Hadley Green is an ancient tract of commonland now bisected by roads. The land was secured as public open space for the people of Hadley parish in 1818. It is reputedly the site of the Battle of Barnet in the War of the Roses when the Earl of Warwick died with many of his men on Easter Sunday 1471. This historic occasion is marked by an obelisk erected in 1740 but moved further north of its original position in 1840. Houses were increasingly built around the Green from the C17th, and from 1770-1938 the Hadley Brewery was situated adjacent to Brewery Pond, one of five ponds on Hadley Green.
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Hadley Green, Obelisk commemorating Battle of Barnet, August 2000. Photo S Williams
Click photo to enlarge.
A mile or so up the Great North Road from High Barnet is Hadley Green, an ancient tract of commonland now bisected by roads. The land is registered under the Commons Registration Act of 1965 and was secured as public open space for the people of Hadley parish in 1818. This was reputedly the site of the famous Battle of Barnet in the War of the Roses when the Earl of Warwick, known as The Kingmaker, died with many of his men in the fighting 'in heavy mist before dawn' on Easter Sunday 1471. This historic occasion, which led to Edward IV's success over Henry VI who was murdered on 21st May, is marked by a Portland stone obelisk, which was erected in 1740 by Sir Jeremy Sambrooke of nearby North Mimms. The obelisk was moved to its present site in 1840, some 200 yards further north of its original position.
The settlement here grew up around St Mary's Church (q.v.) near which on Hadley Green Road are the old Wilbraham Almshouses, founded in 1612 by Sir Roger Wilbraham. In the C17th and C18th houses were increasingly being built around the Green, a number of which had notable residents. Dr Livingstone stayed in a cottage here in 1857 where he wrote 'Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa' before his return to Africa in 1858; his daughter erected a plaque on the house in 1913 to mark the centenary of his birth. The grandfather of William Thackeray lived in Hadley Green, and Thackeray's cousin was Rector of St Mary's Church (q.v.). Anthony Trollope's sister moved here briefly in 1836 before dying of consumption. From 1770 until 1938 the Hadley Brewery brewed here in buildings adjacent to one of the 5 ponds on Hadley Green, Brewery Pond; thereafter the brewery became a distribution centre but was finally demolished in 1978. Windmill House is on the site of the former windmill.
At the southern tip of Hadley Green is another pond, Joslin's Pond, and nearby is the mid C18th Ossulston House once owned by the Earl of Tankerville. The Green is crossed by paths, with a few seats, and has some fine trees such as willows and conifers. The obelisk commemorating the Battle of Barnet is sited on the grass abutting the Great North Road at Hadley Highstone. A pink granite drinking fountain is located at the south of the Green, probably late C19th.
Andrew Duncan 'Walking Village London' (New Holland, 1997); Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England: London 4: North' (Penguin, 1998); Arthur Mee 'The King's England: London North of the Thames except the City and Westminster' (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 1972); Jan Hewlett, Ian Yarham, David Curson, 'Nature Conservation in Barnet', (London Ecology Unit, 1997); 'Community Focus: The Monken Hadley Trail' (www.culture24.org.uk, 2004)