A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
When Geoffrey de Mandeville, earl of Essex (d. 1144), founded the abbey of Walden (Essex) c. 1140, he included in its endowment the church of and lands in South Mimms. (fn. 1) South Mimms, however, had probably been included in the grant of tithes and pannage made by the earl's grandfather Geoffrey to Hurley priory (Berks.), a cell of Westminster, c. 1086. (fn. 2) After the earl had granted Hurley an annual rent of £5 in lieu of all tithes except tithes of pannage, (fn. 3) Hurley retained its portion at South Mimms until 1255, when it agreed to exchange it with Walden for the church of Streatley (Berks.). (fn. 4) A dispute with Westminster occurred c. 1150, when the abbey seized Walden's revenues and granted nine marks a year from South Mimms church to Absalom, a priest. (fn. 5) In 1221-2 an agreement was reached between Hurley and Cathale priory (Herts.) concerning the division of tithes produced from the land which Ernulf de Mandeville had granted to Cathale. (fn. 6)
South Mimms rectory was surrendered by Walden in 1538 and granted to Sir Thomas Audley, (fn. 7) who in 1540 was licensed to alienate it to Francis Goodere. (fn. 8) In 1545 Goodere granted it, together with the manor of Monken Hadley, to William Stanford, (fn. 9) who in the same year conveyed the rectory (fn. 10) to Sir Thomas Wriothesley, Lord Chancellor (d. 1550), who in turn surrendered it to the Crown. (fn. 11) In 1546 the king granted it to John Veysey, bishop of Exeter, in exchange for the manor of Faringdon (Hants). (fn. 12) Veysey conveyed it to Thomas Fisher in 1548. (fn. 13) By 1552 the rectory was in the possession of Sir William Cavendish, who exchanged it with the king, (fn. 14) and in 1558 it was granted to Edmund Bonner, bishop of London. (fn. 15) After Bonner's deprivation Elizabeth I leased it for 21 years to James Conyers in 1576 (fn. 16) and it was afterwards held on lease by William Roberts (fn. 17) and by John Parrott and his wife Agnes. (fn. 18) In 1607 James I granted it to William Harrison and Thomas Bulbeck, (fn. 19) by whom it was sold in the same year to Robert Cecil, earl of Salisbury. (fn. 20) Thereafter it descended with the manor.
About 1190 the rectorial estate comprised 18 a. of arable land adjoining the church, from which rents of 5s. 4d. a year were paid to Walden. (fn. 21) The rectory was valued at 12 marks c. 1247 (fn. 22) and at £14 13s. 4d. in 1291. (fn. 23) In Elizabethan times the estate lay in the Kings Grove, (fn. 24) adjacent to woodland called Parsonage bushes. (fn. 25) In 1650, when it was farmed by Stephen Ewer, the 'parsonage' was worth £160 and consisted of 20 a., a small cottage, and a barn, together with the great tithes. (fn. 26) The rectorial tithes were extinguished in 1841 and an annual rentcharge of £744 was awarded to the marquess of Salisbury. (fn. 27)
The rectory was leased to the Ewer family for most of the 17th century. (fn. 28) The parsonage house had to be kept in good repair by the lessees in 1688 (fn. 29) and was last recorded in 1715. (fn. 30) It probably stood in the row of tenements held by the Ewers in Blackhorse Lane, since land to the east was described as rectorial land known as Waldens. (fn. 31) In 1842 Parsonage or Tithe farm extended over an area to the north of the Black Horse inn. (fn. 32)
Among other religious houses holding land in South Mimms, St. Bartholomew's hospital, Smithfield, acquired property near the church between 1220 and 1230. The estate consisted of land granted by Gunulf de Mandeville; (fn. 33) 3 a. and another house and tenement formerly held by William Suthmymmes, clerk, both given by Ernulf de Mandeville; (fn. 34) and 16 a. conveyed by John Feron. (fn. 35) A grange belonging to the hospital was leased to Richard Heyn c. 1250, on condition that he should store both corn and a plough which was needed for sowing the land held of St. Bartholomew's for life by Robert, vicar of South Mimms. (fn. 36)
