Blackfen, so-called because of the black marsh-like soil of the area, was first recorded in 1241. This means that Blackfen became a settlement after 1086, the year the Domesday Book was written. This is a shame as often the Domesday Book gives us some fascinating detail about what a town was like all those years ago. The record that tells us about Blackfen in 1241 simply states that it was farmland. Interestingly, though, Blackfen continued to be farmland until the 1920s. The two oldest farms of Blackfen were Days Lane Farm and Black Fenn Farm. Both of these only date back to the 1600s, though. This suggests a change in the Blackfen area even though not much really changed.
You see, at this time of English life, sons would take over the work from their father and work the land just as they did. However, the records of the farms in Blackfen only date to the 1600s. So, did new farmers come in and take over the land? Perhaps the sons of the old farmers decided to move to the ever-growing city of London just a few miles down the road? We can’t say for sure, sadly.
We do know that Blackfen has a very London-like history. For hundreds of years, Blackfen was a small farming settlement on the outskirts of London, until 1920. The main estate in this area, Danson, was owned by Alfred Bean. He was a railway entrepreneur and used the railway to his advantage. Once he has sold his home, he used the land to develop huge housing projects. By the early 1930s, Blackfen had changed forever. Londoner’s flocked from their smokey, small homes in the city to Blackfen where they could purchase a three-bedroom home for £675! The Woodman and the Jolly Fenman pubs still testify to the areas past with their names, but farmers have long since moved on.