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.
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Growth before 1851.
A mesolithic tool has been found at Winchmore Hill, (fn. 1) people lived near Ermine Street from c. 100-350 A.D., (fn. 2) and a few fragments of Roman pottery were discovered at the Ridgeway, near the Bourne in Southgate. (fn. 3) Nevertheless continuous settlement probably dates from the Anglo-Saxon period, as the name Edmonton (Adelmetone) indicates. (fn. 4)
Early habitations were probably along Fore Street, particularly on the gravel west of the road, watered by wells (fn. 5) and by the east-flowing streams that served as public sewers. Upper Edmonton, at the junction with Silver Street, and Lower Edmonton, at the junction with Church Street, represent the earliest concentrations of dwellings. Few named medieval houses can be located (fn. 6) but they were usually near a church; (fn. 7) Gisors Place or Polehouse, Pymmes, and Caustons were probably near Silver Street by the mid 14th century. Thurstones stood on the east side of Fore Street, next to Salmon's brook, by 1423 (fn. 8) and Trumpton Hall between Fore Street and Langhedge field by 1500. (fn. 9) Cookes existed on the south side of Silver Street by 1461 (fn. 10) and the Lyon stood in 1523 on the east side of Silver Street from Fore Street. (fn. 11) Goodhouse was in Fore Street by 1548 (fn. 12) and Paycock or Peacock Farm in Church Street by 1559. (fn. 13)
Upper and Lower Edmonton were served by open-field systems mostly west of Fore Street. More open fields probably lay to the north, primarily serving the manorial demesne farm north of Bury Street. At least one other house existed in Bury Street in 1269 (fn. 14) and Fullers was there by 1467. (fn. 15)
Winchmore Hill, Wynsemerhull in 1319, probably originated as a hamlet served by assarted fields which existed by the 13th century. (fn. 16) The Vikers family had a house there in 1349 (fn. 17) and Dacres tenement existed there in 1546. (fn. 18) The house by Highgate, mentioned in the 13th century, was probably near by. (fn. 19)
Southgate, the south gate of Enfield Chase, was first mentioned 1166 x 1189 (fn. 20) and South Street, the road leading to the gate, in 1321. (fn. 21) Houses seem to have been erected there by 1321 and one of them, Ryneshamstall, was so named in 1338. (fn. 22) Pottery probably dating from the 13th century has been found south of the Bourne. (fn. 23) No medieval field system was associated with Southgate, whose inhabitants were woodmen rather than farmers. There was probably a small agricultural settlement at Clappers Green by the early 14th century, where the Clapper and Sigar families held land and Holy Trinity priory a grange. (fn. 24)
Palmers Green was mentioned as a highway in 1324. (fn. 25) There are allusions to Palmers field (1204), (fn. 26) Palmersland (1322), (fn. 27) and Palmers Grove (1340), (fn. 28) but there is no evidence of settlement there before the late 16th century. (fn. 29)
In the Middle Ages there were several moated farm-houses, mainly east of Fore Street, although one was at Fords Grove and another at Bowes in the west of the parish. Dephams probably dated from the 12th century and Fords Grove from the 13th century (fn. 30) but most were created when land holdings were consolidated during the 14th century. (fn. 31) Much building was the work of individuals, particularly London merchants, who divided up the common fields. (fn. 32) Plesingtons, Claverings, and Willoughbies in the east, Bowes in the south-west, and Weir Hall at Tanners End were probably all established during the 14th century. Pentridge Farm in the north-east existed by 1483. (fn. 33)
In the 16th century the main centres of population were still Lower Edmonton, near the church, and Upper Edmonton, along Fore Street. About 1535 the tenants of Edmonton manor were divided into six groups, which, although not yet called wards, were the precursors of wards which served from the 17th century as parish government divisions. (fn. 34) Customary rents suggest that Church Street ward, which paid 57 per cent of the total, was by far the most populous and Fore Street, paying 21 per cent, the next. To the north Bury Street ward paid 7 per cent and in the west Winchmore Hill paid 11 per cent and South Street and Bowes 2 per cent each. (fn. 35) Apart from the church no medieval or early Tudor building suvives in the parish. About 182 houses are marked on late-16th-century maps, (fn. 36) probably too few but some indication of the pattern of settlement. Buildings were concentrated at Lower and Upper Edmonton, with smaller hamlets at Winchmore Hill and Southgate. There were a few houses at Bowes, Bury Street, Tanners End, Marsh Lane, and Clappers Green, four at Palmers Green, and one at Bush Hill. The most notable change in the 16th century took place at Fords Green, where fields were assarted and houses probably erected at the same time. Butts Farm stood a little to the north by 1591. (fn. 37)
