A recently published map of Anglo-Saxon London shows a farm with fields at Ealhberhington… Ealh-berh-ing-ton; ton or tun is instantly recognised as farm or farmstead. Ing is less well known but means ‘the descendants of’ or ‘family’. So there was an earlier name of Aehlberhton. ‘Aehlberh’s Farm’. His name can be brought up to date as Albert. But at some stage the harder lip sound of b was replaced with the softer (and easier) labial sound p. Hence Alperton. For the moment this is the most likely origin of the name.

 

The earliest that the the current name was used officially was in the 1547 Survey of the Manor of Harrow. This was when Sir Edward North bought it from Henry VIII. He then proceeded to record all the holdings. That document is available at the London Metropolitan Archives which is where I photographed the first 10 pages of Alperton. Below is the heading of the first page. It reads
Hamlett de Alperton in Harrowe.

 

 

The other intermediate spellings (especially those error-strewn maps of the mid-1700s probably occurred because a scribe or mapmaker heard the Middlesex dialect and wrote what he thought he heard. Appleton may be conjecture but the Middlesex clay underneath a shallow top soil was best suited for growing trees! Farmers 200 years ago were quite used to waterlogged sticky ground in half the year and baking hard ground in the summer!

 

The farm field icon in the banner map shows six fields. These seem to be an indication of size but it is not quantified. Horsenden Hill can be seen on the left.

 

The same map shows a clearing named Wemba Lea. You can guess that one!

Harlesden and Willesden are shown to the west of Watling Street (the A5). Moving to the left there is the Harrow Road. The importance of the River Brent is emphasised in bright blue.'Wembley' is just two houses, so we are left to guess what they are doing there.

 

Where does modern Alperton start and end, you ask. Good question. There are some quite firm boundaries. The North Circular Road starting at Stonebridge Park Station and going up to the gyratory system, but without entering it and heading west and staying north of the Central Line to include all the Bilton Road Estate up to Horsenden Lane South.

Going back up to the Bridgewater Road it would include the two roads before Alperton Cemetery, and the Cemetery itself. All the right hand side of the road up to where it joins the Harrow Road at the roundabout. This is where we start to get fuzzy. Where does Sudbury start? Then one might make a claim for Chaplin Road and all the roads that come off it. The Ealing Road is quite tricky. For the moment I will claim Lyon Park Avenue and everything south of the Railway main lines so that we pick up the Heather Park Estate until we reach the North Circular Road and the now-famous Ace Cafe.

Ealing Road is already one of London's best Asian shopping areas, and the new Shri Sanatan Hindu Temple brings the 1878 site of Alperton School forward two centuries.