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ENFIELD
Description and History from 1868 Gazetteer

ENFIELD, a parish and town in the hundred of Edmonton, county Middlesex, 2 miles N.W. of Edmonton, and 10 N.E. of London.

It is connected with the Great Eastern railway by a branch line of about 3 miles. The parish includes the hamlets of Cock Fosters, Enfield Highway, Bullscross, and Ponder's End, where there is a railway station; and is divided into three divisions, called the Town and Chase division, Green Street and Ponder's End division, and Bullscross division, each under separate management, and containing several small villages. The New River flows through the parish, which extends eastward to the river Lea. In Domesday Survey it is called Enefelde, and was then held by Geoffrey de Mandeville. It afterwards passed to the crown, and was converted into a royal chase, well stocked with deer. Several privileges and exemptions were granted to the inhabitants by various sovereigns from the time of Richard II., and the Tudor kings built a palace here for the purpose of hunting. Edward VI., Elizabeth, James I., and Charles II., frequently held their courts here. During the Civil Wars, the parliamentary army destroyed the game and cut down the trees, and a considerable portion of the land was divided into farms. At the Restoration, the Chase was replanted and stocked with deer, and so continued till 1777, when an Act of Parliament was obtained for its disafforesting, and the land portioned out into allotments. On admeasurement, the Chase was found to contain 8,550 acres, of which the greater part is now in tillage. The town, which is situated to the W. of the Hertford road, or Roman Ermine Street, consists of two streets, in which are several well-built houses. Petty sessions are held here, and it is a polling place for the county. There is a Board of Health for sanitary purposes, and police stations in four different parts of the parish. Here is a government manufactory for small arms on an extensive scale, also a brewery, corn-mill, and saw-mills. The town and neighbourhood are lighted with gas, and well supplied with water from springs. At Ponder's End in this parish is a large manufactory for finishing crape. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of London, value 1,174, in the patronage of Trinity College, Cambridge. The parish church is about 500 years old, and is thought to have belonged to Saffron Walden Abbey; having a chantry attached, now converted into a vestry. It is dedicated to St. Andrew, and contains several curious and finely-executed monuments and brasses. The register commences in 1550. There are also the following district churches, viz. St. James, perpetual curacy, value 150, Jesus Chapel, perpetual curacy* value 118, both in the patronage of the vicar, and Trent Christ Church, perpetual curacy The charitable endowments of the parish produce nearly 1,000 per annum, the principal of which are Blossom's grammar school, Wright's, Wilson's, Eaton's, Meyer's, and David's, and several other charities for the benefit of the poor. Of Dissenting chapels there are five, viz: one Independent, three Wesleyan, and one Primitive Methodist, in different parts of the parish. Of schools there are four National, one British, and six for infants; also a free grammar school, and a school of industry for girls. Of the ancient palace there are some remains, but the greater part was taken down in 1792. The one room which remains is in its original state, with oak panels and a richly ornamented ceiling. White Webbs House was the rendezvous of Fawkes and his fellow conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot. Coins, urns, and other Roman remains, have been found. There are several handsome seats and residences in the neighbourhood. Enfield gives the title of viscount to the Earl of Strafford. The manor of Enfield and part of the soil belongs to the duchy of Lancaster. James Meyer, Esq., is lord of the manors of Worcester, Capel, and Goldbeaters; and Woodham Connop, Esq., is lord of the manors of Durants and Garstons. Saturday is market day, and fairs are held on the 23rd September and 30th November for horses, &c.

[Description(s) from "The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland" (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson 2003]
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[Last updated on 9 Oct 2003 by David Hawgood. 2003]