Section 1: A Brief History of Finchley Manor

Although Finchley is not mentioned in the Domesday Book, in the earliest records it was called Fyncheslee, and was located in the hundred of Ossulston (a). Early information about the Manor of Finchley appears in ‘A History of the County of Middlesex, Volume 6 (b).  This reveals the source of many of the street names found today, such as Basing, Bibbesworth, Ballards, FitzAlan, Arden, etc. Much of the area comprising Finchley had been part of the demesne granted to the Bishop of London by King John in 1199 (c), and the History of Middlesex publication mentioned above provides details of the various holders of the Manor dating back to 1319 - many of whom held important positions in the City of London.

 

Another excellent source of information has been a small booklet, ‘The Romances of the Finchley Manor’ (d) – a copy of which was given to me by an existing resident of Manor View when we first moved in back in the mid 1970s. I have failed to locate an online copy of this publication, but it is held at The British Library (though it is not yet part of the growing collection of their publications which are available to read online).

The Manor House and Turpin's Oak in 1870

Bibbesworth Manor House is first mentioned in 1335 and is believed to have been located at the site of the present Manor House which many sources state was built for Thomas Allen in about 1723 .

 

The fishponds facing the Manor are thought to date back to 1692, and are clearly depicted on the above map.

 

Following the last of the Allens’ departure from the house, it was used as a Boys’ School, then a Girls’ School before becoming a private house.  In 1918 the Sisters of Marie Auxiliatrice purchased the Manor House, initially as a home for Girls employed in business and Government.

 

In the early years, the Convent Chapel provided religious services for all the Roman Catholic families in the district – until the new Catholic church of St Philip the Apostle was inaugurated in Derwent House in 1925 (prior to the building of the present St Philip’s Catholic Church on the same site).  The Sisters also opened a private Junior School and Kindergarten in the stable blocks ... this grew over the years until in 1945 the School was registered by the Ministry of Education as a school for day girls aged from 5 to 18 (e).  In 1966, St Theresa’s Primary School was opened, providing a Catholic education for both boys and girls – the primary school had been built on part of the grounds of the Convent. By 1969 most of the secondary aged classes had transferred to the newly opened Bishop Douglass Catholic School – though for some years the Sixth Form for the merged schools continued to be held in the Manor House building.  Finally, in 1981 the Manor House estate was sold to the Sternberg Centre for Judaism (f) – which provides a number of educational services for Reform and Liberal Jewish Institutions.

 

SOURCES:

(a) Daniel Lysons, 'Finchley', in The Environs of London: Volume 2, County of Middlesex (London, 1795), pp. 335-343. British History Online [accessed 19 March 2020].

(b) Accessible at British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol6/pp55-59

(c) London Gardens Inventory Trust https://londongardenstrust.org/inventory/gardens-online-record.php?ID=BAR083a

(d) C.O.Banks, ‘The Romances of the Finchley Manor’, (Warden & Co Ltd, North Finchley, 1920)

(e) ‘La Societe de Marie-Auxiliatrice’ (M.Lescuyer et Fils Heliograveurs, Lyon, 1954)

(f) Sternberg Centre for Judaism https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sternberg_Centre

from Rocque's 1754 Survey of Middlesex

extract from Rocque's 1754 map of Middlesex

Since the time of the 1870 illustration left, an additional floor has been constructed on the roof - this is copper clad with small dormer windows.  However, remains of the square moat to the rear of the house which is shown on the above map did still exist in the mid 20th century, hidden in the woods which surrounded the large lawn.

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