|Church Farmhouse Museum Gardens||Barnet|
Church Farmhouse, situated next to Hendon parish church, is one of the oldest surviving houses in Barnet, built c1660 with C18th/early C19th additions. It was in use as a farm until 1944 when it was purchased by Hendon Borough Council. The house was restored and opened as a museum in 1955, and in its grounds are vestigial features of an earlier garden, including at the back a pond, mature yews, horse chestnut and fruit trees, and four beds adjacent to the central pathway. The garden abuts the graveyard of St Mary's Church on one side.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/07/2000
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Church Farmhouse Museum, Front garden, July 2000. Photo: S Williams
Click photo to enlarge.
Church Farmhouse is one of the oldest surviving houses in Barnet, a brick-faced manorhouse built c1660 with a tiled roof and an C18th/early C19th wing projecting on the east side. Between 1688 and 1780 it was owned by farmers called Kempe, and it remained a busy dairy and hay making farm under various owners. Across the road from Church Farmhouse is the former Milking Parlour with its curious apse-shaped hayloft. Church Farm was the childhood home of Mark Lemon, first editor of 'Punch'.
In 1944 Hendon Borough Council purchased Church Farmhouse.The building was restored in 1954 and opened as a Museum in 1955, the ground floor laid out as it would have been in the C18th and early C19th, including a furnished 1820s kitchen with bake oven and a panelled 1850s dining room. The grounds behind the house consist of a small enclosed grass plot abutting the graveyard of St Mary's Church (q.v.) on one side. There are vestigial features of an earlier garden, including a pond, mature yews, horse chestnut and fruit trees, and four beds adjacent to the central pathway. To the rear of the garden the land slopes away steeply and steps give access to the rolling open space of Sunny Hill Park (q.v.), which was established over what was formerly farmland. In front of the house is a small garden with lavender and other planting, with a path leading to the porch.
The grounds behind the house are on undulating land, with 4 formal beds with roses and lavender, set in crazy paving with a path leading to seats. One bench was placed here in 1978 in memory of Bob Kennedy, Area Officer, by 'the Gardeners of the London Borough of Barnet'. The site is predominantly set to lawns with various trees, and has good views over Sunny Hill Park, which is reached by a series of stone steps. The grounds are separated from St Mary's churchyard by hedging; in the western corner is a pond, much overgrown but pleasantly so with bulrushes, next to which is a small well, probably installed on the site when the house and grounds were purchased by Hendon Borough Council and restored.
Arthur Mee 'The King's England: London North of the Thames except the City and Westminster' (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 1972); Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); Museum information sheets