A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 6, Friern Barnet, Finchley, Hornsey With Highgate. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1980.
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Among the estates of Simon Francis (d. 1357), merchant of London, was land at Hornsey, of which 60 a. were held in dower by his widow Maud (d. 1384). In 1368 her daughter Alice and her husband Sir Thomas Travers conveyed the reversion to feoffees to the use of the heirs of John de Middleton. (fn. 1) The feoffees settled it on Sir Thomas in 1373 (fn. 2) and by 1376 he had conveyed it to Nicholas Brembre (d. 1388), later mayor of London, (fn. 3) on whose forfeiture in 1388 it passed to the Crown. (fn. 4) In 1394 the estate, 60 a. of land and 4 a. of wood, was granted to Thomas Goodlake and Joan his wife. (fn. 5)
William Horne (d. 1496), alderman of London, built up an estate most of which was at Crouch End. In 1482 he acquired Godfreys tenement and 20½ a. copyhold of Hornsey from William Halmer, pouch-maker of London; (fn. 6) in 1484 other copyhold from the guardian of Thomas, son of John Bury, a London tailor; (fn. 7) in 1486 more copyhold of Topsfield from Richard Spencer and Isabel his wife; (fn. 8) in 1487 a freehold estate from Cecily, wife of Thomas Walker; (fn. 9) also in 1487 from the parents of Henry Marshall, butcher of London (d. 1480), property which may have been the Triangle estate; (fn. 10) and at an unknown date Crouch End croft, late of Henry Quarles. (fn. 11) Horne's lands constituted a substantial block, which was sold by his executors in 1497 to John Meautis, the king's secretary. (fn. 12) From at least 1497 Meautis accumulated other lands, all of which he quitclaimed c. 1503 to John Heron and his father William. (fn. 13)
Most of the freehold land in Hornsey lay east of Tottenham Lane and Crouch End near the manors of Brownswood, Topsfield, Farnfields, and Ducketts in Tottenham and sometimes disputed between them. In 1287 William le Brun of Ebury in Westminster, heir of Master William le Brun, acquired 40 a. in Hornsey which the elder William had settled on his sister Isabel and her husband Everard the goldsmith and which they had apparently given to the priory of St. Sepulchre, Warwick, before dying childless. (fn. 14) In 1294 the priory unsuccessfully sued the younger William for the lands, (fn. 15) which he had conveyed in 1293 to Lawrence Duckett and later formed part of Ducketts manor. (fn. 16)
The Brokhersts of Islington held land in Hornsey by 1382, when Richard Brokherst occurred. (fn. 17) Land in Downhills granted to Henry Brokherst in 1420 was sold to Thomas Edrich in 1422 (fn. 18) but in 1437 William Brokherst was granted lands including Lightlond's croft by John Kingsdon, goldsmith of London. (fn. 19) Part of William Brokherst's estate, a house and 88 a. in Islington and Hornsey, was alienated in 1464 by his daughter Joan and her husband William Underhill, (fn. 20) but the residue descended to their daughter Cecily (d. 1497), wife of Thomas Walker, grocer of London. Cecily sold property to Alderman Horne in 1487 (fn. 21) and was succeeded by her son Richard, a ward of his brotherin-law Richard Rowlow, a London grocer. (fn. 22) In 1503 Richard Walker declared void all conveyances of land in Hornsey and near-by parishes made by himself as a minor to Sir Thomas Frowyk, (fn. 23) but feoffees held 80 a. in a wood called Ushers to Sir Thomas's use until his death in 1506. (fn. 24) Sir Thomas's estates descended to his daughter Frideswide (d. 1528), first wife of Sir Thomas Cheyney, K. G., who later held them for life. The reversion was divided between Cheyney's daughters Frances Crisp, Catherine Kempe, and Anne Parrott. Eighty acres of woodland were allotted to Catherine, who had borne three daughters, Margaret, Anne, and Alice, and predeceased her father. Margaret, wife of William Cromer, had also died leaving a daughter Anne before Sir Thomas Cheyney's death in 1558, (fn. 25) when the wood was divided between the three heirs. One share was apparently among the third of a house and 84 a. in Hornsey, Hendon, and Finchley which Richard Boyce and Margaret his wife conveyed in 1568 to Thomas Sherley and Anne his wife, with warranty against the heirs of Sir Thomas Frowyk. (fn. 26) In 1570 the third share of Boyce and by 1576 that of Christopher and Merlian Rythe in two houses and 80 a. in Hornsey, Finchley, and Hendon (including Ushers) had been acquired by John Draper (d. 1576), brewer of London, (fn. 27) lessee of the woods and chief copyholder of Brownswood. (fn. 28) The freehold in Hornsey was devised to his son Jasper, (fn. 29) who in 1601 conveyed 39 a. to Richard Welby, leatherseller of London. (fn. 30) He had also acquired at least 6 a. copyhold from Nicholas (d. 1616) and William, coheirs of Sir William Rowe, 33 a. from Thomas Rotch, and 41 a. from Thomas Sands.
