Open main menu

Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/278

This page needs to be proofread.


NOTES AND QUERIES. [9 th s.ix. APRIL 5, 1902.

went forth into the wide country a-fowling, a-maying, or perhaps attracted by thegrim spectacle of the gallows.

Three streams of London vicinity would be known to the travelling citizen : (1) The River of Wells or springs, known also as the Hole- bourne, the bourne of holes or hollows, which, when it experienced the influence of the tidal Thames, became the Fleet, wherein small ships could float ; (2) thebourne called, perhaps later, The Ey Bourne, or Tyburn, a name and subject highly charged with argument ; and (3) the western stream or West Bourne would be reached, three and a half miles from the city walls, half a mile beyond the Ultima Thule of the condemned, and per- haps as far as the excursionist would venture. The name West Bourne was very simple, almost as primitive as that of the great river which absorbed its affluent, the Thames, the Tam-ese, the tranquil or spreading water. I learn from Isaac Taylor.

Having first mention of Westbourne as a yil belonging to the Abbot of Westminster in 1222, we continue to find record of it at later dates, and by the transmutation ably interpreted by SIR HERBERT MAXWELL at the third reference, the name, having been trans- ferred to the vil or manor, appears to have been lost by the bourne itself. It would, then, seem to have become known simply as the bourne of the Westbourne manor. In the reign of Henry VIII., as we learn, there existed a messuage or country house called W r estbourne Place, which survived, but rebuilt, until the making of the Great Western Rail- way. A scattered hamlet arose in the neigh- bourhood, the houses standing at intervals along a common of considerable length, through which wound the road to Harrow, and by one of these houses, a wayside inn called the "Red Lion," flowed the old but, perhaps, now nameless stream. The hamlet was known as Westbourne Green.*

In the courseof time, though not till after the pleasant hamlet had had many years of quiet existence, street after street was built, taking the name Westbourne with every possible change of suffix. But the old bourne, which has htly been termed the eponymus of the district the once pure stream which had flowed down from Hampstead heights, some- times openly through meadows, sometimes occultly between elm - shaded banks, and had afforded to "Caroline the Illustrious"

eorge 11. s queen) a copious stream for her lemoraole work, the Serpentine, fared badly.

  • n article on Westbourne Green, by myself is

found in the Home Counties Magazine, voUL,

In 1834, a hundred years after the making of the Serpentine, the West Bourne makes an almost unaltered and complete appearance on the map, and the elms are seen at intervals along its course, but the name written on it is " Bayswater Rivulet." The name Bayswater, derived from that of a spring and conduit on the slope of Craven Hill, and carefully preserved for human use during many cen- turies, had supplanted the name Westoourne in the southern part of the area. So, also, had it become the name of the old bourne ; yet as " Bayswater Rivulet " it did not long visibly survive. For as London spread itself over the district the underground works of sewers and railways "tapped" the stream almost to extinction, until finally, in its im- poverished and polluted condition, it was cut off from the Serpentine and committed to the flushing of the Ranelagh Sewer.

Thus was extinguished the West Bourne. Its name which is our subject had been lost to it. I do not think it will be found on any map, and it does not even seem to have had the recognition of the earliest topo- graphers of the last century. Lysons, for instance, writing in 1811 the second edition of his ' Environs,' has it nameless as " a little brook which runs by Kilburn and Bayswater." Peter Cunningham is, I think, the first to give it its name, and in his ' Handbook ' of

1850 has : "Westbourne a bourne, brook,

or streamlet now the Ranelagh Sewer."

Alas ! In 1890 Mr. J. G. Waller did full justice to the bourne by a valuable article in vol. vi. of Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society.

Here I think we must rest content. And although neither in books nor maps previous to 1850 may we find the name West Bourne given to the stream, yet so surely as in the name of the district the second syllable implied water not land so surely we may conclude that primarily West Bourne was the name of the stream. W. L. RUTTON.

If this is the continuation of the river that runs through Cassiobury Park and has its rise in the meadows at Great Gaddesden, it cer- tainly is the River Gade I have before me an old map of " Hartford Shire. By R e Morden at the Atlas in Cornhill, London." attached to a description of Hertfordshire taken from some work, as it is paged 965 to 1038, the printer's marks I iiiii to s sssss, with no date to it, but separately bound. In describing Hemel Hempstead Church it states, "From this Place, which is washed by the River Gade, we pass to the Hunton, which leads to Kings Langley." ut in tbe description of " Ric}^