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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The manor of HARRINGAY or HORNSEY was said in 1294 to have been held by the bishops of London from time immemorial as a member of the manor of Stepney. (fn. 1) It was presumably included in Stepney in Domesday Book but by 1241-2 was accounted for separately by a reeve. (fn. 2) Before the alienation of the Muswell estate in 1152-3 (fn. 3) the bishops may have held the whole of Clerkenwell detached and Hornsey except the manor of Brownswood. Except during the Interregnum, when Sir John Wollaston bought the manor and demesne, (fn. 4) the manor was held by the bishops until 1868. It then passed to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who bought out the lessees' rights in exchange for 137 a. (fn. 5)
There is no evidence of a manor-house but there was a lodge in the park, which may have been at Lodge Hill on the boundary with Finchley, where a moat or ditch was visible in 1797. (fn. 6) It was mentioned in 1441 and 1464 (fn. 7) and overgrown with trees by 1576, (fn. 8) but remains survived in 1593. (fn. 9) Seven episcopal visits to Hornsey are recorded between 1306 and 1335: (fn. 10) bishops may have used the house which was acquired in 1293 from Thomas of Banbury and Joan his wife by Richard de Gravesend, bishop 1280-1307, and which descended to his brother Stephen, bishop 1318-38. (fn. 11) There was no episcopal residence at Hornsey in 1539 (fn. 12) or 1579, when John Aylmer, bishop 1577-94, had the lease of a copyhold house in Hornsey manor, which he had repaired and sometimes visited. (fn. 13)
The agistment of the park, farmed separately from the demesne c. 1390, (fn. 14) and the Highgate tolls, administered independently in 1409, (fn. 15) were leased together by 1438; (fn. 16) from at least 1509 the great park had a different lessee from the little park and the tolls. (fn. 17) Most of the demesne was let as a block from the mid 15th century: the exceptions were High Reding (fn. 18) and from 1634 the cottage known as the Lord's House in the Bushes. (fn. 19)
The demesne farm called Rowledge consisted of the four closes of Lolridge, Withiots, Southfield, and Berryfield in 1464, (fn. 20) and of nine closes of 175 a. by 1539; (fn. 21) it had grown to 250 a. in 1647, when it included 40 a. of woodland, to 271 a. in 1795, and to 294 a. in 1833. (fn. 22) By then Rowledge farm was a block stretching between Hornsey Lane, Crouch End Hill, and Park Road. It was leased to a syndicate in 1407, (fn. 23) to John Mollesle in 1438, (fn. 24) to Elizabeth Mollesle, widow, to Thomas Marshall by 1464, (fn. 25) to Thomas Alderton from 1509 to 1518, (fn. 26) to Nicholas Puncheon in 1527, (fn. 27) and to Thomas Staunton, perhaps as under-tenant, in 1542-3. (fn. 28) Thomas Sherley of Redmarley D'Abitot (Worcs.), a servant of Thomas Cromwell, held Rowledge on preferential terms by 1539, (fn. 29) when he and Richard Lechmere (d. 1569) of Hanley Castle (Worcs.) were granted a 50-year lease. (fn. 30) From 1547 they also leased the great park. Lechmere's widow Margery sued Sherley for Rowledge (fn. 31) but in 1585 Sherley devised the issues of the unexpired term to the wives of Robert Cockshott and John Wylfe. (fn. 32) It was presumably the reversion that was leased to John Scott and others in 1569 and to Scott alone in 1580, (fn. 33) but it was the actual farm that in 1581 was leased to John Scott of Bromley, (fn. 34) who held it intially for years but later for lives. By will dated 1612 he devised it to his second son Stephen, later Sir Stephen, Scott (d. 1658), (fn. 35) on the death of whose son John in 1670 Rowledge was leased to Sir Paul Paynter (d. 1688), lord of Muswell, who also held 38 a. of copyhold of