In 1624 Welby sold a mansion, nine cottages, and 127 a. freehold and copyhold in Hornsey and Clerkenwell detached to Cecily (d. 1634), widow of Giles Duncombe, leatherseller of London, (fn. 31) who in 1629 surrendered them to her daughter Sarah, wife of Sir Henry Rowe (d. 1662), lord mayor of London, with remainder to their second son Thomas (later Sir Thomas) Rowe (d. 1696). (fn. 32) Thomas, then the eldest surviving son, was admitted in 1658 (fn. 33) and left the estate, which had greatly increased in value, to his son Thomas (d. c. 1705). (fn. 34) It then passed to the younger Thomas's uncle Anthony Rowe (d. c. 1707) and the latter's daughters Mary, wife of Sir Edmund Denton, Bt., and Charlotte Rowe. (fn. 35) In 1705 the estate was grossly encumbered (fn. 36) and by 1711 it was to be sold under the will of Henry Guy, who had acquired the rights of the coheirs. (fn. 37) In 1726 Guy's surviving executors surrendered the estate to William Pulteney (d. 1764), later earl of Bath, with remainder to his brother Harry. (fn. 38) In 1767 Harry, by then a general, devised it to his cousin Frances Pulteney (d. 1782), wife of William Johnstone, later Sir William Pulteney, Bt., from whom it descended to her daughter Henrietta Laura Pulteney (later countess of Bath). (fn. 39) On the death of the childless countess of Bath in 1808 (fn. 40) the estate devolved on William Harry Vane (d. 1842), earl of Darlington and later duke of Cleveland, (fn. 41) who sold it in seven lots in 1810. (fn. 42)
At his death in 1576 John Draper's copyhold estate at Brownswood consisted of 73 a. between Stroud Green Road and Brownswood and 32 a. between the latter and Green Lanes. It was held by his heirs, presumably his sons, in 1577, (fn. 43) by his widow in 1594, (fn. 44) and by his eldest son Thomas (d. 1612), descending to the latter's sons Thomas (d. 1631), Robert (d. 1642), and Roger. In 1636 it was held jointly by Lady (Sarah) Kemp, widow of the younger Thomas, Robert, and Roger and in 1656 by Roger alone. (fn. 45) It was apparently among the lands that he devised to his brother Robert's son Thomas (d. 1703), later a baronet, (fn. 46) who apparently alienated it. Sir William Paul of Bray (Berks.), Bt. (d. 1686), held 110 a. The estate was held by his widow, who married Sir Formedon Penystone, Bt., c. 1709, (fn. 47) and passed under Sir William's will to the Paul family. It was presumably among the property inherited from William Paul before 1727 by his daughter Catherine, wife of Sir William Stapleton, Bt. (d. 1740), which apparently descended to her son Sir Thomas Stapleton, Bt. (d. 1781). (fn. 48) By 1796, however, the western portion of 81 a. was held by a Mr. Lucas, who was succeeded in 1808 by John Lucas, the owner in 1822. (fn. 49) It belonged to William Lucas in 1823 (fn. 50) and was enfranchised for James Lucas in 1856. (fn. 51) It was owned by Joseph Lucas (fn. 52) between 1861 and 1876 and was built over by 1880.
