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Title: Reminiscences of Tottenham
Author: Couchman, Harriet
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Reminiscences of Tottenham" ***

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Transcribed from the 1909(?) Crusha & Son edition by David Price, email

                   [Picture: Public domain book cover]


                      [Picture: Decorative graphic]

                                  — BY —

                           Mrs. J. W. Couchman.

                      [Picture: Decorative graphic]

Price, 2/6.


Having lived in this parish all my life I have been repeatedly asked by
my friends to write a short account of my early recollections of

I feel a little diffident at doing so, and this being my first attempt at
committing my recollections to paper I trust my readers will pardon any
mistakes and omissions, and that it will be as interesting to some of
them to read as it has been to me to write.

My father was born at Palmers Green in 1798; my mother was born in this
parish in the year 1800.  They were married at All Hallows Church in
1825, and continued to reside in Tottenham; my father died in the year
1866, and my mother at the ripe old age of 94, in the year 1894.

I can now see in my mind’s eye the dear old village as it was in my
childhood, surrounded by meadows, cornfields, and pretty country lanes
and a great number of stately elm and other trees.  It hardly seems
possible that the population was then so small that all the inhabitants
were known to one another, and the appearance of strangers was at once a
matter of speculation as to who they were.


                                 WIDOW OF
                          JOHN WILLIAM COUCHMAN,
                             Civil Engineer,
                            16, Pembury Road,


75 years ago, was a very pretty quiet village, most of the houses were
good and old-fashioned; there were several mansions, but very few shops.
It was a favourite resort for Royalty, and has always been considered a
very healthy neighbourhood.  Some of the inhabitants lived to a very
advanced age.

The highway was measured in 1611; it was two miles and a quarter long.
Mile stones were then erected.

The parish was divided into different Manors, called Pembrokes, Bruces,
Daubeneys, Mockings, and Dovecotes or Ducketts.

Tottenham Manor was sold at auction, 10th April, 1805.  Sir William
Curtis, Baronet, purchased it for £11,000.  There were then 38 copyhold
tenants.  A Court Leet was held every year at the Old Plough Inn,
High-road, and anyone wishing to be admitted attended there for that
purpose.  This was discontinued about the year 1860, as there was not
sufficient homage to summon.  All business since then has been transacted
at the office of the Steward of the Manor.

I remember hearing my father say one of the homage (a very old gentleman,
Mr. Philip Hunt), was late for the dinner.  He explained he had nearly
reached his destination when he thought his poor horse looked tired, so
he took him home and afterwards walked there.

There was a considerable amount of waste land at that time, and the turf
was sold at 5s. per hundred, 2s. 6d. for the order, and 2s. 6d. for
cutting—10s. per hundred.  This has been discontinued for a great many


I purpose commencing here, where the Old Turnpike House and Gate stood,
by the pond called “Craven’s Pond” or “Leg of Mutton Pond,” because of
its shape, on which there used to be several beautiful swans.  It was a
great source of delight to the young people, when frozen over, by
affording an opportunity for skating and sliding to many.

A large house stood on the estate called “Craven Lodge,” where the owner,
Mr. Arthur Craven, resided.  It was afterwards occupied by Mr. Samuel
Morley.  Perhaps it may be interesting to mention that Garibaldi came to
Tottenham, at his invitation, and delivered an address on the “Grievances
of Italy.”

There were two small houses on the top of the hill, one of which was used
as a Post Office; then came the old-fashioned Turnpike Inn, which has
been pulled down and another built on the site.  The two small old shops
are still in existence, but the large house belonging to, and in
occupation of, Mr. Edward Sievieking, is no longer there, the land being
now all built over.


There were a few old cottages beyond Mr. Sievieking’s garden, and on the
opposite side of the road Sumpter’s livery stables; then fields on both
sides down to the River Lea, where there were coke ovens always brightly
burning.  There were several large houses lying back from the High-road,
Stamford Hill, with front gardens on the waste land; of these only two

There was a mansion standing next, where Mr. Fowler Newsam resided for
many years.  There was a very pretty walk round the shrubbery and garden,
the estate containing altogether about eight acres of land; the grounds
were enclosed in cleft oak park palings, with lodge at entrance.  There
was a mounting stone on the gravel path outside, and it is not many years
ago that it was taken away.

Mr. and Mrs. Newsam were most kind and generous, and their great delight
in life was in doing good and giving pleasure to others.  I always
remember their enjoyable hay-making parties; one can now hardly
understand the quiet spot it was then.  Their death was a very great loss
to the parish.

When the turnpike was removed from the top of the Hill, a toll bar was
placed across the road at the corner of this estate, but was not there
long; it was taken away when all turnpikes were done away with.

Stamford Hill was crossed by a bridge called “Stone Bridge,” which was
about 26 feet high from the crown of the road to the top of the parapet.
Now the South Tottenham railway crosses the road there.

The next estate was called “Mark Field,” and was fifty-four acres in
extent; there was a large house lying some distance back, in its own
grounds, belonging to and in the occupation of Mr. William Robson.

The other large house at the corner of Page Green belonged to and was in
the occupation of the Rev. George Hodgson Thompson, the first minister at
Trinity Church, Tottenham Green, and had over twelve acres of land
adjoining the last-mentioned.

The estates were bordered by a broad piece of waste land, a ditch, and
low quick set hedge; and there were large heaps of flint stones at the
roadside for repair of the roads.  At that time the path on Stamford Hill
was a gravel one, and had not even a curb stone.

When Mr. Munt lived at the corner house he kindly lent his grounds to the
Rev. George Brewster Twining, who was the Vicar of Holy Trinity Church,
for the Sunday School treat to be held there.  Several caravans of
Bohemian gipsies passing along the High-road; the men, seeing the
children playing games, stopped their horses, and threw their children
over the low quick set hedge; they were very clean and prettily dressed
in red, white, and blue, and were highly delighted to mix with our Sunday
School children.  We gave them some cake, and persuaded them to return to
their friends, which they did, although unwillingly.  They were a very
superior kind of gipsy, and evidently the precursors of the German
gipsies, who have since been such an annoyance to the country.


There was a side road leading to the Rev. G. H. Thompson’s house, with
post and chain fence down the left-hand side a considerable distance, and
fir and other trees; this road also led to the house belonging to and
occupied by Mr. James Rowe, which had upwards of thirty-one acres of land
attached to it.  A large pond, called Page Green Pond, was on the green
opposite the house.

At the end of the green, and facing the High-road, a large house stood,
occupied by Mr. Spartelle, whose grounds extended some distance down the
lane.  The Earlsmead Board School is now built on this site.

At the top of Page Green, on the east side of the High-road, there stood
a remarkably handsome clump of seven trees, planted in a circular form,
and called the Seven Sisters.  In the middle there stood a walnut tree,
which it is said never increased in size, though it continued annually to
bear leaves.  The prevailing opinion in Bedwell’s time (the Rev. William
Bedwell was Vicar of Tottenham from 1607 to 1632) was that someone had
suffered martyrdom on this spot, but of this there is no authentic
account, nor is there anything satisfactory as to the original planting
of these trees to be met with, but it appears they were at their full
growth in Bedwell’s time, and may be considered to be in 1818 upwards of
300 years old.  The walnut tree was not cut down for a good many years
after the others.  I remember my father having it done, and then the
seven daughters of Mr. MacRae planted seven other trees in the middle of
the green; they are now living, one is a sapling.  A few years ago Mr.
Hibbert’s seven daughters planted seven other trees at the end by the

On the north side of Page Green there was a white house, with verandah
and creepers all over, in the occupation of Mr. Rowcroft; it had a very
large hall.  At that time many of the good old houses had large halls,
almost like rooms.  The grounds were very pretty, extending at the back
of Grove Place-gardens as far as the Bull Inn.  About the centre of the
beautiful garden there was a high mound, and grotto, overlooking a lovely
lake.  Many were the invitations I received to play in that garden when I
was a little child, but my mother never allowed me to go; she had an idea
I should run up the mound and fall into the lake.  I was very pleased
when she at last consented.  There was a shady walk, planted with trees,
all round the meadow; it was about here that years ago there was a
hermit’s cell and the Chapel of St. Anne.

Next to this house there were two semi-detached white-fronted houses (one
of which was occupied by Miss Coare, one of the Society of Friends), then
a stretch of fields on both sides to the end of the lane.

Returning to the High-road; at the corner stood a large, white house, and
garden, adjoining the row of houses called Grove-place, which were built
at the beginning of last century.  Next to the Bull Inn, which is one of
the old inns of Tottenham, were the cottages called Bull Row, one of
which was a toy shop, kept by Mrs. Travell, and another a cake and sweet
shop, kept by Mrs. Oakman; there were so few shops then that these two
small places were well patronised.


In the second of the two houses on the south side, the Rev. G. B. Twining
lived when he first came to Tottenham.  The next estate belonged to the
Rev. Richard Momford Wood; it consisted of 22 acres of meadow land,
rented by Mr. Thomas King; the fields reached to the Hale.  It was
afterwards rented by Mr. Goddard’s father, who lived at the High Gross,
on the opposite side to where they now live.  He kept a quantity of
geese, and every morning, at 10 o’clock, they left the yard and went to
the fields; all alone they crossed the road, walking two by two, like
school children.  At 4 o’clock they returned in the same manner; and
never met with any mishap.  One can judge by this the amount of traffic
there was in the High-road at that time.

This is now called Springfield Estate.  The large house occupied by Mr.
Rickman was taken down, and the Tottenham Hospital erected.  The three
houses adjoining are still there.

In the year 1798 my grandfather, Mr. Thomas Sanders, purchased the next
estate.  There was a detached house with good garden, and a great many
coach-houses and stables, built in the time the stage coaches were on the
road, a beautiful meadow, and a large orchard, stocked with choicest
fruit trees.

Dr. Robinson, in his History of Tottenham, speaks of “A singular duel”
that took place in this field.  “That upon Thursday, the 8th November,
1610, there was a meeting of the neighbours to warme Mr. John Syms, his
house, the signe of the Swanne, at High Cross, among whom came John
Nelhamte and John Whiston, whoe, having some grudge or quarrel between
them, diner being done they two did use some private speches within
themselves.  Taking leave of the company, went to their houses, either of
them taking his pick-stafe in their hands, mett in a field behind Mr.
Edward Barkham’s house, commonly caull’d or knowne by the name of
Baldwin’s.  Theare they two fought till John Nelham receyed a wound by
John Whiston in his throate, fell down dead, and never spake word after.
So the Coroner, upon the Saturdaie next, sate upon him; was buried the
same daie, being the 10th of November, 1610.”

