Tottenham: Other estates

Pages 330-333

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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One of Tottenham's largest monastic estates was that held by the Augustinian canonesses of St. Mary, Clerkenwell. Henry of Scotland (d. 1152) gave Ughtred of London 140 a. in the 'hanger' (fn. 1) of Tottenham, together with half of a water-meadow which Ingram, chancellor of Scotland and bishop of Glasgow, had held, the right to take 4 tree-trunks a year, and pannage for 10 pigs. In 1160-3 Henry's son Malcolm IV of Scotland confirmed a grant of the same property to Robert, son of Swein of Northampton, who between 1165 and 1176 gave it to St. Mary's priory. Robert's gift received confirmation, by 1176, from Henry II and from Malcolm's successor William the Lion. (fn. 2) The nuns thereafter retained the estate, as well as that of Muswell in Hornsey, until the Dissolution. (fn. 3) It was claimed that they held of the manor of Bruces (fn. 4) but the prioress withheld fealty from Sir Thomas Heath in the 1340s (fn. 5) and was frequently a defaulter at courts later in the century. (fn. 6) The property included a house in 1345 (fn. 7) and 3 crofts called Oatfields, land in a field called Great Hanger, and woods and meadow in Snaresmead by 1455-6. (fn. 8) Great Hanger and Oatfields were leased out on the eve of the Dissolution, (fn. 9) as were 11 a. in Tottenham marsh and closes in Snaresmead and Thistlefield. (fn. 10) After Sir William Kingston had bought the reversion of the lease of Great Hanger and Oatfields, it was granted to his stepson Edmund Jerningham in 1540. (fn. 11) On Jerningham's death in 1546 the lands passed to his step-brother Sir Anthony Kingston, (fn. 12) who surrendered part of Great Hanger (140 a.) to Henry Jerningham and Oatfields to Edward Pate, (fn. 13) to whom Jerningham surrendered Great Hanger later in the same year. (fn. 14) In 1553 Pate conveyed Oatfields to William Parker, a London draper, (fn. 15) and his 140 a. in Great Hanger to Augustine Hinde, alderman, (fn. 16) who was succeeded in 1554 by his infant son Rowland. (fn. 17) Thereafter the former monastic lands remained split up; most of them were granted in 1560 to Michael Lock, a London mercer, (fn. 18) and Oatfields was conveyed by Parker to Thomas More, another mercer, in 1561. (fn. 19) Oatfields, Snaresmead, and Thistlefield formed part of the freehold estate of Edward Barkham in 1619. (fn. 20)

The London Charterhouse possessed an estate called Bounds and Woodleigh, on the borders of Tottenham and Edmonton, which originated in lands held by Thomas, son of John Bonde or le Bounde. Thomas acquired a house and land in Edmonton from Alice King in 1337-8 (fn. 21) and conveyed them, with other lands inherited from his father in both parishes, to his brother Simon in 1342. They passed in turn to Gilbert Fox in 1357-8, to William Fordham in 1360-1, to James Walsh and Gilbert Neel and then to John Ollescamp, a London fuller, in 1364, and from Ollescamp to John Cambridge, a fishmonger, in 1371. (fn. 22) Cambridge, who also acquired Arnolds and other lands, (fn. 23) vested the property in William Walworth and others, from whom it passed to the king, who in 1378 granted it to the Carthusians. (fn. 24) The prior, a frequent defaulter at the courts of Daubeneys in the late 14th century, (fn. 25) held c. 126 a. of woods and 20 a. of other lands in 1463; the woods included Bounds wood and Austredding in Tottenham and greater and lesser woods called Arnolds (the modern Arnos Grove) in Edmonton, while the fields lay entirely in Tottenham. (fn. 26) In 1543, five years after the priory's suppression, Charterhouse wood was granted to Sir John, later Lord, Williams and Sir Edward, later Lord, North. At that date it comprised 60 a. west of Bounds Green, adjoining the Edmonton property of the chapter of St. Paul's at Bowes Heath. (fn. 27) Sir Edward's son Roger, Lord North, conveyed the woods to Sir Thomas Wroth in 1565. (fn. 28)