From the 16th century growth was continuous. As communications improved more Londoners acquired houses in Edmonton, some, like one Avery of Basinghall in 1665, as summer residences for their families, (fn. 38) others as permanent homes. Brick was not the only building material, for weatherboarding was particularly common in Southgate and Winchmore Hill, while dilapidated hovels with thatch and even turf roofs survived into the late 18th century, when they were depicted in a romantic manner by the local painter John T. Smith. (fn. 39) New houses were normally erected on old sites, bordering the roads and greens, and frequently several dwellings were built where there had once been only one. In place of houses set in spacious gardens, buildings presented an uninterrupted front to the street, especially along Fore Street and Edmonton Green. In Silver Street, for example, there were in 1675 several houses where Cookes had stood. (fn. 40) In Southgate a site which in 1743 contained only the Woolpack inn was covered by two houses in 1750, three in 1782, and five in 1824. (fn. 41) West of South Street a large house was pulled down by 1769 and replaced by three houses in 1778, to which two more had been added by 1798. (fn. 42) The number of houses in the parish increased to 423 in 1664, (fn. 43) about 800 in the late 18th century, (fn. 44) 901 in 1801, and 1,726 in 1851. (fn. 45) Growth therefore appears to have gathered pace. Although there were no new centres of population, the older ones expanded at varying rates.
Of the four wards which existed from the mid 17th century, Fore Street eventually became the most populous. There were 88 houses in 1664, (fn. 46) 229 1801, (fn. 47) 368 in 1811, 506 in 1841, (fn. 48) and 611 in 1851. (fn. 49) Polehouse and Trumpton Hall (fn. 50) survived on their medieval sites and Neales, the home of the Rogers family, was in Fore Street in 1659. (fn. 51) The largest houses in the ward in 1664 were Weir Hall, with 20 hearths, and another with 18 hearths. (fn. 52)
Fashionable residents increasingly settled in Fore Street during the 18th century, many of them attracted by the regular coach services. John T. Smith remarked in 1789 on the inhabitants 'within their King William iron gates and red brick, crested piers', who excluded the villa-building tradesmen from their neighbourhood. (fn. 53) At the same time crowds of visitors attended the famous Edmonton fair. (fn. 54) The story of John Gilpin, written by William Cowper in 1782, shows Edmonton's popularity as a place of relaxation for Londoners. (fn. 55)
Large houses of the early 18th century in Fore Street included Eagle House, built in 1713 on the west side just north of Pymme's brook, and Elm House, with a mansard roof, on the east; the first was demolished in 1713, the second in 1952. (fn. 56) Edmonton House stood opposite Elm House by 1801. (fn. 57) There were two mid-18th-century houses, nos. 258 and 260, on the eastern side of Fore Street north of Elm House (fn. 58) and a large old house opposite, (fn. 59) which may have been Strawberry House. (fn. 60) Angel Place or Row, four pairs of adjoining two-storeyed houses with attics, was built in the 18th century on the west side of Fore Street between the Angel inn and Pymme's brook. (fn. 61) South of Elm House was Addison House, nos. 224 and 226 Fore Street. (fn. 62) Other houses which had been built in Fore Street before 1851 included on the east side Almond House, which was probably opposite St. James's church, Sycamore House between Angel Road and Claremont Street, and Bridge House by Pymme's brook and, on the west side, Hatford House and Old House near the junction with Church Road and College House just north of the Bell. (fn. 63) Many large houses with gardens and orchards, particularly in the Duck Lane portion of the street, survived well into the 19th century. (fn. 64)
Silver Street was in many ways an extension of Fore Street. It contained Pymmes, Weir Hall, Russell House, a small early-18th-century building, (fn. 65) and, by 1819, Woodlands. (fn. 66) Millfield House was built in the late 18th century and occupied in 1796 by the Russian ambassador. (fn. 67) Other houses of the same period included Bridport Hall and two large houses opposite Pymmes, which were destroyed during the Second World War. (fn. 68) There were also many cottages and shops, including the Parade, built by 1801. (fn. 69)