In 1542 lands in South Mimms, worth 4s. 6d. a year, (fn. 37) which formerly belonged to Sopwell priory (Herts.), were granted in tail male to Richard (later Sir Richard) Lee. (fn. 38) He was survived by his daughter Mary who married Humphrey Coningsby, son of John Coningsby and Elizabeth Frowyk. (fn. 39)
Ernulf de Mandeville endowed the Augustinian priory of Cathale (Herts.) c. 1220 with land near the northern end of High Street, Potters Bar. (fn. 40) Although Cathale's possessions were transferred to Cheshunt priory in 1240, (fn. 41) its name persisted through the Potters Bar lands, which were known as 'Cattalls' or 'Cutholes'. (fn. 42) Cheshunt seems to have sold the property, for in 1425 three grocers of London, William Beveridge, Edmund Twyne, and John Parker, granted 'a croft and grove called Cathale' to John Daniel of Edmonton and John Canon of London. (fn. 43) The estate later belonged to the guild or brotherhood at Barnet, and in 1548 was bought by Richard Audley and John Reed. (fn. 44) It was sold by Henry Goodere to Robert Taylor, lord of Wyllyotts, in 1596 (fn. 45) and acquired in turn by Sir Roger Aston and Robert Honeywood. (fn. 46) From Honeywood it passed to the Flexmores, (fn. 47) remaining with them until 1741 when Mary Dakin (née Flexmore) divided it among several relatives, of one whom, John Greenhill, later reunited the lands. (fn. 48) In 1773-4 part of the estate was sold to the trustees of George Byng and the remaining part to Richard Plaistow, a neighbouring landowner. (fn. 49)
Cattall House, designed for Robert Taylor by John Thorpe, (fn. 50) had been demolished by 1745. (fn. 51) Plaistow in c. 1770 built Easy Lodge on land to the south-east. (fn. 52) His family (fn. 53) sold the estate in 1835 to Charles Marryat, who renamed the house Cedar Lodge. It was known at Parkfield by 1859 and, with 62 a., (fn. 54) was in the hands of Col. W. L. Carpenter, who leased it to Henry Parker. In 1877 Parker purchased the freehold, and, after his death in 1892, the house was leased successively to Henry Burt, chairman of Middlesex C.C., to Sir Lionel Fletcher, a shipping magnate, then for a house of prayer and as a girls' school. In 1934 Parker's daughter Mary sold the estate, part of which was acquired as an open space (Parkfield) by Potters Bar U.D.C. The house was demolished in 1936, and blocks of flats, called Parkside, were later erected on the site. (fn. 55)
Between 1439 and 1447 Thomas Frowyk founded a chantry chapel (fn. 56) and endowed it with lands that had been held by his family before 1387. (fn. 57) The estate comprised lands called Gannok (120 a.) at Bentley Heath, Old House field (14 a.) near Mobbs Hole, Dyrham Park, and 14 a. of woodland in 1547, when it was sold to the king's physician, Walter Cromer, and his wife Alice. (fn. 58) In 1555 Gannok, Old House field, and Chantry mead were given in custody to Thomas Hewys, one of the queen's physicians, who had married Cromer's widow, Alice. (fn. 59) In 1561 Thomas Cromer, Walter's son, conveyed the entire estate to Thomas Blackwell, (fn. 60) who in the same year conveyed the chantry house, with its garden and orchard, and Chantry mead (6 a.) to Thomas Nowell and his wife Agnes, and Old House field, then comprising 30 a., to Nicholas and Thomas Parrott. (fn. 61)
John Parrott (d. 1595) left Gannok and two parts of Old House field to his wife Agnes and a third part of Old House field to his son Thomas. (fn. 62) Gannok later passed to Sir Edmund Bowyer (d. 1627). (fn. 63) It was inherited by Sir William Smyth, who in 1779 married Anne, daughter of John Wyndham Bowyer, and was subsequently purchased by the Byngs of Wrotham Park. (fn. 64)
