Situation, boundaries, extent, &;c.
This place, which in Saxon records is called Willesdune, or
Wellesdune (fn. 1) , lies in the hundred of Ossulston: the church is
nearly five miles distant from Tybourn turnpike. The parish is
bounded by Kingsbury, Hendon, Hampstead, a detached part of Chelsea, Paddington, and Harrow. It is computed that it contains about
3400 acres of land; the quantity of arable and pasture is always varying, but the proportion of grass land is by much the greater. The soil
is for the most part clay in the low lands, and in the high lands gravel.
The quota paid by parishes of Wilsdon and West Twyford jointly to the land-tax, is 7281. which is at the rate of about 2s. in the
The principal hamlets in this parish are Neasdon, Harleston, or
Holdsdon Green, and Church End.
King Athelstan either gave or confirmed to the church of St.
Paul's ten manses at Neosdune, with the manor of Willesdune (fn. 2) .
This manor is described in the survey of Doomsday, as parcel of the
ancient property of that church, and is said to contain 15 hides (fn. 3) .
It was appropriated to the purpose of furnishing provisions for the
refectory, and was all demised to tenants, the canons reserving no
part of it in demesne. This manor I suppose was afterwards subdivided, and became the corps of several prebends belonging to the
cathedral, since there are now no less than five distinct manors in this
parish, which are held either by prebendaries of St. Paul's, or their
Prebendal manor of Wilsdon, or Bounds.
The prebendal manor of Wilsdon or Bounds was leased in the year
1560 to Robert Weston, Dean of the Arches (fn. 4) . Some time previously to the civil war a lease was granted for three lives to John
Awborne (fn. 5) . When the church lands were put up to sale, in 1649,
this manor was purchased by Ezekiel Tanner (fn. 6) . The first lease I
have any account of after the Restoration is in 1697, for the lives of
Francis Heath, of Greenford, his wife Anne, and Leonard Henchman (fn. 7) . Ann Heath, in the year 1720, conveyed her interest in the
lease to Thomas Wood, Esq. of Littleton (fn. 8) , and Mr. Wood, in 1721,
to Mr. John Miles, of Hampstead, who, in 1737, conveyed the reversion, after his own life, to Sir John Lade, Bart. The lease was
renewed in 1761 and 1778 (fn. 9) . In 1784 it was assigned by the
present Sir John Lade to Mr. Foster, coach-maker in Long-acre,
and in 1788 was purchased of trustees acting under his will,
by Dame Sarah, relict of Sir Thomas Salusbury. A court-leet and
a court-baron are held for this manor, which extends over a considerable part of the parish. The demesne lands are about 160 acres (fn. 10) ;
the manor-house is near Kilbourn turnpike. The estate was valued
in 1649 at 156l. 7s. 5d. per annum. The reserved rent is 12l.
Prebendaries of Wilsdon.
The most eminent divines who have held this prebend are Henry
Mason (author of various devotional and theological works), who resigned in 1637 (fn. 11) , and his successor Samuel Hoard, author of several
sermons, and a tract called "God's Love to Mankind manifested
by disproving his absolute Decree for their Damnation (fn. 12) ." The
present prebendary is the Rev. Charles Sturges, M. A. who was collated by Bishop Terrick in 1768.
Prebendal manor of Neasdon.
The prebendal manor of Neasdon was on lease to the Roberts
family for some time previously to the civil war, and was purchased
upon the sale of church-lands by Sir William Roberts, the lesse (fn. 13) .
There are no demesnes now belonging to it.
The present prebendary of Neasdon is Thomas Jackson, D. D.
one of the canons residentiary, who was collated to it in 1792.
Prebendal manor of Broomsbury, or Brandsbury.
The prebendal manor of Broomsbury, or Brandsbury, was leased in
the year 1638 to Edward Roberts, Esq. for three lives (fn. 14) . In 1649
it was purchased by Ralph Davies and others (fn. 15) . At the Restoration
the former lessees were reinstated. This manor was for a considerable time held on lease by the Marsh family. Mr. Ralph Marsh
assigned his interest in two thirds of it, anno 1749, to John Stace, Esq. (fn. 16)
by whom this share was made over to Joseph Gibson, Esq. in 1765.
