|Norwood Green, which covers a space of approximately ten
acres, takes its name from the Saxon ‘Norwude’ or ‘Norwode’,
formerly a chapelry in the ancient manor of Hayes, under
the control of the see of Canterbury.
I have reproduced overleaf an old postcard showing Norwood
green, including Friar’s Lawn, as it looked in 1917.
Although the Great War was building to a climax a short distance
away in Flanders, life here was still very rural and peaceful.
At that date the parish included the church of St. Mary the
Virgin, an ancient structure dating from the Norman period;
four almshouses for four widows; and a public as well as
a private lunatic asylum.
In 1917 each of the 2.014 inmates of the former institution
received two shillings (10p) a week from the parish. The
wall letter-box was still emptied four times a day and the
post office was open until 7.30 in the evening.
Carter Paterson & Co. carried mail and parcels to London
twice daily; Lord Hillingdon was lord of the manor; the Earl
of Jersey owned most of the land. Should anyone have sought
to take it from him, his Lordship would have looked for protection
to a police force of fourteen constables and one sergeant
under the leadership of Superintendent Charles Hunt. No one
could remember when he had last been confronted with a murder
The spiritual well-being of Norwood Green was in the charge
of the Rev. Jim Macdonald. A graduate of Trinity College,
Dublin, in 1917 he had held the living for thirty-seven years.
He enjoyed the use of a magnificent rectory together with
approximately eighty acres of the finest glebe land.