After the death of my grandmother we lived in this house, and I well
remember one evening in winter a mad bull rushing down the private
roadway, crowds of people following it.  After what seemed a very long
time someone fetched a gun and shot it.  It caused a very great commotion
for the time, and we felt very thankful when it was all over.  Wonderful
to relate, no one was hurt.

At the death of my mother the house and land at the rear was sold to Mr.
William Hawley, who formed Colsterworth-road and built houses and flats
to accommodate about 200 families.

The next large house, with garden in front, was occupied by the father of
the Rev. G. H. Thompson, and afterwards by various tenants, the last of
whom was Mr. Marsden.  After he vacated it was unlet for a long while,
and during that time my dear husband used a room for a work room, in
which he made a model of a design for Westminster Bridge.  It was very
beautiful, all in small pieces of brass.  When finished he had a glass
case made, and presented it to Mr. Hawksley, civil engineer, Great
George-street, Westminster, who was a great friend of his, and for whom
he went to the Island of Barbadoes, West Indies, as there was a great
scarcity of water, and stayed until he found a sufficient supply, to the
entire satisfaction of Mr. Hawksley and the inhabitants of Barbadoes.  He
also made a model of the “Streets of London,” and a “Floating Battery,”
both of which he presented to the Royal United Service Institution,
Whitehall-yard, and they were afterwards removed to South Kensington
Museum.  These models are well worth seeing.

The Congregational Chapel was erected on this site about the year 1867.

At the back of this Chapel there was, and still is, a very old house with
gabled roof, originally the “Old Ship Inn,” a very noted place when the
stage coaches were on the road.  It was afterwards used as a Boys’
School, kept by Mr. James Holmes, and called Tottenham Green Academy.  It
was the property of Mr. Benjamin Godfrey Windus, who left it to his
daughter, the wife of the Rev. Peter De Putron.  Then came three houses,
which lay back, with a long piece of waste land in front, planted with a
row of trees, which gave them a very pretty appearance.  One of these
houses had a very large cupboard, like a small room, in the back bedroom,
which was built into the next house, where Dr. Babbington’s sister lived,
and here there was a very beautiful ceiling.  This house is still there,
but in ruins.


The shops here are about the same, only modernised, and lowered.  There
used to be a butcher’s, baker’s, stationer’s (which was then the post
office), poulterer’s, carpenter’s, tailor’s, Rose and Crown Inn,
chandler’s shop, hairdresser’s, fruiterer’s, and grocer’s, at the corner.
The post office was afterwards on the Green, and then removed to the
stationer’s, where it is now.

High Cross-lane, now called High Cross-road, was a very different place
to what it is now.  As the word lane indicates, it was a very quiet
place.  On the south side there were a good many old cottages, looking
more in keeping with their surroundings then they do at the present day.
Then came two detached houses, followed by fields till one came to the
old cottages at the commencement of The Hale.  On the north side, near
the High-road, there were stables, and out-buildings jutting out, which
made the roadway just there very narrow.  From these sheds there was a
continuation of fields almost to the end of the lane.


Here, on one side, stood some very old cottages, with long gardens in
front, and the White Hart Inn.  On the other side was the Pound, standing
on the waste land opposite “The White Cottage,” and next came the old
farmhouse, and land, in the occupation of Mr. Willan, the proprietor of
the West End omnibus.  This was afterwards Ware’s Nursery Grounds (he was
son-in-law to Mr. Willan).  It is now covered with factories.  Then there
were fields down to the River Lea.


This main Eastern Counties lines was the first railway in Tottenham.
Soon after it was opened there was a bad accident at the Hale Station; we
had no hospital then, so the injured passengers were taken in by various
residents.  The railway carriages were none too comfortable, the
third-class being all open.  This was a very busy station, so much cattle
coming here for the London market.


It was a beautiful walk along its banks, with forget-me-nots growing by
the water’s edge.  The numerous boats and barges gave it a very animated


In a field here quantities of wild orchids grew.  The river was frozen
one very severe winter; I remember walking across it.


These mills stood one on either side of the road leading to Walthamstow,
by Tottenham Lock.  They were formerly paper mills, and there seems to
have been a good deal of bad fortune attached to them; they were burnt
down 23rd February, 1778; rebuilt in a very substantial manner, and sold
September 25th, 1779, when they were started as corn and oil mills.  In
January, 1816, they were so much damaged by a flood that they were not
completely at work for nearly the whole of the following year.

I often accompanied my father on horseback.  The road to the Forest was a
favourite one with him, and, although I, too, enjoyed it, having to pass
these mills rather took the edge off my pleasure, the noise was so
deafening.  I never could lose the fear that the horses would be
frightened; I always felt thankful when we were safely past.  There was
another very large fire about the year 1860, and the mills have not been

The turnpike house and toll bar was near that spot.  The charge was 6d.
for a carriage, 1d. for a single horse, 3d. for a chaise, 4d. for a taxed
cart, 1s. for a waggon with 4 horses, with 5 horses 1s. 6d., and for more
than 5 horses 2s., and ½d. for each foot passenger not a resident in
Tottenham.  A few hundred yards further on by the Ferry Boat Inn there
was another turnpike, and the same charges were made there.


There are about 298 acres of marsh land.  The several names are “Lock
Mead Marsh,” “Clendish Hills,” “Mill Mead,” “Mitchley,” “Broad Mead,”
“Wild Marsh.”  The latter is the largest.  Beautiful cowslips used to
grow here.  To cross from one marsh to the other there was a ferry boat
at Page’s Lock, and another at Higham Hill, where passengers were punted
over at a charge of 1d. each person.

The names of the common fields are “Down Field” and “Hale Field.”

The above were closed on the 5th April, and open on the 12th August for
grazing of horses and cows belonging to the resident parishioners in
Tottenham.  Before the cattle went on they were all branded by the Pound
Keeper.  The marshes belonged to a great many different owners, who had
small wooden land marks with their initials on each.  In the case of the
New River Co. their’s were iron.  Some left their grass and made hay;
others did not seem to care for it.

All the marshes on the East side of the River Lea have been sold to the
East London Water Works, and those on the West to the Urban District

The Rifle Butts were built about the year 1860, and have been twice burnt
down.  Mr. Delano, who lived at Asplin’s Farm close by, built himself a
nice cottage with garden all round on his land on the Marshes for his own
use and called it “Butts Farm.”

This side of the Lea is not so very much altered.  The old Blue House was
pulled down, and a new one erected where Mr. Page’s son lived and managed
the locks.  There was a beautiful wild garden on the right hand side,
made by Mr. Page’s father, just beyond the boat yard, and had taken a
very great number of years to cultivate.  There was a quantity of high
trees, and all sorts of wild flowers, and it ended with a stile on to the
banks of the Lea.  Unfortunately, during a very heavy succession of
storms, some few years ago, this was all swept away.  The forget-me-nots
were especially beautiful large flowers; it seemed very sad they should
be swept away after all the trouble and expense incurred.


In 1809 a subscription was raised to repair the Cross, which was then in
a very dilapidated state.  The shape was not in any way altered, but it
was covered with cement, and at the same time various architectural
embellishment were introduced.  On each face of the octagon is a shield
containing one of the letters composing the word Totenham in the old
characters.  The Cross was then surrounded with a curb and iron railings,
which were removed a good many years ago.

At the back of the Cross there were the three shops still standing, a
stationer’s, draper’s, and butcher’s; by the side there was a green
planted with beautiful elm trees, only three of which remain now.  At the
back of this stood two pretty old houses, in occupation of Mr. Thomas
Corney and Rev. James Baird.  This was originally one house and was
occupied by Dean Wood, who about the year 1600 had the present cross
erected, which in 1809 was repaired and altered to its present

Next to Mr. Baird’s there was a blacksmith’s shop, where the old skeleton
horse stood over the gateway.  This horse belonged to Mr. Charles Tuck,
who kept the butcher’s shop at the corner, which is now a chemists, and
was such a willing animal that one day it fell down dead, drawing a load
which was too much for him.  I remember him well, and used often to feed
him with bread.


This was originally up to the year 1877 a Free Grammar School endowed by
Sarah, Dowager Duchess of Somerset, who in 1686 bequeathed the sum of
£250 for the enlargement of the school house, and a further sum of £1,100
for the purpose of extending its benefit to all children of such
inhabitants of the parish of Tottenham as were not possessed of an
estate, either freehold or copyhold, of the annual value of £20.

The Savings Bank used to be held here every Monday evening, and was kept
by Mr. Peter Rickards, the school master and clerk to Trinity Church.  It
was afterwards removed to the Post Office, where it now is, at the corner
of High Cross-road.


In 1685 Nicholas Reynardson, Esq., by his will, dated April 2nd, 1685,
and by a codicil dated February 20th, 1688, bequeathed the sum of £2,000,
with part of which he directed that an almshouse should be built for six
poor aged men and six poor aged women, with a chapel; and that the
residue should be laid out in lands, and for the endowment and repairs of
such almshouses, and for the payment of £4 to each pensioner annually by
quarterly payments, besides a gown of black frieze of 20s. value once in
two years, and £20 a year to the reader for reading prayers once every
forenoon, and for teaching twenty poor children to read and write,
inhabitants of the parish of Tottenham whose parents were not able to pay
for the same.  Mr. Reynardson also directed that the said salary of £20
per annum should be allowed out of the lands to be purchased to the
reader of prayers and teacher of such children, and a black gown of 20s.
value every year at Christmas for ever.  The residue of the rents to be
distributed amongst the poor, except 30s. allowed for a dinner on the 1st
August every year at a meeting of the Trustees, including the minister
and churchwardens, and the surplus and residue of the estates to be
distributed among the poor.

Where the police Station now stands there originally was a large house
enclosed in a high brick wall, and was built in 1776 by Will Latimer, of
Warwick.  It had a flight of stone steps to the front door, and a window
in the hall on each side of the door.  The occupier was the Rev. Thomas
Powell, afterwards called “Miser Powell.”  He was going to be married,
and on the morning of the day of the wedding was to take place he
received a message from the lady, saying she had altered her mind.  From
then until his death he never let a woman enter his house, and never went
out, excepting now and then when he preached at St. Paul’s Cathedral.  He
had a large garden with bathroom and swimming bath in the middle of the
lawn, all beautifully tiled; at the back there was a fish pond and
meadow.  The last time I saw him he was looking over the high brick wall
with a blanket over his shoulders.  He used to give dinner parties to his
gentlemen friends; everything prepared and sent down with waiters from

The Rev. Thomas Powell was a very clever author and artist, and had
commenced drawing figures of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John on the
staircase.  It was his intention to have them frescoed.  I was told he
left all his money and estate to the London Hospital, but that only
£40,000 went to the Hospital, the estate had to go to the heir at law, a
gentleman named “Mieux,” his sister’s son, who afterwards sold it to the
British Land Company.