In 1777 Mr. Gibson conveyed it to William Cowley, Esq. Mr. Cowley to Mrs. Elizabeth Craswell in 1779, and the latter in 1782 to
Mr. John Millet, who being declared a bankrupt in 1784, it was purchased of his assignees by Lady Salusbury in 1788. The remaining
third part was conveyed by Ralph Marsh, in the year 1708, to Lydia,
wife of Richard James, and Eliz. Baker her sister; after the death of
Richard James, his widow Lydia married Denington Bradley; she had
issue a daughter, by each of her husbands; but Lydia, her daughter
by James, died unmarried, and left her interest in the estate to Margaret Bradley, who married Edward Wife. Elizabeth Baker married
Thomas Marsh, and after his death Philip Oyles. Mr. Oyles, by will
(1748), left his interest in the lease to John Marsh, his son-in-law,
who, in 1758, conveyed it to Edward Wife. The whole of this
third part being vested in the Wises, was purchased of that family by
Lady Salusbury in 1790. This manor was valued at 111l. 5s. 11d.
per annum in 1649. The demesne lands are about 210 acres; the
reserved rent 11l. 3s. 4d.
Prebendaries of Brandsbury.
Matthew Hutton (afterwards Archbishop of York) was collated to
this prebend anno 1562; Richard Bancrost (afterwards Bishop of
London) 1589 (fn. 18) . The present prebendary is N. R. Baldwin, M. A.
collated in 1792, on the resignation of East Apthorpe, D. D. author
of Letters on the prevalence of Christianity, &;c. &;c.
Prebendal manor of Mapesbury.
The prebendal manor of Mapesbury (fn. 19) was demised, anno 1628, to
Richard Bancrost, for three lives. In 1649 it was sold to James
Noell, citizen of London (fn. 20) . The lease of this manor was vested, for
many years, in the Marsh family. It was purchased by Charles
White, Esq. who bequeathed it to Captain Hyatt for his life (fn. 21) ; and
after his decease, to his nephew, John White, Esq. who is the present
The demesne lands of this manor are about 310 acres (fn. 22) . The
reserved rent is 20 l. The manor-house is near Kilbourn.
Prebendaries of Mapesbury.
William Packington, prebendary of Mapesbury, is supposed to
have been the same person who was secretary to Edward the Black
Prince, and wrote his life, and the History of the Kings of England
from the reign of King Richard I. (fn. 23) John Arundel (afterwards
Bishop of Chichester) was collated to this prebend in 1456; John
Bothe (afterwards Bishop of Exeter) in 1463; Samuel Harsnett
(afterwards Archbishop of York) in 1598 (fn. 24) . The present prebendary
is Richard Beadon, D. D. Lord Bishop of Gloucester, who was collated by Bishop Terrick in 1775.
Prebendal manor of Chambers, or Chamberlain-wood.
The prebendal manor of Chambers, or Chamberlain Wood, was
leased in 1627 to Francis Roberts, Esq. for three lives, and in 1649
was purchased by Sir William Roberts, Knt. in whom the lease was
then vested (fn. 25) . It is now held by William Godfrey, Esq. whose
father purchased the lease of Mr. Robert Steele in 1761 (fn. 26) .
The demesne lands of this manor are 42 acres, according to the
survey taken by order of parliament in 1649. The reserved rent
is 7 l.
Prebendaries of Chamberlain-wood.
William Bothe (afterwards Archbishop of York) was collated to
this prebend in 1443; William Knight (afterwards Bishop of Bath
and Wells) in 1517; Cuthbert Scott (afterwards Bishop of Chester)
in 1554; and Nicholas Felton (afterwards Bishop of Ely) in 1616 (fn. 27) .
The present prebendary is the Rev. William Gibson, M. A. collated
by Bishop Lowth in 1781.
Prebendal Manor of Harleston.
The manor of Herulvestone (now Harleston), in Wilsdon, is described in the survey of Doomsday (fn. 28) as containing 5 hides, parcel of
the ancient demesnes of the canons of St. Paul's. This manor, the
demesnes of which are very small, is now annexed to the prebend
of Harleston in St. Paul's cathedral. In 1593 it was leased to Francis
Roberts, Esq. for three lives. In 1649, when the church lands
were put up to sale, it was purchased by Sir William Roberts, the
only survivor in the lease (fn. 29) . This manor has been held for a considerable time by the family of Tayler. The lease is now vested in
Mrs. Tayler, relict of the late Robert Tayler, Esq. of Charltonhouse, near Sunbury. The reserved rent paid to the prebendary is 2l.
Adam Merimouth, a writer of English history, had this prebend
in the 14th century; Nicholas Harpesfield, an eminent divine and
miscellaneous writer, was collated to it in 1554; Antonio Corano,
author of a Spanish grammar, and various critical and theological
works, in 1582 (fn. 30) ; Dr. Jortin, an eminent writer of the present century, in 1762. The present prebendary is Joseph Warton, D. D.
