Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London” (for further details of which, the reader is referred to the “deep topographer” Nick Papadimitriou’s “Scarp”, an extraordinary journey of exploration of the landscape, of the self, and of imagined others) …
Pinner was first recorded in 1232, as Pinnora, from the Old English pin, meaning hill, and ora, meaning elongate. The church of St John the Baptist was built here in 1321. A weekly market and twice-yearly fair was established here in 1336 (one of the fairs still takes place, on the first Wednesday after Whitsun). Pinner Park was first recorded, as park of Pynnore, in 1348, at which time it was a deer park belonging to the Archbishops of Canterbury. The outline of the park is preserved in that of Pinner Park Farm Farm, and one of the standing farm cottages is thought to date to the fifteenth century. A number of standing buildings in the High Street Conservation Area date to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, including the Queen’s Head (formerly the Crown) and former Victory public houses.
Church of St John the Baptist
The church of St John the Baptist was originally built in 1321, as a chapel subordinate to the church of St Mary in Harrow, becoming independent in 1766. It may have incorporated an even earlier structure, and it was considerably extended in later centuries. The porch and tower are fifteenth-century, with some later modifications. The niche above the porch was discovered in the late nineteenth century, and a figure of St John was placed in it in the early twentieth, to replace the earlier one lost in the Reformation of the sixteenth. The interior contains a fifteenth-century octagonal font, and a poignant sixteenth-century brass memorial to the chrisom child (i.e., one who died within one month of baptism) Anne Bedingfeld, who died in 1580, and who is depicted shrouded in a so-called chrisom cloth.
The guide-leaflet rather mournfully notes that “Pinner was never of any great importance and no wealthy or influential medieval family ever resided in the parish”, and that consequently “the church has no elaborate architectural features, although it was built during the Decorated Period of Gothic architecture”.