I think Mr. Powell must have been particularly fond of violets, they grew
in his garden in such profusion.


There were originally only four almshouses, but in 1847, when the Pound
was removed to the waste land in The Hale, three old inhabitants, Mr.
Thomas Corney, Mr. William Janson, and Mr. John Day, had three others
erected at their own expense.


The building which still stands at the corner of the road was originally
the Girls’ Green School, or School of Industry, and was used for this
purpose until 1862, when the present buildings were erected in
Somerset-road.  The girls always looked very nice in their uniform, which
consisted of a green dress, white tippet, apron and cap, and a coarse
straw bonnet trimmed with green.  The school was supported by voluntary
contributions.  Stoneley South, at the entrance, has not altered much in
appearance since I first remember it, but in those days after passing the
house and premises which stands between Balthazar-street and
Stoneleys-road, which was then occupied by William Humphreys, carpenter
and builder, there was nothing but fields, with a public footpath across
leading into Down-lane.  This was the only way of reaching The Hale,
unless one went by way of High Cross-lane.


The old Plough Inn was a long, low building, very quaint and picturesque
with gabled roof, lying back from the road, with large open space in
front, and cottages down one side.

The Court Leet for Tottenham was held here for a great number of years.
John Brooks, the landlord, was also one of the Homage.  The old inn,
which was built in 1537, was taken down in 1891 and another building
erected by the side of the roadway, which was then opened, and leads to
the Marshes.


The Plymouth Brethren Chapel was built at Mr. Robert Howard’s expense.
It has a burial ground on the opposite side of the street.  I never
remember seeing more than one tomb stone; it was to the memory of Jane
Johnson, and that has lately been taken away.

There was an old sweet stuff shop in front by the High-road, the floor of
which was below the level of the road.  Adjoining here is the block of
houses and shops which are now about being taken down to widen the road
for the electric tramway cars.  On the site where Knight’s, the
pawnbrokers, was built, at the corner of Waverley-road, stood the old
George and Vulture Inn.  It had a very large room at the back, and the
Royal family used to come down to attend balls there.


At the back, down the turning, there was a good sized house and large
garden, with lake and bridge, in occupation of Mr. Thos. Finney.

The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel was the first built in Tottenham.  The
lease had just expired in 1882, when it was burned down.  It stood back a
little distance from the road, with burial ground in front, reaching to
the footpath in High-road.

On this site Messrs. G. L. Wilson’s premises were built.  This is the
second time they have been built as there was another very large fire in


In 1815 a mill for winding silk was built; this failed, and in 1820 it
was opened as a lace factory.  This also proved unsuccessful, and in 1837
it was opened as an India rubber factory, and was the means of providing
work for hundreds of people.

Some years ago half of this factory and Silk Mill-terrace was sold at
auction to the Licensed Victuallers’ Company.  This half has lately been
taken down and Pembroke-terrace, as it was afterwards called, converted
into shops and Parr’s Bank.


A pretty white house, with verandah covered with creepers, and large
garden.  The house stood back in its own grounds, and was enclosed by a
brick wall and a beautiful row of chesnut and lime trees that were very
much admired, as were also the sweet voices of the birds who made their
nests there.

This house has been pulled down and shops have been built on the spot.  A
good many years ago there was a very sad accident.  A drove of bullocks
was being driven past; one got loose, pinned Mr. Glover, the coach
builder, who lived opposite, to the wall, and gored him to death.

Before we had the railway in The Hale many droves of cattle were
continually driven along the High-road to the London markets.

Where Commerce-terrace now stands there were several houses, one called
the “Ivy House,” as it was covered with ivy, occupied by Mr. Henry Hayes.
It was enclosed in iron railings with very beautiful iron gates, and had
a large garden, which extended all the way down to the end of Reform-row.


These almshouses bearing his name, and consisting of eight tenements,
were built by him in the year 1596.  Four were for aged women widows, and
four for aged men widowers.  Each pensioner had £4 annually by quarterly
payments, and there was a biennial allowance of £6 for the purchase of a
gown of black frieze of 20s. value from the owners of the Stoneleigh
Estate.  The latter was discontinued years ago and money given instead.
There was also £1 per annum recreation money for the Committee.  They are
now closed, pending rebuilding.

It was a pleasure to talk to the inmates.  One in particular, a Mrs.
Martin, loved to recall the days of her youth, which had been passed in a
village near Hatfield.  She remembered when Napoleon Bonaparte was
regarded as a kind of ogre, and when naughty children were told “Boney is
coming” it reduced them to a state of abject terror.  One day a man was
seen coming towards the village on a dandy horse, when the cry was raised
“Boney has come at last.”  The children fled in wild alarm to hide
themselves.  She and her little brother crept under a four-post bedstead,
and it was a long time before her mother could induce her to believe that
there was no cause for fear, and that she might emerge with safety, which
after much persuasion she did, but her brother refused to leave his
hiding place for the whole of that day.  When she was a little older she
was put to school by a lady, and in return she had to do her needlework,
most of the school time being taken up in this way.  Before sewing
machines were invented a woman’s time was fully occupied in doing the
needlework for her family.  Ready-made articles were unknown.  Girls were
taught to be very thorough in their work, and if they wished for
embroidery they had to make it themselves.


or Society of Friends is adjoining.  It was erected in 1744, and enlarged
about the year 1775, and fitted with seats for about 400 persons.
Considerable additions were made in 1832.  There is also a burial ground
attached to it, which was added in 1803, and was closed some years back.

The deceased were interred in rows without any distinction, and a plan
kept which identified the spot where the departed friend was interred.
There are neither grave stones nor any other monuments to mark the spot
where any one lies.

At one time there was a number of this sect in Tottenham—a very admirable
class of people, thoroughly just and genuine.  Their dress was rather
quaint, but worthy of great admiration; neatness, goodness, and
simplicity form the three features of it.  The poke bonnet was perfect,
with the sweet little goffered frill round, in nearly all cases, a nice
face, so suitable to the wearer; then generally a dove or mouse-coloured
silk gown, neatly made and very ample in the skirt, just to escape the
ground.  It would have been a great fault to have a speck of dirt on them
of any kind.  They were scrupulously clean and on no account did they
like or allow their ankles to be seen.

A friend of mine knew two old lady Quakers who many years ago kept, for
amusement, a small private school of twelve or fourteen children; she
herself was one of the pupils for eight or ten years, and admired them
exceedingly with their pretty white caps drawn tightly with cords, but at
the same time thought them a little sharp.  Of course in those days each
child had individual attention, and she remembers perfectly well, when
being taught to write, the old lady with ruler in her hand, the pupil
seated at the table; if the pen was not held properly, down came the
ruler thump across the knuckles without any warning.

Another little incident.  They were very keen on sampler work, and if one
did not put the needle into the canvas quite right, the first thing cue
felt was the needle run into one’s fingers.

The child of to-day would not appreciate that kind of treatment; nor did
they then.

This same friend also told me of a Quaker who had a very large grocer’s
shop.  He was often asked for a little piece of string by the country
women, and I suppose he got rather tired of giving it, so on one occasion
he said in his quiet way, “Take what thy conscience will allow.”  The
woman said it would allow her to take it all.

They always looked well after their pounds, shillings, and pence, and
very often amassed large fortunes; it is rare to hear of a really poor
Quaker.  In this respect they are very good to one another and talk
little about it.

I must not forget to mention the men’s attire; it was then as quaint as
the women’s.  They were always dressed in brown or drab cutaway coats,
without any collar to them; low hats with a brim nearly as wide as the
depth of the hat; and very often knee breeches.  Many allowed their hair
to grow very long.

Then the service in their meeting house, as their place of worship was
called, is rather strange.  They all sit perfectly quiet, until the
spirit moves them, and then, be it man or woman, stand up and expound.

Next to the Friends’ Meeting House there used to be an apothecary’s shop,
kept by a Mr. Silver.  It was a one-storey building.  The shop had two
rounded windows close together, the door being at the side.  In each
window stood a row of coloured bottles, but for many years no business
was transacted here.  By the terms of Mr. Silver’s will the shop was to
be left for a certain number of years as it was on the day of his death.
During this time Mr. Thomas Shillitoe, one of the Society of Friends,
opened a chemist’s shop next door.  He had what I considered a very
objectionable habit.  When pouring out medicine he always licked the last
drop from the bottle.


In front there is what was formerly known as the Blue School, where the
girls were educated free.  It is now the Middle Class School.  Upon a
portion of the site stood the Watch House, prisoner’s cage, and John
Fowler’s house, who was the Parish Beadle.  This was quite sufficient at
that time, and in case of more help being required, a constable was sent
for to London.  Then the Police Station at the High Cross was built, and
the whole of the site taken for the Middle Class School.

A great many of the old cottages are now standing on Scotland Green.
They used to have strange names to identify them then, such as “Ward’s
Alley,” “Tubby’s Alley,” “Stack Yard,” etc., by which names they are
still known.  The Moselle crosses the road there from High-road and
empties itself into the Carbuncle Ditch.

There used to be an old-fashioned house and large pleasure and kitchen
garden, occupied by Mrs. John Holt.  This was taken down and two good
houses built, both occupied by doctors, viz., Dr. Watson and Dr. Jackson,
who were the first tenants.

The adjoining detached house, now called “Rheola,” was occupied by Miss
Mary Stacey for a very great many years.  She was a very philanthropic
lady, and one of the Society of Friends.  She would often have gentlemen
who were to give addresses at the meeting at her house, and would
entertain them.  Once one called whom she did not know, but believing him
to be what he represented himself, she invited him to take tea and spend
the night, but the next morning he was missing, and so was her handsome
silver tea pot which had been used the evening before.

The next house was called the “White House,” and for many years was
occupied by Mrs. Martha Horne, also one of the Society of Friends.  A
small white house adjoining, occupied by Mr. Linzell, and the old Red
Lion Inn, which extended over the land which now forms the entrance to
Lansdowne-road, were pulled down and the present Red Lion built and
Lansdowne-road formed in or about the year 1870.  I do not see much
difference till we come to the Bell Brewery.  On this side stood a pretty
one-storey detached cottage, where Mr. Haddon’s clerk lived.  This was
taken down and the bottling stores erected.

There was a large shop next, kept by Mr. Johnson, tallow chandler—a shop
much patronized, as candles were our principal illuminant.  It was not
till 1847 that the Gas Company was formed.  The window was very
tastefully arranged with different coloured wax candles of all sizes;
very high ones in the middle, graduating to quite small ones.  The house
adjoining was at one time a school, afterwards a chemist’s shop, and is
now in the occupation of Mr. Bately.