Hornsey manor. (fn. 36) Paynter's widow Rachel (d. 1694) devised the lease to her husband's great-nephew Paul Paynter, a minor, (fn. 37) and her copyhold estate was sold to meet legacies. (fn. 38) The lease was held in trust by Rachel's executors, of whom Thomas Dickens became lessee by 1704. In 1724 it was renewed by Francis Dickens, lawyer, whose widow Rachel was lessee from 1747 and had devised it by 1761 to a cousin Anthony Dickens (d. 1795). On the death of Anthony's widow Sally (née Scrase) the estate passed in 1801 to their son Charles Scrase Dickens of Brighton (Suss.). By will proved 1833 he devised it to his son and namesake, who in 1856 surrendered the lease of 173 a. to the bishop of London for the freehold of 121 a. (fn. 39) In 1861 he enfranchised 71 a. copyhold of the manor of Hornsey. (fn. 40)
John Westneys (d. 1784) was under-lessee of the largest part and was succeeded by Philip Booth (d. 1818) and then by John Gillyatt Booth, (fn. 41) who in 1833 leased 154 a. By then the old farm-house at Crouch End Hill had been converted into servants' quarters and the adjoining Crouch Hall had been built, with an ornamental water of 6 a. and a park of 52 a. (fn. 42) Booth had commissioned a pavilion in 1832 and a facade for the older house in 1835 from J. B. Papworth. (fn. 43) In 1847 Booth assigned his underlease to James Vaudry of Liverpool, who sold it to William Bird, ironmaster, who leased a further 14 a. from C. S. Dickens in 1849. In 1856 Bird surrendered his under-lease but resided at Crouch Hall until 1882, when he sold it. (fn. 44) In 1888 the Imperial Property Investment Co. demolished Crouch Hall, a two-storeyed rectangular house with a portico, heavy entablature, and projecting bays. (fn. 45) Ground-rents on 142 properties belonging to C. R. Scrase Dickens were sold in 1948. (fn. 46)
The agistment of Hornsey park was farmed c. 1390 (fn. 47) and in 1439 was held by Thomas Robert. (fn. 48) By 1464 it had been divided between the parts east and west (fn. 49) of Southwood Lane, creating the great and little parks. The woods themselves remained in hand until 1645 (fn. 50) and leases after 1439 referred specifically to pannage, herbage, and agistment. (fn. 51) They related increasingly to closes in the park, which contained 235 a. by 1647 and 323 a. by 1787. The great park was leased to Nicholas Johnson in 1461, (fn. 52) to his successor Thomas Urgle in 1464, (fn. 53) and until at least 1518 to the widow of Sir Thomas Frowyk (d. 1506). (fn. 54) In 1527-8 the great park was farmed by a consortium (fn. 55) and from 1540 by Thomas Sherley and Richard Lechmere. (fn. 56) In 1585 Sherley devised it equally to the children of Anne Cockshott and Elizabeth Wylfe. (fn. 57) In the 1570s the undertenant was John Gilpin of Highgate, (fn. 58) who was still lessee in 1590 but whose widow Thomasina and her second husband William Querry held it between 1596 and 1606. (fn. 59) From 1638 it was leased to John Oldbury (d. 1680) of Lambeth (Surr.) and to his nephew John Oldbury, merchant of London, who left two daughters. (fn. 60) They had assigned it by 1707 to Edward Jennings of the Inner Temple, who assigned it in 1720 to Samuel Strode of London, (fn. 61) from whom it passed to his widow Anne and their grandson William Strode (d. 1809) of Northaw (Herts.) by 1775. In 1788, without licence, William Strode sold his rights in lots and apportioned the rent among the purchasers, mainly his undertenants. The chief purchasers were John Bacon (116 a.), Robert Jordan (56 a.), and Thomas Isherwood (55 a.), but 29 a. were sold to Mrs. Mary Cox, ½12 a. to James Groves, 5½ a. to William Worley, 5 a. to James Baggaley, 8 a. to the earl of Mansfield, and 35 a. to John Thomas. (fn. 62) Rather than await the expiry of the remaining two lives the bishop granted individual leases to the occupiers in 1815. (fn. 63)
