CANONS A-Z

A is for AVENUES: the remains of three of the five grand avenues planted by the Duke of Chandos still remain; Canons Drive, the Dukes Avenue from Canons to Whitchurch and Marsh Lane to Canons.

B is for BASIN: the pond built by the Duke of Chandos on Canons Drive.

C is for CANONS: the mansion built by Hallet the cabinet maker in 1754 on the site of the earlier Duke of Chandos' palace.

D is for DESAGULLIER: Theophillus Desagullier, Hugenot, Freemason, engineer, Fellow of the Royal Society, Rector of St Lawrence Whitchurch for James Brydges 1st Duke of Chandos. He designed the Elm Pipe system to bring water from the ponds at Stanmore to the gardens of Canons.

E is for EDGWARE: The nearest town to Canons, once a resting place on the Roman road to St Albans in an area of tile manufacturing. There may have been a medieval village near by.

F is for FRIENDS of CANONS PARK and for FOUNTAINS once part of the Duke's gardens north of Canons.

G if for GEORGE V MEMORIAL GARDEN: The walled garden within the park planted in 1937 within the walls of Sir Thomas Plumer, Solicitor General who lived at Canons from 1811. Also for Golden Ratio, also known as the perfect or divine ratio which was much used in creating the proportions of buildings and gardens by leading designers. The lengths of the walls of the memorial garden are in this ratio.

H is for HANDEL: George Frederich Handel composed some of his famous works during the years he spent at Canons under the patronage of the Duke.These include Acis and Galatea, Esther, The Chandos Anthems and two Te Deum as well as the Harmonious Blacksmith sonata. Also for (William) Hallett (see C for Canons)

I is for IMPORTED LUXURIES the the Duke enjoyed and experimented with at Canons in the 1700's. He grew coffee, pineapples, melons. Alexander Pape, poet c.1700 wrote that his "stream of bounty flowed TOO high".

J is for JAMES: JAMES Brydges, the 1st Duke of Chandos, Paymaster General 1702-12. He built Canons and his family tombs and statues can be seen in St Lawrence Church Whitchurch Lane today. John JAMES and JAMES Gibbs were prominent architects who built Canons and St Lawrence church.

K is for KENT. William Kent the famous landscape gardener who in his early career painted ceilings at Canons for the Duke of Chandos. Ceiling paintings of the time can be seen in St Lawrence Church.

L is for St LAWRENCE Church: The medieval tower has Roman tiles incorporated within it and adjoins the chapel rebuilt in 1714 by the Duke of Chandos.

M is for MELON GROUND once part of the Duke's Kitchen gardens, now the walled compound in the park.

O os for OAK. The Duke created plantations of oak and ash, as well as elm, some of which remain in the park and surrounding areas.

P is for PINEAPPLES which the Duke was famous for growing at Canons. He learnt to grow them with his friend Matthew Decker at Richmond. The composer Johann Christoph PEPUSCH was musical director for the Duke of Chandos between 1713-1730. He wrote copious amounts of church music for St Lawrence Church.

Q is for QUEEN. Queen Mary, wife of George V visited George V Memorial Garden but she found the gates locked and so departed!

R is for REPTON: Humphrey Repton, the famous landscape gardener advised Sir Plumer in 1806 on creating the Pleasure Grounds we enjoy today in the park between the Memorial Garden and Canons.

S is for SPINNEY: the woodland on the eastern edge of the park with a serpentine path through it, was created by the Duke of Chandos as part of the route from Canons to St Lawrence.

T is for TEMPLE:The temple is a garden folly in the centre of the Pleasure Ground in the north of the park. A building of porticos and pilasters, it was once part of a range of buildings including a palm house on the south front, built c.1815 for the Plummer family.

U is for URNS: Urns of purple and gold once filled the Dukes terrace gardens at Canons, now below the sports field of North London Collegiate School.

V is for VERTU: the Duke of Chandos was an acknowledged collector, with a liking for curios and antiques. Canons was stocked with the finest art and craft, and exotic plants and animals from around the globe. Vertu contemporarily described Canons as a "noble pile, all of stone... with statues in the front...offices of brick and stone very convenient and well disposed".

W is for WISE of London and Wise, the premier London gardeners of 1681-1714 who designed the Canons Park gardens layed out with fountains, canals, pools, lakes, avenues and plantations. W is also for Witley, in Worcestershire. The church at Witley Court contains some relics of Canons, which were acquired from the estate of the Duke of Chandos, and include ceiling paintings, windows and the organ.

X marks the spot for all the unanswered questions about Canons.

Z is for ZOLLICOFFE the Duke's principal secretary who managed much of the administration of the household and building works. His correspondence with the Duke can be found in part at the Huntington Library, San Marino, California

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