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The village of Heston is north of Hounslow, and has been settled since Saxon times. A charter of Henry II gives the name as Hestune, meaning "enclosed settlement", which is justified by its location in what was the Warren of Staines, between the ancient Roman road to Bath, and the Uxbridge Road to Oxford. Another suggested etymology is Anglo-Saxon Hǣs-tūn = "brushwood farmstead".
Before 1229, Heston was part of the parish of Gistleworth (Isleworth) before being taken by Henry III, who subsequently granted it to the Earl of Cornwall. After Henry III died in 1316, Heston was owned by the Crown, and later by the wardens of St. Giles Hospital, until it was surrendered to Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Elizabeth I granted Heston to Sir Thomas Gresham, and, after eating some bread made from locally grown wheat, insisted on a supply for her own personal use.
The separation from Isleworth in the 14th century gave the locals a sense of independence from the inhabitants of Isleworth, with whom they frequently quarrelled. The practice of “beating the bounds” was practised annually when the inhabitants went in procession around the parish boundaries, to show locals the extent of their lands. A contemporary account of such a procession describes an occasion when the parishioners of Heston came across some from Isleworth, and the ensuing "quarrel" saw men from Heston throwing the others across a ditch.
Heston Aerodrome was operational between 1929 and 1947. In September 1938, the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, flew from Heston to Germany three times in two weeks for talks with Adolf Hitler, and he returned to Heston from the Munich Conference with the paper referred to in his later "Peace for our time" speech from 10 Downing Street.
Housing and industrial estates have been built on some of the area that was Heston Aerodrome, and the M4 motorway with its large service area (Heston services) cuts across the former aerodrome site east-west, but a substantial area to the north of the M4 is host to the Airlinks 18-hole golf course. Many of the roads in the area have aviation-related names: Alcock Road (Alcock and Brown), Brabazon Road (Brabazon), Bleriot Road (Louis Blériot), Cobham Road (Sir Alan Cobham), De Havilland Road (de Havilland), Norman Crescent (Nigel Norman), Phoenix Way (Heston Phoenix), Sopwith Road (Thomas Sopwith), Spitfire Way (Supermarine Spitfire), Whittle Road (Frank Whittle), and Wright Road (the Wright brothers).
St Leonard's Church (Church of England) dates from the 14th century, though there are records of a priest in Heston in the 7th century. The church tower survived the necessary rebuilding works in the 19th century, as did the lychgate. The grave of Private Frederick John White, who was flogged to death at Hounslow Barracks in 1846, can be found in the graveyard. The outcry at the manner of his death brought about a reduction in the maximum number of lashings that could be given as punishment, and eventually the banning of the practice altogether.
Naturalist Sir Joseph Banks (1743–1820) was laid to rest at St Leonard's Church.
Our Lady Queen of Apostles is the Catholic Church in the area. Built in the 20th century, it is smaller than St Leonard's, though has a larger congregation, and is popular among families who send their children to the local Rosary RC Junior School. Notably, all the altar-servers from Our Lady Queen of Apostles are specially chosen by the parish priest from the Rosary RC Junior School. As of 2006, with the replacement of the parish priest Father Michael Tuck, for the first time in the parish's history, females may be chosen to be altar-servers.
There are 5 primary schools in Heston: Berkeley, The Rosary Catholic School, Westbrook Primary, Springwell Junior School, Heston Primary School. Heston Community School is a secondary school with sixth form college.
At the south end of Vicarage Farm Road, 220 yards (200 m) south of the Great West Road is Hounslow West tube station which is nearest to most homes in Heston. From the east border of Heston, including homes on Sutton Lane, the nearest underground station is Osterley tube station.
The A4 Great West Road, having left the historic A315 on the Chiswick–Brentford border, forms the southern border of Heston and then reaches Henlys Roundabout by Hounslow West from which two routes leave. A WNW route passes London Heathrow Airport Terminals 1–3 and 5 as the Bath Road and a WSW route, the A30, passes Terminal 4, bypasses Staines and reaches the M25; the remainder is for the most part a minor route to Land's End, Cornwall.
The M4 motorway is 0.5 miles north; its nearest junction is J3, accessed from Hyde Lane or Southall Lane, crossing over the M4 motorway into North Hyde and then turning left (west) to reach the A312, The Parkway, 220 yards (200 m) north of the junction.
The north–south A312, The Parkway, to the west of Heston leads south to Feltham and Hampton or north to Harrow passing Waggoners' Roundabout (WNW of Henlys Roundabout in Hounslow West), Hayes, Yeading and Northolt.
Three minor roads converge on Heston from the A315 in parts of Hounslow, the A3063, A3005 and B363. The single road re-divides just north in Norwood Green into a northwest road to Southall (the A3005) and into the A4127 that passes by Hanwell, briefly using the A4020 west before bypassing Dormers Wells, passing Greenford to reach Sudbury, the town immediately to the west of Wembley and North Wembley.
|across Osterley Park
- Oarsman Don Allum (1937–1992), first man to row the Atlantic Ocean in both directions, lived in Heston.
- Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, of rock bands Deep Purple and Rainbow, grew up in Heston.
- Anthony Collins (1676–1729), philosopher friend of John Locke, was born in Heston.
- Composer Ernest John Moeran (1894–1950) was born in Heston.
- Guitarist Jimmy Page, of rock band Led Zeppelin, was born in Heston.
- Horticulturist Ellen Willmott (1858–1934) was born in Heston.
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- Sherwood, Tim. 1999. Coming in to Land: A Short History of Hounslow, Hanworth and Heston Aerodromes 1911-1946. Heritage Publications (Hounslow Library) ISBN 1-899144-30-7