“Marie House” was the property of, and occupied by Miss Jemima Arabella
Holt.  She gave the ground on which St. Paul’s Church was built in 1858.
For some years previous to this services had been held in an iron
building by the Rev. Mr. Harrison.  He once had bills printed announcing
he would preach three sermons on consecutive Sunday evenings, the
subjects being “Thieves, Thieves,” “Fire, Fire,” and “Are you Insured.”
On each occasion the building was crowded.


Near the High-road was an old house called “The Beggars’ Lodging-house.”
It was a great boon to tramps, as they found accommodation here for a
very small sum.  A large fire was always burning brightly in the winter

The National School for Boys was built in 1841, and the Drill Hall in
1864.  Here the Vestries were held for some years.  There were two
nurseries on the left hand side of the lane, and then on both sides
fields till one came to Willoughby-lane.  Here stood Willoughby House;
there was not much architectural beauty about it; it was a one-storied,
straight-looking, white building, with three windows on either side of
the door, and seven on the floor above.  There was not much land attached
to it, only a little over nine acres in all.  Mr. Henry Lewis Smale was
the owner and the last occupier.  In the eighteenth century it belonged
to Daniel Booth, Esq., the Governor of the Bank of England.

“The Crow’s Nest,” a quaint old house, was on the opposite side of the
way, and next came Willoughby Farm, the property of the Rector of St.
Luke’s, Old-street, E.C.  There was an old farmhouse and upwards of
fifty-one acres of land.


which in the eighteenth century was called “Coney Bee’s Croft,” was
formerly the Workhouse, and quite large enough for all requirements.  The
deeds relating to the Parish lands were kept here, in a tin box, within
an iron repository.


which was built in 1841–2, is one of the largest in England, and none too
large for present requirements.  Coombes Croft was then used for several
different purposes.  At one time it was a Home for Little Boys, and
afterwards offices for the Local Board of Health.  This body was not
organised until 1850, when the meetings were held at the Free Grammar

The private improvement rate was made when the main works for the water
supply and drainage were approaching completion.  This the owner could
either pay at once, and in that case was entitled to a reduction, or it
could extend over a period not exceeding thirty years.  All who were able
to pay in one sum did so.  Mr. Heath was the first clerk.  He served the
Board for nineteen years, and was succeeded in 1869 by Mr. Crowne, who
still holds the office of Clerk to the Tottenham Urban District Council.
When Mr. Crowne first came Tottenham and Wood Green were one parish.  In
1888 they were separated, and Wood Green became a separate parish in
1894.  Years ago there was so little postal work that only one postman
was employed for the two parishes.

“The Three Coneys” was the original name of what is now known as “The
Bell and Hare.”  Passing by Park-lane there were several good houses—one
was called “The Cedars.”  The name was given to it on account of two
beautiful cedar trees in the garden, which were planted by Queen
Elizabeth on one of her visits to Tottenham.  The next house has been
occupied by a doctor as long as I remember, and the adjoining house,
lately called “The Vicarage,” was first used for that purpose when the
Rev. J. G. Hale was Vicar of All Hallows; prior to this it was occupied
by Capt. Goss, the first commanding officer of the local Volunteers.  The
title deeds of the next house, occupied by the late Mrs. Mudge, date back
as far as the time of Charles I.  It has a basement kitchen, with very
low ceiling.  The steps from the road lead into the sitting-room, and
when one has passed through the door there is still a step to be taken to
get on the floor; the windows extending below the level of the floor.

In the small house, which came next, James Filsell, the Parish Clerk,
lived.  He had the care of the parish map; this is now kept in the vestry
room at All Hallows.


which has a sun dial on the side of the house, dated 1691, still stands
to speak for itself.


was the peculiar name of a very old house which formerly stood opposite
White Hart-lane.  It was partly built of brick and partly of stone, with
large iron gates before it.  This house belonged to a favourite of Henry
VIII., named Hynningham, whose family are buried in the church.  Henry
VIII. frequently came here.  In one of the rooms was an inscription, “In
this chamber King Henry VIII. hath often lyen.”  The remains of this
house were in 1631 part of the out-offices of Mr. Gerard Gore, in whose
mansion Sir John Coke, Secretary of State, resided during the summer
months.  The same house was later on occupied by Sir Hugh Smithson, who
on the death of his wife’s father became second Earl of Northumberland.

In April, 1889, there was in the “Quarterly Review” an interesting
article on the “Annals of the House of Percy,” from which it appears that
the Duke and Duchess of Somerset had a large family, of whom six attained
maturity.  The oldest of these was Algernon, Earl of Hertford.  He
married the daughter of Henry Thynne, and in 1722, on the death of his
mother, he succeeded to her honours, and was summoned to the House of
Lords as Baron Percy.  He had two children, Elizabeth, born in 1716, and
George Lord Beauchamp, born in 1725.  When Lady Elizabeth Seymour was
twenty-three years old she paid a visit to her cousin, Lady Lowther, at
Swillington, and here she met Sir Hugh Smithson, a Baronet of good family
and possessing a large estate in Yorkshire.  The young people were
mutually attracted.  Lady Elizabeth received his attentions with
pleasure, and wrote to her mother regarding his proposal of marriage that
“had it met with my pappa’s approbation, and your’s, I should very
willingly have consented to it.”  Satisfactory answers having been
received to questions as to Sir Hugh’s position, Lord and Lady Hertford
gladly consented, but the proud Duke of Somerset did not consider the
alliance was good enough for his grand-daughter.  However, he at last
gave a grudging assent, mainly because the suitor was in the present
possession of an ample fortune, and had a good prospect of a future
inheritance from an uncle, old Mr. Smithson, of Tottenham High Cross; but
he made it plain to Lady Elizabeth that he considered it her duty to
stand out for more advantageous terms than had satisfied her father and
mother, for he said, “You are descended by many generations from the most
antient familys in England, and it is you that doth add antient blood to
Sir Hugh Smithson’s family; he adds no such antient blood to your
family.”  But the old uncle absolutely declined to be tied up by any
legal process, saying “It was true, he was no Duke, nor boasted of any
such great alliance, but in point of honourable dealing he would yield to
no man.”  The Duke being at last satisfied, the marriage was solemnized
on the 18th July, 1740.  The happy pair did not lose much time before
they paid a visit of state to the kind uncle who had paved the way to
happiness for them, she in a silver stuff of four pounds a yard, and Sir
Hugh in a lead colour and silver stuff embroidered with silver.  For four
years life ran smoothly for them, and then suddenly, in the autumn of
1744, young Lord Beauchamp died of small-pox at Bologna, and Lady
Elizabeth Smithson became sole heiress of the honours which her father
had inherited from his mother, the last of the Percys.  The Duke of
Somerset was furious at the extinction of all hope of the direct
continuance of his honours.  He had always hated his daughter-in-law,
Lady Hertford, and he now included his son in that hatred, to whom, as
Horace Walpole said, “he wrote the most shocking letter imaginable,”
telling him that it is a judgment upon him for all his undutifulness, and
that he must always look upon himself as the cause of his son’s death.

The old Duke petitioned the King to confer upon him the Earldom of
Northumberland, with remainder, after his son’s death, to his grandson
Sir Charles Wyndham, and so to exclude Lady Elizabeth, the rightful
heiress.  In this project he was not successful, and in due time Lady
Elizabeth’s husband became Duke of Northumberland, assuming the surname
of Percy.  Their married life was a very happy one; he was devoted to
her, and she returned the devotion, calling him “my dearest angel” and
“joy of my soul.”  The house in which they lived in Tottenham was taken
down and a row of houses erected, called “Northumberland Row,” the middle
one being named “Percy House.”  In some of these houses is some very
curious carved work.  Part of the old house and part of the garden wall
still remains next the road.

Passing Northumberland Park there are still some old houses to be seen
before arriving at Union Court, which is on the boundary of Tottenham and

Having spoken of the East side of the High-road, I will now start again
from Stamford Hill on the West side.

First came a large detached house standing in its own grounds with a moat
and a drawbridge.  This drawbridge was last used in the early part of
last century, when a large number of gipsies were seen approaching the

Mr. Josiah Wilson, J.P., lived next; it was also a large detached house,
which lay back a long distance from the High-road, with large grounds
attached.  This was, I think, the first house taken down on Stamford
Hill, and from that time dates the immense change that has taken place
all over Tottenham.  Then there were a good many other large residences,
among which was the “Clock House,” occupied by Miss Deborah Dermer, and
two pretty semi-detached houses at the corner of the lane, then called
Hanger-lane, now


This was a very quiet road, with only a few cottages and one or two good
houses on the left hand side, and fields on the right hand, as far as the
four cross roads, where the Midland Railway now crosses the road.


leading from St. Ann’s-road to the Green-lanes, was a private road, the
property of Mr. Scales.  There were beautiful fields on either side, and
half way up on the left stood four good houses, each standing in its own
grounds.  First came “Bridge House,” where Mr. Shirley Hibberd at one
time resided.  He was particularly fond of ivy, and had twenty-five
different varieties growing in his garden.

Next was “The Retreat,” and then “Vale House,” of which the last occupier
was Mr. San Giorgie.  He kept an emu in the field opposite his house;
children all round were very fond of going to see it.  Lastly came “The
Swiss Cottage.”  The road was enclosed with park gates at each end.  In
those days it was a charming walk; now the aspect is entirely changed,
the estate being covered with houses.


Opposite to this was a farm known as St. John’s Farm.  A little further
on there was a pretty house and large grounds, where Mr. John Robbins
lived, the son-in-law of Mr. Newsam, who built St. Ann’s Church, Schools,
etc.  The Metropolitan Fever Hospital now stands on this site.  A little
further on, on the opposite side of the road, there was another farm,
with cottage, having a verandah covered with white clematis which
blossomed freely every year.

We now return to the High-road.  Sherboro House School stood at the
corner of Hanger-lane, one or two fields next to it, and then two large
detached houses stood close together in their own grounds, well back from
the road.  These had fences of cleft oak palings; outside this was a
strip of waste land turfed.  Then a narrow ditch or water course, more
turf enclosed with low white posts, and chains painted green, which gave
it a very pretty and novel effect.  Then more fields extended to the end
of the road called the New-road, so called when it was completed in 1833
opening a thoroughfare from the High-road to Gloucester Gate, Regent’s
Park.  It was a quiet road and very lonely at night.  There were only two
houses before one reached the “Manor House,” where Queen Victoria
alighted on her return journey from Cambridge in the year 1843.  Close by
was Hornsey Wood, and Hornsey Wood Tavern, where on Saturday afternoons
noblemen came from the West End in four-horse coaches to practice rifle
shooting.  I remember hearing my mother say the nurse had taken me for a
walk in the wood and lost her way, and after wandering about for some
time was finally obliged to climb a tree to see what direction to take
for the way out.  On the left was the famous “Sluice House” and “Eel Pie
House.”  The wood was cleared, and the land added to that purchased to
form Finsbury Park.  Where the New River Bridge crosses the road there
was on the left hand side a large house called “River House” in
occupation of Mrs. Heathcote.

