Brockley Hill

At the very north western corner of the London Borough of Barnet north of Edgware on the A5 is Brockley Hill. 'Brock' is an old word for badger, and ley was used to describe an opening in the woods.

Brockley Hill is well known as the site of a Roman settlement

  • some argue that it is Sulloniacis, a small settlement mentioned in a Roman guide book referred to as the Antonine Itinerary, but others argue that the actual settlement was further south at Burnt Oak
  • sometime between the years C.E. 70 and 80, pottery manufacturers following the Roman colonisation of Britain settled here because of the quality of the clay, and the close proximity of the road which ran between the towns of Verulamium (St Albans) and Londinium (London)
  • the potteries continued until the 4th century, and fragments of pottery from Brockley Hill turn up in different parts of Roman Britain as far away as Northumberland and Hadrian's Wall
  • the potters had their own personal marks such as Matugenus and Terentius Ripanus, two potters who worked before in Gaul near Lugudunum (modern Lyons)
  • these two names are the earliest names connected with the Barnet area
  • the Antonine Itinerary describes Sulloniacis as a 'mutationes' or Posting-station, where messengers on government business could change horses and get refreshment

The archaeological site is on both sides of the road, in the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital grounds and in fields belonging to Edgwarebury farm. There have been various archaeological excavations from the 1930s onwards.

In 1935 London Underground considered extending the tube from Edgware out to Bushey Heath with a station on the Edgware Roughs called Brockley Hill as part of the New Works Programme (1935-40). The line would have led to the area becoming built over, as had happened at Golders Green in 1907, and Edgware in the 1930s. However Green Belt laws created in the 1940s stopped further development, and the railway was never built. 

South of Brockley Hill, where Grantham Close and Newlands Close are today, was Newlands Farm.