Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London” (for further details of which, the reader is referred to Nick Barratt’s “Greater London”, newly available in paperback) …
Finchley is thought to have been founded in the Saxon period, although, oddly, there is no reference to it in the Norman Domesday Book of 1086, possibly because, by then, the area had been incorporated into the ecclesiastical manor of Fulham. It takes its name from the Old English finc, meaning finch, and leah, meaning meadow or woodland clearing.
Saxon Great London is discussed on our “Dark Age London” themed special walk.
Church of St Mary
The church of St Mary is thought to have been founded by the Saxon Bishop of London, Erkenwald in around 675, to serve the workmen sent here to fell the trees used in the construction of the second St Paul’s Cathedral (after the first was destroyed in a fire). The oldest surviving parts of the present church, though, are early Medieval, twelfth century, and include a lancet window of about 1150, alongside a font, a piscina, a sedilia and an aumbry.
The main body of the present building is later Medieval, fifteenth century, with some nineteenth-century additions and twentieth-century restorations. There are a number of surviving fifteenth- to early seventeenth- century memorial brasses and seventeenth-century monuments in the church.
The Chantry Chapel is fourteenth-century, dating to 1334.