The West End omnibus ran to and fro three times daily.  The fare was one
shilling and sixpence each way.  Mr. Willan, of The Hale Farm, was the

This road is now known as the Seven Sisters-road, at the north corner of
which there stood a pretty white detached house, with waste land in
front, enclosed with posts and chains.  It was called “Suffield Lodge,”
and occupied by Mr. Bonny.


now called West Green-road.  The grounds of the last-mentioned house
extended some distance up the lane; then there were two large
semi-detached houses with gardens in front and rear, belonging to, and
the first occupied by Mr. John Beadnell.  Then again fields and two
cottages, and a small inn called “The Fountain”; then a terrace of good
sized houses with large gardens, called Gloucester-terrace; then more
fields to the end of the road, where stood two large semi-detached houses
at the corner of “Spratt’s Row,” now called “Dagmar-road.”


There was a pond in the middle of the green, railed all round, with an
opening for cattle to be able to get to the water.  A little distance
further on was an estate called Lords Grove.  Facing the pond there was
an old-fashioned white house called “Gothic Cottage,” with garden and
fields extending some distance down Blackup-lane; then all fields till
one reached a large white house with verandah covered with beautiful
creepers standing in its own grounds, with meadow beyond.  The last
tenant and owner was Richard Anstey Simmonds.  He had the walls of his
dining and drawing-room hand-painted, having artists from London to do
it.  Unfortunately the firm in which he placed all his money failed, and
as it was before the time of limited liability, he was absolutely ruined.
A subscription was started, to which the public generously responded, as
every one was very sorry for him.


This was a very pretty sheltered place.  There was a row of fine lime
trees, and one especially beautiful chestnut tree in the middle.  It was
well turfed and enclosed with white posts and rails.


Years ago this house was occupied by Mr. Ardesoif, a noted cook-fighter.
He was once so enraged by his bird losing his bet that he threw it on a
large fire.  Grove House was afterwards occupied by Mr. Thomas Smith, the
then Lord of the Manor.  There is no house now attached to the Manor of
Tottenham.  The Society of Friends afterwards established a large boys’
school there, generally known as the Quakers’ School.  This is now used
for the Polytechnic and the Magistrates’ Court.


There was a large brick house, called “Eagle House,” which was afterwards
used for a boys’ school.  This was destroyed by fire, and Mr. Chassereau,
the owner, had Norma-villas and Eagle-avenue erected on the site.  Eaton
House came next; Miss Toogood was owner and occupier.  Then there was a
very old-fashioned white-fronted house, which was unoccupied for a great
many years, and the garden became overgrown with thistles and weeds.  A
Quaker lady named Coare kept a school here, and it was the scene of my
mother’s earliest school days.  About the year 1845 the house was
demolished and two semi-detached houses erected.  The tenant of one house
kept a horse and chaise with a hood to it, and as there was no side
entrance or accommodation for either, the horse was always led through
the hall into the garden, where a temporary shed was erected, and the
chaise was kept in the front garden, opposite the drawing-room window.
Then came two large detached houses, only one of which now stands.  The
other, with the two white houses just mentioned, also Eaton House, were
recently purchased by the Tottenham Urban District Council, and the
Municipal Buildings erected.  Lastly came a pretty white house, the
residence of Mr. Benjamin Godfrey Windus.  He was the possessor of some
very fine paintings by Turner, and once a week he kindly allowed the
public to see them, by ticket of admission.  A few years after his death
the house was taken down.  With gardens, orchards, and meadows the land
comprised 31 acres, 3 rods, 37 poles, and reached up what was then called
West Green-road (now Philip-lane) as far as where the last of
Stowe-villas now stands.  Then there were fields as far as West Green

Crossing over the road there was a good sized house and grounds.  Next
came a field with a stile at each end and footpath across.  By the side
of the field there was a road or carriage drive to


This was the property of Rowland Stephenson, Esq., and when he died it
was, in 1808, offered for sale by auction by Messrs. Skinner, Dyke,
Tuckin, and Forest, at Garraway’s Coffee House, Change Alley, London, in
seven lots.  The house was described as “The truly desirable residence of
the late Rowland Stephenson, Esq., situated at Mount Pleasant, West
Green, Tottenham, on a delightful eminence, commanding rich and
picturesque prospects and agreeably remove from the public roads, and
forming one of the most complete residences in the county.”  The estate
included a productive farm and lands containing three hundred and thirty
acres, lying nearly within a ring fence.  At this time the House was
called “Mount Pleasant.”  When I first knew it it was known as
“Downhills.”  Later on for a short time it was called “Uplands,” but in
its last days was again called Downhills, when it was purchased by the
Tottenham Urban District Council.

Across the fields by the house there was a public footpath, and it was a
pretty walk leading to where Hornsey turnpike gate then stood.  Not far
from this was the very quaint old house called “Duckett’s Farm.”

Returning to West Green-road one next came to a very large house, the
residence of Henry Scambler, of Scambler’s Livery Stables, City.  Later
on his nephew Thomas Owden lived there.  He was Alderman, and in due time
Lord Mayor of London.  The house lay some distance back from the road,
and was approached by a long straight carriage drive, with beautiful
meadows on both sides.  The estate was 31 acres 3 rods 39 poles in
extent.  The garden of the lodge was a sight to behold, especially in the
spring time, when it was gay with flowers of every hue.  Then there were
four large houses, and adjoining a stretch of beautiful fields.  The two
first belonged to Mr. Robert Forster, where we children spent many a
happy hour in haymaking time.  The next belonged to Mr. Wm. Fowler, the
banker.  There, after haymaking was over, horses which were ill and
required medical care were taken into graze, and it was a very pretty
sight to see them march in a body to meet the veterinary surgeon when
they saw him coming.  It showed how grateful they were for his skill and
kind attention.  On the left hand side, where the fields belonged to
Mount Pleasant Estate, there was a footpath across these fields into
Lordship-lane.  West Green-road was very lonely.  Two young ladies,
friends of mine, were walking alone, when just by these fields two tramps
appeared and commenced taking off their jackets and dresses to steal
them.  Fortunately just at this moment a gentleman drove down the lane,
and attracted by the children’s cries he came to their rescue.  The
tramps immediately made off, and he kindly drove the frightened girls to
their parents’ house.  Mr. Robert Forster lived, with his sisters, in the
old-fashioned house that came next, and they built the almshouses that
stand on part of their land, and called them “Forster’s Almshouses.”
Round the bend of the road there were two large white houses.  Mr.
William Janson lived in the first, and in later years the other was
occupied by Mr. Joseph Howard.  He was the first member of Parliament for
Tottenham, when in 1885 the ancient Parish of Tottenham and Wood Green
was made into a separate constituency, and continued to be its
Parliamentary representative for 20 years.  Then came two good houses;
next to these was a large garden and builder’s yard and house, occupied
by Thomas Ashwell.  On these premises was the room used for the infants’
school belonging to Trinity Church.  It was also used for missionary


is the property of Sir William Curtis Baronet, the Lord of the Manor, and
he gave a portion of it to the parish for the erection of Holy Trinity
Church in 1829.  In May, 1830, Holy Trinity, which was the Chapel of Ease
to the Parish Church, was consecrated.  The first minister appointed was
the Rev. George Hodson Thompson.  He lived at the corner of Page Green,
and was succeeded by the Rev. George Brewster Twining.  In the centre of
the Church were benches which were free, and there were doors to the
pews; there was always a full congregation.  The gallery was mostly used
for the children of the Green School on one side, and on the other the
boys from Sherboro House School, Stamford Hill, of which Dr. Williams was
the Principal.  Mr. Barton was the organist, Peter Rickard the clerk, and
the pew-opener was Mrs. Perrin.  Occasionally the Rev. Mr. Newcome, the
Vicar of All Hallows, would take the service.  Once he told the
congregation he would he unable to preach as he had left his spectacles
at home.  My grandmother called the pew-opener and sent him hers, which
fortunately suited his sight.  In those days a clergyman could hold two
livings at a time.  He was Vicar of Tottenham, and also of Shenley, where
he resided.  He used often to come and see my father, and always gave my
mother his blessing.  I remember once hearing him say, “I give you my
blessing my dear, and oh what a pretty gown you have on!”  At one time a
lady living on the Green who was one of the congregation, asked my
father, as churchwarden, to have the middle post at the entrance moved to
make a wider space as she was so stout she could not get through.  He at
once complied with her request.  I must not forget to mention how
beautifully the churchyard was turfed, and how lovely it looked with the
long-stalked white daisies.  On coming out of Church I occasionally gave
way to the temptation of gathering a few, although my mother used to say
I ought not to do so, particularly on Sundays.  I used to wonder why it
was worse to do it on Sundays than other days.

I must not forget to mention at one time the organist played a voluntary
between the prayers and the Litany, but it was discontinued as it was not
generally liked.

For a great many years Mr. Twining rented a cottage in “Bull-row” to
provide a home for four poor old women.  They had one room each, and were
very thankful for it.

There was always a large bonfire and fireworks on the Green on the 5th of
November.  This was discontinued when the traffic increased, as it
frightened the horses.  Boys used to play cricket here, and horses and
cows were allowed to graze.  On the occasion of the marriage of the
Prince of Wales, now our King Edward VII., we had a captive balloon on
the Green, and anyone who liked to ascend could do so.  John Fowler, the
beadle, availed himself of the offer.  He did not appreciate the trip, as
it made him feel very ill.

The large tree in the middle of the Green, by the High-road, I well
remember being planted by Mr. Deane, of “The Yews,” a great authority on
parish matters.  Some of the trees on the East Green were planted by Mr.
Twining’s son and my brother when they were boys.

We next come to the High Cross Pump.  The well was dug and the pump
erected at the expense of Mr. Thomas Smith, the Lord of the Manor, in the
early part of last century, in consideration of his having been allowed
to enclose a piece of waste land, near Grove House, where he resided.
The water from this pump supplied a large portion of the parish, and many
people earned their living by taking it about in barrels upon wheels,
selling it at a penny a pail.  In 1883 the well was closed.

The White Swan Inn at the opposite corner of the road had a small
railed-in garden at the side in which stood a high white pole surmounted
by a large white swan.  This inn was a favourite resort of Izaak Walton,
the famous angler.  He often came to Tottenham to enjoy fishing in the
River Lea, and rested, as one may read in “The Compleat Angler,” “in the
sweet shady arbour which Nature herself has woven with her own fingers;
’tis such a contexture of woodbines, sweet briar, jessamine and myrtle.”

