A Parish Boundary - Hell Lane

Hell Lane runs parallel to and west of Fryent Way and marks the old boundary between the parishes of Harrow and Kingsbury. The hedge following Hell Lane probably dates from Saxon times. Also known as 'Elderstrete', Hell Lane is part of a very old trackway from the Thames at Westminster and going out into Hertfordshire.

The Thames, before bridges were built, was much wider and shallower than now, with several islands in the Westminster area, making this a good place to cross. No-one knows when the track was first used, but it is possibly prehistoric. The Romans built Watling Street nearby in roughly the same direction, but straight and direct. Elderstrete was used by pilgrims travelling to the shrine of St. Alban, the first English martyr.  In Saxon times it was used by the Elders or ealdormen.

Elderstrete (with various spellings) is mentioned several times in the Harrow Court Rolls, usually in connection with hedges and ditches not being properly maintained (e.g. 1421  - The hedge of John Mosehacche is growing over the road at Elderstrete to the common nuisance).

In the seventeenth century Hell Lane was replaced by a footpath from the corner of Salmon Street to the Kingsbury / Kenton Road.  Because of this it has avoided the fate of the rest of the route:  Blackbird Hill, a short part of Salmon Street, Honeypot Lane, and Marsh Lane are now major roads, but the section in Fryent Country Park remains rural.