not occur in Doomsday-book) is of the age of Henry II. (fn. 2) In that, and every
subsequent record till the reign of Henry VIII. I have found it uniformly written Eggeswere. Since that time it has been spelt, as now,
Edgware. The Saxon word waer, is sometimes construed war,
and sometimes a sence. A certain large portion of land is called a
(fn. 3) . Perhaps one of these may furnish a derivation in some degree satisfactory.
Situation and boundaries.
Edgware lies upon the road (the ancient Watling-street) to St.
Alban's, at the distance of about eight miles from Tyburn-turnpike.
It had formerly a weekly market on Thursday, which has been for
some time discontinued (fn. 4) . The parish is bounded by Hendon on
the east, Kingsbury on the south, Elstree in Hertfordshire on the
north, and on the west by Little Stanmore or Whitchurch. All the
houses which form the west side of the street on the high-road, are
in the latter parish.
Extent, soil, &c.
The parish of Edgware contains about eighteen hundred acres of
land, of which not more than the twentieth part is arable. The soil
is clay. The quota paid towards the land-tax is 357l. 4s. 9d. which
in the year 1793 was at the rate of 2s. 3d. in the pound on land,
and 1s. 9d. on houses.
The first mention I find of the manor of Edgware is in the year
1171, when Henry Bocointe paid one mark into the King's Exchequer, that he might implead William de Reymes for that manor (fn. 5) .
Soon afterwards it belonged to Ela Countess of Salisbury, daughter
and heir of William D'Eureux, and wife of William Longespee, who
granted it to her son Nicholas and his espoused wife, to be held of her
by the service of a sparrow-hawk (fn. 6) . In the year 1295 Henry de Lacy,
Earl of Lincoln, who possessed this manor in right of his wife Margaret Countess of Salisbury, had a charter of free-warren therein (fn. 7) :
he died in 1311. The manor was then valued at 14l. 17s. 1½d.
per annum, and consisted of a grange, a hundred and sixty acres of
arable, two of meadow, and sixty of wood (fn. 8) . Alice, daughter and
heir of the last Earl of Lincoln, (of that family,) married Thomas
Earl of Lancaster who was beheaded in 1322 (fn. 9) . She afterwards became the wife of Eubulo Le Strange, to whom she is said to have
shown an improper partiality during the life of her first husband.
This second marriage having taken place without the King's consent,
Dugdale says, that all the lands which she held in capite were seized
by the crown (fn. 10) . I find, that in the year 1324, she surrendered this
manor to the King (fn. 11) , who appears to have granted it to her again
immediately (fn. 12) . In 1326 the grant was renewed to her and her husband (fn. 13) Eubulo Le Strange; and again, in 1331, with remainder to
his heirs general (fn. 14) . Eubulo Le Strange dying in 1335 (fn. 15) , Sir Roger
Le Strange, his next heir, granted the reversion of this manor, after
the death of the Countess of Lancaster, to Sir Nicholas Cantelupe,
with remainder to himself and his heirs. The Countess died in
1349 (fn. 16) , and Sir Nicholas in 1356 (fn. 17) . The manor of Edgware descended afterwards to Richard Le Strange, who inherited it on the
death of his grandfather Roger Le Strange, Lord of Knocking (fn. 18) ,
anno 1427, and in the year 1431 aliened it to William Darrell (fn. 19) , who
sold it again in the year 1443 to Thomas Chichele and others, as
trustees for All-Souls college in Oxford, then lately founded by Henry
Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury. The trustees immediately surrendered the manor to the crown, and had a fresh grant the same
year. It is still the property of the college. Dr. Bartlet, in the
reign of Henry VIII. purchased another estate in this parish, consisting of a house and fifty acres of land, which he settled on the college, together with some closes which had been appropriated to a chantry at All-Souls, and which were sold with the other chantry-lands (fn. 20)
Gilbert de Grauncestre held a hundred acres of land under the
manor of Edgware anno 1328, by the service of a pair of gilt spurs;
and William Page fifty acres, by the rent of a pound of cummin (fn. 21) .
Singular custom of the manor.