Adjoining were a lot of small, old-fashioned houses; a narrow entrance
called High Cross Court, with cottages in the rear.  There was a large
carriage factory next, with a yard and more cottages, and the builder’s
house in the front; three more houses, then the two houses, in the first
of which Dr. Edward Curtis May, father of the present Dr. Edward Hooper
May, lived.  Tottenham at that time could only boast of two doctors—Dr.
Holt and Dr. May.  I always think with pleasure of the mansion that came
next; it was here I spent such happy days at school, the three Misses
Wilson were such kind and considerate teachers.  It was a boarding
school, but my sister and I, with a few others, were day boarders.  We
had to rise early, have our breakfast, and be at school at 7 a.m., say
our lessons with the boarders, and then while they were breakfasting we
learnt our lessons for the next day.  The house was called “The Elms.”
In front of it stood a magnificent row of elm trees; at the back was a
large garden, and beyond that a meadow.  My father sold this estate to
the Drapers’ Company about 1848, when the house was taken down and a
school for boys and two rows of almshouses built.

The houses after this were all small and, I may say, uninteresting, and
reached as far as the field, which Mr. Robert Forster used as a
brickfield.  Here there was a pond, and the well, known as St. Loy’s
Well, in a field adjoining, about 500 ft. from the High-road.  This well
was said to be always full but never running over, and the properties to
be the same as the waters of the Cheltenham Springs.  It was cleaned out
in the sixteenth century, and at the bottom was found a great stone
having certain letters or characters on it, but unfortunately the workmen
carelessly broke and defaced it, so it was not known what the characters

The houses next were only medium-sized as far as “The Old Ship Inn,”
which was then a long, low, rambling building one story high and attics.
At the corner by Bruce Grove there was Myers’ the builders’ and
stonemasons’ yard and two good houses, one occupied by Miss Keating,
sister to the Keating of cough lozenge fame, the corner one by Dr. Edward
Curtis May after he left the High Cross.  These were all pulled down and
the great Eastern Railway Station built on the site.


This was a quiet retired spot; the houses were all good, some very large,
and nearly all were occupied by Quakers.  Mr. William Fowler’s house, at
the end, had beautiful grounds, the meadows extending to the end of the
narrow walk leading to Bruce Castle.  Flocks of rooks made their nests
and found a shelter in the trees there.  It was so peaceful, with fields
on either side, with a low open iron railing.  The only sound to be heard
was the caw caw of the rooks who always seemed as if they had something
important to discuss, and they left off reluctantly when their bedtime

On the North side was a row of very old and noble elm trees.  By the side
of the middle one stood a box which was a shelter for a “Charley.”
Charleys were the precursors of policemen.  One of their duties was to
call out every half-hour the time, and the state of the weather.  I
remember hearing “half-past nine, and a fine starry night,” or “ten
o’clock and a foggy night.”  Their life was not altogether an enviable
one.  It occasionally happened that some young men, returning home rather
late, thought it a joke to upset the box with the Charley inside, and
there he had to stay till by some means or other he was liberated.

Many years ago there lived in one of the houses here a lady who thought
and said she was unable to move from her chair.  The doctor who was
attending her assured her again and again that it was only her
imagination.  As she still persisted in refusing to try, he determined to
prove to her that it was possible; so on his next visit, after talking to
her for some time, he got up and rang the bell.  On her asking his reason
he replied he wished to speak to his coachman.  When the maid came in
response to the ring he requested her to send him up.  The lady, in
amazement said, “What can you want with your coachman in my bedroom,
doctor?”  He simply replied, “You will see, madam.”  The man came and
received the order, “Bring up a truss of straw,” which he did, and was
told to put it under that lady’s chair and set light to it; but before
this could be done up sprang the lady, and from that day no more was
heard of her refusal to move, and the doctor congratulated himself on his
success.  At that time there were several doctors living in Tottenham who
did not practise here, one of them being a friend of a lady living in
Bruce Grove and who attended her through an illness.  When she quite
recovered he told her he should not be coming again for a little while as
she was so much better.  She told him she hoped he would continue his
visits, as the truth was she had taken a fancy to him, and would like to
be his wife.  Unfortunately he was not of the same mind.

The Crossway Path was a pretty walk leading to Love-lane, which was a
narrow lane running parallel with the High-road to White Hart-lane.  Part
of this lane is now Pembury-road.  In 1871, when the G.E.R. bridge was
erected, this path was closed.

At the corner of Bruce Grove was a lodge, and where Maitland-terrace now
stands was a long and very pretty garden rented by Mr. William Janson; at
the end of this he had “The Lecture Hall” built, which was used for a
library and different kinds of entertainments.  As the facilities for
getting to town were not what they are now, it was a great boon to the
neighbourhood.  We spent many a pleasant evening there, but after a time
it was not successful.  I have been told that in its latter days the hall
was engaged by some nigger minstrels for an entertainment.  The evening
arrived and a good audience assembled in hopes of having an enjoyable
time.  After waiting patiently, and as the entertainment did not
commence, some one went to enquire the reason, when directly one of the
performers came on the platform and sang, “We are going to skedaddle,
skedaddle, skedaddle; we’re going to skedaddle away,” and then ran back
into the retiring-room.  The audience laughed, thinking this was part of
the performance and waited still longer; but getting impatient enquiries
were again made, when it was found the minstrels had been as good as
their word.  Not finding them in the retiring-room, some one looked out
of the front door and saw the last one in the act of getting in the
omnibus, which at once drove off.  They took the admission money with
them, and were never heard of again.

For many years this hall was then used by the Plymouth Brethren, as their
place of worship.  When Mr. Janson’s lease expired the hall was let to
the Tottenham Constitutional Club.  There used to be four houses next,
with gardens in front.  These were taken down and the sorting office and
the London and Provincial Bank built.  When this Bank was first opened
the business was carried on in one of the shops in Commerce-terrace

Adjoining Bruce Grove House, where Dr. Vos now lives, is the carriage
factory, the business of which was for so many years carried on by
Messrs. Glover and Sons.  One son had a most miraculous escape from
death.  During a very heavy thunderstorm, not feeling well, he went
upstairs to lie down.  Some time after, feeling better, he went
downstairs again.  He had only just left the room when a thunderbolt fell
on his bed, on the very spot where he had been lying.

The private roadway at the side led to the Tottenham Brewery (then kept
by Messrs. Fullagar and Freeman) and ended in Love-lane.  Adjoining
Charlton Cottage was the house Dr. Holt lived in; one of the two doctors
then practising in Tottenham.  He was succeeded by Dr. Hall, who was so
well known.

But all this part is so little altered that description is unnecessary
until one comes to Moulding’s Carriage Factory, which was built in the
year 1871 on the ground where Messrs. Larkins, the brewers, had a kind of
storehouse.  This factory was burned down in 1881, and in the course of a
very short time re-built.


This was the next place of interest.  The grounds, nearly twelve acres in
extent, were enclosed in a high brick wall, which went all round.  The
lodge stood at the corner of what is now Pembury-road, and through the
gates one could catch a glimpse of the beautiful hydrangeas, and other
flowers bordering the carriage drive, leading to the mansion, which stood
not far from Lordship-lane.  It was a good old house, with a fine
entrance hall; it struck me as being very gloomy upstairs, the bedroom
doors all being painted black.  There were many pretty, shady walks in
the gardens and fields; in one part was a nut walk.

When the hall was pulled down in 1867 a portion of the ground was thrown
out to widen Lordship-lane, which was at that time very narrow.

There was a row of pretty, small cottages on the right-hand side of the
lane, several of them built of wood.  The tenants took great pains with
their gardens and grape vines, which were covered with bunches of white
grapes.  The houses that came next, called Bruce-terrace, were built by
Mr. Thomas Finney, an ironfounder.  They have one peculiarity—each house
has an iron step at the gateway in lieu of stone.  From this point to
Bruce Castle grounds there were fields on both sides.  On the left-hand
side there was a row of majestic elm trees.  The white house in the
middle of the field was the residence of Mr. Francis Fox.


Bruce Castle has always had a fascination for me, thinking of the changes
that have taken place since Robert Bruce, father of Robert Bruce, King of
Scotland, who died in 1303, lived in the castellated mansion that
formerly occupied the site.  Later on, when it came into the possession
of Sir William Compton, he re-built it, and again it seems associated
with Scotland, for on the Saturday after Ascension Day, in 1516, King
Henry VIII. met his sister, Margaret, Queen of Scots, at “Maister
Compton’s house beside Tottnam.”  One can imagine the scene that was
enacted there, when Sir William’s grandson, Henry Lord Compton, was
honoured by a visit from Queen Elizabeth in May, 1578.  History says the
Castle was repaired, and almost re-built, in the latter part of the
Seventeenth Century, by Henry Lord Coleraine, who succeeded the Comptons.
He removed the arms of Compton from the old porch, and placed them over
the entrance of the inside, out of respect to that illustrious family.
At this time there was stabling for twelve horses, and a treble
coach-house, with lofts over.  Gradually the glory of the place departed;
it passed from owner to owner, and when Mr. Ede, a merchant, of London,
purchased it in 1814, these stables and coach-houses were pulled down.
Up till the early part of last Century the principal entrance was in the
centre of the Castle, and on either side of the door orange and lemon
trees were growing in large tubs, which gave it a very pretty appearance.
This door was afterwards closed, and the entrance made at the side.  In
1827 Mr. Ede sold the mansion, with 15 acres of pleasure grounds,
gardens, etc., to Messrs. Hill, who started a boys’ school, which was
under their management for fifty years.  It is interesting to know that
Sir Rowland Hill, to whom we are indebted for the Penny Postage Stamp,
was one of the joint purchasers.  In 1877 the Rev. W. Almack, M.A., took
over the school, and it remained in his hands until the school was
dissolved in 1890, when Mr. Pedley rented the Castle and grounds for two
years, and during this time the building was used for a Loan and
Industrial Exhibition.  The estate was finally sold for the use of the
public, and called Bruce Castle Park.  Till within quite recent years the
trees and bushes in the front of the Castle were a sight to behold when
out in full bloom—white and pink horse-chestnuts, laburnum, white and
pink may, guelder roses, and lilac.  The ivy was so thick and broad on
the top of the wall for some distance down Lordship-lane that it formed
quite a verandah.  During a heavy storm a great part was blown down.  In
olden times a curious custom prevailed at Bruce Castle: When any of the
family died the corpse was not allowed to be carried through the gate, so
an opening was made in the wall near the Church, and through this the
coffin was taken.  In the time when corpses could be arrested for debt a
man died there and, owing to this custom, the family were able to get the
corpse into the churchyard before the creditors could claim the body.
When the last aperature was opened a Gothic door was fixed in its place.


