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The name, Ruislip probably derives from the Old English words for "rush" and "leap", meaning a place where the river Pinn was narrow enough to jump across.


Stone hand axes, a Bronze Age spearhead and traces of Roman dwellings have all been found in Ruislip. The first written evidence of Ruislip's existence is the Domesday Book (1086). The manor of Ruislip had been owned by a Saxon named Wlward Wit but after the Conquest he lost it to a Norman knight, Ernulf de Hesdin.

There was a Norman castle, probably wooden, on the site of the Manor Farm House. The remains of the castle mound and moat can still be seen.

Ernulf de Hesdin gave the manor to the Benedictine monastery of Bec in Normandy. The monks established a small priory at Ruislip. In 1404 the manor became crown property. The last "lord of the manor" was Kings College, Cambridge whose term lasted from 1451-1932.

Several medieval buildings survive. Near Bury Street is the Great Barn, built about 1280, and less altered than the other farm buildings in the complex. The 16th century Little Barn became a library in 1937. Manor Farm House was built by Kings College around 1500.

St Martin's Church in the High Street is a 13th century building much remodelled and extended over the years. Inside are traces of medieval wall paintings.Amongst those buried in the churchyard are Jessie Matthews, the stage and film actress, Elizabeth Schumann, the soprano singer, and the cellist, Reginald Kilbey .

For centuries Ruislip was a quiet village surrounded by farmland. In 1801 there were still only 1,012 inhabitants. The Metropolitan Railway did not arrive at Ruislip until 1904.

Ruislip became part of "Metroland", the area of suburban London along the railway line where thousands of homes were built in the 1930s . Metroland was advertised as a rural retreat for those who worked in central London. By 1939 the population of Ruislip-Northwood was 47,760. Despite this mushroom growth Ruislip has managed to retain much of its old character and charm.

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 11 Nov 2016 at 10:33