Thomas Isherwood's 55-a. estate was bounded on the north by the demesne woods and on the south by Hampstead Lane. In 1796 he devised it to John Ramsbottom, on whose death it was conveyed to Henry Willmer, who assigned the lease to Peter Truefitt in 1826. Truefitt surrendered it in 1847 to the use of Sarah, Elizabeth Anne, and Maria Jones, three sisters who in 1847 assigned 9 a. to George Abraham Crawshay of Fitzroy Farm, St. Pancras. Maria Jones had died by 1856, when the lease was renewed, but following Elizabeth Anne's death her executors were licensed in 1857 to sell the estate in lots. By that date the bishop had sold the reversion to Charles Bloom and J. B. Dyne. (fn. 64)
The tolls belonging to the bishop in Hornsey in 1318 (fn. 65) were probably at Highgate, where they were afterwards associated with the gatehouse, later the Gatehouse tavern. (fn. 66) From 1464 until 1807 they were leased with the herbage of Hornsey little park. (fn. 67) By 1744 the lease consisted of the Gatehouse, a brewhouse, the tolls, and 69 a. (fn. 68) The tolls were already farmed c. 1390 by William Payable. (fn. 69) In 1409 they were let to Henry Smith, (fn. 70) in 1438 to John Dette, (fn. 71) in 1464 to John Wiking of Highgate, (fn. 72) in 1509 to Stephen Everton, (fn. 73) between 1517 and 1527 to Alice Shay, widow, (fn. 74) and until c. 1536 to Robert Hawkes and Alice his wife. It was later alleged that they were then leased to John Tyson and Alice his wife. (fn. 75) By c. 1555 Alice Tyson had married John Vaughan, lessee in her right until at least 1578. (fn. 76) The lease was held in 1590 by Thomas Parsons and William Mountjoy, under a lease of the reversion in 1559, (fn. 77) and from 1601 to 1606 by Thomas Mountjoy. (fn. 78) In the late 1570s Henry Linford the elder was apparently subtenant; (fn. 79) his son Henry the younger devised the under-lease in 1600 to his son George Linford, who was in possession in 1602. (fn. 80) In 1602 the little park and tolls were leased to John Bowyer of London, from 1607 to John Langley of Lambeth (Surr.), in 1611 to Abraham Haynes of London, in 1627 to James Livingstone, groom of the bedchamber, and from 1631 to Abraham Haynes, (fn. 81) who in 1639 assigned them to his daughter Elizabeth and her husband Henry Brown of Westminster (d. by 1673). The lease was held by Brown's widow in 1686 and following her death by Abraham Brown and his sister Frances Markham until at least 1709. It was renewed by Abraham Brown and Sarah Brown, spinster, in 1717, by Sarah and her husband Percival Chandler in 1722 and 1730, and by her alone in 1737. She was dead by 1744 when the lessee was Sarah Brown of Barnet, spinster, later wife of Thomas Gregg of the King's Remembrancer's office. Sarah Gregg or her trustees held it until at least 1793 and Thomas Day from 1800. In 1807 he renewed the lease of the Gatehouse and tolls alone, which were leased by Benjamin Richards from 1811 to 1835 (fn. 82) and then by Samuel Attkins, whose widow Etty held them from 1846 until 1868. (fn. 83) Richard Folkes was lessee in 1870 and F. H. Salmon in 1890, when Salmon and the City of London Brewery bought the freehold of the tavern from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, to whom they remitted the tolls.
In 1807 (fn. 84) the five closes of 54 a. formerly in the little park were leased to John Addison of Homerton in Hackney, who devised them in 1817 to his widow Elizabeth Catherine Addison (d. 1854). They were then held in trust for her daughters by her executor Thomas Merriman Coombes, whose own executors assigned 39½ a. to the Edgware, Highgate & London Railway Co. in 1864 and the remainder to the G.N.R. in 1868.
