John Towneley, a
recusant who was probably the man of that name
from Towneley (Lancs.), was living in Enfield
between 1586 and 1591. (fn. 43) He seems to have left
before 1605, when Enfield acquired some notoriety
in connexion with the Gunpowder Plot. White
Webbs was acquired c. 1600 by Henry Garnet, a
Jesuit priest, and was used as a refuge for up to 14
other priests. The composer William Byrd played
the organ there at masses which were attended by
members of the nobility (fn. 44) and in 1605 the house was
visited by Robert Catesby and Thomas Winter, two
of the Gunpowder plotters. (fn. 45) After the discovery of
the plot Popish books and relics were discovered in
the house, which contained trap doors and concealed
passages. (fn. 46)
There were intermittent convictions of Enfield
men for recusancy between 1617 and 1640, and
again between 1679 and 1684. (fn. 47) In 1706 there were
two known papist families in the parish, one at
Scotland Green and the other at Forty Hill, (fn. 48) and in
1766 there were three reputed Roman Catholics. (fn. 49)
There were still a few at the end of the 18th century (fn. 50)
but no place of worship was provided until 1862,
when a mission chapel was founded in Cecil Road. (fn. 51)
A permanent parish church, dedicated to Our Lady
of Mount Carmel and St. George, was opened on an
adjacent site in 1901 and the former mission church
became a school in 1905. The church was destroyed
by a land mine in 1940, whereupon services were
held in the assembly hall of St. George's school,
Gordon Road, until a large church in London Road
was opened in 1958. The new church is of yellow
brick, with a basilican plan and some Florentine
Renaissance details, designed by John E. Sterrett
and B. D. Kaye. (fn. 52)
There was a Roman Catholic chapel in Alma
Road, Ponders End, in 1896 (fn. 53) which was served in
1908 by priests from Lower Edmonton. (fn. 54) A parish
was formed in 1912 and in 1921 the present church
of St. Mary, Nags Head Road, a plain stone building
in the Perpendicular style, was opened. (fn. 55)
The Crusade of Rescue and the Sisters of Charity
took over a building in Holtwhite's Hill for use as an
orphanage in 1890. (fn. 56) The chapel was registered for
worship as the church of Our Lady of Walsingham
and the English Martyrs in 1964. (fn. 57) The Sisters of the
Holy Trinity of Nazareth first came to Enfield in
1902, and in 1907 took over a house in London Road,
which has since been extended. (fn. 58) Soon afterwards
they built another house, called the Loreto convent,
in Durants Road, Ponders End.
Cath. Rec. Soc. lvii, p. xxx; Cal. S.P. Dom. 1591-4,
||P. Caraman, Henry Garnet, 264, 317.
Essex Recusant, viii. 104; Cal. S.P. Dom. 1603-10, 292.
Cal. S.P. Dom. 1603-10, 250.
Mdx. Cnty. Recs. ii. 131, 134; iii. 20, 144; iv. 132, 141,
243; Cath. Rec. Soc. xxx. 265.
||Guildhall MS. 9800A.
||Ibid. 9558, f. 432.
||Ibid. 9557, f. 30.
Cath. Dir. (1901).
||Ex inf. the parish priest, Our Lady of Mount Carmel
and St. George.
||O.S. Map, 1/2,500, Mdx. VII. 8 (1896 edn.).
Kelly s Dir. Mdx. (1908).
Cath. Dir. (1969).
||See p. 257.
||G.R.O., Worship Reg. no. 69774.
||Ex. inf. the parish priest, Our Lady of Mount Carmel
and St. George.