The hospital of St. Mary without Bishopsgate had a small property, worth 26s. 8d. a year in 1412. (fn. 29) At that time it presumably included the hospital of St. Loy, recorded in 1409, built or restored by Thomas Billington and conveyed by him to the London house. (fn. 30) John Pertrishe was said to hold the 'hospitill with garden' as a copyhold of Pembrokes in 1455-6 (fn. 31) and the hospital of St. Loy itself disappeared at some date after 1484. (fn. 32) St Mary's none the less retained the site in Tottenham until the Dissolution, since its former 5-acre pasture called the Spital-house was granted to Sir Ralph Sadler in 1550. (fn. 33) Lands in the common marsh of Tottenham had also been held by St. Mary's in 1468-9. (fn. 34)

Kilburn priory had lands in Tottenham by 1455-6, when the prioress, as a free tenant of Pembrokes, held two parcels amounting to 6 a. at Wood Green and Woodridings. (fn. 35) In 1514 the nuns had a close at Woodridings called Dores pightle and in 1528 they also had a meadow in Wild Marsh. (fn. 36) Their lands were leased to John Wheeler for 10s. a year in 1535-6 (fn. 37) and their former closes of Baker's field and Dores pightle were sold by the Crown to Henry Audley and John Cordell in 1544. (fn. 38)

The priory of St. Bartholomew, Smithfield, was said to have lands in Tottenham worth 10s. a year in 1291. (fn. 39) Presumably they included the property in Tottenham and Edmonton which was leased for 31 years to George Henningham for 6s. 8d. a year in 1511. (fn. 40) Lands belonging to the knights of St. John of Jerusalem in Edmonton and neighbouring parishes, leased out in 1536, included 3 a. in Tottenham Broadmead. (fn. 41)

After the Reformation 174 a. of wood in Tottenham and Edmonton became separated from the other lands which had belonged to Holy Trinity. The woods, which the priory had leased separately to Nicholas Gray, (fn. 42) were sold in 1543 to John Tawe and Edward Taylor, (fn. 43) who in 1545 conveyed 164 a. to John Grimston. (fn. 44) One third was conveyed by Grimston in 1546 to Nicholas Askew and his wife Alice, (fn. 45) who in 1551 surrendered 24 a. to John Eccleston, a London grocer. (fn. 46) By 1553 Eccleston had been succeeded by his son John, a minor, (fn. 47) presumably the man of that name who occupied a tenement called the Blue House in 1585. (fn. 48)

The family of William Coombe, a free tenant of Mockings in 1467, probably gave its name to the estate called Coombes Croft. (fn. 49) William's house on the south side of Marsh (later Park) Lane was presumably the close of some 4 a. called Coombes Croft, of which Sir William Lock, alderman of London, died seised in 1551. Michael Lock, mercer, did homage for Coombes Croft with other lands in Tottenham in 1576 (fn. 50) and Thomas Lock of Merton (Surr.) conveyed them in 1634 to Thomas Wilcocks and Tobias Massye, who settled them in trust for the poor. (fn. 51) Thereafter Coombes Croft formed part of the Tottenham charity estates until its sale to the urban district council in 1920. Part of Coombes Croft house, which had been built as a workhouse in the 18th century, (fn. 52) was opened as a public library in 1925, after the rest had been demolished to make way for Bromley Road.

The estate of Stone Leas, a name recorded in 1467, (fn. 53) lay south of Coombes Croft and on the same side of High Road. Stone Leas comprised a house, courtyard, and 71 a. in 1585, by which date it had been sold in fee farm to Nicholas Backhouse and was held by Samuel Backhouse. (fn. 54) By 1599 it was in the hands of Balthasar Sanchez, who set aside a plot for his alms-houses and in 1601 provided that repairs and pensions should be paid for out of the rest of the estate, which was left to his brother-in-law Christopher Scurrow. (fn. 55) It had passed from Scurrow to Bridget, widow of John Moyse, a grocer of London, by 1619, when Bridget surrendered the ½ a. covered by the alms-houses to trustees. (fn. 56) Stone Leas later passed to the Scales family, being owned by John Scales in 1826 (fn. 57) and 1840 (fn. 58) and by Edward Scales in 1845. (fn. 59)

