Street Names Around Where I live – What they Mean – in General and to Me in Particular by Peter Long (Greenwood Resident)

Street Names around Greenwood

I have often walked down this street before, but until now I never wondered how Oseney Crescent and the other streets around Greenwood got their names.

For many centuries the leading property owner in this part of Kentish Town was Christ Church College, Oxford (CCC), and many of the streets are named after people or places associated with that College.

OSENEY A community very near Oxford. The land round the ancient Oseney Abbey came into the ownership of the college after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the reign of Henry the Eighth.
🎬 Some scenes of the 2002 film About a Boy were filmed in Oseney Crescent.

GAISFORD Thomas Gaisford was Dean of CCC for 24 years in the first half of the 19th century.

BUSBY Dr Richard Busby, whose long life spanned every decade of the 17th century, was a student at CCC. He went on to become the stern headmaster of Westminster School, a post he held for 55 years. John Dryden and Christopher Wren were among his pupils.

CAVERSHAM The Rev Dr Robert Smith (d 1716) bequeathed land on his Caversham estate in Berkshire to CCC. 

ISLIP From 1678 the Rev Smith was the incumbent in the parish of Islip on his estate.

🎷The group Madness made the video for their song Baggy Trousers in and around Islip Street School. 

PECKWATER One of the quadrangles of CCC, popularly known as the Peck.

HAMMOND Henry Hammond was a Royalist canon and public orator at CCC during the Civil War.

WOLSEY In 1525 Cardinal Wolsey founded Cardinal College, which soon after (when Wolsey fell out of royal favour) became CCC. Wolsey was a dominant figure in the middle years of Henry the Eighth’s reign. He occupied many top civil and ecclesiastical positions, culminating in being appointed a Cardinal by Pope Leo X.

FRIDESWIDE One of many spellings of a Saxon princess and abbess who lived during the 7th and 8th centuries. The religious site she established later became part of what was eventually CCC. Frideswide is the patron saint of Oxford and Oxford University.

St John’s College, Cambridge (SJC) was another major landowner in Kentish Town.

LADY MARGARET Lady Margaret Beaufort was the mother of Henry V111 and the founder of two Cambridge colleges, Christ’s and SJC, the latter completed after her death. Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford is named after her.

FALKLAND Lucius Cary, 2nd Viscount Falkland (d 1643), was a scholar of SJC and a prominent politician.

BURGHLEY Lord Burghley was Chancellor to Elizabeth 1 and a benefactor of SJC.

WILLINGHAM was a Cambridgeshire property in the ownership of SJC.

EVANGELIST The full name of SJC was once the College of St John the Evangelist.

When the College estates were sold in the 19th century, mainly for housing development, new landowners appeared on the scene.

DARTMOUTH The Earls of Dartmouth were responsible for developing the Dartmouth Park Estate.

PATSHULL A Manor near Wolverhampton in the ownership of the Dartmouth family.

CHETWYND Charles Chetwynd was a nephew of Frances, wife of an Earl of Dartmouth.

LAWFORD John Eeles Lawford was a land agent to the 5th Earl of Dartmouth. 

📇 At No.50 a blue plaque tells us that the writer George Orwell lived here briefly in 1935/6. In that period he published his important work Keep the Aspidistra Flying.

SANDALL A location near Doncaster on the Earl’s Yorkshire estate.

TORRIANO Another major landowner was Joseph Prole Torriano (fl.1783).The Torriano estate was part of the manor of CANTELOWS, one of the four manors of the ancient Parish of St Pancras.

LEVERTON Thomas Leverton Donaldson was one of Torriano’s land agents.

LEIGHTON Sir David Leighton was a Major-General in the East India Company’s independent army. He married into the Torriano family and acquired half the estate. Lucky David.

CHARLTON KINGS Sir David’s estate near Cheltenham.

BARTHOLOMEW The connection is with the Priory and Hospital of St Bartholomew (Bart’s).

BRECKNOCK Brecknock Abbey was the Welsh home of Elizabeth Jeffrey, wife of the 1st Earl of Camden. She is remembered in JEFFREY’S Street.

The Assembly House pub is a Grade 11 listed building dating from 1898, on a site where here has been a pub since the 18th century. It was the setting for some scenes of the 1971 Richard Burton film Villain.


Our home was built in 1954 and was named after the Labour Minister Arthur Greenwood, who died earlier that year.

Peter Long, Greenwood Resident