Friern Barnet (Finchley N20)

The oldest building in Friern Barnet is St James' Anglican church. Rebuilt in 1853, the 12th-century south doorway is the only part of the original church. St. James's Church of England primary school, formerly Friern Barnet National school, replaced the charity school in 1853.

The almshouses were founded by Lawrence Campe, a merchant from London, in 1612. Originally there had been a plaque with the words, 'Every morning before you feed, Come to this house and prayers read, Then you about your work may go, So God bless you and yours also'.

Although some of the buildings were destroyed in a fire of 1728, and the houses were considerably refurbished in 1843 and 1897, much of the original building remains. For a long time one of the larger rooms functioned as a school.

A little way down the road is St John's and All Saints Nursery School. Originally an Anglican National school it was built in 1853 to replace the small classes held in the Almshouse.

The first manor house was built by Richard Clark shortly after 1551, near to where Friery House is today. Throughout its history the lord of the manor invariably rented out the house.

It was home to Sir John Popham, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, during the reign of Elizabeth I. It was the home of Admiral Pasley. Admiral Pasley was a hero of a battle called the Glorious First of June, in which he lost a leg. The house was rebuilt twice in the 19th century, while the building we see today was built in 1871.

In 1800 there were 50 houses in the area around the church of St James Friern Barnet. By the 1820s a number of suburban streets between the Great North Road into Friern Barnet Lane were considered by developers.

Torrington Park and Friary Park were originally considered in the 1820s, but were not laid out until 1863. Apart from six houses, Finchley Park (originally Finsbury Road in 1852) had houses only on its northern side, and Britannia Road never extended beyond the Finchley Parish boundary.

In 1883 the number of houses had only increased to around 90, and the area remained predominantly farmland well into the 20th century. John Miles, who bought Manor Farm in 1851 and developed parts of the suburb Oakleigh Park, did not want the streets from North Finchley to extend into his own estate.

In 1907 what had been his estate became the North Middlesex Golf Company. South of Manor house, the house and grounds of Friary Park became the recreation ground in 1909, paid for by by Sydney Simmons and Middlesex County Council.

The land west of Friern Barnet Lane, Plumbers Farm, was owned by the eccentric French philosopher Henry Joseph Baume from 1847 - 1854. Originally Baume had wanted to set up a utopian community. However, by 1854 he tired of the idea and left the farm to become overgrown.

Baume died in 1875. What had become Frenchman's Farm was sold in 1875 to become the Bethune Park Estate (mostly developed between 1912 - 1939).

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