The following are the dates of the main events before 1841 affecting what is now the Ladbroke conservation area.
1066: according to the Domesday Book, at the time of the Norman conquest the “Manor of Chenesitun” (Kensington) was held by Edwin, one of Edward the Confessor’s thanes. At that time it would have been mainly forest, part of the Forest of Middlesex.
1086: when the Domesday Book was compiled in 1086, the Saxon Edwin had been dispossessed by William the Conqueror and the manor had been granted to one of William’s Norman followers, Aubrey de Vere (or “Alberic de Ver” in the Latin of the Domesday Book). The de Vere family (who subsequently became Earls of Oxford) remained in possession of the Manor of Kensington for the next 500 years. Under the de Veres, the manor was divided into several different parts, one of which was the Manor of Notting Barns which included what is now the Ladbroke area.
1462: During the Wars of the Roses, John de Vere, 12th Earl of Oxford, and his son Aubrey were beheaded by order of Edward IV on account of their allegiance to the House of Lancaster. Their lands, including Notting Barns, were forfeit to the King. Notting Barns then seems to have passed to the King’s brother, subsequently Richard III.
1485: Henry VII, the first Tudor monarch, ascended to the throne. John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford, had taken his side at the battle of Bosworth Field, and was rewarded by the new king with the return of his lands, including Notting Barns.
1488: John de Vere needed to raise money on his estate and “the Manor of Notingbarons” passed into the hands of William, Marquis of Berkeley, Great Marshall of England. The Manor was then sold to the King’s mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby. The manor was valued at £10 per annum, and was described as “a messuage [dwelling], 400 acres of land fit for cultivation, 5 acres of meadow and 140 acres of wood in Kensington” (by this time the forest had been largely cleared and the manor was mainly farmland).
Lady Margaret conveyed the manor, along with other lands, to the Abbot, Prior and Convent of Westminster, with the specification that after her death the income from the lands should be spent on masses for her soul in Westminster Abbey and on the colleges and professorships that she had founded at Oxford and Cambridge.
1509: Lady Margaret Beaufort died. The Abbot of Westminster then leased the manor to a wealthy citizen of London, Alderman Robert Fenrother or Fenroper.
c.1518: Fenrother passed the lease of the manor to his eldest daughter, on her marriage to Henry White, gentleman. Land had probably been both added to and subtracted from the manor since 1488, as by now it was described as consisting of 20 acres of arable land, 140 acres of meadow, 200 acres of wood, 20 acres of moor and 20 acres of furze and heath. The Whites did not live on the Manor, but in neighbouring Westbourne. They died in the early 1530s and the lease of the manor was placed in trust for their children.
By 1540: Henry VIII had seized the lands of the Abbey of Westminster, including Notting Barns, but confirmed the land of Notting Barns to Robert White, the eldest son of Henry White.
1543: Henry VIII decided he wanted the “manor of Knotting Barns” and forced Robert White to exchange it for another manor in Southamptonshire. A deed dating from that year refers to “the Manor of Nuttingbarnes [the spelling continued to vary until the 18th century], with the appurtenances in the County of Middlesex and the farm of Nuttyngbarnes in the parish of Kensington”, so the manor at that time seems to have contained only one farm.
1549: Edward VI granted the Manor of Knotting Barns to Sir William Paulet, subsequently Lord High Treasurer and Marquis of Winchester.
1562: Sir William Paulet, being in debt to Queen Elizabeth, surrendered the Manor to the Queen.
1570: Queen Elizabeth I granted the manor to William Cecil, Lord Burleigh, her Secretary of State.
1599: Lord Burleigh having died in 1798, the manor was sold for £2,006 to Walter Cope, the builder of “Cope’s Castle” (Holland House).
1601: Walter Cope sold the manor of Notting Barns on to Sir Henry Anderson, Sheriff of London, for £3,400. It remained in the Anderson family until the death of Sir Richard Anderson, probably Sir Henry’s grandson, in 1765. The manorial system had more or less dissolved by then, however, and the ownership of the land that is now the Ladbroke estate may well have been sold off separately..
mid 1700s: Richard Ladbroke of Tadworth Court in Surrey, from a wealthy banking family, acquired the 170 acres of open country that is now the Ladbroke Estate. It was bounded on the south by what is now Holland Park Avenue; on the west by Portland Road and Pottery Lane; and on east by Portobello Road. It extended north almost as far as Lancaster Road. The land was open farmland at the time. We do not know from whom he purchased the land.
