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A Visit to Headstone Manor


Sophie Green

Headstone Manor, located in Harrow on the edge of London, consists of four listed buildings, one of which, the Manor House, is surrounded by a moat. Parts of the Manor House date back to the 14th century, and the site has been designated as an Ancient Monument.

I travelled to the site from Harrowís Town Centre on a busy Saturday morning. From Harrow-on-the-Hill station itís one stop to North Harrow, and then a short walk along a busy main road. You then turn off into some parkland near the manor, which is almost like stepping into another world.

At first you walk through a path surrounded by trees, with enclosures ideal for picnics, or for children to play in. Or, as they were vacant of people today, for quiet reflection. You then pass though some fields where people are playing football and cricket, and where a quiet brook flows by. Part of the countryside appears to have been included within Londonís boundaries.

You then reach the site itself. The main building, the Manor House, is currently undergoing renovations, and so most of it is hidden behind boards through which only builders may pass. However, you can still see part of the moat, which was originally built merely for appearances rather than any form of defence.

The Tithe Barn was built in the 16th century, and now houses the main building of the Harrow Museum and Heritage Centre. Inside, if you look up, you can see the ancient woodwork of the roof (complete with 20th century fans). Throughout the year the building hosts a number of exhibits, and on my visit they had a display about the Romans. There are numerous worksheets and activities available, which are aimed at children and their families.

Next up is the Small Barn, a smaller version of the Tithe Barn. As you go inside you really notice how bright the day is as your eyes adjust to the relative darkness of the barn. The main attraction in the barn is a 3D model of the area surrounding the site, although you have to strain to see it.

Finally, there is the Granary, originally built in the 19th century at Pinner Park Farm, and moved to the site in 1991. The two floors of the building house a number of displays, the most puzzling of which was an old telephone exchange, which didnít appear to have anything to do with the site, and had no descriptive sign explaining why it was there.

During my time at the site the area is quiet, with few people about, quite a contrast when compared to the bustling town centre where my journey began. As I walked back towards the main road, passing through the fields and the brook, and along the tree lined path, I think about how nice it is to have an area like this just a stones through away from where I live. A place of peace, quiet, and history.

Copyright © Sophie Green, 2005

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