Eton College Estate

Agricultural/Land Estate in/near Temple Fortune, existing until 1907

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Agricultural/Land Estate · Temple Fortune · NW11 ·

The Eton College estate - the fields beneath Temple Fortune.

The Eton College estate, which consisted in 1828 of 315 acres, originated in grants of land by Bela, widow of Austin the mercer, in 1259 and by William de Pavely and Millicent his wife in 1273 to the hospital of St James, Westminster, which in 1321 held 124 acres of land and wood in the parish.

After 1449, when custody of the hospital was granted to the newly founded Eton College, the college took possession of the Hendon estate, which was called 'the Wylde' in 1480-1. Eton surrendered St. James's hospital to the Crown in 1531 but retained the Wyldes estate until 1907, when it was sold to the Hampstead Garden Suburb trust, which had acquired some property from the college in 1906, and to the trustees of the Hampstead Heath Extension.

In the 18th century it was leased to the Earle family of Hendon House, the freehold owners in 1754 of Decoy Farm, which consisted of 99 acres north and west of Temple Fortune; in 1828 the Wyldes estate was leased to Thomas Clark, who also owned Decoy Farm. The college lands, which stretched northward from the Hampstead border to Mutton brook, were divided in 1903 into three farms, called Temple Fortune, Tooley's (or Wildwood), and Home (or Heath) farms.

As the area developed, Hampstead Garden Suburb and Temple Fortune were build on Eton lands.

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Temple Fortune

Temple Fortune is a place in the London Borough of Barnet to the north of Golders Green. It is principally a shopping district used by residents of the Hampstead Garden Suburb.

It is likely that the name Temple Fortune refers to the Knights of St John, who had land here (c.1240). Fortune may be derived from a small settlement (tun) on the route from Hampstead to Hendon arrived at before arriving at Hendon. Here a lane from Finchley, called Ducksetters Lane (c.1475), intersected. It is likely that the settlement was originally the Bleccanham estate (c.900s). By the end of the 18th century Temple Fortune Farm was established on the northern side of Farm Close.

The building of the Finchley Road (c.1827), replaced Ducksetters Lane as a route to Finchley, and resulted in the development of a small hamlet. Along the Finchley Road was a number of villas (c1830s), joined by the Royal Oak public house (c.1850s). By the end of the 19th century there were around 300 people living in the area, which included a laundry, a small hospital for children with skin diseases. The principle industry was brick making.

The significant moment in Temple Fortune's development into a suburban area occurred in 1907. The establishment of the Hampstead Garden Suburb brought major changes to the area east of the Finchley Road. Temple Fortune Farm was demolished, and along the front of the road, the building of Arcade, and Gateway House (c.1911) established the Hampstead Garden Suburbs retail district. Also significant in that year was the opening of Golders Green tube station. Although the area had been served by horse drawn omnibuses (since at least the 1880s) and later motor buses (from 1907), it was the tram line of 1910, connecting Church End Finchley with Golders Green Station, which led to the development of the area west of the Finchley road. The Carmelite Monastery was established in Bridge Lane in 1908.
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