Enfield: Economic history

Pages 232-239

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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In 1086 Enfield was assessed at 30 hides, of which 14 were in demesne. There was meadow for 24 ploughs, pasture for the cattle of the vill, a mill, a park, and woodland for 2,000 pigs. The manor was valued at £50, as it had been T.R.E., although it was worth only £20 when Geoffrey de Mandeville received it. There were 4 ploughs on the demesne and the villeins had 16 ploughs. The tenants included a villein on one hide, 3 villeins each on ½ hide, a priest on one virgate, 17 villeins each on one virgate, 36 villeins each on ½ virgate, 20 bordars on one hide and one virgate, 7 cottars on 23 a., and 5 cottars on 7 a. There were also 18 cottars and 6 serfs. (fn. 1)

In 1289 Durants comprised 294 a. of arable, 27 a. of meadow, and 27 a. of pasture, (fn. 2) while farther west in 1336 the demesne of Enfield contained 420 a. of arable, 63 a. of meadow, and 39 a. of pasture. (fn. 3) Livestock seized by the sheriff on Enfield manor in 1327 amounted to 130 oxen, 154 cows, 160 steers, 101 heifers, and 1,680 sheep. (fn. 4) By 1487, moreover, pasture on both Sir Thomas Lovell's estates of Elsing and Lowdes was worth more than twice as much as the arable land. (fn. 5)

In 1289 freemen owed 86 customary works every August on the Durants manor (fn. 6) and unspecified villein services were also recorded. (fn. 7) On Enfield manor there were freemen, copyholders, cottars, and molmen in the mid 14th century. (fn. 8) Services were still performed by 22 molmen in 1419, (fn. 9) although by 1324 labour had been hired on the Enfield demesne for carting corn and mowing hay. (fn. 10) In 1419 the molmen, who apparently owed more services than the cottars, performed hoeing, carting, and autumn boon-works; other works, however, which included the carrying of corn, were being sold. (fn. 11) In 1439, when the demesne was leased, the molmen's works were being sold at 3¼d. apiece but customary weeding, mowing, and reaping works were still specified. (fn. 12)

Most of the parish east of the Chase was divided into large open arable fields, with common marshes along the Lea. Broad field was mentioned in 1228 and East field in 1275. (fn. 13) By 1572 there were 38 common fields, mostly east of Enfield Town and Forty Hill (fn. 14) but some, inclosed before the mid 18th century, (fn. 15) extending westward towards the Chase. The fields varied greatly in size: in 1572 the largest, Broad field, covered 272 a., while the smallest, Moat field, contained only 9 a. North field (213 a.) covered much of the area north of Bullsmoor Lane and West field (104 a.) lay on the western side of the road to Enfield Town and Edmonton. South-west of it, near Mores Hatch gate to the Chase, lay Ferney field (207 a.). Between Bullsmoor Lane and Turkey Street the largest fields were South field and Dung field, both of them 60 a., while the area between Turkey Street and Hoe Lane was occupied by Long field (151 a.) and Mapleton field (95 a.). East of Hertford Road the largest field was East field (171 a.), with Holdbrook or Ho-Brook field to the north. The centre of the parish, between Baker Street and Hertford Road, also contained large common fields, which included Broad field (272 a.) from Hoe Lane to Carterhatch Lane and, farther south, Windmill field (263 a.), Churchbury field (189 a.), and Southbury field (237 a.). By 1754 several fields had been divided and there were 2,891 a. of inclosed to 2,747 a. of open-field land. (fn. 16)

The strips in the fields were called journeys in 1686 and were divided from one another by 'bulks'. (fn. 17) Each manor had some demesne land in the common fields. In 1584 the Elsing demesne contained 260 a. in the common fields and only 20 a. of inclosures (fn. 18) and in 1635 the Enfield demesne contained 78 a. of inclosed land to 432 a. of arable and 95 a. of meadow in the common fields, all leased to William Bowyer; another 48 a. were leased to John Wroth and 87 a. to John Wilford. (fn. 19) In 1686 all the Enfield demesne lands were leased by Nicholas Raynton. (fn. 20) On Durants manor the inclosure of demesne land occurred earlier; by 1649 only 7 a. of the demesne was open field land. (fn. 21) In the early 16th century discontent was caused by inclosures on Durants manor, (fn. 22) although later the practice became concentrated in the area immediately east of the Chase. In 1572 small inclosures were recorded in all parts of the parish. (fn. 23) In 1635 Sir Nicholas Raynton was said to have recently inclosed 17 a. (fn. 24) and in 1656 the former Little Park, part of Raynton's estate, consisted chiefly of inclosed meadow. (fn. 25) The disparking of the Old Park in the 17th century (fn. 26) further added to the amount of inclosed land in the parish.

Enfield inhabitants claimed rights of grazing in the Chase, mentioned in 1372 (fn. 27) and set out in detail in 1542, (fn. 28) as well as in the common fields and marshes. In the late 16th century the common fields were being opened to grazing while they lay fallow, (fn. 29) in 1593 the marshes were said to have been turned into good pasture, (fn. 30) and in 1657 some of them were being opened as Lammas lands. (fn. 31) Threats to grazing rights often caused violence, as in 1475 when people from Enfield led the opposition to Sir Richard Charlton, lord of Dephams in Edmonton, (fn. 32) or c. 1493, (fn. 33) when they pulled down fences belonging to his successor Sir Thomas Bourchier and claimed sanction of the duchy of Lancaster court. (fn. 34) The men of Enfield were not always welcome in Edmonton, where c. 1563 the commoners blocked the entrance to the marshes and kept mares there to exclude cattle from Enfield. (fn. 35) In Enfield itself John Wroth of Durants was accused in 1514 of inclosing 40 a. and barring cattle from his fields in open seasons (fn. 36) and in 1548 four men were imprisoned after a riot directed at Sir Thomas Wroth. (fn. 37) Sir Robert Wroth was said in 1589 to have been the greatest incloser of common fields in the parish. (fn. 38) John Taylor, farmer of Enfield manor, was amerced c. 1566 for allegedly inclosing 52 a. of waste land (fn. 39) but was found guiltless by the duchy court, which concluded that some Enfield tenants had hoped to force him to let them farm his lands. (fn. 40)