1773: Richard Ladbroke dies, bequeathing the land to his son, another Richard.
1793: Richard Ladbroke the son dies childless and bequeaths a life interest in the land to his mother and four sisters, with remainder to his nephews and then a remote cousin.
1819: The Ladbroke estate (still arable farmland) passes to Richard Ladbroke’s last surviving nephew, James Weller, who added Ladbroke to his name as required under Richard’s will as a condition of the inheritance.
1821: James Weller Ladbroke obtains an Act of Parliament allowing him to grant 99-year leases of the land (his uncle’s will had restricted him to 21-year leases), so as to allow him to begin building on the land. James Weller Ladbroke lived in Sussex, and left the active management of the development to the distinguished architect and surveyor, Thomas Allason.
1823: Thomas Allason draws up a plan for the development of the estate, with a broad straight road through the middle (now Ladbroke Grove); an east-west street called Weller Street (now Ladbroke Road); an enormous circus of some 560 yards in diameter just north of Weller Street (his plans for the circus were only partly realised); and a series of communal gardens or “paddocks”.
1823: James Weller Ladbroke signs what were probably the first two agreements to develop the land. The first is with Joshua Flesher Hanson, gentleman (the builder of Regency Square, Brighton) and covered the land between what are now Holland Park Avenue (then known as the Uxbridge Road) to the south; Ladbroke Terrace to the east; Ladbroke Grove to the west; and the southern part of Allason’s great circus to the north. The second agreement is with Ralph Adams of Gray’s Inn Road, brick- and tilemaker (who subsequently founded the pottery manufacture in the “Potteries”). This agreement covered the land between Ladbroke Road and Portland Road, except for a farm on the site of what is now the Mitre public house. Under the agreements, the developers had to build a certain number of houses and Ladbroke undertook to grant them 99-year leases of the houses when they were completed.
1824: Hanson arranges the erection of the houses at 8-22 (evens) Holland Park Avenue. He leased the remainder of his land to Robert Cantwell, an architect/surveyor/builder who later designed Royal Crescent. Cantwell was probably responsible for 2-6 and 24-28 (evens) Holland Park Avenue, built in the mid 1820s. At around the same time he built 1-4 Ladbroke Terrace (1-2 have since been demolished).
1825: year of national financial crisis which slows down the development.
1826-1831: Ralph Adams completes 14-32 (evens) Ladbroke Grove and 54-74 (evens) Holland Park Avenue (of which 62-66 have been rebuilt). He also completed most of the houses in Holland Park Avenue between Lansdowne Road and Portland Road that are now fronted by shops over their original front gardens.
1832: Ladbroke obtains another Act of Parliament to clarify obscurities in the badly drafted 1821 Act.
1833: John Drew of Pimlico, builder, completes 42-52 (evens) Holland Park Avenue, on the site of the farm; and 11-19 (odds) Ladbroke Grove.
1836: John Whyte takes a 21-year lease from Ladbroke of 140 acres of ground around the hill on which St John’s now stands, and lays out courses for steeplechasing and flat races (this race-course became known as the Hippodrome). See Hippodrome article below.
1837: first race meeting at the Hippodrome. But problems arise because the race-course is blocking a footpath between Kensington Village and Kensal Green.
1838: W.J. Drew, builder/architect, and William Liddard, gentleman, both of Notting Hill, complete 12-13 Ladbroke Terrace.
1839: Hippodrome race-course is altered to avoid the footpath. New opening meeting in May 1839, but the course is difficult because of the heavy clay and the Hippodrome runs into further problems.
Late 1830s: Cantwell completes 14-32 (evens) Ladbroke Grove.
1841: Hippodrome race-course closes.
1847: James Weller Ladbroke dies.
The remainder of the chronology is in preparation.