SOUTHALL: A Brief History

Norwood manor was sold to Francis Awsiter on 12th April, 1602 by the executors of Lady Dacre’s will; and on 7th June in the same year Southall manor was sold to him by Sampson Leonard and his wife and Sir Thomas Waller and his wife. Awsiter thus acquired both the manors and had full rights on them except that, whenever the ownership of the manor changed hands through death or sale, £5 alienation fee had to be paid to the lord of the manor of Hayes. This was the only relic of the feudal subordination of the manors of Norwood and Southall to Hayes apart from the parochial delegation. In 160316 we find that Francis Awsiter paid £5 to Jenyns, lord of the manor of Hayes, as death duty for his father Robert: this is odd considering that all all earlier mentions of the Awsiters’ tenure had reversed the names. It is probably a clerical error.

The Awsiters were no strangers to Southall. If a certain Joane Alcetur, widd. mentioned in 1503 was a forbear, they had been here for about a century at least. Francis Awsiter leased some land in 1584 and we have the following conveyance dating from 1587:

                        ’10th May 29 Eliz: William Heygate & Eliz: Heygate & Mich: Hill surrendered one capital messuage with the aprytences & called Wrenns & 28 ½ acres of land lying [in] the commond [sic] fields of Norwood, Northcott & Southall, of which 6 ½ lye in North field 5a in South field, & amp; one leet of Meade in Rowhedgemeade, and 8a 3r in Eastfield which were the lands of Wm. Widgington. To the use and behoofe of ffra: Awsiter his heirs & assigns for ever’

The next year we discover:

                        ’16th October 30 Eliz.: Eliz Heygate: widd. surrendered all of her right in the capital messuage with lands last mentioned’.16

This house, Wrenns, is continually referred to in later records and is almost certainly the same house which, though greatly altered, is still visible today on Southall Green and now known as the Manor House. For years it has been generally assumed that Awsiter actually built the house in 1587, and this date roughly and unclearly carved in the pediment above one of the windows has been cited as irrefutable evidence. It would seem, however, that although he may have substantially altered the structure and may have added a new part, he was not the original builder. Houses at this time were frequently named after their builders but I have not been able to trace a family called Wrenn. The earliest mention of the house I can find is in 1503 when William Hill of Heese [Hayes] owned Wrenns and Twyfords.16