High or Rote Reding, in 1536 six closes of 52 a. east of the Great North Road bounded by Finchley wood, Fortis Green, and Hornsey little park, (fn. 85) stretched across the boundary into Finchley and were first mentioned in 1395. (fn. 86) Like other readings, the closes probably originated as clearings in the demesne woods. Although lessees covenanted to preserve young trees, it was found in 1720 that woodland had been converted to pasture. (fn. 87) Such encroachment probably accounts for the growth from 52 a. in 1536 to 76 a. in 1647 and 85 a. in 1792. (fn. 88) High Reading was still administered directly by the bishop in 1439, when Rote Reading was first mentioned, (fn. 89) but was let as three crofts to John Copwood in 1509. (fn. 90) He still occupied it in 1527 (fn. 91) but in 1536 it was leased to Walter Knight, yeoman of London, at double the rent and therefore may have increased in area. Knight still occurred as lessee in the 1570s (fn. 92) in spite of a lease to John Goodwin, merchant-tailor of London, in 1558. (fn. 93) Leases were made to Nicholas Kemp of London in 1603, (fn. 94) Sir George Paul in 1611, (fn. 95) Richard Welby, leatherseller of London, in 1617, (fn. 96) Edmund Stile of Beckenham (Kent) in 1619, (fn. 97) Francis Paul of Bridgnorth (Salop.) in 1626, (fn. 98) and John Juxon of London, lessee of the Bibwell estate in Finchley, (fn. 99) in 1634. (fn. 100) The lease then descended with Bibwell until 1792, when Susannah, Viscountess Fane, devised it to Thomas Reade. (fn. 101) It passed to Robert Johnson of Bloomsbury, to whom the freehold was sold in 1800. (fn. 102)
The manor of TOPSFIELD, TOPSFIELD HALL, or BROADGATES apparently originated in an estate at Crouch End subinfeudated by the bishop, as it was held of Hornsey manor for relief, rent, fealty, and suit of court in 1610. (fn. 103) It may have been the 1½ hide and 1 virgate acquired from the bishop before 1086 by William the chamberlain (fn. 104) and held by Walter the chamberlain in 1201. (fn. 105) It may also have been the estate held by Manfred of Harringay in 1318. (fn. 106) A London merchant Richard of Topsfield, who allegedly paid rent for the manor in 1342, (fn. 107) may have given it its name, but the first undoubted lord was Stephen Maynard of Islington in 1374. Maynard received 41 a. and rent in Hornsey (fn. 108) in 1356 and acquired Payntersfield, which descended with Topsfield until 1773. (fn. 109) By 1379 he had been succeeded by William Maynard. In 1398 Topsfield was conveyed by trustees to the use of John Ougham of London, (fn. 110) who in 1408 devised it to his wife Margaret for life. It later passed to his brother Eli (fn. 111) and to Eli's son John Ougham of Wokingham (Berks.), who in 1431 enfeoffed it to the use of his mother Margaret. (fn. 112) In 1457 she conveyed it to her executors, who, in accordance with her will, sold it in 1462 to John Guybon, gentlemen of London, and others. (fn. 113) Following successive enfeoffments, Topsfield was held in 1467 by Guybon, in 1469 by James Bradman, gentleman of London, (fn. 114) and in 1504 by the latter's son John Bradman, salter of London, who conveyed it to William Heron of Alford (Lincs.), John Heron the elder, and John Heron the younger. (fn. 115) It was acquired from the Herons by Richard Spencer (d. 1509), who held copyhold land at Crouch End and Highgate and left Topsfield to a younger son Gregory. (fn. 116) During the life estate of Gregory's widow Margery, his brother Nicholas sold the reversion to their sister Agnes, widow of Robert Tickill of Kentish Town. (fn. 117) At an unknown date it passed to the Ive family, relatives of Agnes's husband. William Ive (d. 1608) of London devised it to Richard Sanderson, fishmonger of London, and his wife for life, but William's son Nicholas was lord in 1619. On the death of Richard Ive the manor passed to his sisters Mary, wife of John George, and Martha, wife of Robert Cutler, who sold it in 1657 to Nicholas Colquitt (d. 1660). Colquitt left it to his mother Margaret Fairclough (d. 1669), who settled it in 1663 on her granddaughter Hester Tyther (d. 1665), later wife of Sir Edward Graves, Bt. Since their daughter Margaret married Edward Maddison without parental consent, the manor passed to Hester's brother Anthony Tyther, to her sister Anne, wife of John Anger, in 1699, and only in 1714 to Margaret Maddison as heir general. In 1718 Margaret sold it to Charles Eyre (d. 1748), haberdasher of London, (fn. 118) whose executors sold it in 1749 to John Areskine (d. 1758), merchant of Holborn. It passed from Areskine's widow Rose (d. 1763) to her daughters Elizabeth and Eleanor Baston, respectively wives of Frederick Balthasar Heinzelmann and John Worgan. They sold it in 1773 to Samuel Ellis (d. 1791), tenant of the Three Tuns, (fn. 119) whose executors sold it in 1792 to Thomas Smith of Gray's Inn, who was succeeded by his son George (d. 1835). George's nephew and namesake sold it in 1855 to Henry Weston Elder, bristlemerchant (d. 1882), and the trustees of Elder's widow Sarah sold the manor to builders in 1894.