Chantry mead, lying in South Mimms village, was sold by John Foster, a London armourer, to Brian Kynaston and his wife Anne in 1597. Brian died in 1616, devising the property to John Broad, who later became Anne's second husband. (fn. 65) By the later 17th century the land was in the possession of the Hodges family, who were Quakers. A Quaker meeting-house later stood on part of the site. (fn. 66)
The house at Gannok is described in 1877 as having been 'demolished within living memory', (fn. 67) but some of its fishponds remain. The estate has given its name to Ganwick (formerly Galley) Corner. (fn. 68)
The estate called Darkes, which lay in the north of the parish, was possibly connected in the later 14th century with John Derk, a collier. (fn. 69) In 1490 John Fortescue sold it to a kinsman, Sir John Fortescue M.P. of Ponsbourne (Herts.), who died in 1500. (fn. 70) Henry Fortescue conveyed the property, then comprising 150 a., to William Stanford in 1553. (fn. 71) By 1604 the Stanfords had sold it, (fn. 72) together with the advowson of South Mimms vicarage, (fn. 73) to Thomas Marsh, clerk to the Court of Star Chamber. (fn. 74) Thereafter it descended with the advowson of the vicarage (fn. 75) until 1796, when it was purchased by John Hunter from the trustees of William Parker Hammond. The estate, consisting of 230 a., (fn. 76) was later sold by Thomas Hunter to Thomas Willson (d. 1817) (fn. 77) and was still held by the Willson family in 1842, although leased out to Richard Stevens. (fn. 78) In 1973 part of the estate was occupied by Potters Bar golf club. (fn. 79) A moated house stood on the west side of Darkes Lane in 1594. (fn. 80) It was pulled down in 1830 and replaced by Darkes Farm, which was demolished c. 1956. (fn. 81)
The estate called Blanches, (fn. 82) in the western part of the parish, belonged to John Durham in the later 14th century. By 1575 it had become part of the property of Sir Robert Stanford of Perry Hall (now in Birmingham), (fn. 83) who by 1596 had sold it to Henry (later Sir Henry) Boteler (d. c. 1608). In 1603 Boteler assigned the estate to trustees for his second son Henry and in 1614 Blanches passed from Henry to a younger brother, Ralph, a merchant tailor of London. By 1618 Ralph had sold Blanche farm to Edward North, later serjeant-at-arms to Charles I, after whose death in 1650 it passed to his son Edward. It was held by John, son of Edward North the younger, in 1658 and afterwards by John's sisters, Mary and Sarah. They sold the farm in 1670 to James Ware of Hampstead, who, by will of 1671, divided it equally between his daughters, Grace, Sarah, and Mary. By 1711 Grace had purchased the other shares and in 1719 she settled two-thirds of the estate on her daughter Elizabeth and her future husband Thomas Knapp, a London merchant. The remaining third passed to a second daughter Grace in 1729, when she married Jeremiah Batley. By 1758 the estate seems to have been re-united under Rebecca Knapp, sister of Thomas Knapp. In the early 19th century Blanche farm was held by Rebecca Pocock, from whom it passed in 1837 to Louisa Edgell of London, whose family retained it until 1912 when Mrs. Jane Naper sold it to Captain Horace Kemble. Seven months later he sold the estate to Mrs. Trotter of Dyrham Park. In 1938 the entire Dyrham Park estate, including Blanche farm, was sold by Captain Frederick Trotter and in 1965 it passed to the G.L.C. (fn. 84)
The house, demolished in 1969, was a timberframed structure, dating in part from the early 15th century. The ground storey had been largely rebuilt in brick but the original fenestration had been retained and on the west front were four lights with moulded wooden mullions. Two rooms on the upper floor had been lined with early-18th-century panelling. The house was surrounded by a moat, of which the north and south sides survive.