(author of an Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope, a translation of part of Virgil, &;c.) collated by Bishop Lowth in 1782.
Prebend of Oxgate.
The corps of the prebend of Oxgate is in this parish. It was purchased by Sir William Roberts in 1649; but I cannot find from the
parliamentary surveys of that date, or by other inquiries, what it
consists of, or that there is any reserved rent paid to the prebendaries.
William de Wykham (afterwards Bishop of Winchester) was instituted to this prebend in 1361. Polydore Virgil, the historian, was
collated to it in 1513; William Sancrost (afterwards Archbishop
of Canterbury) in 1664; John Tillotson (who succeeded Archbishop Sancroft in the see of Canterbury), in 1674 (fn. 31) . The present
prebendary is the Rev. Henry Greene, collated by Bishop Terrick
Manor of East Twyford.
Durandus, a canon of St. Paul's, who was also prebendary of East
Twyford, held a manor in that hamlet of the king, which is described
in the survey of Doomsday as containing two hides (fn. 32) . In the year
1640, Robert Lee, Esq. aliened the manor of East Twyford, consisting of three houses, 100 acres of arable land, 80 of meadow, 200
of pasture, 50 of wood, with free fishery in the river Brent, to John
Hooker and his heirs (fn. 34) . It is now the property of Charles Brett, Esq.
who married an heiress of the Hooker family.
Prebend of East Twyford.
The corps of the prebend of East Twyford is said by Newcourt to have been in this parish; but there is no estate now belonging to it.
Thomas Cartwright (afterwards Bishop of Chester) was collated
to this prebend in 1665. The present prebendary is the Rev. Henry
Waring, who succeeded John Mangey, M. A. in 1782.
Manor of Malorees, or Malurees.
In the year 1354, William Northwell released the manor of Malorees or Malurees (in the parishes of Wilsdon, Paddington, Chelsea, and
Fulham) to Bartholomew Lord Burghershe, who the same year
granted it to John Pecche, citizen and clothier (fn. 35) , who died seised of
it in 1379, leaving Sir William Pecche, his son and heir (fn. 36) . In the
year 1412, John Pecche, grandson, it is probable, of John abovementioned, granted the reversion, after the death of William Constantyn and his wife (to whom he had before, made a grant for the
term of their lives), to Elias Davy (fn. 37) . After various deeds of trust
and mortgage, it was conveyed by William Crowmere and others to
Thomas Chichele and others, who surrendered it to Henry the
Sixth. The King granted it immediately to the warden and
fellows of All Souls college in Oxford, to which society it still
The manor or farm of Malorees is described in the records just
quoted, as consisting of some houses and about 120 acres of land:
certain fields bearing that name are now held under All Souls college
by William Godfrey, Esq.
In the year 1344, Robert de Woodhouse held a messuage, 200
acres of arable land, 2 of meadow, and 10 of wood, in Wilsdon, of
the dean and chapter of St. Paul's (fn. 39) .
Sir John Franklyn.
The parish church, dedicated to St. Mary, is an ancient gothic
structure, consisting of a chancel, nave, and south aisle, with circular
pillars and pointed arches. On the south wall of the chancel is the
monument of Richard Franklyn, Esq. (fn. 40) . 1615; on the east wall, that
of Sir John Franklyn, Knt. (fn. 41) . 1647; and on the north wall, those of
of John Barne (fn. 42) , Esq. 1615, and Francis Roberts (fn. 43) , Esq. 1631. On
the floor are the tombs of William Lichefeld, LL. D. residentiary of
St. Paul's and vicar of Wilsdon, 1517; Edmund Roberts, Esq. (fn. 44) .
1585; Jeane, daughter of Richard Langton, Gent, and wife of John
Barne, Esq. (with a figure in brass of the deceased) 1609; and
General Otway (fn. 45) , 1764. In the nave are the tombs of Anne, wife of
Thomas Benning, Gent. 1658; Elizabeth, wife of Frances Brende
of West Moulsey, and daughter of John Pawlett, 1667; Mary, wife
of William Hawkins, and daughter of Thomas Roberts, Esq. 1726;
and Charles Eatton, Captain in the horse-guards, 1735. In the window of a chapel at the east end of the south aisle, are the arms and
quartering of Roberts, in stained glass (fn. 46) . On the east wall is the
monument of Richard Paine, Esq. (fn. 47) . aged 95, who had been gentleman pensioner to five princes, ob. 1606. On the floor are the tombs
of Sir William Roberts, Bart, æt. 50, 1687; Sir William Roberts, Bart.