Fore Street was never wholly occupied by the rich. Increasingly, particularly south of Angel Road and Silver Street, the area came to be covered with small, overcrowded tenements and lodging houses. Typhus was prevalent in 1838 at Eaton Place, (fn. 70) where 9 tenements were built in 1795 and 15 existed in 1801, (fn. 71) and at Orchard Street 30 lodgers were found in one room in 1844. (fn. 72) Industry, particularly coach-building, concentrated in the area. Probably the first example of building beyond the ancient street front was on the estate of Snells Park, a three-storeyed house 'of ancient date' (fn. 73) with park-land stretching on the west side of Fore Street from the Tottenham border to Church Road, which was sold in 1848 and covered with small houses. (fn. 74) Opposite, Claremont Street, where nonconformist chapels were erected in 1818 and 1845, was built up before 1851. (fn. 75)
Much of Edmonton thus lost its exclusiveness (fn. 76) and as prosperous traders moved in the gentry moved out. By 1800 it was inhabited by 'retired embroidered weavers, their crummy wives and tightly laced daughters', (fn. 77) and a working-class character was later widely apparent. (fn. 78) While some houses in Fore Street still had occupiers of independent means in 1851, others had been converted into boarding schools. (fn. 79) Silver Street, too, declined socially: Weir Hall was demolished in 1818 and Millfield House had by 1851 been taken over by the West London union school. (fn. 80)
The spread of building in Church Street ward was at first much slower, although statistics for the ward as a whole probably conceal rapid growth in parts, especially at Edmonton Green. The number of houses rose from 72 in 1664 (fn. 81) to 191 c. 1801, (fn. 82) 210 in 1811, 346 in 1841, (fn. 83) and 374 in 1851. (fn. 84) Church Street itself contained Wilde's almshouses (by 1662) and Style's (by 1679), Latymer school (c. 1623) and the girls' charity school (1778), the workhouse (1732), and the watch-house (c. 1714), as well as the Rectory and Vicarage which were rebuilt c. 1600 and c. 1700 respectively. A house in the ward which was assessed for 18 hearths in 1664 (fn. 85) may have been Hyde House, a large house near the Rectory in 1750. (fn. 86) Among several smaller houses (fn. 87) were Bay Cottage, later Lamb's Cottage, dating from c. 1700, and no. 2A Church Street, next to the girls' charity school, built in the 18th century. (fn. 88) The house where Keats was apprenticed to a surgeon in 1810 was pulled down in 1931 (fn. 89) but some 37 17th- and 18th-century buildings survived about Edmonton Green until after 1937. Numbers 5-9, 17-17A, 33, and 35 on the north side of the green and nos. 30-4 and 36 on the south side, though much altered in the 18th century, were essentially of the 17th century. (fn. 90) By 1806 buildings presented a continuous front on both sides of the green. (fn. 91) There were 101 dwellings at Lower Edmonton and 51 in Church Street in 1801. Of these about eight at Lower Edmonton and two in Church Street were comparatively recent. (fn. 92)
Marsh Side, at the junction of Bounces and Town roads, and a few scattered farms in the north-east also lay in Church Street ward. Plesingtons (Pleasantine Hall) and Claverings, though rebuilt, survived on their medieval sites and Dephams was rebuilt near its old site c. 1679. Two, possibly three, farms were created during the 17th century. Cuckoo Hall in the north-east and Causeyware Hall near Hertford Road in the north probably existed by 1650; (fn. 93) Nightingale Hall, opposite Claverings, may have derived its name from John Nightingale (fl. 1617) (fn. 94) and certainly existed by the mid 18th century. (fn. 95) There were a few cottages and an inn at Marsh Side, as there had been c. 1600, but the total number of buildings, including the farms, was still only 31 in 1801. (fn. 96)
In the early 19th century Marsh Side continued to stagnate while building in the rest of Church Street ward outstripped that in any other district, including Fore Street. Housing spread westward along Church Street and in 1849 New Road was built along the east side of the green, which was soon lined with houses, by the G.E.R. to take traffic interrupted by the low level railway. (fn. 97) Building also spread eastward along Town Road and northward along Hertford Road. The most striking feature was the Crescent, 25 adjoining houses with lodges, erected between 1826 and 1851 as an unsuccessful speculation by a London solicitor. (fn. 98)
Bury Street ward, in the north of the parish away from the turnpike roads, had as many as 169 houses in 1664 but later remained much the most rural area. It had only 187 houses c. 1801, 239 in 1811, 269 in 1841, and 301 in 1851. (fn. 99) There was an unusually large number of one-hearth cottages in 1664, (fn. 100) many of them probably squatters' homes, later removed from the edge of Enfield Chase. Two large houses were Bush Hill (31 hearths) and a house with 17 hearths which was probably Bury Hall.
