|Monken Hadley Common||Barnet|
Monken Hadley Common was once part of the mediaeval hunting forest of Enfield Chase. When the Chase was enclosed in 1777, this area of land on the western edge was given to the villagers of Monken Hadley in compensation for their loss of grazing and other rights. It was used for cattle grazing until 1950 when it became a public open space. The village attracted well-off London merchants who began to build fine houses here. The common today is mostly wooded, with some grassland, two ponds and an artificial lake. A war memorial stands on the west, north of Camlet Way. Entrance to the common was through five sets of gates, each having a gatekeeper.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/11/2011
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.monkenhadleycommon.net
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
Monken Hadley Common, August 2000. Photo: S Williams
Click photo to enlarge.
Monken Hadley Common was once part of the extensive mediaeval hunting forest of Enfield Chace (or Chase) and part of the Duchy of Lancaster Estates, where Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I are known to have hunted. When Enfield Chase was enclosed in 1777, this area of land on the western edge of the Chase was given to the villagers of Monken Hadley in compensation for their loss of grazing and other rights, and it is the only allotment under the Act that remains commonland today. The original allotment of 240 acres became part of Monken Hadley Parish and included 49 acres north-west of Camlet Way for the incumbent, as a result of which Rectory Farm remains diocesan property today. The terms of the 1777 Act still pertain and the Common continues to be owned and managed by Trustees, who until 1981 were the Churchwardens of the Parish, since when a new management structure has been introduced. The Common had five entrances, each with a gatekeeper's booth and a fine set of gates, these latter remaining today. In 1847 a strip of land totalling c.16 acres was acquired from the Trustees by the Great Northern Railway Company for construction of their main line into King's Cross. The Commoners continued to exercise their grazing rights, either themselves or by sub-letting, until the 1950s when increased motor traffic and the high labour costs of manning the gates following WWII rendered this difficult. Since the mid-1950s the Common has been public open space and its main use is recreational. It was registered under the Commons Registration Act of 1965.
The word 'Hadley' in old English means a clearing in a wood and the village dates from at least the 1130s when Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex, founded a hermitage here. This was given to the Monastery of Walden in Essex, which owned the village until the Dissolution of the Monasteries; 'Monken' is a corruption of 'monachorum' meaning 'belonging to the monks'. The village attracted well-off merchants from London who began to build fine houses here, such as those which front the south side of the Common, which include Hurst House near the pond and Hurst Cottage, both C18th houses, next to which is a C16th cottage that is probably the oldest house in the village. Another house, Gladsmuir, was owned by the Quilter family from 1736 to the early C20th and more recently belonged to the novelist Kingsley Amis, and was also the place where Cecil Day Lewis died in 1972. Folly House, later called Folly Farm, was a C17th house built by Thomas Turpin on the bridleway between the railway and Pymmes Brook, which in the early C20th was run by the Frusher family to serve the many day-trippers to the Common who, particularly on bank holidays, travelled here from London on the Great Northern Railway. Entertainment included a prominent helter-skelter, some caged animals and large sheds in which teas were served to visitors. In the 1960s it became the site of East Barnet School.
The Common today is mostly woodland, with some grassland, two ponds and an artificial lake known as Jack's Lake or Beech Hill Lake now used for angling. The lake's name derives from Charles Jack who owned Beech Hill Park, now Hadley Wood Golf Club (q.v.), and who was also responsible for early housing development at Hadley Wood. At one time he rented the part of the lake that came within the Common, and it remains divided between the Trustees and the Golf Club, through whom it is licensed to Hadley Angling and Preservation Society, who maintain it. When Enfield Chase was enclosed, there remained a number of Pounds or Pinfolds and Strayfields belonging to the Crown, which the Trustees of the Common were permitted to use for impounding stray cattle, and also to move or erect new ones on the Common. One such Pound can be found between the road and The Crescent, which was put to use in the recent past to impound a stray donkey. A war memorial in the form of a Celtic cross stands on the west, north of Camlet Way, which commemorates those killed in both world wars. A large elm tree used to stand near the entrance by The Crescent, known as Latimer's Elm, and it was claimed to be the tree under which Bishop Latimer preached, although it is more likely to have been named for a local resident. The remains of another old tree, Warwick's Oak, was found by the gate to Hadley Rectory until the 1940s, supposedly marking where the Earl of Warwick was killed in the Battle of Barnet of 1471. Earthworks on Newman's Hill, now bisected by the railway line, were once thought to be remains of an Iron Age hill fort, but a recent archaeological dig has found no evidence for this.
Andrew Duncan 'Walking Village London' (New Holland) 1997; Jan Hewlett, Ian Yarham, David Curson, 'Nature Conservation in Barnet', London Ecology Unit, 1997); David Pam 'The Story of Enfield Chase', Enfield Preservation Society, 1984; 'Community Focus: The Monken Hadley Trail' (www.culture24.org.uk, 2004); Historical and other information on www.monkenhadleycommon.net