London Westminster & Middlesex Family History Society

Monken Hadley Parish church of St Mary the Virgin (1668)


St Mary the Virgin  Monken Hadley 780

Hadley or Monken Hadley adjoins the town of Barnet on the north; one mile north of High Barnet station, on the Edgware and High Barnet Line. According to Lysons and others it owes its name to "its elevated situation, Headleagh signifying in the Saxon a high place." It lies between the Great North Road and the western of the forest tract known as Enfiled Chase, and the ley in its designation probably points to it as a clearing in the high forest land. The manor belonged to the Mandevilles till the middle of the 12th century, when it was alienated by Geoffrey de Maneville to the Abbey of Walden - hence the designation Monken (or Monk's) Hadley. After the suppression of religious houses, Hadley manor was given, in 1540, to Thomas Lord Audley, but in 1544 again surrendered it to the king. In 1557 Queen Mary granted it to Sir Thomas Pope: in 1574 it was alienated to William Kympton. It was sold to him in 1582, and remained for a century in the hands of the Hayes family. It has many times changed owners, and is now held by H Hyde Esq.
Hadley Church, St Mary, at the entrance of Hadley Common, is a large cruciform building, perpendicular in style. It is a good example of the style; but the church was restored, and to a considerable extent rebuilt in 1848 to 1850, under the direction of Mr G E Street, when several windows were inserted, the mouldings and tracery renewed, and the walls refaced. It is of black flint and Bath stone, except the tower, in which the red ironstone is largely used, the quoins being Bath stone.. It comprises nave with aisles, chancel, transcepts, west tower and south porch, added in 1852 as a memorial to the late rector. The tower has the date of its erection, 1494, over the west door; but the great west window and those in the belfry are recent insertions. At the south-west angle is a newell turret carried well above the parapet. From it projects the ancient iron beacon, one of the last of its kind left: it was erected by the monks to guide wayfarers crossing Enfield Chase by night, and travellers to or from St Albans, or the north. Both the tower and chancel are partially covered with luxuriant ivy, the stems of which are of great thickness. The interior of the church is handsome but in the main new. The chancel and transept arches are of good form, and proportions; the nave, of four bays, opening into the tower, has depressed arches resting upon octagonal piers, and the elaborate hammer-beam roof. Large hagioscopes enable the alter to be seen from the transcepts. The windows are filled with painted glass: that of the east window by Warrington, the others by Wailes of Newcastle. The chancel has carved oak stalls; the seats in the body of the church are of oak with carved standards. The handsome carved pulpit and font are recent. In the chancel is a piscina, and there is one in each transept.