Bury Street itself changed little in the 250 years after 1600. (fn. 101) Bury farm-house stood on the site of the demesne farm and next to Warren Lodge, so named in 1607. (fn. 102) Salisbury House, although not named until much later, was described in 1605 as a two-storeyed mansion house. (fn. 103) Brook House stood near the site of Sadlers mill and the Stag and Hounds and a few near-by cottages stood where there had been buildings c. 1600. Bury Hall was built by 1627 and Bury House by 1754. (fn. 104) In 1801 there were 52 houses and cottages in Bury Street, of which 7 were new. (fn. 105) Montefiore's Place in Little Bury Street, which joined Bury Street and Church Street, contained brick cottages built in 1789. (fn. 106)
Winchmore Hill, the main settlement in Bury Street ward, was already one of the biggest hamlets in the parish c. 1600. The King's Head, a stopping place of omnibuses from London, encouraged its growth and there was an active community of early Quakers. In the early 19th century the discovery of a well with Epsom Salts brought Winchmore Hill a reputation as a spa. (fn. 107) The village consisted mostly of weatherboarded cottages but a few larger houses were built in the 18th and early 19th centuries. At the green were Rowantree House and Woodside House, mid-18th-century and of painted brick, Roseville, late-18th-century and stuccoed with a fluted Doric porch, (fn. 108) and Uplands, a brown brick Georgian house. (fn. 109) Devon House in Church Hill also dates from the 18th century. (fn. 110) In Vicars Moor Lane were Rose Cottage, with bay windows and a pedimented doorway, where Thomas Hood the poet lived from 1829 to 1832, (fn. 111) and Percy Lodge, the home of Sharon Turner (d. 1847), historian and friend of Isaac D'Israeli. (fn. 112) Prospect House on the north side of the road was built after 1801 but Moor Park, rebuilt in the 1890s by the brewer Sir Edward Mann, (fn. 113) and Roseneath, on the south side, probably both existed before inclosure. (fn. 114) Beaumont Lodge, at the junction of Vicars Moor Lane and Wade's Hill, which also probably existed in 1801, was c. 1840 the largest house in the area and the home of John Wade, a merchant tailor. (fn. 115) Glenwood House was built on the west side of Wade's Hill in the early 19th century and Belmont in Hoppers Road in the 18th century. (fn. 116)
South-east of Winchmore Hill there were about nine buildings at Fords Green, eleven in Highfields Road, and four at Barrowell Green in 1801. A mansion at Fords Green in 1605 (fn. 117) was possibly the house where George Fox visited the London haberdasher Edward Mann in the 1680s. (fn. 118) As Ford Grove, it was the home of the Goulds and Teshmakers in the 18th century (fn. 119) and of the Busks in the 19th. (fn. 120) There was an alehouse, possibly the precursor of the Orange Tree, at Highfield in 1611 (fn. 121) and there was a Highfield House in 1677 and 1703, (fn. 122) probably in Highfield Road rather than on the site of the 19th-century Highfield House. (fn. 123) The most important house in the area was the Firs west of Firs Lane, (fn. 124) the 18th-century residence of the Lake family, which was pulled down in 1810 but replaced by another house of the same name north of Barrowell Green. (fn. 125) In the northern part of Firs Lane was Beaulieu, set in grounds adorned with an 18thcentury ruin and grotto and in 1801 the residence of John Gray. (fn. 126) On the edges of Winchmore Hill, bounded on the north by the western portion of Church Street, was an estate belonging to John Wilde's charity. Apse farm-house probably stood there by 1662 and in 1805 a new house and cottage occupied the site of the old farm, perhaps Rowantree House. (fn. 127)
Bush Hill, also part of Bury Street ward, had 11 houses in 1801, including Quakers Row (fn. 128) and the mansions of John Blackburn and William Mellish, which were established in the early 17th and early 18th centuries respectively. (fn. 129)
South Street ward, which included Palmers Green and Bowes, was second only to Fore Street in its rate of growth. From 94 houses in 1664, (fn. 130) it increased to 'about 180' c. 1795, (fn. 131) 265 in 1801, 340 in 1811, 424 in 1841, (fn. 132) and 441 in 1851. (fn. 133) In 1664 the largest house in the ward was Broomfield, assessed for 14 hearths; three others had 12 hearths each. (fn. 134)
