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ENFIELD (St. Andrew), a parish, in the union and hundred of Edmonton, county of Middlesex, 10 miles (N. by E.) from London; containing 9367 inhabitants. This place is in Domesday Book called Enefelde, denoting its situation among fields, or in the felled part of a forest. The Chace extended to the river Lea, in the neighbourhood of which, from the facility of conveyance, the timber would probably be felled prior to that in any other part of the parish. Richard II. granted the inhabitants exemption from tolls, and various privileges, which were confirmed by succeeding monarchs. Edward VI. had a palace here, where he kept his court for a considerable time; and in 1557, the princess, afterwards Queen Elizabeth, spent some days in the palace, when with great pomp she came to hunt in Enfield Chace, which was well stocked with deer. In the earlier part of her reign the queen made this her principal residence, where she held her court previously to its removal to London. James I., who had a palace at Theobalds, made frequent excursions to this forest, to enjoy the diversion of the chace; and Charles II. here had a hunting-seat, where he occasionally resided. During the great civil war, the parliamentarian army destroyed the game and cut down the trees, and a considerable part of the land was divided into small farms: it continued in this state till after the Restoration, when it was replanted and stocked with deer. In 1777, it was finally disafforested by act of parliament, and allotments assigned to such parishes and individuals as claimed a right of common: the Chace, on admeasurement, was found to contain 8350 acres, of which the greater part is now in tillage. Of the ancient palace, which was probably repaired during the reigns of Edward VI. and Elizabeth, but of which the major part was taken down in 1792, only one of the principal rooms on the ground floor is remaining. This room is still in its original state, with oak panels and a richly-ornamented ceiling. The chimney-piece, of freestone, which is embellished with finelysculptured birds and foliage, is supported by columns of the Corinthian and Ionic orders, and decorated with the rose and portcullis crowned, and with the arms of England and France quartered, having for supporters a lion and dragon, and the motto Sola salus servire Deo; sunt cætera fraudes. Part of a similar chimney-piece, removed from one of the upper rooms, has been placed on the wainscot over the door. A fine cedar of Libanus was planted in the garden of the palace in 1666, the girth of which at a short distance from the ground is 19 feet 3 inches. The town, which is to the west of the road from London to Ware, consists of two streets, containing several handsome houses, and is well supplied with water from springs. In the immediate vicinity are numerous good-residences in detached situations, and several pleasing villas; at Forty Hill is the fine seat of Christian Paul Meyer, Esq., lord of the manor, embosomed in a richly-wooded park. A royal manufactory for small-arms, previously carried on at the Tower and at Lewisham, was in 1816 established partly in this parish and partly at Waltham-Abbey: there are a corn-mill, and a mill for dressing skins, a brewery, and an extensive tannery; and at Ponder's-End, in the parish, is a manufactory for finishing crape, which affords employment to 150 persons. The New River runs through the town; the Lea navigation intersects part of the parish. In 1846 an act was passed for a railway to join the London and Cambridge line at Edmonton, nearly three miles in length. The market on Monday, granted by charter of Edward I. in 1304, and another on Saturday, by charter of James I., are both discontinued; but a fair is still held on Sept. 23rd, which is a statute-fair, and another on Nov. 30th, for horses, cows, and cheese. Near the site of the market-house, which has been taken down, a handsome stone cross in the ancient English style was erected in 1826, by subscription. The county magistrates hold a petty-session for the division every alternate Wednesday, and courts leet and baron are held on the Wednesday in Whitsun-week. Enfield is a liberty belonging to the duchy of Lancaster, and the inhabitants appoint their own coroner. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £26; net income, £1174; patrons and impropriators, the Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge: the tithes have been commuted for land and corn-rents, under successive inclosure acts. A lectureship was established in 1631, by Henry Loft, who endowed it with £4 per annum. The church is an ancient structure in the decorated and later English styles, with a low embattled tower, and contains several splendid monuments, among which are, the tomb and effigies of Sir Nicholas Raynton and his lady; an altar-tomb to the memory of Joyce, Lady Tiptoft, mother of John, Earl of Worcester; and a monument of Italian veined marble to Thomas Stringer, Esq. A district church, dedicated to St. James, has been erected on Enfield Highway, in the division of Green-Street and Ponder'sEnd; it is a handsome structure in the early English style, with a square embattled tower ornamented by pinnacles at the angles. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £150; patron, the Vicar of Enfield. Jesus district chapel, at Forty Hill, an elegant structure in the early English style, with four open campanile turrets at the angles of the nave, enriched with canopies and surmounted by crocketed spires, was erected in 1832, at the expense of Mr. Meyer: the living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the Vicar. The living of Christ Church, Trent, is in the gift of R. C. L. Bevan, Esq. There are places of worship for Independents, Wesleyans, and Presbyterians. The free grammar school is endowed with funds arising from a bequest of land by Robert Blossom, in 1418, for the establishment of a chantry at South Benfleet, the revenue of which after the Dissolution was granted to trustees for the payment of a schoolmaster of Enfield, with remainder for distribution among the poor: the produce arising from this and subsequent benefactions, is at present about £200 per annum. Mrs. Anne Crowe, in 1763, endowed almshouses for four aged persons with £500 reduced Bank annuities. Thomas Wilson in 1590 bequeathed rents, now yielding £212 per annum, for distribution among six aged men. John David left the rents of tenements on Enfield Green, producing £50. 5. per annum, to be divided among four widows; and King James I. gave £500 for the purchase of 335 acres of land, a part of Enfield Chace, with which sum the churchwardens bought an estate at North Mimms, in Hertfordshire, afterwards exchanged for another at Eastwood, in Essex, the produce of which is given to aged widows. The Ermin-street led through part of the Chace to Hertford; and in a meadow called Old Bury, about half a mile to the east of the church, is the site of an ancient mansion, surrounded by a wide and deep moat, with high intrenchments, including a quadrilateral area 96 yards in length, and 40 in breadth: at the north-west angle is an eminence having the appearance of the keep of a castle, probably the manorial residence of Humphry de Bohun. To the south-west of the town, and about a mile from Old Bury, is a smaller moat; and south of Goulsdown-lane is another, separating two square fields, in the first of which are the remains of out-buildings belonging to a mansion in which Judge Jeffreys is said to have resided, and near the entrance a deep well called King's Ring, the water of which is deemed efficacious in diseases of the eye: a celt was dug up in 1793, at the depth of twelve feet from the surface. In 1816, several Roman urns and coins were found in a gravel-pit in the vicinity; and in Windmill field, large painted tiles have been frequently discovered by the plough, and lately part of a coffin, and some urns, in one of which were bones, and in another three pieces of gold. In September, 1820, several Roman coins of silver and brass were ploughed up in a field near Clay Hill. William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, was an inhabitant of Enfield for several years; and Richard Gough, the antiquary, resided here till his decease in 1809. It gives the title of Baron to the Earl of Rochford.

Samuel Lewis:  A Topographical Dictionary of England(1848), pp. 173-177.


 

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