The Clerkenwell Marker
I wonder how many people using the new Waitrose have noticed the cast iron marker which stands just to the right of the main entrance to the store. Before the recent development this marker stood against the flower bed between the store and Oakdene Parade. The marker carries the names of the Church Wardens of the Parish of Clerkenwell in London and the date 1862, but why is it here?
The answer is to be found back in 1614 when Roger Bellow "citizen and brewer of London now dwelling at Cobham, Surrey" made his will.
Bellow owned the property known as Church Stile House in Church Street, and in his will he left the property to the churchwardens of the parish of Clerkenwell and their successors, upon condition that they should pay to the churchwardens of Cobham and their successors the sum of "twenty shillings yearly at Lady Day for bread to the poor of Cobham". At the end of the eighteenth century Cobham, like many other towns and villages in England, was transformed by the enclosure of the old common fields and the commons. Enclosure took place under an Act of Parliament and all those who had rights, either in the common fields or commons and whose properties were above a certain value, were allocated lands in lieu of their lost common rights.
In 1795 the Clerkenwell Church Wardens instructed William Fletcher of Cobham to act on their behalf. William Fletcher submitted a written claim for "a Right of Common for a Freehold estate belonging to the Parish of Clerkenwell". As a result the churchwardens were allotted two pieces of land in respect of their extinguished common rights. One piece was known as the triangular field and is now the site of Oakdene Parade and Waitrose. This had formerly been part of Church Field which stretched between Church Cobham and Street Cobham keeping the two communities apart. The other piece of land was on the Stoke Road, almost opposite the Esso petrol station. This second piece of land had formerly been part of the Tilt Common.
Similar property markers to that now outside Waitrose can be seen behind a hedge in Stoke Road and in the garden of Church Stile House.
Article by David Taylor