Knightsland, sometimes called 'Nicelands', (fn. 85) situated to the east of Dyrham Park, was in the possession of Richard Gardiner in the earlier 16th century. (fn. 86) In 1618 the estate, consisting of 120 a., was owned by William Crowley, who left it in tail male to his three sons. (fn. 87) In 1653 Henry Crowley sold Knightsland to William Godfrey (d. 1657). (fn. 88) It later passed to the Nicholls, who held it until 1716 when John Nicholl sold the property, then comprising 150 a., to Paul Jervis. (fn. 89) Jervis, by will dated 1718, left the estate to his wife Dorothy, (fn. 90) who afterwards married the Revd. James Knight and died in 1721, leaving Knightsland to her brother, Edward Peach, (fn. 91) who sold it to Admiral John Byng in 1752. (fn. 92) It has since remained in the hands of the Byng family and has been successively leased to Thomas Hill, the Osmonds (until 1866), the Southwells (1867-86), the Durrants (1887-95), and to the Mossmans (since 1896). (fn. 93)
The house (fn. 94) has a west cross-wing, possibly early16th-century, containing the service room, and a long hall-range of the latter part of the same century. Presumably it formerly extended farther east to provide space for a parlour. In the principal room on the first floor of the hall-range there is a late-16thcentury painting of the Prodigal Son (fn. 95) and there are pattern paintings of similar date in another bedroom. One room in the cross-wing is lined with reset linen-fold panelling of the early 16th century, said to have been put in by John Byng c. 1750. (fn. 96) He was probably also responsible for casing much of the original timber-framing of the walls with brick and for reconstructing the roof.
Mimms Hall farm, which formed part of the demesne of South Mimms manor, was leased for 20 years to Freeman and Rayner in 1504 (fn. 97) and for ten years to Thomas Smith in 1525. (fn. 98) It was occupied by the Burr family in the late 16th century, although there were several disputes over the tenancy. (fn. 99) Leases, usually for 21 years, were made to George Bayne (1597), (fn. 100) Thomas Conyers (1607), (fn. 101) A. Bigg (1624), (fn. 102) J. Clark (1647), (fn. 103) Edward Roberts (1681), (fn. 104) Elizabeth Roberts (1717), (fn. 105) and Thomas Kympton (1762). (fn. 106) In 1790 Mimms Hall was still occupied by the Kympton family, (fn. 107) and in 1808 the estate comprised 492 a. (fn. 108) The Farr family lived there in the 1830s and Thomas White was the tenant in 1841. From 1846 to 1924 it was leased to the Giddens family and in the 1930s to F. Woodall. (fn. 109)
Warrengate farm, another demesne farm, originated in the lands leased by Henry, Lord Windsor, to John Parrott in 1594. (fn. 110) They were leased to M. Barker and R. Wyllshere in 1597 (fn. 111) but were in the occupation of John Grey and one Ketteridge in 1598. (fn. 112) Some of the lands were still held by the Ketteridge family in 1636. (fn. 113) The estate, comprising 241½ a., was leased for 21 years to Ralph Clarke in 1669, (fn. 114) and in 1681, when it was enlarged by a further 30 a., the lease was made to Richard Carrington. (fn. 115) Benjamin Gage became the tenant in 1760 (fn. 116) and was still in possession in 1790. (fn. 117) The lease was held by Edward Whalley in 1841 (fn. 118) and in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by the Field family. (fn. 119)
In the later 16th century Robert Mayhew possessed a tenement and 60 a. which later formed part of the Bridgefoot estate. (fn. 120) His family, originating in Shoreditch, had been granted lands in South Mimms in 1420. (fn. 121) In addition to the Mayhews' 60 a., other Bridgefoot lands c. 1606 were held by Roger Hodsden (30 a.) and Richard Flexmore (6 a.). (fn. 122) Susan Mayhew married Christopher Colson in 1607 (fn. 123) and was in possession in 1641. (fn. 124) By 1653 the estate of 96 a. was owned by John Colson (fn. 125) and c. 1670 Colson sold it to James Ware, a vintner of London, (fn. 126) who in 1672 left it to his three daughters. (fn. 127) By 1714 Ware's son-in-law, Daniel Luddington of the Middle Temple, was in possession of the estate, to which had been added the Badger in Wash Lane and land called 'Monsieurs'. About 1717 it was bought from the Luddingtons by Edward Vincent, (fn. 128) whose family still held 151 a. in 1842. (fn. 129) Bridgefoot passed from the Vincents to S. O. Percival in 1848, who sold it to C. H. Cock in 1872. (fn. 130) After Cock's death in 1903 it was bought by the Byngs, who leased it out. (fn. 131) Lord Herbert Scott was the tenant there in the early 20th century. (fn. 132)
About 1670 the estate incorporated a house called Ottways Garden, which in 1680 was alternatively known as Bridgefoot Farm, (fn. 133) a name which survives in a building at the bottom of Bridgefoot Lane. The Vincents built Bridgefoot House farther east in the mid 18th century; it was of yellow-brick and stone dressings, with a slate mansard roof, a parapet and central pediment, and semicircular-headed windows. (fn. 134) The house was replaced in the mid 20th century by a red-brick building.