A house mentioned in 1577 (fn. 53) was extended or rebuilt in 1609, (fn. 54) apparently by Sir Thomas Stapleton whose initials appear on datestones and panelling. Known as Stapleton Hall, it stands near the north-west end of Stapleton Hall Road and presumably was occupied by Stapleton as a tenant. In 1765 it was licensed as the Stapleton Hall tavern. (fn. 55) William Lucas is said to have divided the house into two (fn. 56) and in his time it was surrounded by farm-buildings. (fn. 57) Between 1856 and 1884 it was occupied by Charles Turner (d. 1892), member of a prominent farming family and later of Womersley House. (fn. 58) It was the Stroud Green Conservative club by 1888 (fn. 59) and in 1962 was bought by the club, (fn. 60) which occupied it in 1978. Some early-17thcentury panelling has been reset in a short back wing and parts of the building may be of that date. The main range is probably 18th-century but was refronted in the early or mid 19th century. More recent alterations have included the demolition of an annexe towards the street and the addition of a modern clubroom at the rear.
In 1461 one Adam Turvey had settled copyhold of Hornsey on his wife Alice and son Robert (fn. 61) and in 1465 Adam's widow and son settled two cottages and 8 a. on Robert's wife Margaret, with remainder to his daughters Marion and Isabel. Robert also surrendered land to Giles Eustace in 1465 and 1474 (fn. 62) and in 1474 with his mother to John (later Sir John) Elrington, treasurer of the king's household. (fn. 63) Robert Turvey had died by 1475, whereupon Isabel, who married Richard Spencer, may have been admitted to her share but Marion, a minor, was placed in the custody of her mother, who married Thomas Corbrond. Marion died by 1479, when Isabel and her husband were admitted to the other purparty of her father's lands, which were released by the Corbronds. (fn. 64) Richard Spencer (d. 1509) was active in the local land market before acquiring the manor of Topsfield. (fn. 65) Apart from Topsfield he left property at Hornsey, Highgate, Crouch End, and Muswell Hill to be divided among his sons Gregory, Hugh, and Nicholas, with remainder in default of issue to Nicholas as eldest son. The testator's residence by the gate to the church, his houses in Hornsey, and all his copyhold land at Crouch End were left for life to his widow Isabel. Some was bought by William Cholmley of Lincoln's Inn, probably before 1513: at William's death in 1546 it was divided between his stepdaughters. (fn. 66) In 1513 Gregory and Nicholas Spencer sold the reversion on their mother's death and all their customary land in Middlesex to Sir Richard Cholmley; Nicholas had not surrendered it in 1519 and it was not paid for at Sir Richard's death in 1521. (fn. 67) He devised it to his illegitimate son Roger, later Sir Roger, Cholmley (d. 1565) whose title was disputed by the testator's brother Roger. Arbiters awarded only a third of the land to the son, (fn. 68) who later seems to have held the whole estate. Some was sold (fn. 69) and the rest was divided between his daughters, the wives of Christopher Kenn and John Russell, who surrendered some to Sir Roger's servant Jasper Cholmley (d. 1588), whose sons held it in 1608. (fn. 70) Kempe's house at Highgate left in 1509 to Nicholas Spencer may be the house and 4 a. held there by his son c. 1535. (fn. 71) Between 1578 and 1587 Richard's sons John Spencer of the Middle Temple and Roger Spencer alienated five houses, including one at Crouch End then called the Green Lettuce but later Old Crouch Hall; (fn. 72) in 1577 John Spencer also held 20 a. copyhold of Brownswood. (fn. 73)
