Finchley (St. Mary)

FINCHLEY (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Barnet, Finsbury division of the hundred of Ossulstone, county of Middlesex, 7 miles (N. W. by N.) from London, on the great north road; containing 3664 inhabitants. This place was long celebrated for an extensive common, now inclosed, which comprises about 1010 acres, partly in the adjoining parishes of Fryern-Barnet and Hornsey; General Monk, in 1660, drew up his army on it, while engaged in negotiations for the restoration of Charles II., and it was subsequently the frequent resort of large bodies of troops for exercise. The parish contains by computation 2792 acres, of which 350 are arable, 90 woodland, and the remainder meadow and pasture; the soil is a strong deep loam. Since the inclosure of the common, the neighbourhood has been greatly improved, and several handsome detached mansions, and numerous pleasing villas, have been erected for the residence of opulent and respectable families: the village is well built, and is connected with the western portion of the metropolis by a new road from St. John's Wood, Paddington. A market, chiefly for pigs, is held on Monday. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £20; net income, £417; patron, the Bishop of London. The tithes were partly commuted for land, under an act of inclosure, in 1811, and the remainder have been recently commuted for a rent-charge of £100; the glebe comprises 36 acres. The church is a stone edifice in the later English style, consisting of a nave, chancel, and north aisle, and containing several ancient monuments. At Whetstone is a district church; and at East End is a church dedicated to the Trinity, the first stone of which was laid by the late Mr. Byng, in October, 1845; it has a bell-turret surmounted by a spire rising eighty feet above the ground. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans. In 1489, Robert Warren gave land at Finchley for charitable uses, which, with property arising from other benefactions, produces about £280 per annum, applied in repairing the church and highways, relieving the poor, and for other purposes.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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