The demesne contained four houses and 305 a. in 1529 (fn. 120) and only four tenements and 50 a. in 1659. (fn. 121) It comprised two inns and 43-50 a. between 1718 and 1773 (fn. 122) and c. 1780 was not the largest freehold estate in the manor. (fn. 123) Property including the Bear inn was alienated in 1773 (fn. 124) but the Elder family acquired other land at Crouch End. (fn. 125) No manor-house was mentioned in 1509, when Richard Spencer devised his great tenement of Broadgates with the manor. (fn. 126) Between 1718 and 1773 the only houses on the demesne were the Bear and Three Tuns, (fn. 127) the second of which was sometimes the meeting-place of the court. (fn. 128) The house in the angle of Tottenham and Middle lanes called Topsfield Hall was built after 1781 by Samuel Ellis (fn. 129) and sold to John William Paul in 1791. He devised it to his nephew John William Vogel, whose widow Anne sold it in 1812 to Sir Felix Booth, Bt., and John Gillyatt Booth (d. 1849), (fn. 130) the distiller, who sub-let it. In 1853 his executors sold it and 6 a. to H. W. Elder, who resided there. A large rectangular stuccoed building of three storeys, it was demolished in 1895.
The estate called FARNFIELDS or FERNFIELDS, reputed a manor in 1549, (fn. 131) had probably been subinfeudated by the bishop: in 1324 it included a carucate held by rent and suit of court at Stepney. (fn. 132) It lay between the manor of Topsfield, Brownswood, and Tottenham Lane. (fn. 133) Since it was held with the advowson of St. Clement Danes from 1273, like the advowson it may formerly have been held by the Knights Templar. (fn. 134) It was held by the priory of St. Sepulchre, Warwick, in 1273, when it was awarded to Hugh the English, a brother of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, although the priory regained the estate in 1277. (fn. 135) In 1324 Farnfields and the advowson of St. Clement Danes were exchanged by the priory with the bishop of Exeter. (fn. 136) In 1340 it was conveyed as five houses, 70 a. of land, 2 a. of meadow, and 2 a. of wood to William of Notton and Isabel his wife, who remitted their rights to the bishop. (fn. 137) In 1419 the bishop died seised of 15 a. of wood and 140 a. of pasture (fn. 138) and in 1511 a long lease was made of 80 a. of land and 30 a. of wood. (fn. 139) In 1548 the bishop granted it to Thomas Fisher and in 1549 the king provided that it should be held in free socage. (fn. 140) Farnfields was held in 1552 by Sir William Cavendish, who exchanged it with the Crown, (fn. 141) and was granted in 1604 to John Erskine, earl of Mar (d. 1634). (fn. 142) By 1665 it had been acquired by Sir Thomas Proby, Bt. (d. 1689). (fn. 143) In 1713 Sir Thomas's ultimate heir William Proby leased it for 99 years at peppercorn rent to his brother Dr. Charles Proby (d. 1728), (fn. 144) and in 1726 John Proby, William's heir, released his right to James Colebrook of London, (fn. 145) whose estate comprised 121 a. (fn. 146) and who in 1727 apparently acted as trustee of Mary Eyre of London and her husband. (fn. 147) In 1729, in a transaction involving William and John Proby, Colebrook was conveyed rights under the will of Sir Thomas Proby (fn. 148) and in 1750 the trustees of Mary Eyre conveyed Farnfields to William Harvey of London. (fn. 149) In 1757 he mortgaged or conveyed it to Sir Robert Ladbrook (d. 1773), alderman of London, (fn. 150) and in 1763 they released it to Sarah Nicoll of Hillingdon, widow, (fn. 151) whose devisee John Osborne settled it in 1773 on trustees. (fn. 152) At least 85 a. were held by Edward Gray of Harringay House in 1801 and presumably until his death, but they were not then bought by Edward Henry Chapman with Harringay House. (fn. 153) At least 60 a. belonged by 1835 to the Revd. John Jankyn (d. 1863), who sold 11 a. to Chapman in 1850 (fn. 154) and whose son George Faulkner Jankyn leased 7 a. for building in 1880 and sold a further 42 a. in 1884. (fn. 155) As the manor was often called Harringay in the 18th century, it probably gave its name to Harringay House and the later district and wards.