The largest freehold estate in 1619 belonged to Edward Barkham, alderman of London, who held 174 a. in addition to 65 a. of copyhold land. The freehold included Crokes farm, (fn. 60) which was presumably named after John Croke, a London alderman who held land in Tottenham late of John Drayton by 1455-6 and who left property there to his son and namesake in 1477. (fn. 61) Lionel, son of William Dalby, sold it with some London property to Edward Barkham, (fn. 62) whose family thereby became responsible for maintaining Dalby's charity. (fn. 63) In 1619 the farm-house was a substantial house opposite the vicarage, with land stretching south along High Road from White Hart Lane to a point opposite Marsh Lane, while Crokes grove survived as some 29 a. of woodland north of Chapmans Green. (fn. 64) Barkham, who was knighted and became lord mayor of London, was succeeded in 1634 by his eldest son Sir Edward Barkham, Bt., of Tottenham and of South Acre (Norf.), (fn. 65) but settled Crokes farm on a younger son, Robert Barkham of Wainfleet St. Mary (fn. 66) (Lincs.), later also knighted. Sir Robert, by will proved 1661, ordered that his mansion in Tottenham should be sold for the benefit of his second son and namesake, (fn. 67) but it may have been acquired by the testator's brother Sir Edward, who was assessed on 21 hearths in 1664. (fn. 68) In 1667 Sir Edward left the Tottenham house to his second son, William, (fn. 69) who later inherited the Norfolk estates and died in 1695, when the title became extinct. Edward, son of Sir Robert Barkham of Wainfleet St. Mary, also secured a baronetcy, which passed to his son Robert and then to his childless grandson Edward, who was buried at Tottenham in 1711. Part of Crokes farm presumably comprised the three tenements near the corner of White Hart Lane which were left to the parish by Mrs. Jane Barkham in 1724. (fn. 70) The main property, however, was acquired by Ephraim Beauchamp (d. 1728), (fn. 71) whose son Thomas (d. 1724) married Anne, daughter of William Proctor of Epsom (Surr.) and whose grandson William took the surname Beauchamp-Proctor on becoming a baronet in 1744. (fn. 72) The house, rebuilt, was known as White Hall for some years before 1790, when Sir William's son, Sir Thomas Beauchamp-Proctor, sold his estates in Tottenham. (fn. 73) A Mr. Abrahams from Houndsditch bought the mansion and built a tanyard and offices, which were removed by his successor Mr. Andrews. White Hall then passed to Henry Hunt, to William May Simmonds, and in 1827 to Charles Soames, (fn. 74) the occupier of some 6 a. in 1843. (fn. 75) In Soames's time an entrance from High Road replaced the old one from White Hart Lane; the mansion, a three-storeyed pedimented building with single-storey wings, was screened by trees from High Road and faced south across a lake. (fn. 76) It had given its name to Whitehall Street by the 1860s, when the lake had gone and most of the ground had been built over, (fn. 77) and was still discernible, although much altered, in 1913. (fn. 78)

Demesne land called Downhills, perhaps the le Downe recorded in 1467, (fn. 79) gave its name to Downhills House, later Mount Pleasant House. The land lay in the centre of the parish between Lordship Lane and Philip Lane and had been divided by 1585, when 10 a. were leased out at will; (fn. 80) in 1619 several closes of pasture at Downhills, totalling 65 a. were leased to three tenants. (fn. 81) The newly built Downhills House, approached by a drive along the line of the later Downhills Park Road, was leased out from 1728, together with Broadwater farm in Lordship Lane. A new three-storeyed mansion, of brick with a pediment and two low wings, had been built by 1789, when it was occupied by Rowland Stephenson, a banker, who let the farm to the Phillips family. (fn. 82) Mount Pleasant, as the house was then called, was withdrawn from auction when Henry Hare Townsend broke up the manorial estate in that year; it was again withdrawn after Stephenson's death in 1808, when the mansion was offered with 81 a. and the farm-house with 119 a. (fn. 83) Henry Hare Townsend, who had remained the owner, himself lived at Mount Pleasant from 1823 until his death in 1826, after which it was leased out by his son the Revd. Chauncey Townsend, the poet. (fn. 84) The mansion, separated from most of the farm-lands, was renamed Downhills, occupied in 1855 by John Lawford (fn. 85) and sold in 1881 to the British Land Co. It was demolished after its purchase in 1902 by Tottenham U.D.C., which used the surrounding land as Downhills recreation ground. (fn. 86) A second Mount Pleasant had been built to the east by 1865 (fn. 87) and was offered for sale with its own estate as 135 building lots, bordering the later Mount Pleasant Road, in 1890. (fn. 88)