Green Dragon Lane farm, near Dancers Hill, originated in a house and land called Richards and Coxlands, which were held by the Catcher family in the 1560s. (fn. 135) In 1595 the estate was conveyed by them to Ambrose Roystone, (fn. 136) who was still in possession in 1605. (fn. 137) By 1662 Coxlands was in the hands of James Fletcher, and it descended in the Fletcher family. (fn. 138) In 1720 the estate, 81 a., (fn. 139) belonged to James Brydges, duke of Chandos, (fn. 140) from whom it passed in 1744 to his surviving son, Henry. An Act of 1746 authorized Henry to sell much of his property (fn. 141) and in 1747 Green Dragon Lane farm was bought by Robert Vincent, (fn. 142) whose family sold it to the Byngs in 1838. (fn. 143) Norfolk Lodge, of white brick with stone dressings, replaced the old farm-house c. 1863. (fn. 144)
In 1592 Harrow School held land called Denhams in South Mimms and Boltons in North Mimms. (fn. 145) In 1560 the lands had belonged to Gilbert Gerard, (fn. 146) a friend of John Lyon, the founder of the school. (fn. 147) Denhams comprised some 42 a. adjacent to Darkes Lodge (fn. 148) and by an Act of 1797 was exchanged with John Hunter, (fn. 149) the owner of Darkes. (fn. 150)
The Clare Hall or Clay Hall estate originated in c. 40 a. acquired piecemeal between 1730 and 1745 by Thomas Roberts, a linen-draper. The property included the Prince's Arms, with 4 a. called Marriotts, and fields called Upper Reeves, Pond Reeves, and Rushy Reeves (30 a.). Roberts died bankrupt c. 1747 and his widow Anna sold the estate to Temple West, (fn. 151) who served under Admiral John Byng at Minorca. (fn. 152) After West's death in 1757 Clare Hall passed to his son, who sold it to James Barwick in 1779. From the Barwicks it descended in 1797 to Catherine Sharp (fn. 153) who was still in possession in 1842. (fn. 154) By 1874 the estate was in the hands of Edward Wright, (fn. 155) a stockbroker. (fn. 156) On his death in 1886 it passed to Theresa Southwell, Louisa Limes, Mary Morgan, and Henrietta Williams, (fn. 157) who founded St. Monica's priory there. (fn. 158) In 1896 Clare Hall, comprising c. 70 a., became a private smallpox hospital. (fn. 159)
Although described as newly-erected c. 1745, (fn. 160) the house in 1973 appeared to be largely late-18thcentury, with various 19th-century additions. It is a plain red-brick building. (fn. 161) The street wall and gate contain cherub-heads and knots on the buttresses, said to have come from the Wren church of St. Antholin (City of London.) (fn. 162)
Wrotham Park, (fn. 163) lying south of Potters Bar, consisted of the land purchased by Admiral John Byng in 1750. Totalling 150 a., the estate then comprised a house known as Pinchbank, Sheepcotes, an inn called the Chequers (renamed the Angel by 1750), and several other farms. Pinchbank and its abutments (80 a.) were first recorded in 1310 when it was said that Reynold Frowyk (d. 1300) had held them of Roger Lewknor. (fn. 164) In 1479 the lands were granted by Henry Frowyk of Old Fold to John Goodere of Hadley as part of a marriage settlement. William Stanford obtained the manor of Monken Hadley and land at Kitts End from the Gooderes in 1544, and his son Robert sold the manor and land at Pinchbank to William Kympton in 1574. Pinchbank and the rest of the lands later passed to John Howkins (d. 1678). In 1713 another branch of the Howkins family sold them to Thomas Reynolds, a director of the South Seas Co., who changed the name of the house from Pinchbank to Strangeways and whose son Francis sold the estate to Admiral Byng. (fn. 165) Byng built a new 'stareabout pile' (fn. 166) to the north-west of Pinchbank by 1754 and called it Wrotham Park, after Wrotham (Kent), the Byngs' original home. On the admiral's execution in 1757 the estate passed to his nephew, George Byng, M.P., and later to his son George. In 1847 it descended to General Sir John Byng, who had been created earl of Strafford, (fn. 167) and thereafter it remained a Byng seat.