Sir William Blackstone says, that it was usual for the lord of this
manor to provide a minstrel or piper for the diversion of the tenants
while they were employed in his service. He refers to the manorrolls which are among the archives of All-Souls college; but does
not mention the year or period of the record. By permission of the
college, I examined the rolls, which are very numerous, to search
for that, or any other curious entries which might occur. I had not
the good fortune to find what Blackstone refers to; but there can be
no doubt of the fact upon his authority. A small piece of ground
in the parish still goes by the name of Piper's-green.
At a court held, anno 1551, two men were fined for playing at
cards and draughts (ad pictas chartas & tabulas). The next year
the inhabitants were presented for not having a tumbrel and cuckingstool. In 1558 a man was fined for selling ale at an exorbitant price,
viz. a pint and a half for a penny. In 1555 it was presented, that
the Butts at Edgware were very ruinous, and that the inhabitants
ought to repair them; which was ordered to be done before the ensuing Whitsuntide.
Manor of Edgware-Boys.
The manor of Boys, or Edgware-Boys, consisting of near three
hundred acres of land, belonged formerly to the priory of St. John
of Jerusalem (fn. 22) . By some grant or exchange it came to the dean and
chapter of Windsor, who, in the year 1483, granted it to the King
by the name of the manor of Edgware (fn. 23) . Henry VIII. anno 1544,
granted it to Sir John Williams and Anthony Stringer (fn. 24) , who aliened
it the same year to Henry Page, Esq. (fn. 25) In the year 1649 I find it
belonged to Lady Coventry, relict of the Lord-Keeper (fn. 26) . It continued in the Coventry family till sold by the present Earl, anno 1762,
to William Lee, Esq. son of the Lord Chief Justice, and father of
William Lee Antonie, Esq. the present proprietor.
Manor of Tidburst.
The reversion of an estate, consisting of some messuages, a carucate of land, twenty acres of meadow, and six of wood, described
as parcel of the manor of Tidburst, and lying within the parishes of
Edgware and Stanmore Parva, was granted (after the death of Elizabeth, wife of Sir Thomas Barre) to Robert Whitby Clerk and
others, and the heirs of the said Robert, with remainder successively
to Thomas Beaufort Duke of Exeter, John Earl of Somerset, Cardinal Beaufort, Joan Countess of Westmorland, and King Henry VI. (fn. 27)
King James granted the manors of Tidburst in Middlesex, and Kendall in Hertfordshire, being parcel of the duchy of Lancaster, to Robert Earl of Salisbury (fn. 28) . I have not been able to discover any traces
of this estate in the parish of Edgware. The manor of Kendall is
in the parish of Aldenham, about four miles from Edgware; it is
the property of William Phillimore, Esq. and is called the manor of
Tidburst and Kendall.
The prior and convent of St. Bartholomew in Smithfield had lands
in Edgware (fn. 29) .
Pictures at Mr. Godfrey's.
At Brockley-hill, in this parish, (situated about two miles from the
town, upon the Hertfordshire road, and commanding a very extensive prospect,) is a house formerly the property of—Sharpe,
Esq. Secretary to the Duke of Chandos, and now in the tenure of
William Godfrey, Esq. of Portman-square. In a handsome draw
ing-room, sitted up by Mr. Sharpe for the reception of the Duke and
some of the principal officers of state, who occasionally met at his
house, are some large pictures fastened into the pannels, and said to
have been a part of King Charles's collection. Among these is a
whole length of James I.; a portrait of a foreigner, said to be Gundomar; and a picture of two boys, by Murillo: there is a groupe of
portraits also of the Sharpe family; the person in the clerical habit is
Dr. Gregory Sharpe, Master of the Temple. On the staircase is a
head of Gibbs the architect, and some other portraits.
Monument of Randulph Nicoll.