æt. 39, 1698; and William Roberts, Esq. (the date concealed by a pew.)
Wilsdon [Willesden] Church
In the church-yard are the tombs of Mr. Ralph Marsh, of Brands,
1709; Mary his daughter, the wife of the Rev. Mr. Vallintine,
1733; Mr. John Sawcer, 1729; Charles White, Esq. of Mapes (no
date); Elizabeth, wife of William Richardson, Esq. of the East
India-house, 1788; and Ann, daughter of Michael Terry, Esq. of
The rectory of this place has been from time immemorial appropriated to the dean and chapter of St. Paul's, who are patrons of the
vicarage. In 1217, the dean and chapter granted the rectory for
life to the archdeacon, he paying 10 marks per annum (fn. 48) . The
Pawlet family were lessees during the greater part of the last century (fn. 49) .
Elizabeth, daughter and heir of John Pawlet, Esq. married Francis
Brende, Esq. who was lessee in 1694 (fn. 50) . The lease was purchased
about the beginning of the present century by Charles Eatton, Esq. (fn. 51) .
whose daughter and heir Maria married General Otway. It is now
vested in Miss Mary Caroline Wynyard, daughter of General Wynyard, by Sophia, daughter of General Otway. The reserved rent is
18l. it was formerly 14l. and a boar valued at 4l. (fn. 52) . In 1327, the
rectory was taxed at 18 marks (fn. 53) . In 1650 it was valued at 300l. per
annum (fn. 54) .
The vicarage is endowed with the small tithes, a house and garden, a virgate and 12 acres of land, as is particularly described in
an ancient terrier among the records in the chapter-house at St.
Paul's (fn. 55) . The vicarage is rated in the King's books at 14l.; in 1650
it was valued at 40l. (fn. 56) . In 1652, 50l. per annum was voted as an
augmentation for Edward Perkins, then vicar (fn. 57) . The present vicar
is William Clarke, M.A. who was collated on the death of Moses
Wight, M. A. in 1795.
The earliest date of the parish register is 1569; it is imperfect
during the later part of the 16th century, and in some years of a
Comparative state of population.
||Average of Baptisms.
||Average of Burials.
The present number of houses is about 130.
In 1603 there were 13 burials; in 1625, 14; in 1665, 35.
Extracts from the Parish Register.
Family of Glover.
"Thomas Glover, Knt. and Jane, daughter of Mr. Francis Roberts, married Oct. 9, 1605; Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas
Glover, baptized Aug. 4, 1608; Frances, Oct. 2, 1609 (buried
Ap. 12, 1610); William, baptized Dec. 17, 1610; Thomas, Ap. 23,
1612 (buried May 30); Mary, baptized Aug. 4, 1614; Elizabeth, Oct. 5, 1615; Frances, daughter of Lady Glover (buried
Dec. 23, 1616."
"Sir James Stonehouse (fn. 58) and Ann Barnsdall, married Oct. 23,
Family of Franklyn.
"Sir John Smyth, Knt and Mary Franklyn, married Mar. 3,
1616–7 Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Franklyn, baptized
Jan. 29, 1628; Richard his son, July 20, 1630; John, Nov. 30,
1631; Elizabeth, buried Aug. 28, 1632; George, baptized
March 10, 1633; Mary, Ap. 15, 1634; Edward, Mar. 22,
1635 (buried Jan. 7, 1638); James, baptized Mar. 27, 1636
(buried Dec. 16, 1656); Frances, baptized Mar. 27, 1638; William, Feb. 21, 1639 (buried May 2, 1640); Edward, baptized
July 26, 1640; Jane, Sep. 12, 1641; another William, buried
Jan. 7, 1643; Henry, buried Oct. 19, 1660; Lady Elizabeth
Frankly, buried Nov. 21, 1660; Sir Richard Franklyn, Sep. 16,
"Laureola, daughter of Sir Thomas Panton, baptized Jan. 2,
"The Lady Elizabeth Sanders, wife of Sir John, buried Dec. 6,
1628. "Daughter of Francis Roberts, Esq.
Family of Roberts.
Sir William Roberts.