Southgate was settled late because it was so densely wooded and because wells could not be sunk in the clay soil, although the New River made piped water available to the richer landowners. Attracted by the scenery the wealthy began to settle, stimulating trade and clearing the woods for farmand park-land. In 1746 Southgate was described as one of the pleasantest villages in England (fn. 135) and Leigh Hunt, who was born there in 1784, wrote that 'Middlesex in general is a scene of trees and meadows, of "greenery" and nestling cottages, and Southgate is a prime specimen of Middlesex'. (fn. 136) In the early 19th century, when the gentry were moving out of Edmonton, attention was often drawn to Southgate's 'superior residences'. (fn. 137)
Early buildings included Russells in South Street by 1654, (fn. 138) Minchenden, assessed for 35 hearths in 1672, (fn. 139) and the Cherry Tree inn at Southgate Green in 1695. (fn. 140) The transformation of Southgate, however, took place in the 18th century. Among the mansions Minchenden was rebuilt in 1738; Cullands Grove was built by the mid 18th century, Grovelands in 1798, and Southgate House c. 1800. At Southgate Green Arnoside and Essex House (nos. 3-4) date from the early 18th century, (fn. 141) (nos. 23-32 from 1777, (fn. 142) and Norbury House and Sandford House (nos. 38-9) from the late 18th century. (fn. 143) Three houses were built on the site of a former mansion in High Street between 1769 and 1778 and two others added near by before 1798. (fn. 144) Eagle Hall, on the west side of High Street, existed by c. 1783 when Leigh Hunt's father moved there. (fn. 145) Among late-18th- and early-19th-century brick and weatherboarded buildings in High Street were Croft Cottage, Holcombe House, Avington House, and Brackley House, a three-storeyed stuccoed house with a pedimented Doric doorcase. In Blagden's Lane was the Wilderness, a late-18thcentury house of yellow brick with a Doric porch. (fn. 146) Cannon House in Cannon Hill dates from the early 19th century. Bone Grove, which, like Cullands Grove, was demolished by J. D. Taylor c. 1840, stood near Grovelands and was described as ancient in 1834. (fn. 147) Waterfall Road contained Ivy Cottage, probably 18th-century like Beaver Hall, which in the early 19th century housed the Schneiders, steel manufacturers, and Joseph Thornton, a wealthy railway contractor. (fn. 148) By c. 1801 there were about 91 houses in High Street, Cannon Hill, Southgate Green, and Waterfall Road.
The former Enfield Chase portion of Southgate experienced the fastest growth in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. About 1600 there were two buildings on the edge of the Chase, one of which made way for Hope House, a long two-storeyed building used as a dower-house by the Walkers and Taylors. (fn. 151) There were houses at Chase Side in the late 17th century (fn. 152) but little settlement took place until after the Chase had been divided and then only along the roads at its edges - the modern Chase Side and Winchmore Hill Road. By c. 1804 there were about 24 buildings at Chase Side and 43 in Winchmore Hill Road, of which about half were new. In Winchmore Hill Road building was on the northern side of the road, mostly near Winchmore Hill village. (fn. 153) By 1819, when Eastpole (called Chase Farm) and Westpole (unnamed) farms existed in Bramley Road and Oak Lodge off Chase Road, building was spreading on all sides of Southgate circus. (fn. 154) College House stood on the north side of Chase Side by 1851. (fn. 155) The district later known as New Southgate remained uninhabited except for Betstile Lodge, which had appeared by 1851. (fn. 156)
Palmers Green grew from a few isolated houses c. 1600 to a village of about 54 buildings, including two inns, c. 1801. (fn. 157) There were two farms, Hazelwood and Huxley, (fn. 158) and houses on the site of Eaton Villa, (fn. 159) Hazelwood House (fn. 160) and Hill House. (fn. 161)
Bowes, a hamlet around the manor-house and Cock inn, changed little from c. 1600 until the mid 19th century. There were houses near Deadman's Hill by 1623 (fn. 162) and Truro House was built at the junction of Green Lanes and Oakthorpe Road in the 1820s. Another small hamlet at Tile Kilns and Chequers Green grew from 11 buildings c. 1801 (fn. 163) to 28 in 1851, when it consisted of a farm and farmworkers' cottages. (fn. 164)
There were 600 communicants in the parish in 1547 (fn. 165) but numbers may have declined later because of the plague, which claimed 85 out of a total of 145 buried in 1603 and 53 out of 157 buried in 1625. (fn. 166) In 1642 537 adult males took the protestation oath (fn. 167) and in 1676 there were 483 conformists, 2 papists, and 15 other nonconformists. (fn. 168) The population, estimated c. 1716 as 'about 600', (fn. 169) had risen to 5,093 by 1801 and grew steadily during the early 19th century to reach 9,708 in 1851. (fn. 170)