Although most of the lands and the medieval manor-house of Willoughbies were in Edmonton, (fn. 89) a house called Willoughbies had been built on the Tottenham side of the boundary by 1619. (fn. 90) After the sale of the Edmonton portion of the original estate in 1717 Lucy Beteress, who married John Bowry in 1725, retained the property in Tottenham. It was heavily encumbered with mortgages and annuities and in 1735, under an Act of 1731, (fn. 91) trustees sold the house and a small amount of land to Robert Turner, whose heirs sold it in 1757 to Daniel Booth. (fn. 92) He conveyed Willoughby House in 1764 to Hananel Mendes Da Costa of London, (fn. 93) who sold it to Stephen Briggs in 1773. (fn. 94) Andrew Jordaine acquired it in 1779, Richard Welch and then William Wilson in 1792, and Archibald Bryson by 1800. Bryson's son and namesake inherited it in 1807 and sold it to William Hyde in 1812. On Hyde's bankruptcy the estate, by that time little more than 11 a., was bought in 1821 by a Mr. Smale, (fn. 95) presumably the Henry Lewis Smale who lived there in 1843. (fn. 96) The house and grounds, on the west side of Willoughby Lane, were improved by Smale and survived, with villas on either side, in the 1860s. (fn. 97)


  • 1. From hangra, 'wooded slope': P.N. Mdx. (E.P.N.S.), 79, 91.
  • 2. Cartulary of St. Mary, Clerkenwell (Camden 3rd ser. lxxi), pp. 11, 14-18. Most of the charters are transl. in Robinson, Tottenham, i. 257-60.
  • 3. J. F. Connolly and J. Harvey Bloom, An Island of Clerkenwell, 7-8, 11.
  • 4. Bruce Castle Mus., MR/76 [TS. transl. pp. 1-3].
  • 5. Year Bk. 19 Edw. III (Rolls Ser.), 411.
  • 6. Tottenham Man. Rolls (1318-77), 27, 33, 50.
  • 7. Year Bk. 19 Edw. III, 411.
  • 8. Bruce Castle Mus., MR/76 [TS. transl. pp. 1-3].
  • 9. L. &. P. Hen. VIII, xv, p. 166.
  • 10. S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/2396 m. 100.
  • 11. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xv, p. 166.
  • 12. C 142/75/1.
  • 13. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xxi(1), p. 251.
  • 14. Ibid. xxi(2), p. 247.
  • 15. Cal. Pat. 1553, 272.
  • 16. Ibid. 1553-4, 361.
  • 17. Ibid. 1554-5, 78.
  • 18. Ibid. 1558-60, 438-9.
  • 19. Ibid. 1560-3, 200.
  • 20. M.R.O., Acc. 695/5, ff. 50-1.
  • 21. E 326/5168.
  • 22. E 315/34 no. 96.
  • 23. L.R. 2/61 ff. 145-6.
  • 24. Cal. Pat. 1377-81, 242; Cal. Close, 1381-5, 158-9.
  • 25. Tottenham Man. Rolls (1377-99), passim.
  • 26. L.R. 2/61 ff. 146v.-147v.
  • 27. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xviii(1), p. 132.
  • 28. Cal. Pat. 1563-6, 197.
  • 29. Feud. Aids, vi. 487.
  • 30. Oldfield and Dyson, Hist. Tottenham, 15-16.
  • 31. Bruce Castle Mus., MR/76 [TS. transl. p. 10].
  • 32. V.C.H. Mdx. i. 153.
  • 33. Cal. Pat. 1549-51, 268.
  • 34. S.C. 6/1108/18.