"Edmund, son of Sir William Roberts, baptized July 23,
1625; William, June 9, 1628 (buried June 14); Mary, baptized
Sep. 27, 1629; John, baptized May 19, 1631 (buried Aug. 6.);
Anne, baptized Sep. 21, 1632; June, Ap. 7, 1634; Frances,
Mar. 8, 1635; William, May 4, 1637; William, June 24,
1638; Elizabeth, Sep. 22, 1639; Eleanor, Aug. 8, 1641;
Thomas, July 6, 1645; Francis, Nov. 29, 1646; Richard,
Ap. 9, 1648:—Thomas Harrison, Esq. and Mrs. Mary Roberts, married June 27, 1649; Samuel Gibbs, Esq. and Jane
Roberts, married Feb: 11, 1651; John Nelthorpe, Esq. (fn. 59) and
Mrs. Anne Roberts, married Mar. 15, 1653; William, son of
John Nelthorpe, Esq. and Anne, baptized June 10, 1654; John,
born Sep. 12, 1655; Eleanor, born Nov. 2, 1656; another John,
Mar. 2, 1658 (buried July 21, 1659); a third John, baptized
Aug. 19, 1666; Sir William Roberts, buried Sep. 27, 1662." He
was one of the commissioners to try Charles I. and was one of the
representatives of the county of Middlesex in the parliament which
gave Cromwell the title of Protector. He was afterwards called by
him to the Upper House (fn. 60) . Sir William Roberts lived in a mansionhouse at Neasdon, which, according to a tradition (for which there is
no other ground, it is most probable, than some occasional visit) was
the residence of Oliver Cromwell. "Luke Cordwell, Esq. and Eleanor Roberts, married Nov. 17, 1664; Sir William Roberts, Bart. (fn. 61)
buried Mar. 18, 1688; Sir William Roberts, Bart. May 18, 1698."
"Anthony Crafts, Esq. and the Lady Mary Smith, married
July 16, 1633."
"Basil Visct Fielding (fn. 62) , and the Lady Elizabeth Bourchier,
daughter to the Earle of Bathe (fn. 63) , married July 8, 1641."
"The Lady Pleydell, buried March 21, 1654." Wife of Sir
Charles Pleydell, Knt. daughter of Sir John St. John, and relict of
Robert Atye, Esq.
Instances of longevity.
"William, son of Ld Visct Howard, buried May 19, 1659."
William Franklyn, aged 107 years, buried March 10, 1627–8."
"Esther Wright, aged 92, buried Feb. 5, 1777; Hughes Dunstan, aged 96, Sep. 2, 1781; Anne Cutler, aged 90, Nov. 6,
John de la Dune, son of William de Hulm, of Harleston, gave
a piece of land, six perches in length and one in breadth, to the
church of St. Mary, Wilsdon (fn. 64) . Thomas de Blic, of Neasdon, gave
half an acre (fn. 65) . I suppose these lands to be the parish close, now let
at 2l. 10s. per annum.
Sir Thomas Pollet, before the reformation, gave a house and
garden to this parish, for the purpose of finding a sheep or wether and a calf, and as much bread and drink as convenient to eat
the same with, to be eaten and distributed among the poorest of
the parish at his obit
(fn. 66) . This benefaction was lost at the reformation, as connected with a superstitious custom. William Barber
had given also before the reformation, a rent-charge of 6s. 8d. for
a light in the church and masses. The parish had a house in
the church-yard anno 1547, valued at 16s. 8d. per annum (fn. 67) .
Benefaction still enjoyed.
Rent-charge in consideration of a sum of money given by the Council of State.
Francis Roberts, Esq. in 1624, gave a rent charge of 40s. (on
lands in Wilsdon), to the poor (fn. 68) ; this was confirmed, in 1661, by
Sir William Roberts, who, having in his hands the sum of 1601.
given through his interest to this parish by the Council of State out
of the duties on coals, settled in lieu there of a rent-charge of 8l. on
lands at Wilsdon-green, to purchase coals for the poor; the owner of
his capital mansion at Neasdon (fn. 69) , for the time being, is to nominate
the proper objects (fn. 70) . The parish enjoys also a rent-charge of 1l.
per annum, issuing from a house at Kensington; but I could not
procure the name of the benefactor.
Inventory of goods and ornaments of the church.
Two masers for brideales.
An inventory of the goods and ornaments belonging to Wilsdon
church, anno 1251, mentions, among others, a scarlet banner, with
a figure of the Virgin Mary of cloth of gold, the gift of J. the vicar,
and two large images of the Virgin. In an inventory of later date,
about 1547, mention is made of "two masers that were appointed
to remayne in the church for to drynk yn at brideales."