Land in the manor of Ducketts in Tottenham and Hornsey, formerly of St. Bartholomew's hospital, was acquired in 1554 by William Parker, draper of London, (fn. 74) who conveyed it in 1556 to Ranulph Cholmley, recorder of London. (fn. 75) The land was probably Sistersfield, left to the hospital in 1563, (fn. 76) when Ranulph's copyhold estate passed to his brother Sir Hugh Cholmley (d. 1596), the military commander, (fn. 77) who lived in Hornsey in 1574, (fn. 78) perhaps at Brick Place or Tower Place, which he surrendered in 1578 to Thomas Aglionby of Hornsey together with ten houses and 58 a. (fn. 79) Aglionby devised them in 1583 for life to his wife Cecily (later Cecily Payne). (fn. 80) In 1603 she settled 14 a. on their son Ambrose, who held 26 a. by 1605, (fn. 81) mortgaged the estate in 1622, and sold the house and 32 a. in 1631 to Richard Chambers the younger, alderman of London, and Catherine his wife. (fn. 82) Chambers also inherited lands acquired by his parents Richard (d. 1632-3) the elder and Susannah (d. 1641), and in 1645 settled Brick Place, nine cottages, and 36 a. on himself and his prospective second wife Judith. (fn. 83) At his death in 1658 he left five sons to share his encumbered estate: eight houses and 15 a. were conveyed in 1662 to Christopher Joyner (d. 1690), merchant of London. (fn. 84) On the death of Judith in 1668 the four surviving brothers surrendered Brick Place and 21 a. to Sir John Musters (d. 1690), from whom they descended to his four grandsons. (fn. 85) Brick Place itself was damaged in a storm and demolished in 1703, (fn. 86) although the moat remained. In 1704 the surviving coheirs surrendered the property to Thomas Joyner, merchant of London, (fn. 87) Christopher's son and ultimately his sole heir, (fn. 88) who also bought land from Thomas Priestly in 1711-12 (fn. 89) and left the united estate to his sons Christopher and Thomas, who sold some of it. (fn. 90) In 1721 Christopher was admitted to his late brother's share (fn. 91) and by will dated 1727 he left eleven houses and c. 40 a. to his aunt Elizabeth Joyner, (fn. 92) who devised them in 1738 to John Bicknell of the Inner Temple. (fn. 93) In 1740 Bicknell left the estate equally to his brothers Charles (d. by 1762) and Robert and his sisters Elizabeth Hay and Jane and Dorothea Bicknell. (fn. 94) Robert acquired the whole estate, (fn. 95) which in 1763 he surrendered to George Wright, (fn. 96) in whose family it had descended to George Jasper Wright by 1836. In 1839 it was said to belong to George Edward Smythe, a lunatic, and c. 1847 was acquired by the G.N.R. (fn. 97)
In 1592 John Cage acquired from William Bromfield a freehold house and 37 a., (fn. 98) which he conveyed in 1599 to Nicholas Cage, (fn. 99) who also held 68 a. copyhold of Hornsey at his death in 1607. (fn. 100) He devised all his estates in Hornsey and Tottenham for life to his widow Anne, (fn. 101) who married Robert Barker. (fn. 102) In 1626 the freehold was conveyed to Richard Springnell, later a baronet, (fn. 103) to whom the copyhold was also surrendered in 1627. (fn. 104) In 1625 Richard had inherited c. 50 a. of copyhold accumulated by his father Robert between 1605 and 1615, (fn. 105) in 1629 he bought 13 a. of freehold from Thomas Wilson, (fn. 106) and in 1631 12 a. (probably Sistersfield) from William Benning of Ducketts in Tottenham. (fn. 107) Although he sold 35 a. of freehold to Michael Johns in 1654 (fn. 108) he still possessed the freehold closes of Downhills, Sisterfield, Highlands, and Farmersfield, amounting to 49 a. (fn. 109) In 1651 he settled Cromwell House and 23 a. jointly on his son Robert and Anne Livesey his wife, (fn. 110) with whom nine other children disputed the remaining four houses and 160 a. on Sir Richard's death in 1659. (fn. 111) In 1663 the copyhold and the freehold estates were sold to Philip Jemmett (d. 1678), alderman of London, (fn. 112) who devised the copyhold to his daughter Anne and her husband Sir Jonathan Raymond (d. 1711), also an alderman. Their second son John