Much of the trouble seems to have arisen from a rise in the population. (fn. 41) The Chase was said to be overcharged c. 1572 (fn. 42) and William Kympton, lord of Monken Hadley, was accused of keeping too many animals there in 1580, 1581, and 1587. (fn. 43) John Wilford, lord of Elsing, declared in 1584 that a recent increase in the number of houses and inclosures had burdened the common fields with too many cattle; he had therefore inclosed 8 a. near his manor-house, whereupon his fences had been destroyed. (fn. 44) Distress was compounded by Enfield's decline as an entrep ôt for the malt trade after the construction of the Lea Navigation (fn. 45) and in 1589 a group of inhabitants complained to the queen of their impoverishment. (fn. 46) Their move may have been linked to a petition in that year to Lord Burghley, seeking the release of 24 women who had been indicted for breaking down fences. (fn. 47) In 1613 fences on Elsing manor were again demolished (fn. 48) and as late as 1719 one William Jakings claimed that he had been reduced to poverty by resisting the unlawful inclosure of common fields. (fn. 49)

By 1754 (fn. 50) there were 1,646 a. of inclosed pasture, including the land around the Chase lodges, and 1,245 a. of inclosed arable; the common arable fields totalled 2,747 a. and there were 794 a. of common meadow, mostly in the marshes. Some of the inclosed arable land produced a second yearly crop of turnips, while the Forty Hall estate, which was completely inclosed, yielded large quantities of hay as well as wheat. In 1769 (fn. 51) hay farming predominated in the mainly inclosed area west of the road from Enfield Town to Bull's Cross, where 900 a. bore hay, 400 a. spring corn, and 100 a. wheat, while 380 a. were 'fed lands'. By contrast farther east between the road from Enfield Town to Bull's Cross and Hertford Road there were 350 a. of hay, 700 a. of wheat and spring corn, 350 a. of spring grain, and only 150 a. of 'fed lands'. The common marshes by the Lea also yielded much hay, which was in demand for winter feeding for the large numbers of cattle on the Chase. In 1769 2,330 a. in Enfield were used for growing wheat or spring corn and 2,150 a. for hay; 790 a. were 'fed lands' and 1,020 a. lay fallow. The best arable land in the late 18th century was said to be in Churchbury field. (fn. 52) A three-course rotation was in use in the common arable fields in 1796, with wheat followed by spring corn and a third year of fallow, when the fields lay open to the parishioners' animals. (fn. 53) The marshes were open to cattle from Lammas until early April, after which a crop of hay was sown. (fn. 54)

When the Chase was inclosed in 1779, the duchy's allotment was set aside as farm-land, while 1,532 a. on its eastern side were allotted to Enfield as a common pasture for householders with premises worth more than £6 a year; sheep were excluded and in 1796 there were said to be 614 head of cattle there. (fn. 55) Proposals to inclose the allotment, with the common fields in the rest of the parish, were opposed by many who feared the impoverishment of hundreds of cottagers (fn. 56) but supported by the chief landowners. In 1793 Abraham Wilkinson of White Webbs considered agriculture to be sadly restricted and claimed that the common field land by the New River, which lay fallow every third year, could after inclosure be turned into valuable meadows. (fn. 57) An Act for inclosing the parish was passed in 1803, when there were 2,891 a. of inclosed and 3,540 a. of uninclosed land outside the former Chase. (fn. 58)

There was a pound at Chase Side which had disappeared by 1686, (fn. 59) and one near the boundary of the Old Park in 1692. (fn. 60) A new pound was built in 1804 (fn. 61) and apparently survived at the northern end of Chase Green in 1868. (fn. 62)

Apple-growing for cider was said in 1823 to have once been important, although no orchards survived. (fn. 63) Lavender was grown on 16 a. near Baker Street in the early 19th century (fn. 64) and was commemorated in the western end of New Lane, Lavender Hill. Fifteen market gardeners were recorded in 1862, most of them near Enfield Highway but some in Baker Street. (fn. 65) In 1867 there were several orchards at Enfield Highway (fn. 66) and in 1869 market gardens accounted for much of the Connop estate in the eastern part of the parish. (fn. 67) After inclosure the farms near the Lea continued to be split between arable and pasture, although fields formed out of the former common were very large in comparison with those farther west; one of Trinity College's farms at Brimsdown had fields of 44 a. and 60 a. in 1855. (fn. 68) Market gardens encroached increasingly on the farm-land between Hertford Road and the Lea during the later 19th century, (fn. 69) until by 1900 Enfield was said to be the main parish for market gardening in northern Middlesex and the second in the whole county. (fn. 70) Tomatoes and cucumbers were the main crops, (fn. 71) although flowers were also grown, and glass-houses covered several hundred acres. (fn. 72) By 1920, with the expansion of industry and suburban housing, some of the market gardens around Ponders End and Enfield Highway had disappeared. New nurseries had opened in the extreme north-east at Freezy Water and farther west at Crews Hill (fn. 73) but in 1934 those around Great Cambridge Road were giving way to factories, schools, and houses. (fn. 74) In 1947 commercial horticulture accounted for 536 a., of which 85 a. were under glass, (fn. 75) and market gardens and nurseries were limited to the extreme north and north-east parts of the parish. They continued to dwindle until in 1966 there was only one large-scale concern, Theobalds Park farm, near Crews Hill, which covered 140 a. and produced vegetables for the London markets. (fn. 76) Several smaller nurseries survived around Crews Hill Road in 1974.