At the inclosure of Enfield Chase 56 a. were allotted to Wrotham Park, which in 1859 was further enlarged by the purchase of the New Lodge estate. (fn. 168) Thereafter Wrotham Park (c. 286 a.) (fn. 169) occupied a triangle of land, bounded by Kitts End Road, Dancers Hill Road, and the Great North Road.
Wrotham Park (fn. 170) is situated on the edge of a small valley and the principal front has fine views to the south-west across its park-land and beyond. The house was built on a virgin site in the early 1750s to the design of Isaac Ware and has been described as his best work. As first built it had a central block of two storeys fronted by an Ionic portico which is approached by curving staircases. Short wings of one storey linked the block to terminal pavilions with canted bay fronts and domed roofs. The original plan did not provide as much accommodation as its overall size might have suggested and some internal rearrangement had already taken place by 1771. Then c. 1810 an upper storey was added to the wings and in 1854 they were extended eastward to line up with the central portion of that front, which probably received its projecting porch at the same time. The house was severely damaged by fire in 1883 and in the course of reconstruction an extra storey was added to the central block and shallow bays replaced the original venetian windows of the main front. The plan of the principal rooms was to a large extent restored but the existing decoration is much plainer than it must once have been.
The early-19th-century stables are a short distance north of the house and were joined to it in 1854 by a low service court. The landscaped park, formed when the house was begun, extends in all directions. Against the west front a terraced lawn was laid out in the 19th century and to the north-west there is a Victorian garden with an iron-framed orangery of simple Gothic design. The south lodges are early19th-century, the lodge to the north is later.
Oakmere, (fn. 171) on the eastern side of High Street, Potters Bar, originated in the 108 a. of the former Chase allotted to James Cecil, earl of Salisbury, under the inclosure award of 1781. (fn. 172) In 1787 the land was sold to John Hunt of Gobions, Brookhams Park, who gave it to his niece, Amelia Chauncy, on her marriage to Col. W. L. Carpenter, Deputy Adjutant-General in Bombay. In 1861 the estate belonged to Carpenter's daughter Margaret and her husband Horatio Kemble, from whom it passed to their son, Lt.-Col. Horace Kemble (d. 1935). He leased the property to the Lofts family, c. 1890-1915, and then to Mrs. William Forbes until her death in 1936. Kemble sold most of Oakmere in 1920, retaining the house and grounds, which were subsequently purchased by Potters Bar U.D.C. in 1937.
Oakmere House was built in 1840 on the site of small encroachments into the Chase, to the west of Lord Salisbury's allotment. (fn. 173) The house is in the Italianate style and retains the external alterations made by Horatio Kemble in the 1860s. Since 1937 it has been used for education offices, a Citizens' Advice Bureau, and various local functions.