Raymond succeeded to only eight cottages and 10 a., which descended to his grandson and namesake in 1796. (fn. 113) The main estate passed to the elder son Sir Jemmett Raymond, who sold the freehold in 1712 and the copyhold in 1718 to David Mitchell of Westminster. (fn. 114) In 1719 Mitchell alienated it to Thomas Bishop of West Drayton, (fn. 115) who in 1724 conveyed it to William King of Clapham (Surr.). (fn. 116) In 1729 King conveyed the freehold to his nephew William Cole of Magdalen Laver (Essex) (fn. 117) and left the copyhold to William and his heirs male, with remainder to his other nephew Henry Cole. By 1731 King and William Cole had died and the copyhold had passed to Henry Cole. (fn. 118) It was inherited in 1765 by his cousin Thomas Wilcox of Westminster, bookseller, (fn. 119) whose widow surrendered it in 1800 to William Wilcox, (fn. 120) who in 1808 sold it to Edward Gray of Harringay House. (fn. 121) The freehold estate passed to John Cozens, nephew and devisee of William Cole, and in 1772 to his eldest son John Cozens of Magdalen Laver. (fn. 122)
Sir John Skeffington (d. 1525), alderman of London, left most of his freehold and copyhold estate in Hornsey to his wife Elizabeth, who later married Sir John Dauncy. (fn. 123) In 1552, after the death of Skeffington's son William, William's eldest son John Skeffington was heir to the freehold; (fn. 124) the copyhold was divided between John and his brothers George (d. 1581), merchant of the staple, Thomas (d. 1592), Richard (d. 1597), who all died childless, and James. (fn. 125) In 1607 James Skeffington (d. 1607-8) surrendered a house and 24 a. to John's son William Skeffington of Fisherwick (Leics.). (fn. 126) William apparently acquired the whole estate, which included Sir John Skeffington's house, five cottages, and 91 a. of copyhold land situated mainly between Park Road, Middle Lane, and Hornsey High Street or by Hornsey Lane. In 1619 he sold it to William Priestly (d. 1620), (fn. 127) who already occupied land in the parish. (fn. 128) Priestly's son William (d. 1664) left a house, ten cottages, and 100 a. to his son Thomas, (fn. 129) who settled them on himself and his wife Hester in 1694. (fn. 130) On her death in 1720 they descended to their son William Priestly (d. 1744) of Bloomsbury, the lessee since 1694. (fn. 131) He sold a house and 22 a. in 1736 (fn. 132) and his widow held the remainder in 1749. (fn. 133)
In 1789 Edward Gray, linen-draper of London, acquired several fields in the east part of the parish, where in 1792 he was erecting Harringay House, (fn. 134) reputedly on the site of a Tudor mansion (fn. 135) in a loop of the New River. He was rated for 55 a. in 1796. (fn. 136) By 1801 he also possessed at least 85 a. of the manor of Farnfields or Harringay (fn. 137) and in 1809 he acquired from Mary Wilcox and William Stebbing 93 a. lying together in the north-west part of the parish. (fn. 138) He was assessed on 192 a. in 1829 (fn. 139) and at his death in 1838 ordered that the estate should be sold. (fn. 140) Cockfields, 27 a. north of Turnpike Lane, was sold to William Bradshaw (fn. 141) but in 1840 the house itself and 52 a. of freehold and 43 a. of copyhold in Hornsey and Tottenham were sold to Edward Henry Chapman, (fn. 142) who had held 37 a. as copyhold of Brownswood since at least 1822. Following his death in 1869 the estate was sold, (fn. 143) most if not all of it to W. C. Alexander, who lived there in 1876 (fn. 144) and sold it to the British Land Co. in 1880-1, when it consisted of 91 a. bounded by Green Lanes, Turnpike Lane, the G.N.R., and the T. & H.J.R. (fn. 145) The land was rapidly built upon and Harringay House itself was demolished in 1885. (fn. 146) Standing in extensive gardens and a park laid out between 1800 and 1809, (fn. 147) it was probably the largest house in Hornsey.