The western part of Enfield remained more agricultural. Initial attempts to cultivate the Chase after its inclosure were largely unsuccessful because of the poor soil, a mixture of gravel and heavy clay, and the inexperience of the farmers. (fn. 77) In 1787 Thomas Bulkeley was said to have failed to sell lands, which he had leased in the Chase, in lots of 30 or 40 a. to Londoners for country residences. (fn. 78) By 1796, however, only about 1,200 a. of the duchy's allotment remained in an unimproved state. (fn. 79) Some of the lessees, like Abraham Wilkinson, applied chalk and lime to the soil (fn. 80) but others, like J. Wigston of Trent Place, thought the land better suited for stock farming and retained many of the old trees to provide settings for their mansions. (fn. 81) By 1823 the Chase had been almost completely converted to tillage (fn. 82) and c. 1850 most of its farms were said to be profitable, (fn. 83) although problems of cultivation persisted. In 1855 one of Trinity College's farms was in a bad state, whereas another on the former Chase was well manured and bore some root crops as well as wheat and dairy produce. (fn. 84)

Farm-land amounted to 9,234 a. in 1887 (fn. 85) and covered over 8,000 a., two-thirds of the parish, in 1911. (fn. 86) It included most of the former Chase, which was later preserved in the Green Belt with the result that there were still 4,761 a. devoted to agriculture in 1937. The farm-land was mainly under grass, 6,494 a. in 1887 and 4,195 a. in 1937, and supplied much hay for London in the 1880s and 1890s. (fn. 87) Later pasture became more important: in 1921 Plumridge and Ridgway farms were dairy farms (fn. 88) and by 1937 nearly two-thirds of the grassland was used for grazing. Numbers of livestock remained high: there were 1,343 cattle, 1,040 sheep, and 681 pigs in 1887 and 1,245 cattle, 1,686 sheep, and 1,266 pigs in 1937. Green and root crops were more widespread than corn: potatoes and cabbages covered over 700 a. in 1887 and over 560 a. in 1917, although the acreage of potatoes had fallen to 33 by 1937.

A return to arable farming began after the Second World War, partly because of the shortage of labour. Of 4,803 a. of farm-land in 1957, only 1,868 were under grass, mostly for grazing. Corn, however, had so expanded that 467 a. produced wheat, 584 a. barley, and 350 a. mixed crops for threshing. (fn. 89) Stock farms included Glasgow Stud farm at Crews Hill, occupied by the British Bloodstock Agency. (fn. 90)


Enfield had woodland for 2,000 pigs in 1086. (fn. 91) Shingles from trees in the Chase were used to roof the palace of Westminster in 1220, (fn. 92) 120 oaks were felled for work at Westminster in 1546, (fn. 93) and more oaks were taken for repairs to Sir William Cecil's house at Hatfield (Herts.) in 1567. (fn. 94) Enfield's inhabitants maintained a right to collect firewood from the Chase: in 1650 they claimed 'decayed and dotard trees' at 2s. a load, free brushwood on St. George's day, brushwood at 8d. a load for the rest of the year, and free rotten wood. (fn. 95)

The woodland was guarded as jealously as were grazing rights. In 1536 the ranger and keepers were accused of illegally felling trees in the Chase. (fn. 96) In 1575 an order was made for better preservation of deer and timber (fn. 97) but in 1583 Enfield men accused the earl of Southampton, farmer and woodward of the Chase, of destroying the wood. (fn. 98) Illegal felling seems to have increased (fn. 99) until in 1603 a group of women assembled at Whitewebbs to urge that wood from the Chase should be burnt in the king's house at Enfield or given to the poor. (fn. 100) In 1604 trees were cut down to build bridges over the Lea. (fn. 101) Meanwhile security in the Chase grew less effective. A keeper was killed by a poacher in 1578 (fn. 102) and in 1594 deer were escaping through gaps in the fence. (fn. 103) In 1605 the king complained that the Chase 'hard by our ordinary residence' was shamefully neglected and that the poor were brought to misery by new tenants and encroachers. (fn. 104) There were so many sheep that deer escaped in search of food, (fn. 105) while the destruction of woodland and especially of large oak trees, according to Sir Vincent Skinner, who lived at Enfield, was far beyond anything known. (fn. 106)

The inclosure of 120 a. of the Chase within Theobalds Park in 1611 (fn. 107) took place without disturbance and tenants were compensated for loss of rights. (fn. 108) In 1635, however, the duchy's tenants of Enfield claimed that a decision to forbid the pasture of their sheep in the Chase, because of the threat to the deer, had left them no means of manuring their arable land. (fn. 109) The ruling against pasture of sheep seems to have been ignored, as it was not mentioned in 1650, (fn. 110) but the destruction of woodland and deer, after apparently coming to an end, increased again during the Civil War. In 1642 several men were imprisoned for killing deer on a large scale (fn. 111) and in 1643 another four were imprisoned for selling wood. (fn. 112) While searching for stolen wood in 1643, the woodward and constables were attacked by some 50 people at Winchmore Hill. (fn. 113) In 1654 the destruction of wood in the Chase was said to have cost £2,000. (fn. 114)

Parliament decided to sell the Chase in 1652 (fn. 115) but inclosure did not take place until after a survey in 1658, under which 1,522 a. was granted to the parishioners of Enfield in compensation. (fn. 116) In 1659 men from Enfield and neighbouring parishes claimed that their allotment was too small and began pulling down newly-erected fences, for which they were acquitted at quarter sessions. Soon afterwards between 160 and 250 local men clashed with soldiers who were protecting the purchasers of the Chase lands (fn. 117) and two troops of horse were called in. (fn. 118) Both the purchasers and the local inhabitants subsequently petitioned Parliament to redress their grievances. (fn. 119)

The Chase was restored to the Crown in 1660 and restocking with deer began in 1662. (fn. 120) An order in 1660 tried to stop the parishioners from illegally cutting down trees (fn. 121) and attempts were made to remove the 200-300 people who had built cottages there during the Interregnum. (fn. 122) Poaching increased (fn. 123) and as the Chase became less frequently used for royal hunting, its officers and their lessees assumed greater local importance. In 1697 Sir Basil Firebrace, ranger and master of the game, was accused of profiteering on the sale of timber (fn. 124) and in 1701 the felling of trees was forbidden. (fn. 125) Sir Basil's successor, James Brydges, duke of Chandos, attempted to end poaching and introduced Scottish cattle (fn. 126) but trespassing and felling continued (fn. 127) and in 1777 the Chase was described by Arthur Young as 'a scandal to the government'. (fn. 128) When inclosure took place in 1779, the deer were removed to Luton Hoo (Beds.), (fn. 129) although many of the trees survived in park-land. (fn. 130)


A mill rendered 10s. in 1086. (fn. 131) Geoffrey de Mandeville, earl of Essex (d. 1144), granted a mill to the abbot of Walden (fn. 132) and Roger de Canteloup held a water-mill and stank in 1234-5. (fn. 133) Fulling and corn mills were held by Richard de Plessis under the abbot in 1289 and later descended with Durants manor; (fn. 134) in 1362 one of them, leased to John Garton, would not grind for want of millstones. (fn. 135) An unspecified water-mill was held by Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford, in 1363. (fn. 136) The Durants mills were probably on or near the sites of the two water-mills which were held by Sir Robert Wroth, lord of Durants, in 1614. (fn. 137)

