Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London” …
Bedfont was first recorded in the “Domesday Book” of 1086 as Bedefunt, from the Old English beden, meaning drinking vessel or trough, and funt, meaning spring (*). For much of its long history it remained a tiny rural hamlet in the vast expanse of Hounslow Heath, but the former green is now bisected by the busy Staines Road, and the ponds have vanished (and Heathrow Airport lies but a little way away to the north). As recently as the early twentieth century, the principal source of employment was still agricultural. In the eighteenth and nineteenth, there had also been work to be had in shoeing horses, and in servicing stagecoaches and accommodating passengers in wayside inns. At this time, Hounslow Heath was a notorious haunt of highwaymen!
Church of St Mary
The church of St Mary was originally built here in the Norman period, around 1150, and subsequently substantially rebuilt in the later Medieval to post-Medieval, in the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth, and again in the nineteenth. Substantial parts of the chancel survive from the Norman period, and two wall paintings from the later Medieval.
A little to the north of the church is Pates Manor, a timber-framed manor house dating back in part to the late fifteen or sixteenth centuries (although much altered and restored subsequently).
To the south, on the opposite side of the Staines Road, is Fawns Manor, another timber-framed manor house dating back in part to the sixteenth century.
(*) The spring would no doubt in earlier times have been used by travellers along the old Roman road from London to the now-lost town of Calleva Atrebatum (close to modern Silchester).