At the beginning of last Century the Parish Church, dedicated to All
Saints, was the only church in Tottenham, and although smaller than at
present it was large enough for the number of worshippers.  But as the
number of inhabitants increased, although other churches had been
erected, it was necessary to enlarge it, and in 1876 the new chancel was
built, north and south transepts, an organ chamber, double vestries, and
a north porch added, and what was formerly the old chancel absorbed in
the nave, and the new roofs made considerably higher than the old.  For
my part, I like to think of the “Old Church,” as we used to call it, as
it was when I was a child, with the high pews with doors to them, two of
which were square, with seats all round, like a little room.  One of
these was allotted to the tenant of the Moat House, Tottenham Park.  The
centre alley of the nave was paved with grave stones, but they were so
worn by time that in many cases the inscriptions were nearly obliterated.
There was a gallery at each side, and one at the west end, where the
girls from the Blue School sat.  The organ was in this gallery; Mr. Stone
was the organist for a great many years.  On the wall of the gallery on
the south side were placed all the Hatchments that had been taken from
the large houses in the neighbourhood.  The other gallery was private;
built and presented to the church by three gentlemen of the congregation.
The pulpit was a three-decker; the lower part was where the minister
stood to read the lessons, and by the side was the sort of box, where the
Parish Clerk sat.  One of his duties was to say all the “Amens,” and also
to read the alternate verses of the Psalms, etc.  We children used to
look forward with pleasure to hearing Psalm lxxiv., for when it came to
the eleventh verse, to our great amusement, old James Filsell always
said: “Why pluckest thou not thy right hand out of thy ‘buzzum.’”  The
Vicar then was the Rev. Thomas Newcome, who lived at Shenley; he was also
Vicar of that parish, and it was only occasionally he came to Tottenham
to take the service.  He never failed to come on the 25th Sunday after
Trinity, and my recollection of him is hearing him say, in loud and
impressive tones, the collect beginning, “Stir up, we beseech Thee, O
Lord, the wills of Thy faithful people.”  The strong accent on the first
two words always made them sound “Stour oop.”

We only had morning and afternoon service, and as it used to get dusk on
winter afternoons the pew opener placed two flat brass candlesticks on
the top of the last pew on either side of the aisle to light the
congregation out.  It was not a brilliant illumination, but it served
every purpose.

The next Vicar was the Rev. W. J. Hall.  During the latter part of his
time some of the congregation wished to have an evening service, and
offered to pay for a minister from London to conduct it; but on talking
it over with Mr. Forster’s father, his remark was, “I am getting into
years, Forster, and so are you; so we will not consent to it, and if any
one wishes for an evening service there are other churches to which they
can go.”  But Mr. Hale, who succeeded Mr. Hall, willingly agreed to the

Over the Altar at the East there was a beautiful window of ancient
painted glass divided into eight compartments, containing the
representations of St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, with smaller figures
of David, Isaiah, and Jeremiah.  It was given to the Church in 1807 by
John Eardly Wilmot, who then resided at Bruce Castle.  The other windows
were all plain glass.

The most remarkable monument in the Church, of fine white marble, against
the upper end of the north wall, was erected to the memory of Maria, the
daughter of Richard Wilcocks, of Tottenham, and the wife of Sir Robert
Barkham, of Wainfleet, in the County of Lincoln, who died in 1644.  The
monument is ornamented with the busts of the deceased and her husband;
Sir Robert being represented in armour, with a peaked beard and whiskers,
holding a book in one hand; and his wife habited in veil, necklace,
handkerchief, and stomacher, very richly ornamented with lace, also with
a book in one hand and resting the other on a skull.  On the base of the
monument are on a black ground the effigies in white marble of four sons
on one side and eight daughters on the other in praying attitude; the
first on each side kneeling to a desk with a book on it.  One of the
children on either side is represented as deceased, and laid wrapped in a
shroud, with a death’s head under the pillow.

Underneath the painted window the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments
were written, and on either side of the Altar rails were two large boards
covered with leather; on these was written in letters of gold an account
of the bequests to the Parish.

Formerly the Vestries used to be held in the Vestry-room, but as the
population increased, and there was more business to be done, the
accommodation was not sufficient, and so they were held, first at the
Lecture Hall, and afterwards at the Drill Hall, and now at the Bruce
Grove Board School.

The bell that is known as the saints or vestry bell was given to the
Church in 1801 by Humphrey Jackson, Esq., M.D., who lived for many years
in White Hart-lane.  This bell has upon it an ornamented cross on which
are fleur-de-lis and on the upper part the inscription “Sit nomen Domine
Benedictum I.H., Fecit, 1663,” together with two medals and an ornamental
border.  On the lower part there are other medals, on one of which is a
representation of the Virgin and Child.  This bell was the alarm bell to
the garrison of Quebec, and was appropriated by some drunken sailors
during the siege of that place by the force under General Townsend.  It
is believed there is a quantity of silver in its composition, which
accounts for its melodious sound.

In former years some poor pensioner was allowed to make a home in the
room over the porch.  The last was Betty Fleming.  She kept a great many
cats, and used to place saucers with milk for them all round the
churchyard.  She died in 1790, aged 100 years, having lived in that room
forty years.

A dog would not be permitted to enter a church now, but I remember when
Charles Bradford (old blind Charlie as he was called) was led in by his
dog, and it remained with him all the service, so quiet that no one would
have known it was there.

One Sunday evening in the summer of 1876 there was a terrific storm.  All
through the sermon it had been getting darker and darker, and when the
last hymn was being sung the storm broke out in great fury, the last
verse had to be omitted, and the Vicar gave the Benediction.  The noise
was deafening; the hailstones were immense; they smashed the Lanthorne
light, and glass was flying in all directions.  Outside the water was so
deep that those who attempted to leave the church were obliged to come
back.  To add to the confusion one lady went into hysterics.  Some one
covered her with a waterproof so that she should not see the lightning.
Fortunately I had a bottle of strong smelling salts with me, which I sent
to her, and after a time she recovered.  Everyone, I believe, was
frightened; some were deadly pale, and it was a great relief to all of us
when the storm abated.  But many people had cause to remember it as it
did so much damage, destroying the crops in the market gardens and
smashing such quantities of glass.

At one time the churchyard was sufficient, not only for Tottenham, but
for Wood Green as well, and one could wander over the grass and amongst
the graves.  There were not any very curious epitaphs; one I thought very
beautiful was on a stone erected to the memory of a pupil at Bruce
Castle.  It commenced, “Far from his native home the little Sulliot
came.”  On another was written, “Charlotte, we shall meet again.”  The
stone was erected by a man who lost his wife.  But after a time his grief
subsided, and he married again, whereupon he caused these words to be

When the Church was altered the churchyard also underwent a considerable
change.  The paths were diverted, and many of the stones were removed to
another part.  One lady strongly objected to having her family vault
touched, and applied to the Secretary of State to uphold her in her
refusal, which he did.  Her reply to the Vicar when he asked her to
reconsider her decision was, “Cursed is he who removeth his neighbour’s

My grandmother was buried at the time there were body-snatchers, and my
mother was so afraid of her body being disturbed, that, although she
employed two men to keep watch, she went accompanied by her maid at
various hours of the night to see that they were doing their duty, and
always found them at their post.  It was a very lonely walk, but her love
for her mother made her brave.  There was a watch-box on the north side
of the tower, and for a fortnight or three weeks after a burial old David
Hummett, who was one of the Charlies, kept watch.  I have heard that
somewhere about this time a lady was buried in Edmonton Churchyard
wearing some very handsome rings.  This was much talked about, and some
men for the sake of the booty dug up the coffin that night, and opening
it, commenced to cut off her fingers as they were unable to remove the
rings.  To their horror she sat up.  They made off as quickly as they
could, and she walked home to her husband’s house and rang at the bell
and he opened the door to her.  What he felt no one can tell; at any rate
it must have been a shock to his nerves.  She lived for some years after,
and this account was given to my mother by the nurse who attended the
lady when her baby was born.  She was in a trance, so the men’s greed was
fortunate for her, as it saved her life.


an old-fashioned residence adjoining the churchyard, was in the year 1620
occupied by a Mr. Fenton.  On the beautifully carved ceiling of the
dining-room his name appears thus: Fenton, and an illustration of a
barrel or tun.  This design was also found on some Dutch tiles which were
part of the original hearthstone.  I remember Mrs. Hannah Wakeling living
here.  She was the owner of “Priory Side,” “Hornchurch,” and “Bruce
Lodge.”  She left each house to the tenant who was living there at the
time of her death.

Scotlands is the name of the sexton’s cottage—a quaint, detached, wooden
building on the east side of the church.  It was for a great many years
occupied by Mr. Joseph Forster, the sexton, and when he died his son, Mr.
Alfred Forster, who succeeded him, bought and enfranchised it.  Turning
the corner by Rose Cottage, the bar, which was placed there so many years
ago to prevent vehicular traffic, still stretches across the road.


This was opened in January, 1858, a few years after the parish purchased
the ground on the north side, and since then it has been much enlarged in
the other direction.  Continuing along Lordship-lane, after passing Bruce
Castle, on the left hand side of the road, there stood two good
residences, in the first of which John Elliott Howard lived, and in the
other Thomas Fox.  A short distance further the substantial farmhouse
“Broadwaters” occupied by John Phillips, a prominent member of the
Society of Friends.  This farm was part of the Downhills Estate, and was
220 acres in extent.  Some distance further up the lane was a small farm,
then an unbroken stretch of fields to the four cross roads.  Passing Wood
Green Common, where there were several good houses, one came to Tottenham
Wood, an estate of 379 acres, the property of Thomas Rhodes, a relative
of Cecil Rhodes, of South African fame; when he died it was sold to the
Company who built the Alexandra Palace there.  It used to be said that
whenever a fog, or mist, rose out of Tottenham Wood, and hung over it
like smoke, it was a sign of rain and bad weather; the rhyme was:

    “When Tottenham Wood is all on fire,
    Then Tottenham street is nought but mire.”

