Hadley, Barnet

A loosely scattered, picturesque village also known as Monken Hadley, situated to the north-east of Chipping Barnet

geograph-3312385-by-Stefan-Czapski - Hadley House

Hadley’s name was first record­ed as Hadlegh in 1248 and was for­mer­ly thought to have meant ‘a high place’ but it is prob­a­bly derived from the Old Eng­lish forms of ‘heath’ and ‘lea’, so this place could have been a wood­land clear­ing where heather grew. The ‘Monken’ pre­fix is said to derive from the 12th-cen­tu­ry endow­ment of a her­mitage here to the abbey of Walden in Essex. Though not every­one (or every map) agrees, Hid­den Lon­don prefers to pro­ceed as though Hadley and Monken Hadley are equal­ly accept­able alter­na­tive names for one and the same place.

St Mary’s church was built in 1494, accord­ing to the date inscribed on its west tow­er. A size­able vil­lage grew up around the church and spread in every direc­tion except onto the roy­al pre­serve of Enfield Chase. In 1612 Sir Roger Wilbra­ham found­ed a set of almshous­es for “six decayed house­keep­ers” and the build­ings on Hadley Green Road have not only sur­vived but are still admin­is­tered under the orig­i­nal char­i­ty. By the mid-17th cen­tu­ry, hous­es ran in an unbro­ken line down to the High Street at Chip­ping Bar­net.

Over the fol­low­ing cen­tu­ry or so, a num­ber of grand hous­es were built around the com­mon and green, and sev­er­al of these are still stand­ing, notably Hadley Hurst (c.1707) and Hadley House (c.1760, shown in the pho­to­graph above), which are both grade II* list­ed.

In 1741 Sir Jere­my Sam­brook erect­ed an obelisk to the north of the green, sup­pos­ed­ly at the site where the Earl of War­wick had fall­en in the Bat­tle of Bar­net, and cot­tages and inns formed a group here that became known as Hadley High­stone. The mon­u­ment was relo­cat­ed a cen­tu­ry lat­er, but there is no evi­dence of the authen­tic­i­ty of either its orig­i­nal or present posi­tion.

Two houses on Hadley Green
Hadley Green

In 1799, land to the east of the church was grant­ed as com­pen­sa­tion to parish­ioners for the loss of their rights on Enfield Chase after its enclo­sure. The 190 acres were some­times called Hadley Wood but usu­al­ly (Monken) Hadley Com­mon.

Nine­teenth-cen­tu­ry addi­tions to the hous­ing stock around the green were gen­er­al­ly of a high stan­dard and a wide swathe is now a con­ser­va­tion area. To the south-east of the green, the British Land Com­pa­ny bought Wood­cock Farm in 1868 and laid out an estate as an exten­sion of New Bar­net.

Some old­er hous­es were demol­ished in the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry but Hadley’s declin­ing pop­u­la­tion rose again when new streets were laid out north-east of Chip­ping Bar­net High Street.

More sub­ur­ban hous­es were built near Cock­fos­ters after its sta­tion opened in 1933. Hadley had a brew­ery for two cen­turies until 1938 and the site con­tin­ued to func­tion as a dis­tri­b­u­tion cen­tre until 1969. This was replaced by three lux­u­ry detached hous­es in 1996.

In 2001 archae­o­log­i­cal digs at var­i­ous loca­tions in the Hadley area were yet again unsuc­cess­ful in estab­lish­ing exact­ly where the Bat­tle of Bar­net was fought.

The missionary and African explorer Dr David Livingstone stayed at what is now Livingstone Cottage in 1857–8.

Comedian Spike Milligan lived for many years at Monkenhurst, which was built in 1881 on The Crescent and which he saved from demolition.

Father and son authors Kingsley and Martin Amis lived at Lemmons, formerly Gladsmuir House, and poet laureate Cecil Day Lewis died there during a visit in 1972.

Postcode area: Barnet EN5
Population: 2,456 (Monken Hadley conservation area, 2001 census)
Website: Monken Hadley Common
* The photograph of Hadley House at the top of this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Stefan Czapski, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.