Nowell Road, SW13

Place Name

Alexander Nowell also known as Alexander Noel (sometime around 1517 – February 13, 1602) was an Anglican priest and theologian who served as Dean of St Paul’s during much of Elizabeth I’s reign. Nowell was one of the so-called Marian exiles, Protestants who left England in 1555 during the reign of Mary I and Philip II. He returned when Elizabeth came to the throne, but during a speech he managed to offend her, when he called on the Queen to marry. It was said that she never spoke a friendly word to him again. He held the deanery of St Paul’s for 42 years, until his death. In his spare time Nowell was keen on fishing. His contemporary, Izaak Walton — the author of The Compleat Angler — remarked of him that “this good man was observed to spend a tenth part of his time in angling”. He was said to give a tenth of his catch to the local poor. He was also credited with inventing bottled beer, churchman and historian Thomas Fuller wrote: “Without offence it may be remembered, that leaving a bottle of ale, when fishing, in the grass, he found it some days after, no bottle, but a gun, such the sound at the opening thereof: and this is believed (casualty is mother of more inventions than industry) the original of bottled ale in England.” Like many of the streets around Barnes after a former Dean of St Paul’s Cathedrals, who have been lords of the manor in Barnes since Saxon times when it was given to them by King Athelstan, the grandson of Alfred the Great. Athelstan became the first monarch to make London the seat of Government and his work included restoring St Paul’s Cathedral to its former state after nearly 300 years of neglect. Profits from the manor went to pay for the upkeep of the building and the clergy. The road was only build around 1927 until then it had been part of Lonsdale Farm. It was built by the prolific Henry Boot Company. About 50,000 Boot houses were constructed between the wars, using precast reinforced clinker-concrete columns to minimize the need for brick. Since the 1980s many have needed to be reconstructed due to the failure of the concrete.


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