Coming back to the High-road, where the offices of the Gas Company now
stand was one of the many ponds for which Tottenham was noted; then a
large house called “The Ferns.”  My mother well remembered the mansion
which stood next; for many years her father dined there, every other
Sunday, with his friend William Salte.  This was one of the most
conspicuous residences in the parish.  In 1730 Philip De La Haize lived
there; he was a wealthy London merchant.  At his death he bequeated the
interest of £100 to the poor of the parish.  Mr. Salte died in 1816.  It
was found impossible to let or sell the place as a whole, so the house
was pulled down, and the materials, with the land, sold by auction, the
materials alone realising £2,500, which shows that the house must have
been very substantial.  There was a very handsome clock over the stables;
Mr. Salte had it made by Thwaites, of Clerkenwell; he ordered it to be
“as good as any between London and York,” and it cost him £400.  At the
sale it was purchased by Miss Deborah Dermer for £75, who had it fixed on
her residence, Coleraine House, Stamford Hill, which was from that time
known as the Clock House.  The beautiful wrought-iron gates were left.
The land stood idle for so many years that many considered it to be in
Chancery, but this was not the case.  The reason devolved upon the
question of the heir-at-law.  Mr. Thomas Dermer, having a son or
daughter, Mr. Gripper, of the Bell Brewery, very much wished to purchase
it, but the risk was too great.  A few years before Mr. Dermer died he
sold it to the Law Reversionary Society for a mere trifle, who a short
time after sold it to Messrs. Harper, who built Criterion-buildings,
Cedar-road (taking its name from the noble cedar tree which stood on the
estate), Ruskin-road, and Pembury-avenue.  The land extended to the
grounds of Bruce Castle.

The row of houses called Moselle-terrace, lay back from the road.  In the
enclosure a fountain was erected, the ground having been bored to the
depth of one hundred and nineteen feet, the main spring was tapped and a
plentiful supply of water obtained.  The fountain was in the form of a
cast-iron ornamental pedestal; the water rose about six feet from the
ground, and was discharged through the mouth of a dolphin about 18 inches
from the ground.  The pedestal was removed in 1839, and the water,
instead of being allowed to run waste as formerly, was conducted into a
trough placed by the side of the road for the use of cattle passing to
the London markets.


This used to be called The Nursery, as Charles Coleman had a large
nursery there.  The ground was afterwards used for a brickfield.  Near
Bruce Castle grounds was the Lancasterian School for boys, supported by
voluntary contributions.

Messrs. Le Gros, Thompson and Bird, crape finishers, had a factory in
Love-lane.  This was burnt down in the year 1860, and the business was
then removed to Norwich.  The manager, James Bayliss, lived in the house
in the front, which is now used as a Convent School.

Whitehall House stood on the site, now covered with shops and houses,
known as Whitehall-terrace, Whitehall-street, and Moselle-street.  The
estate consisted of between six and seven acres of land.  In one part of
the pleasure grounds there was a Serpentine Walk.  The house was some
distance back from the road, and in the front was a beautiful lake, with
swans on it.  Mr. Charles Soames was the owner and occupier.


At one time called Parsonage-lane.  At the end of a turning on the
right-hand side was the old Roman Catholic Chapel, which was used until
the present Church was erected in the High-road.  The Grange needs no
description, as it still looks as it did in the days when I remember Miss
Buckworth living there.  After passing several good houses, one came to
the Vicarage, which still stands; the senior curate, the Reverend John
Saumarey Winter, lived there.  Then there were two good houses, the
further of which was the scene of a very sad accident—two children being
burned to death in their beds.  The parents were away from home, and the
servants, taking advantage of their absence, gave a party, and forgot all
about the poor little ones until too late.  Before St. Katharine’s
College was built the ground was used for allotment gardens; there is so
little alteration in the cottages and houses that follow that no
description is needed.  Dr. Robinson, who wrote the History of Tottenham,
in 1818, lived in the house now known as Trafalgar House.  There was a
large field opposite, the path through which formed a quick cut to the
bend of the lane.  On one side was a quick set hedge, and bank; in about
the middle the path widened into what looked like a little room, and
here, under the shelter of the hedge, poor old Blind Charlie lived for
many years.  The Rev. Mr. Hall, the Vicar, kindly gave him a mattress to
lie on.  In the field adjoining the Churchyard a poor, homeless boy dug a
hole, near the hedge, where he used to sleep, the opening being covered
with a tea-tray.  But he was not allowed to stay there long, as children
were afraid of passing.  The old bridge crossing the Moselle was a
pretty, narrow one, and on either side stood a fine oak tree.  The trees
in the second field were very beautiful.


The large house covered with ivy which has quite recently been pulled
down, was at one time the Manor House of Pembrokes, and called The
Parsonage, or Rectory House.  I remember when it was called the Moated
House.  It was built in 1636, and was surrounded by a moat, over which
was a drawbridge.  In 1797 Henry Piper Sperling, Esq., purchased the
Mansion House of Pembrokes, with forty-nine acres of land adjoining, and
the whole of the great or rectorial tithes.  Soon after he had the moat
filled up.  The staircase of this house was very fine.  There used to be
a cheerful air of activity about the old Rectory Farm, with its
well-stocked farmyard, and the ducks and the geese swimming on the pond.
The pretty little plantation by the side of the road, which a little
farther on branched right and left, the road to the right leading to Clay
Hill.  At the second bend of the lane, on the left stood a pretty, long,
low house, with a creeper-covered verandah; this was called Turner’s
Farm; the yard and outbuildings of this adjoined those belonging to River
House.  The New River Company owned the next farm, and here the road
ended in a beautiful cornfield, across which was a footpath leading to
Tile Kiln-lane.  There used to be plenty of water in the river, but it
has been gradually getting less and less.  There was an echo in one of
the fields leading to Beet-lane, White Hart-lane; it was so quiet all
round this spot we often amused ourselves with raising it.  A little
farther on came Snakes-lane, leading to Lordship-lane, and Wolves-lane,
leading to Tile Kiln-lane.  These lanes were all very lonely, and a
practical joker created a scare by roaming round in the evening.  He was
covered with a white sheet, and walked on high stilts; he was called
Spring-heel Jack, but who he was or where he came from was never
discovered; everyone was glad when he got tired of this form of
amusement.  I knew one old inhabitant who was one evening walking along
Lordship-lane with his daughters when they saw a white object in the
distance.  The girls immediately jumped to the conclusion that it was
Spring-heel Jack, and were so terrified they screamed so loudly that they
were heard in Wood Green; but it was a false alarm, it was someone
carrying home a basket of washing.  Speaking of the loneliness of the few
houses in this lane, Mr. Thomas Fox, who lived there, made it a practice
to go into the garden and fire off a gun every evening before retiring to
rest in order to let people know he could defend himself against


In the year 1878 Tottenham High-road was flooded from Bruce Grove to
White Hart-lane.  One of the sons of Mr. Gripper, of the Bell Brewery,
had a boat, and rowed up and down, taking passengers at 6d. each, the
money being given to the Tottenham Hospital.  The Tottenham Hospital and
Deaconesses’ Institution was started by Dr. Laseron in 1868.  He worked
indefatigably on its behalf, and people were so willing to help him that
those who were unable to give money gave their jewellery.  It was
recognised that a hospital was much needed; the present building shows
how this need has gone on increasing.


was not such an easy matter when my mother was a child, and people did
not expect to take the yearly holiday which is now considered a
necessity.  Places which now can be reached in a few hours’ time were
then quite a long journey, and one had to travel either by post-chaise or
stagecoach, which was pleasant for the outside passengers on a fine
summer day, but anything but comfortable if the weather was cold or wet.
It was very cheerful to hear the guard sounding his horn.  For those who
could not afford these conveyances there was the waggon—a very slow mode
of travelling, this.  It was a huge, clumsy-looking vehicle, drawn by
four horses, the waggoner walking by the side and occasionally sitting on
the shafts for some distance; at night carrying a horn lanthorn.  These
waggons were used for moving goods from place to place, and were very
roomy.  I knew a lady who, when she was a child, travelled in this way,
under the care of a maid, from Lincolnshire to Tottenham.  My earliest
recollection of travelling is of going to the sea-side in a post-chaise;
two horses were sent on the day before we started.  We went either to
Margate or Worthing, and left home at four o’clock in the morning.  We
travelled all day, changing horses halfway, arriving at our destination
that evening.  For those who liked the water there was a boat called “The
Margate Hoy.”  Sometimes we varied our holiday and took apartments at a
farmhouse at Finchley, which was then beautiful country.  On those
occasions we went in my father’s phæton.  It was a very pretty drive all
the way from Tottenham.

My mother remembered a public conveyance called a Shillibeer; this took
its name from the inventor.  Later on this was transformed into the
Omnibus, and there was a number of these conveyances on the road, running
to London and back every hour, the terminus being the “Flower Pot,”
Bishopsgate-street.  Occasionally one was confronted with the alternative
of either walking home or waiting an hour.  For instance, when the May
meetings were held, to which the “Friends” flocked in large numbers,
there was keen competition for a seat; no woman would have thought of
going outside.  I remember once seeing a respectable-looking country
woman, taking her midday meal in the omnibus on her road to London.  She
evidently thought she was making a long journey, for opening her basket
she placed a small cloth on her knees; she then produced a packet of
bread and butter, a little parcel of salt, and, putting an egg in a cup,
calmly ate her lunch.  On another occasion a well-known rather eccentric
character, having purchased some peas, shelled them in the omnibus to
save time on his return home.

Tottenham lost its rural character when the railroads were made.  The
first of these was the Great Eastern main line, the Hale and Park
Stations being then opened.  Park Station being some distance from the
main road Mr. Hall started a service of omnibusses from “The Horse and
Groom” at Edmonton to this station.  The next was the Midland, and lastly
the Great Eastern suburban line to Enfield.  When this was started the
terminus was Bishopsgate-street.

Omnibusses were succeeded by horse trams, these again by steam trams,
having a particularly clumsy appearance, and in a short time horse trams
re-appeared, only to be again altered to electric trams.

It may not be generally known that once every year there used to be an
official perambulation of the parish; this was called “beating the
bounds,” and was regarded as an important occasion to mark the boundaries
of the parish.  Of course nothing was allowed to be an obstacle; where
necessary the beaters went through hedges and ditches, and even through
ponds, and at various places one of the boys who accompanied the
procession was well bumped against a wall to impress the boundary on his
mind, so that in after years he could testify from personal knowledge if
any doubt arose.

The first local paper in Tottenham was called “Paul Pry”; it was so
personal in its remarks, and so much mischief was made by it, that its
life was a brief one.  On the outside was the illustration of a man, with
an umbrella under his arm, and the words, “I have just stepped in; I hope
I don’t intrude.”

The “Weekly Herald” was started in 1861.  It had a lot of subsidiary
titles, besides that of the North Middlesex Advertiser which it still
bears, but they have since been discarded.  It was started by Mr. E.
Cowing under the management of Mr. Crusha, who took it over in July,

                                * * * * *

                      [Picture: Decorative graphic]

                                * * * * *

              TOTTENHAM: Crusha & Son, Typ., 821, High Road.

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