One of Wroth's mills was presumably Enfield mill, which stood in South marsh and in the late 16th century was a two-storeyed building with a tiled roof. (fn. 138) At the end of the mill river, it was held in 1635 by John Wroth (fn. 139) and described in 1754 as a corn mill. (fn. 140) It was replaced c. 1789 by a new building, much of which is probably preserved in Wright's flour mill near Ponders End railway station. (fn. 141) The mill is large and weatherboarded, with an adjoining brick house. In 1853 it contained seven pairs of millstones and could grind 500 sacks of flour weekly; there was storage for 1,000 qr. of wheat and barges of 60 tons could be drawn up alongside it. (fn. 142) A new plant opened in 1961, to increase production to 300 tons a week, (fn. 143) and in 1971 produced both flour and animal food stuffs. (fn. 144)

The Wroth family's other mill apparently stood near Enfield lock and gave its name to Mill marsh. A Mill Street was mentioned in 1393. (fn. 145) In 1653 the Ordnance officers were to treat with John and Henry Wroth about the use of their mill near the lock for making gunpowder (fn. 146) but there was no reference to gunpowder after 1664 (fn. 147) and the mill may have closed by the 18th century.

John of Enfield held a mill in 1329, (fn. 148) which may have been the water-mill granted with the manor of Worcesters to Princess Elizabeth in 1550. (fn. 149) Its location is unknown. Another water-mill, by New pond in the Chase, was held of the Crown by John Witherings in 1635 but had been demolished by 1686. (fn. 150) Henry Frowyk held a windmill in Enfield in 1284, (fn. 151) perhaps near the site of Hadley windmill on the edge of the Chase. (fn. 152) In 1635 Hadley mill was one of two windmills in Enfield manor. The other, on Windmill Hill west of Enfield Town, was in good repair; (fn. 153) it later became known as Enfield mill and was disused by 1897, (fn. 154) shortly before its demolition.

A leather mill stood north of Wright's flour mill in 1754 (fn. 155) but had disappeared before 1845; (fn. 156) it may have been the mill for dressing skins which was recorded in 1831. (fn. 157) A paper mill on the marshes near Brimsdown in 1776 (fn. 158) seems to have been short-lived, as was a fulling mill on the Lea mentioned in 1805. (fn. 159) Two flour mills mentioned in 1866, one at Fernyhill farm north of Cockfosters and the other, which was powered by steam, in Turkey Street, had both disappeared by 1896. (fn. 160)

Markets and fairs.

In 1303 the king granted Humphrey de Bohun a weekly market at Enfield and two annual fairs of three days, to be held at the feasts of St. Andrew (30 Nov.) and of the Assumption (15 Aug.). (fn. 161) The fair formerly held on the feast of the Assumption was later transferred to 23 September (fn. 162) and described in 1823 as a 'mere holiday'. (fn. 163) It flourished in 1858 (fn. 164) but was suppressed as a source of immorality in 1869. (fn. 165) The St. Andrew's day fair became a cheese fair and by 1823 was used only for the sale of old horses and cattle. (fn. 166) It was still held in 1908. (fn. 167)

The Beggar's Bush fairs founded at Southgate in 1614 (fn. 168) were held at the top of Clay Hill in 1771 but later restored to Southgate. (fn. 169) Labourers still met annually at Easter and Whitsun for rustic sports near the Holly Bush inn, south of Clay Hill, in 1823. (fn. 170)

In 1585 a Sunday meat market by the church gate was vehemently opposed by the clergy, who invited preachers to condemn it and later petitioned Lord Burghley for its closure. (fn. 171) In 1586 some parishioners requested its retention, claiming that the curate, Leonard Thickpenny, had overturned a stall and threatened to beat the butcher. (fn. 172) They apparently failed but in 1618 James I granted a Saturday market, with a court of pie-powder, to Sir Nicholas Salter and others and stipulated that the profits be reserved for the poor. (fn. 173) The market was held south of the church, on the site of a house called the Vine which was bought by the parish in 1632. (fn. 174) The poor were suffering from its decline by the end of the century, because of the high prices of food elsewhere, (fn. 175) and, despite two attempts to revive it, it was moribund in 1823. (fn. 176) It was later successfully revived and was held on its old site each Saturday in 1971 and twice weekly from 1974. (fn. 177)

Trade and industry.

A maltman was recorded in 1393 (fn. 178) and by the late 15th century several men (fn. 179) processed malt from Royston and Ware (Herts.) and sent it by road to London. Some families, including the Hunsdons and Cordells, thereby grew rich and left large bequests to the parish church. (fn. 180) Enfield's importance may have stemmed partly from its inhabitants' freedom from paying tolls, a privilege confirmed in 1543 after several Enfield maltmen had had their sacks distrained in London. (fn. 181) The opening of the Lea Navigation in 1576 diverted traffic from the road to the river, bypassing Enfield. (fn. 182) In 1581 a group of maltmen, encouraged by Robert Wroth who owned mills on the river, (fn. 183) cut the banks and drove stakes into the watercourse, for which several offenders were imprisoned. (fn. 184) Despite petitions to Lord Burghley (fn. 185) the trade through Enfield declined and by 1593 the passage of barges from Ware to London had also decreased. (fn. 186) Maltmen still lived in Enfield in 1615 (fn. 187) but their business died out soon afterwards.