  • 35. Bruce Castle Mus., MR/76 [TS. transl. pp. 11-12].
  • 36. Tottenham Man. Rolls (1510-31), 41, 214.
  • 37. S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/2345 m. 12.
  • 38. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xix(2), p. 194.
  • 39. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 13.
  • 40. E 303/9/268.
  • 41. S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/2402 m. 32; see p. 155.
  • 42. L. &. P Hen. VIII, xix(1), p. 495.
  • 43. Ibid. xviii(2), p. 142.
  • 44. Ibid. xix(2), p. 59.
  • 45. Ibid. xxi(1), p. 582.
  • 46. Cal. Pat. 1550-3, 59.
  • 47. Ibid. 1553, 6.
  • 48. Bruce Castle Mus., MR/121.
  • 49. Except where otherwise stated, the para. is based on Coombes Croft Branch Libr. [pamphlet, 1925].
  • 50. Bruce Castle Mus., D/PT/7F/13.
  • 51. Ibid./14; see p. 378.
  • 52. See p. 343.
  • 53. P.N. Mdx. (E.P.N.S.), 78.
  • 54. Bruce Castle Mus., MR/121.
  • 55. See p. 377.
  • 56. Bruce Castle Mus., D/PT/7A/1.
  • 57. 14th Rep. Com. Char. 159.
  • 58. Robinson, Tottenham, ii. 255.
  • 59. Bruce Castle Mus., 988 [drawing of tablet over alms-ho.].
  • 60. M.R.O., Acc. 695/9, ff. 25-7, 51-2.
  • 61. Bruce Castle Mus., MR/71; Prob. 11/7 (P.C.C. 4 Logg).
  • 62. C 142/512/1.
  • 63. See p. 378.
  • 64. Robinson, Tottenham, map of 1619.
  • 65. G.E.C. Baronetage, i. 219.
  • 66. C 142/512/1.
  • 67. Prob. 11/305 (P.C.C. 106 May).
  • 68. M.R.O., MR/TH/5.
  • 69. Prob. 11/324 (P.C.C. 102 Carr).
  • 70. G.E.C. Baronetage, i. 219; iii. 222.
  • 71. Robinson, Tottenham, i. 126.
  • 72. Burke, Peerage (1959), 176.
  • 73. Oldfield and Dyson, Hist. Tottenham, 104.
  • 74. Robinson, Tottenham, i. 124.
  • 75. Bruce Castle Mus., D/PT/102A/3, p. 142.
  • 76. Robinson, Tottenham, i, plate facing p. 124.
  • 77. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XII. NE. (1863-9 edn.).
  • 78. Fisk, Tottenham, i. 98.
  • 79. P.N. Mdx. (E.P.N.S.), 80.
  • 80. Bruce Castle Mus., MR/121.
  • 81. M.R.O., Acc. 695/9, ff. 14-16; Robinson, Tottenham, map of 1619.
  • 82. M.R.O., Acc. 1016/475; Bruce Castle Mus., water-colour on display.
  • 83. M.R.O., Acc. 1016/476.
  • 84. Robinson, Tottenham, i. 117; D.N.B.
  • 85. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1855).
  • 86. Ex inf. chief supt. of parks, Haringey L.B.
  • 87. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XII. NE. (1863-9 edn.).
  • 88. Bruce Castle Mus., 927.
  • 89. See p. 152.
  • 90. Robinson, Tottenham, map of 1619.
  • 91. Bowry Estates Act, 4 Geo. II, c. 28 (Priv. Act).
  • 92. M.L.R. 1757/4/363-5.
  • 93. M.L.R. 1764/3/372-4.
  • 94. M.L.R. 1773/3/517-8.
  • 95. Robinson, Tottenham, i. 111-12.
  • 96. Bruce Castle Mus., D/PT/102A/3, p. 141.
  • 97. Robinson, Tottenham, i. 113; O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XII. NE. (1863-9 edn.).