The reputed manor of MUSWELL originated between 1152 and 1159 in the grant of land at Muswell by Richard de Belmeis, bishop of London (d. 1161), to the Augustinian priory of St. Mary, Clerkenwell. (fn. 156) The land probably corresponded to the later 61½ a. of Clerkenwell detached, (fn. 157) but the priory may have acquired additional lands in Hornsey: (fn. 158) in 1539 part of the estate adjoined Rowledge farm. (fn. 159) In 1540 the prioress demised to John Avery, yeoman of the bottles, the farmhouse, chapel, gatehouse, a house, a storehouse, and all lands not already leased; (fn. 160) the estate was granted in 1543 to William Burnell, to be held in fee for rent following Avery's death. (fn. 161) In 1544 Burnell conveyed his estate to the Augmentations official William Cowper and Cecily his wife, (fn. 162) who in 1545 alienated it to Thomas Golding of London. (fn. 163) In 1549 Golding sold it to John Goodwin (d. 1574), merchant-tailor of London. (fn. 164) In 1554 the reserved rent and other property were bought by Thomas Rowe, probably Sir Thomas Rowe (d. 1570), lord mayor in 1568-9, and George Cotton of London, (fn. 165) evidently on behalf of Goodwin, who held them at his death. He devised part of his property including his capital messuage to his wife Anne and part to his son William. Anne, with Thomas Wighel, conveyed her share in 1577 to William (later Sir William) Rowe (d. 1593), later lord mayor, who by 1592 also acquired William Goodwin's share. (fn. 166) The Rowes's tenure was not affected by a royal grant of the whole manor to Sir Patrick Murray on the forfeiture of William Goodwin. Sir William Rowe also acquired Stonyfield, part of the demesne which was held at farm in 1540 by John Twyford and bought in 1553 by Thomas Cecil and John Bell to hold in free socage. (fn. 167) By 1578 he also had a copyhold estate there. (fn. 168) The demesne descended to Sir William's son Nicholas Rowe (d. 1616), who devised it to his wife Elizabeth for life. In 1633 she joined her son Sir Nicholas Rowe and his wife in selling Muswell farm alias Muswell chapel, 4 houses, and 10 closes to George (later Sir George) Benyon of London, (fn. 169) whose lands were later sequestrated and in 1650 sold to Colonel Robert Thorpe. (fn. 170) In 1655 Thorpe conveyed the whole estate to trustees for his stepdaughters, Philadelphia and Anne Hill, (fn. 171) who sold it that year to John Stone, girdler of London. (fn. 172) The estate, comprising 2 houses and 56 a., was recovered by Benyon in 1664 after a suit in Chancery (fn. 173) and conveyed, under the description of 3 tenements, 4 orchards, and 64 a. in Hornsey and Clerkenwell, to Sir Paul Paynter (d. 1688) in 1665. (fn. 174) In 1682 Paynter conveyed nearly half the estate to William Dyke of Ratcliff in Stepney, sea-captain, (fn. 175) leaving the rest to his widow Rachel (d. c. 1694). (fn. 176) The other part passed on William Dyke's death in 1685 to his mother Mary Dyke, (fn. 177) occupier in 1692. (fn. 178) Only the occupiers were recorded until in 1826 the larger portion was bought by Thomas Bird and on his death c. 1834 passed to Thomas Rhodes, together with the smaller portion and the neighbour ing Tottenham Wood farm, which had been held with it. Following Rhodes's death in 1856 the whole farm (fn. 179) was intended to form Alexandra Park but most of the Clerkenwell part was ultimately built on.