Enfield tanners were first mentioned in 1469 (fn. 188) and the tanning of hides from London was considered an important local trade in 1662. (fn. 189) A tan yard stood in Church field in 1658 (fn. 190) and another in Green Street in 1686. (fn. 191) One tannery remained, in Silver Street, (fn. 192) in 1828 and was described as extensive in 1831. (fn. 193) There was a factory for making paper in Chase Side c. 1800, but it had disappeared by 1823. (fn. 194)

Brick-, tile-, and lime-kilns were supplied with fuel from the Chase c. 1490. (fn. 195) There was a tile-kiln near Potters Bar in 1656, (fn. 196) perhaps the kiln which survived at Hadley Wood into the 19th century, (fn. 197) and a brick clamp in Church field in 1658. (fn. 198) Digging for bricks was carried out in the Chase in 1688 (fn. 199) and Brick Kiln field, on the site of Enfield Town station, was so named by 1785. (fn. 200) The expansion of brickmaking in the 19th century, however, took place in the eastern part of the parish; in 1823 there was a brick-field in Lincoln Road (fn. 201) and by 1868 (fn. 202) there were brick-fields and clay mills there and in Southbury Road and Old Road, Enfield Highway. In 1971 the only surviving brick-works was Gabriel's in Hoe Lane, opened soon after 1930 and specializing in red facing-bricks, some of them hand-made. (fn. 203)

There was a brewery in 1696 (fn. 204) and at the end of the 18th century Hill's brew-house in Green Street was supplying five ale-houses in Forty Hill. (fn. 205) Two breweries existed in 1832. (fn. 206) One of them, the Stag brewery by the New River at Chase Side, was taken over as a works for dyeing cotton in 1856 (fn. 207) but became a brewery once more in the 1880s and closed soon after 1890. (fn. 208) The Cannon brewery, opposite the junction of Baker Street and Lancaster Road, had been built by 1868 (fn. 209) but had disappeared by 1890. (fn. 210) Ponders End brewery adjoined the White Hart inn in 1869 (fn. 211) and closed in the early 20th century. (fn. 212)

Tradesmen c. 1795 included two hairdressers, a milliner, a watch-maker, two peruke-makers, an upholsterer, a bookseller and stationer, and a writing master, (fn. 213) while in 1832 they included an auctioneer, two chemists, five linen drapers, two straw-hat makers, a bookbinder, three toy dealers, a coachmaker and a wine dealer. (fn. 214) As suburban housing spread, shopping centres grew up at Ponders End, Enfield Highway, Enfield Lock and, later, at Cockfosters, but the main centre has always been Enfield Town. The most prominent store there, Pearson's, was founded in 1903 and moved into its modern premises on the site of Enfield manor-house in 1928; in 1970 it employed over 400 people. (fn. 215)

The loss of Enfield market was said in 1832 to have injured the town's trade; (fn. 216) tanning had virtually ceased and there were only two factories, one for funeral crape and the other for small arms. The crape factory, opened at the corner of South Street and Scotland Green Road by Messrs. Grout and Baylis of Norwich in 1809, had nearly 200 employees by 1858, most of them from Ponders End. (fn. 217) It was closed in 1894 and taken over by the United Flexible Metallic Tubing Co., which still occupied the site and some of the original buildings in 1971. (fn. 218)

In 1804 it was proposed to build a small arms factory near the old water-mill at Enfield Lock, (fn. 219) downstream from the Royal Gunpowder factory at Waltham Holy Cross (Essex). (fn. 220) The assembling of muskets apparently started soon afterwards, before 32 a. were bought by the Board of Ordnance and plans, one of them by the elder John Rennie, were produced in 1813 and 1814. (fn. 221) The making of barrels was transferred from Lewisham to Enfield c. 1816, 'lock' and 'finishing' sections followed, and in 1853 the first Enfield rifle was issued. In 1854, when the Board of Ordnance took over the full production of its own small arms, the factory was rebuilt on a much larger scale. American machinery was installed and in 1861 the workforce numbered 1,700. In 1974 the factory covered 55 a., its area having been halved since the Second World War, and employed some 1,200 people. The chapel, in the 14th-century Gothic style, was never consecrated and was demolished in 1928. (fn. 222) The original brick factory buildings, around a quadrangle with a clock tower, (fn. 223) were still largely complete but the canal basin which served the factory had been filled in.

Other large-scale industries were limited to the eastern side of the parish, initially because of access to the Lea. Most of the early factories were at Ponders End, where the London Jute Works opened in 1865 and closed in 1882. (fn. 224) The presence of the jute factory influenced the establishment of the Corticene Floor Covering Co.'s works farther south, in the modern Wharf Road, in the 1870s; the factory had a wharf on the Lea, to handle cork and jute for making linoleum, and closed c. 1930 but some of its buildings survived in 1972. (fn. 225) By 1882 there was also a matting factory in South Street, a colour manufacturer in Derby Road, and a steam dye-works at a house in South Street called Bylocks Hall. (fn. 226) In 1904 Bylocks Hall was the registered office of the Paternoster Printing Co. (fn. 227)

The Edison Swan United Electric Light Co. (Ediswan) took over the site of the London Jute Works in 1886 (fn. 228) and employed 650 persons there by 1890. (fn. 229) In 1904 the first thermionic radio valve was produced in a laboratory there, in 1916 the factory became the first in Britain to produce radio valves commercially, and in 1936 the first television tube factory in the country was opened on the site. The factory was afterwards sold by Thorn Electrical Industries, whereupon the buildings were demolished. (fn. 230) Ashby's Plating Works opened near by in Colmore Road in 1900 and still carried out electroplating, metal polishing, and stove enamelling in 1970. (fn. 231) In Aden Road there was a paper factory by 1921 (fn. 232) and a slicing machine works by 1937. (fn. 233) The Enfield Tool Manufacturing Co., which in 1970 formed part of the Plessey Co., opened a factory in Alma Road c. 1935. (fn. 234) Barton's Forge and Iron Works opened a factory in Alexandra Road in 1943 and began specializing in the heat treatment of metals in 1947, while Chanter and Harding, sheet metal workers, opened a factory in the same road in 1947 and Enfield Plastics, toolmakers and producers of plastic injection mouldings, opened one in 1966. (fn. 235)

After 1900 the eastern part of the parish began to attract London firms seeking more space. Thomas Morson and Co., manufacturing chemists, moved from Fleet Market to a site adjoining the Corticene linoleum factory in 1901. The opening of the North Metropolitan Electric Power Supply Co.'s power station at Brimsdown in 1907 (fn. 236) stimulated the growth of heavy engineering on the west bank of the Lea, which continued in the period between the World Wars and gave modern Enfield its distinctive character as an industrial centre. The Ruberoid Co. began manufacturing roofing materials at Brimsdown in 1910 and the Enfield Electric Cable Manufacturing Co., later Enfield Standard Power Cables, opened a factory farther north in 1913. (fn. 237) The Imperial Lamp Works and the Brimsdown Lead Works were also established by 1913; (fn. 238) in 1971 the lamp works were occupied by Thorn A.E.I. Radio Valves & Tubes. By 1921 there were also factories in Stockingswater Lane for electric smelting and for making metallic cartridges. (fn. 239) Enfield Rolling Mills followed in 1924 and Brimsdown Castings in 1928; in 1970 the former were the largest British manufacturers of brass, copper, phosphor bronze, zinc, and aluminium. (fn. 240) By 1932 most sites by the Lea had been filled and factories were appearing farther west, near Brims- down station. (fn. 241) Industry then spread northward to include Lockfield Avenue, which in 1971 contained the factories of Moulded Rubber Products, Padley Stainless Steels, Scripto Pens, and Sterling Vitreous Enamels.

