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A brief history of Barnsbury, London

Posted by London Guided Walks on Monday, September 1, 2014 Under: Local History

Where does the name Barnsbury come from?


The name ‘Barnsbury’ comes from the de Berners family, which owned the medieval manor that occupied the site until the early C16th. The Manor of Barnsbury (also called Bernersbury or Iseldon Berners) was held in 1086 by Hugh de Berners.


Who owned The Manor of Barnsbury?

The Berners family retained the manor until 1502 when it was sold to a Merchant, Thomas Fowler. He passed the manor on to his son Edmund (d 1560) who left it to his son Sir Thomas (d 1625). The manor was left to his son Sir Thomas (d 1656) who left it to his daughter Sarah, widow of Sir Thomas Fisher. Her eldest son Sir Thomas Fisher inherited but died in 1671, leaving the estate to his brother Sir Richard Fisher (d 1707). Richard left the manor to his nephew Sir Thomas Halton (d 1726), whose son Sir William Halton (d 1754) left the land to his godson William Tufnell (who later changed his surname to Jolliffe). The manor remained in the Tufnell family until 1925.

The manor house was situated to the west of what is now Barnsbury Square, near to the modern Caledonian Road and Barnsbury railway station.Urbanisation


Islington, the Dairy Kingdom

By the C18th, when Islington was a large village on the edge of London, Barnsbury contained many small dairy farms which produced milk for the city’s population.The area was also a popular recreational resort, with visitors coming to enjoy Islington’s sports, spas and pleasure gardens.

By the early C19th, much of the land in this area of Barnsbury was a country estate belonging to the Thornhill family. However, London’s population was growing and more housing was in demand. As new roads and buildings were built around Islington, Barnsbury became an increasingly urban landscape.


In : Local History 


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