The church, which stands near the middle of the town, by the
road-side, is dedicated to St. John of Jerusalem, and consists of a
chancel and nave, which are of brick, and were rebuilt about the
year 1764. At the west end is a low square tower embattled—an old
building of stone and flints. On the north wall of the chancel is a
monument (fn. 30) with the following inscription: "Randulphi Nicoll
Georg. fil. reliquiæ híc juxta positæ sunt, qui summo ingenio,
indefesso studio ætatem agens literis, maximum eruditionis thesaurum sibi comparavit, multarum linguarum præcipue orientalium
ipsiusque etiam Chinensis insignem nactus peritiam, exquisitâ scientiâ geometriæ, astronomiæ, geographic, chronologiæ, cæterarumque disciplinarum mathematicarum nemini secundus: physices aliarumque rerum omnium quævirum decerent polyhistora
longè doctissimus; quibus omnibus ad percipiendam colendamque
virtutem fæliciter usus. Summâ vitæ integritate morumque candore amicis charissimus vixit, desideratissimus obiit.—Natus in
proximâ viciniâ anno salutis partæ, 1595. Denatus quart. non.
Jan. 1658, híc sepeliri voluit."
On the south wall is the monument of the late curate William
Totton, M. A. who died in 1787. Within the rails is a brass figure
of an infant three weeks old, viz. "Anthonie, son of John Childe,"
1599; and the tomb of Samuel Smith, M. A. curate, who died in 1713.
On the south wall of the nave are the monuments of Robert Bayzand, surgeon, 1787; and Martha Rawling, widow, 1788. On the
floor are slat stones to the memory of Richard Haley, Gent. (1662);
Martha, relict of Robert King, Esq. of Catley in the county of Cambridge (1778); and Mrs. Elizabeth Finney (1789).
Over the gallery are the arms of William Lee Antonie, Esq. (fn. 31) at
whose charge it was built.
In the church-yard is the tomb of Mr. John Wiblin, who died in
1774, aged 98.
Rectorial tithes and patronage.
The patronage of the church or chapel of Edgware, has always
been annexed to the manor of Boys, to the owner of which the rectorial tithes are impropriated. Among the reprises of that manor,
anno 1398, are enumerated the following: "A house and garden for
the chaplain, with a salary of 33s. 4d. and the alterage or small
tithes; consecrated bread for Easter, 6d.; bread, cheese, and ale
at Boys on the rogation days, 3s. 4d.; and bread and wax for the
celebration of mass, 3s. 4d. (fn. 32)
The benefice is a donative or curacy, endowed from time immemorial with the tithes of hay, and all vicarial profits. Mr. John
Jones augmented it with the rent of three houses in Hosier-lane,
Smithfield. Randulph, or Randall Nicoll, Esq. gave 1l. Is. for an
annual sermon. The commissioners appointed by Cromwell to inquire into the state of ecclesiastical benefices, reported, that it would
be advisable to consolidate this parish with Little Stanmore (fn. 33) ; but the
junction never took place. The sum of 30l. per annum was voted
as an augmentation to this curacy in 1657 (fn. 34) .
Francis Coventry, curate of this place, was author of a well-known
romance called The Life of Pompey the Little; and wrote a poem
called Penshurst, printed in Dodsley's Collection. He died of the
small-pox in the year 1759 (fn. 35) .
The present incumbent is the Rev. Thomas Martyn, well known
for his useful publications in botany, and Regius professor of that science in the University of Cambridge. He succeeded his father, the celebrated John Martyn, F.R.S. in the professorship, and was presented
to this curacy in 1787, on the death of Mr. Totton.
Comparative state of population.
There is no parish register now extant of an earlier date than 1717.
||Average of baptisms.
||Average of burials.
The present number of houses, exclusive of the alms-houses, is
Extracts from the Register.
Instances of longevity.
"May 30, 1721. Thomas Johnson buried, aged 92."
Mr. Richard Fuller is said to have died at Edgware, April 1, 1785,
aged 100 (fn. 36) .
Marriage of Bishop Cony bear.
"June 6, 1733. John Conybeare, D. D. (fn. 37) and Dean of Ch. Ch.
in Oxon, married to Jemima Juckes of St. Leonard's, Shoreditch,
An alms-house for four poor women was founded by Samuel Atkinson, (a native of this parish,) in the year 1680, and endowed
with an estate in Oxfordshire, now let at 20l. per annum.