Several firms were established west of Hertford Road at Ponders End after 1918, many of them on the sites of former nurseries. E. & E. Kaye opened a factory for copper wire in Queensway in 1922, (fn. 242) Stadium Ltd., manufacturers of plastics for the motor industry, began production near by in 1930, and H. D. Murray opened a machine-tool factory in 1936. (fn. 243) By 1937 there were factories for making accumulators, wireless apparatus, metal windowframes, and shop fittings in Queensway, and there were cabinet-makers in Lincoln Road, (fn. 244) where Reeves & Sons had opened a factory for painters' materials c. 1925. (fn. 245) Other factories in Queensway in 1938 included those of the Standard Fuse Co. and the British Electric Resistance Co. (fn. 246)

Industrialization west of the railway from Lower Edmonton to Cheshunt awaited the building of Great Cambridge Road in 1923-4. Belling & Lee opened a factory for electrical components in 1925 (fn. 247) and later took over Bridge works, Southbury Road. By 1938, when Sangamo Weston began making electrical wire switches and meters, (fn. 248) factories lined the eastern side of Great Cambridge Road to the north of Southbury Road. (fn. 249) Standard Telephones and Cables later established their data equipment and systems division, formed in 1959, on a near-by site. (fn. 250) Some of the factories were later acquired by Thorn Electrical Industries, who occupied Cambridge House and in 1957 built the Sylvania-Thorn laboratories for research into colour television near the Ferguson Radio Co.'s works. (fn. 251)

The industrial pattern of Enfield has changed little since the Second World War. Firms established since 1945 have included the Diecasting Tool and Engineering Co., which opened a factory in Ordnance Road in 1955, (fn. 252) Conway Stewart & Co., pen manufacturers, and Gor-Ray, skirt manufacturers, both in Great Cambridge Road, International Flavors and Fragrances, in Crown Road, and Tricity Cookers in Mollison Avenue. (fn. 253)