Muswell chapel was apparently demolished soon after the Dissolution and its paving of glazed tiles left exposed. (fn. 180) It is not clear whether it occupied the site of the mansion built by Sir William Rowe by 1593, (fn. 181) where the cellar enclosed the Mus well; (fn. 182) that house was inhabited by Sir Nicholas Rowe in 1631 (fn. 183) and excluded from the sale of 1633. In 1664 Sir Thomas Rowe's house contained eighteen hearths. (fn. 184) He demolished it in 1677 and sold the materials (fn. 185) but evidently retained the site, (fn. 186) as buildings said to have been the grange of the Rowes were apparently blown down in 1707. Thomas Bird erected Wellfield House on the southern boundary in Wellfield, (fn. 187) where a later owner Cornelius Nicholson, miscellaneous writer, (fn. 188) excavated foundations reputedly of the chapel. (fn. 189)
The manor of BROWNSWOOD was the endowment of the prebend of Brownswood in St. Paul's, which probably existed before its holders were first recorded in the early 12th century. (fn. 190) The manor probably originated in a division of property between the bishop of London and the chapter of St. Paul's, which may be reflected in entries in Domesday Book under Stepney. (fn. 191) The name refers to the demesne wood called Brownswood in 1569 (fn. 192) and may derive from one Brand, a king's clerk, who was prebendary c. 1200. (fn. 193) In 1577 the manor covered all of Hornsey south of Topsfield and Farnfields, including the detached portions in Stoke Newington. (fn. 194)
The manor was held by prebendaries of Brownswood until 1840, when it passed to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners; (fn. 195) during the Interregnum, it was bought by the London draper Richard Utber. (fn. 196) It was valued at 5 marks in 1254 (fn. 197) and 20 marks in 1535. (fn. 198) In 1532 all the lands except possibly the woods were leased to Peter Turner, grocer of London, and in 1548 they were leased in reversion. (fn. 199) Turner's term had expired in 1569 when Robert Harrington, prebendary 1561-1610, leased manor and woods for 99 years to his brother John Harrington of Witham (Lincs.). (fn. 200) John Harrington apparently assigned the lease between 1594 and his death in 1599, (fn. 201) presumably to the Draper family who were said to have been lessees for 70 years in 1681. The lease was presumably held by Thomas Draper (d. 1631), whose widow had it in 1649, (fn. 202) and was devised by his brother Roger in 1659 to their nephew Thomas Draper (d. 1703), later Sir Thomas Draper, Bt. Dr. Joseph Crowther, prebendary 1642-89, tried to resume the courts and royalties, since from total revenues of £355 in 1681 there was a reserved rent of only £19. During Chancery suits between Draper and Crowther or his representatives from 1664 to 1692 Crowther was imprisoned in the Fleet, where he died.
Draper retained the lease at the old rent (fn. 203) and in 1717 his widow Mary devised it for life to her daughter Elizabeth, wife of Sir Henry Ashurst, Bt. (d. 1732), with remainder to the issue of her other daughter Mary Baber. (fn. 204) Following Elizabeth's death in 1738 it descended to John Draper Baber, who assigned it in 1750 to John Jennings, a Quaker from Crouch End. (fn. 205) On his death in 1758 it was held by his executor Richard Saunders, who was dead by 1766, when it was held in trust for Saunders's sons Thomas and Richard. (fn. 206) Richard had died by 1775 and the lease was sold by Thomas (fn. 207) in 1789 to John Willan of South Weald (Essex). (fn. 208) He left it to his nephew William Willan (d. 1849) of Preston Candover (Hants), with remainder to the latter's son John James Willan. (fn. 209) In 1821 an Act authorized the prebendary to lease the demesne to the Willans for 99 years, in order that they could grant building leases, rendering him 44 per cent of the gross revenues. (fn. 210) In 1826 a second Act (fn. 211) confirmed a building lease of 295 a., made ineffective by the builder's bankruptcy. (fn. 212) In 1855 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners (fn. 213) conveyed the freehold of the 189 a. north of Seven Sisters Road and the manorial rights to William Willan's executors, in exchange for 156 a. to the south. (fn. 214) Under the Finsbury Park Act, 1857, (fn. 215) the Metropolitan Board of Works acquired most of the Willans' share and some copyhold land, laid out 115 a. as Finsbury Park, (fn. 216) and built up Endymion Road on the remainder. (fn. 217) The park passed in 1889 to the L.C.C. and in 1965 to the G.L.C., which administered it in 1976.
The manor-house of Brownswood was called Copthall and stood north-west of the later Seven Sisters Road on part of the park. (fn. 218) First mentioned in 1649, it contained a hall, parlour, kitchen, cellar, and two chambers, besides outbuildings; (fn. 219) in 1664, when it was unoccupied, there were only four hearths. (fn. 220) It may have survived in 1792 as the humble building of two floors with a single storeyed extension, which was soon afterwards rebuilt and came to be well known as Hornsey Wood House. (fn. 221) A little brick house, already existing in 1649, was resumed by Dr. Crowther in 1665, presumably for his own use.