History of the Manor

The land on which Headstone Manor stands is recorded as part of the complete ‘manor’ of Harrow, owned by Wulfred, Archbishop of Canterbury in 825 AD.

Still in ecclesiastical ownership, the construction of the Manor House began in c. 1310, as revealed by dendochronological dating of the building’s oldest timbers. Archbishop John Stratford purchased more land around the house in 1344 and used it as his main residence in Middlesex.

Headstone Manor remained the property of the Archbishops of Canterbury until the Reformation, when in 1546 it was surrendered to Henry VIII by Thomas Cranmer. Henry VIII was ‘Lord of the Manor of Headstone’ for six days, before selling the property to Edward North, a court favourite. Headstone Manor remained in private ownership with a tenant farmer for almost four centuries.

Having been a working farm for over 400 years Headstone Manor fell into a state of disrepair, and much of its surrounding land was sold of in the 19th & 20th centuries for the development of the housing you see today. In 1925 Hendon Rural District Council bought the site to create what is now Headstone Recreation Ground as a pleasure garden.

Following local government reorganisation in 1968 responsibility for Headstone Manor fell to the newly created London Borough of Harrow. After further years of increasing dilapidation, local people campaigned and volunteered tirelessly to turn the site into a Museum for Harrow, which officially opened in 1986. Some of those campaigners are still Volunteers and Friends of the Museum today.