  • 1. V.C.H. Mdx. i. 126.
  • 2. Cal. Inq. p. m. ii, p. 442.
  • 3. Ibid. viii, p. 25; Robinson, Enfield, i. 96.
  • 4. Cal. Mem. R. 1326-7, p. 115.
  • 5. Belvoir Castle, Roos 965 [minister's acct.].
  • 6. Cal. Inq. p.m. ii, p. 442.
  • 7. Cal. Close, 1288-96, 13.
  • 8. D.L. 43/7/1.
  • 9. S.C. 6/915/26.
  • 10. S.C. 6/1146/20.
  • 11. S.C. 6/915/26; V.C.H. Mdx. ii. 64-5.
  • 12. V.C.H. Mdx. ii. 76; D.L. 29/42/825.
  • 13. P.N. Mdx. (E.P.N.S.), 213.
  • 14. D.L. 43/7/5.
  • 15. Trinity Coll. Cambridge, Estate MSS., Enfield survey and map.
  • 16. D.L. 43/7/5; Trinity Coll. Cambridge, Estate MSS., Enfield survey and map.
  • 17. C 6/295/41.
  • 18. D.L. 1/131/w6.
  • 19. D.L. 42/125.
  • 20. D.L. 42/126.
  • 21. C 6/295/41.
  • 22. See below.
  • 23. D.L. 43/7/5.
  • 24. D.L. 42/125.
  • 25. M.R.O., Acc. 16/8.
  • 26. See p. 230.
  • 27. Cal. Inq. p.m. xiii, p. 133.
  • 28. B.M. Harl. MS. 368, ff. 104-6; V.C.H. Mdx. ii. 226-7.
  • 29. D.L. 1/131/w6.
  • 30. Norden, Spec. Brit. 19.
  • 31. E 317/Mdx./19.
  • 32. See p. 167.
  • 33. D.L. 1/1/E5.
  • 34. D.L. 1/19/E1.
  • 35. D.L. 1/46/M7.
  • 36. D.L. 1/19/E1.
  • 37. Acts. of P.C. 1547-50, 219.
  • 38. B.M. Lansd. MS. 59, no. 30, f. 59.
  • 39. D.L. 1/74/T2.
  • 40. D.L. 44/206.
  • 41. See p. 213.
  • 42. D.L. 44/206.
  • 43. D.L. 1/115/A27; D.L. 1/119/A30; D.L. 1/148/S32.
  • 44. D.L. 1/131/W6.
  • 45. See p. 237.
  • 46. B.M. Lansd. MS. 60, no. 38.
  • 47. Ibid. 59, no. 30, f. 59; no. 31, f. 61; Mdx. Cnty. Recs. i. 187-8.
  • 48. Mdx. Sess. Recs. N.S. i. 22.
  • 49. Trinity Coll. Cambridge, Estate MSS., box 43(e).
  • 50. Trinity Coll. Cambridge, Estate MSS., Enfield survey and map.
  • 51. Bodl. MS. Gough Mdx. 8, f. 52.
  • 52. Ibid. f. 96v.
  • 53. Middleton, View, 529.
  • 54. Ibid. 219.
  • 55. Middleton, View, 116-17.
  • 56. Bodl. MS. Gough Mdx. 8, f. 54.
  • 57. Middleton, View, 528-9.
  • 58. M.R.O., Enfield Incl. Award and Map.
  • 59. Robinson, Enfield, ii. 256.
  • 60. M.R.O., Acc. 903/142.
  • 61. Vestry order bk. (1797-1807), 298, penes Enfield L.B.
  • 62. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. VII. NE. (1868 edn.).
  • 63. Robinson, Enfield, i. 20.
  • 64. Tuff, Enfield, 15.
  • 65. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1862).
  • 66. O.S. Map 1/2,500, Mdx. VII. 4 (1867 edn.).
  • 67. M.R.O., Acc. 727/168.
  • 68. Trinity Coll. Cambridge, Estate MSS., box 43 (D.1).
  • 69. O.S. Maps 6", Mdx. VII. NE.; II. SE. (1863 and 1897 edns.); Jnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 3rd ser. ix (1898), 527.
  • 70. Bennett, Horticultural Industries of Mdx. 15, 20.
  • 71. Ibid. 11.
  • 72. Jnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 3rd ser. ix. 522-7.
  • 73. O.S. Maps 6", Mdx. VII. NE.; II. SE., SW. (1920 edn.); Kelly's Dir. Enfield (1921).
  • 74. Briggs, Mdx. Old and New, 64.
  • 75. Bennett, Horticult. Ind. of Mdx. 38.
  • 76. New Enfield Hist.
  • 77. Middleton, View, 119, 124; Lysons, Environs, ii. 288.
  • 78. Lease bk. penes Duchy of Lanc. office.
  • 79. Middleton, View, 522.
  • 80. Ibid. 525, 528.
  • 81. Ibid. 530, 533.
  • 82. Robinson, Enfield, i. 224.
  • 83. Tuff, Enfield, 87.
  • 84. Trinity Coll. Cambridge, Estate MSS., box 43 (D.1).
  • 85. Except where otherwise stated the para. is based on M.A.F. 68/136; M.A.F. 68/1105; M.A.F. 68/1675; M.A.F. 68/2815; M.A.F. 68/3837.
  • 86. Whitaker, Enfield, 351.
  • 87. New Enfield Hist.
  • 88. Kelly's Dir. Enfield (1921).
  • 89. M.A.F. 68/4576.
  • 90. Boro. of Enfield, Official Guide [1955].
  • 91. V.C.H. Mdx. i. 126.
  • 92. Rot. Litt. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i. 416b.
  • 93. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xxi(1), p. 474.
  • 94. D.L. 42/23.
  • 95. T.L.M.A.S. x. 436-7.
  • 96. L. & P. Hen. VIII, addenda (1), pp. 397-8.
  • 97. B.M. Lansd. MS. 105, no. 12.
  • 98. D.L. 1/131/S24.
  • 99. D.L. 1/170/S4; D.L. 1/200/A42; D.L. 1/206/A6.
  • 100. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1603-10, 13.
  • 101. Ibid. 150.
  • 102. Hist. MSS. Com. 9, Hatfield House, xiii, pp. 155-6.
  • 103. Ibid. p. 523.
  • 104. Ibid. xvii. p. 473.
  • 105. Ibid. pp. 318-9.
  • 106. Ibid. p. 116.
  • 107. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1611-18, 81.
  • 108. Ibid. 158.
  • 109. D.L. 42/125.
  • 110. T.L.M.A.S. x. 436.
  • 111. L.J. v. 597a, 609a.
  • 112. Hist. MSS. Com. 4, 5th Rep., Hse. of Lords, p. 109.
  • 113. L.J. vi. 328b.
  • 114. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1654, 168.
  • 115. C.J. vii. 222.
  • 116. E 317/Mdx. /17A-17R; M.P.C. 50A (D.L. 31/50A).
  • 117. Bloody News from Enfield (1659); Relation of Cruelties . . . upon the inhabitants of Enfield (1659); Relation of a Riotous Insurrection . . . of the Inhabitants of Enfield (1659).
  • 118. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1658-9, 363-4.
  • 119. C.J. vii. 721-2.
  • 120. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1661-2, 241.
  • 121. L.J. xi. 53a.
  • 122. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1660-1, 394.
  • 123. M.R.O., Cal. Mdx. Sess. Bks. (1673-9), 59-60.
  • 124. Clark, Hadley Wood, 20-1.
  • 125. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1700-2, 322.
  • 126. Baker, Chandos, 391; Clark, Hadley Wood, 22-3.
  • 127. e.g. M.R.O., Cal. Mdx. Sess. Bks. (1748-50), 27; Home Cnties. Mag. xii. 258.
  • 128. Whitaker, Enfield, 272.
  • 129. Tuff, Enfield, 86.
  • 130. See p. 235.
  • 131. V.C.H. Mdx. i. 126.
  • 132. Cal. Chart. R. 1226-57, 337.
  • 133. J.I. 1/536 rot. 1.
  • 134. Cal. Inq. p.m. ii, p. 442; vii, p. 492.
  • 135. Ibid. xi, p. 266.
  • 136. Ibid. xi, p. 366.
  • 137. C2/Jas. I/W 17/6.
  • 138. Hatfield C.P.M. II/53.
  • 139. D.L. 42/125.
