A part of the Middlesex forest was a gift from Otho, son of William of Lilestone, to the Knights Templars. After it passed over to the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem, it became St John’s Wood.
Henry VIII placed it in the hands of John Conway as Keeper and under his control quantities of timber and brushwood are known to have been sold. In a history of Hampton Court Palace in 1531 it is recorded ”the timber, chiefly oak, was brought in enormous quantities from among others, St John’s Wood.”
In Queen Mary’s reign in 1553 the wood was again restored to the Knights of St John but when, in 1558 Mary died, the first Parliament of Queen Elizabeth 1st passed an Act re-annexing the religious houses to the Crown, and so St John’s Wood became once again part of the royal hunting ground of Marylebone Park. By this time much of the forest land was becoming fields and pastures, especially near Edgware Road – the only main route out of London to the north west.
Extract from article about St John’s Wood published in 1965 in St Marylebone Society Publication No 8.