  • 140. Trinity Coll. Cambridge, Estate MSS., Enfield survey and map.
  • 141. Ind. Arch. in Enfield, 6.
  • 142. M.R.O., Acc. 311/44.
  • 143. Boro. of Enfield, Official Guide [1962].
  • 144. Ind. Arch. in Enfield, 7.
  • 145. M.R.O., Acc. 903/143.
  • 146. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1652-3, 399.
  • 147. M.R.O., MR/TH/5, m. 10d.
  • 148. Cal. Pat. 1327-30, 410.
  • 149. Ibid. 1549-51, 240.
  • 150. D.L. 42/125-6.
  • 151. C.P. 25(1)/148/30/132.
  • 152. See pp. 266, 283.
  • 153. D.L. 42/125; M.P.C. 145 (D.L. 31 175).
  • 154. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. VII. NW. (1897 edn.).
  • 155. Trinity Coll. Cambridge, Estate MSS., Enfield survey and map.
  • 156. M.R.O., Acc. 311/38.
  • 157. Lewis, Topog. Dict. ii. 135.
  • 158. A. H. Shorter, Paper Mills and Paper Makers in Eng. 213; Ind. Arch. in Enfield, 6.
  • 159. O.S. Map 1", Mdx. Sheet 1 (1805 edn.).
  • 160. O.S. Maps 1/2,500, Mdx. II. 16; VII. 1 (1867 and 1896 edns.).
  • 161. Cal. Chart. R. 1300-26, 35.
  • 162. Univ. Brit. Dir. [?1795], 81.
  • 163. Robinson, Enfield, i. 10.
  • 164. Tuff, Enfield, 29.
  • 165. Ford, Enfield, 103-5.
  • 166. Robinson, Enfield, i. 10.
  • 167. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1908).
  • 168. See p. 169.
  • 169. Bodl. MS. Gough Mdx. 9, f. 5v.; Robinson, Enfield, i. 10.
  • 170. Robinson, Enfield, i. 11.
  • 171. B.M. Lansd. MS. 43, no. 60; Edmonton Hund. Notes and Queries (Edmonton Hund. Hist. Soc. 1970), ii.
  • 172. B.M. Lansd. MS. 43, no. 18, ff. 37-8.
  • 173. C 66/2179/10. The charter was in the possession of the trustees of Enfield parochial charities in 1974.
  • 174. M.R.O., Acc. 903/20. For the market-place, see p. 214.
  • 175. Bodl. MS. Top. Mdx. b. 1, f. 53.
  • 176. Robinson, Enfield, i. 8-9.
  • 177. Ex inf. Mr. A. H. Hall.
  • 178. M.R.O., Acc. 903/143.
  • 179. Cal. Close, 1454-61, 34, 45, 305.
  • 180. Pam, Tudor Enfield, 3-4.
  • 181. Hist. MSS. Com. 7, 8th Rep. I, Corp. of Pontefract, p 271.
  • 182. Pam, op. cit. 7.
  • 183. See p. 236.
  • 184. Pam, op. cit. 9.
  • 185. B.M. Lansd. MS. 32, no. 40; 38, nos. 32, 35.
  • 186. Norden, Spec. Brit. 11.
  • 187. Mdx. Sess. Recs. ii. 228.
  • 188. Cal. Close, 1468-76, 76; Mdx. Sess. Recs. i. 217.
  • 189. T.Fuller, Worthies of England (1840 edn.), ii. 312.
  • 190. M.R.O., Acc. 16/4.
  • 191. D.L. 42/126.
  • 192. Enfield Arch. Soc., Ind. Arch. in Enfield, 2.
  • 193. Lewis, Topographical Dict. ii. 135.
  • 194. Robinson, Enfield, i. 19.
  • 195. Belvoir Castle, A/C. 272.
  • 196. M.P.C. 145 (D.L. 31/175).
  • 197. Ind. Arch. in Enfield, 2.
  • 198. M.R.O., Acc. 16/4.
  • 199. D.L. 41/16/12.
  • 200. Map of Eliab Breton's estate penes Enfield libr.
  • 201. Robinson, Enfield, i. 71 n.
  • 202. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. VII. NE. (1868 edn.).
  • 203. Ind. Arch. in Enfield, 23.
  • 204. C.P. 25(2)/854/8 Wm. III (Mdx.).
  • 205. Bodl. MS. Gough Mdx. 9, f. 20.
  • 206. Pigot's Com. Dir. (1832-4).
  • 207. Tuff, Enfield, 209.
  • 208. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1890); Ind. Arch. in Enfield, 14.
  • 209. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. VII. NE. (1867 edn.).
  • 210. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1890).
  • 211. Meyer's Enfield Observer, 1 Jan. 1869; M.R.O., Acc. 107/93.
  • 212. O.S. Maps 6", Mdx. VII. NE. (1896 and 1920 edns.).
  • 213. Univ. Brit. Dir. [?1795], 83-5.
  • 214. Pigot's Com. Dir. (1832-4).
  • 215. Enfield L.B., Official Guide [1970].
  • 216. Pigot's Com. Dir. (1832-4).
  • 217. Ind. Arch. in Enfield, 14; Tuff, Enfield, 208-9; Lewis, Topog. Dict. (1831), ii. 135.
  • 218. Ind. Arch. in Enfield, 16.
  • 219. Except where otherwise stated the para. is based on Jnl. Soc. Army Hist. Res. xii. 197-212; Ind. Arch. in Enfield, 8-12; and inf. supplied by the dir.
  • 220. V.C.H. Essex, v. 164.
  • 221. M.P.H. 366, 583, 764 (W.O. 78/1461, /1871, /2589). Presumably it was the new buildings, not the factory itself, which opened in 1816: Lewis, Topographical Dict. ii. 135.
  • 222. Photographs penes Royal Small Arms factory.
  • 223. See plate facing p. 240.
  • 224. Ind. Arch. in Enfield, 3.
  • 225. Ibid. 13, 18-19.
  • 226. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1882).
  • 227. M.R.O., Acc. 678/37A.
  • 228. Ind. Arch. in Enfield, 20.
  • 229. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1890).
  • 230. Ind. Arch. in Enfield, 20-2.
  • 231. Enfield L.B., Official Guide [1970].
  • 232. Kelly's Dir. Enfield (1921).
  • 233. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1937).
  • 234. Boro. of Enfield, Official Guide [1962].
  • 235. Enfield L.B., Official Guide [1970].
  • 236. Ind. Arch. in Enfield, 4; see below, p. 243.
  • 237. Enfield L.B., Official Guide [1970].
  • 238. O.S. Map 1/2,500, Mdx. VII. 4 (1913 edn.).
  • 239. Kelly's Dir. Enfield (1921).
  • 240. Boro. of Enfield, Official Guide [1962]; Enfield L.B., Official Guide [1970].
  • 241. Smith, 'Industrialization of Grtr. Lond.' 49.
  • 242. Boro. of Enfield, Official Guide [1962].
  • 243. Enfield L.B., Official Guide [1970].
  • 244. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1937).
  • 245. Boro. of Enfield, Official Guide [1962].
  • 246. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. VII. NE. (1938 edn.).
  • 247. Boro. of Enfield, Official Guide [1962]; Robbins, Mdx. 243.
  • 248. Boro. of Enfield, Official Guide [1962].
  • 249. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. VII. NE. (1938 edn.).
  • 250. Enfield L.B., Official Guide [1962].
  • 251. Architectural Rev. cxix. 54; cxxi. 197.
  • 252. Boro. of Enfield, Official Guide [1962].
  • 253. Enfield L.B., Official Guide [1970].