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Reminiscences of Tottenham

Reminiscences of Tottenham
Title: Reminiscences of Tottenham
Release Date: 2018-10-14
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
Count views: 18
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Reminiscences of Tottenham, by HarrietCouchmanThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and mostother parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms ofthe Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org.  If you are not located in the United States, you'll haveto check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.Title: Reminiscences of TottenhamAuthor: Harriet CouchmanRelease Date: October 14, 2018  [eBook #58097]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK REMINISCENCES OF TOTTENHAM***

Transcribed from the 1909(?) Crusha & Son edition by DavidPrice, email [email protected]

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— BY —

Mrs. J. W. Couchman.

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Price, 2/6.


Having lived in this parish all my life I have been repeatedlyasked by my friends to write a short account of my earlyrecollections of Tottenham.

I feel a little diffident at doing so, and this being my firstattempt at committing my recollections to paper I trust myreaders will pardon any mistakes and omissions, and that it willbe as interesting to some of them to read as it has been to me towrite.

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

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


John William Couchman,
Civil Engineer,
16, Pembury Road,

p. 5Tottenham,

75 years ago, was a very pretty quiet village, most of thehouses 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 healthyneighbourhood.  Some of the inhabitants lived to a veryadvanced age.

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

The parish was divided into different Manors, calledPembrokes, Bruces, Daubeneys, Mockings, and Dovecotes orDucketts.

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

I remember hearing my father say one of the homage (a very oldgentleman, Mr. Philip Hunt), was late for the dinner.  Heexplained he had nearly reached his destination when he thoughthis poor horse looked tired, so he took him home and afterwardswalked there.

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


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

A large house stood on the estate called “CravenLodge,” where the owner, Mr. Arthur Craven, resided. It was afterwards occupied by Mr. Samuel Morley.  Perhaps itmay 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 ofwhich was used as a Post Office; then came the old-fashionedTurnpike Inn, which has been pulled down and another built on thesite.  The two small old shops are still in existence, butthe large house belonging to, and in occupation of, Mr. EdwardSievieking, is no longer there, the land being now all builtover.


There were a few old cottages beyond Mr. Sievieking’sgarden, and on the opposite side of the road Sumpter’slivery stables; then fields on both sides down to p. 7the River Lea,where there were coke ovens always brightly burning.  Therewere several large houses lying back from the High-road, StamfordHill, with front gardens on the waste land; of these only tworemain.

There was a mansion standing next, where Mr. Fowler Newsamresided for many years.  There was a very pretty walk roundthe shrubbery and garden, the estate containing altogether abouteight acres of land; the grounds were enclosed in cleft oak parkpalings, with lodge at entrance.  There was a mounting stoneon the gravel path outside, and it is not many years ago that itwas taken away.

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

When the turnpike was removed from the top of the Hill, a tollbar was placed across the road at the corner of this estate, butwas not there long; it was taken away when all turnpikes weredone away with.

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

The next estate was called “Mark Field,” and wasfifty-four acres in extent; there was a large house lying somedistance back, p.8in its own grounds, belonging to and in the occupation ofMr. William Robson.

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

The estates were bordered by a broad piece of waste land, aditch, and low quick set hedge; and there were large heaps offlint stones at the roadside for repair of the roads.  Atthat time the path on Stamford Hill was a gravel one, and had noteven a curb stone.

When Mr. Munt lived at the corner house he kindly lent hisgrounds to the Rev. George Brewster Twining, who was the Vicar ofHoly Trinity Church, for the Sunday School treat to be heldthere.  Several caravans of Bohemian gipsies passing alongthe High-road; the men, seeing the children playing games,stopped their horses, and threw their children over the low quickset hedge; they were very clean and prettily dressed in red,white, and blue, and were highly delighted to mix with our SundaySchool children.  We gave them some cake, and persuaded themto return to their friends, which they did, althoughunwillingly.  They were a very superior kind of gipsy, andevidently the precursors of the German gipsies, who have sincebeen 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 theleft-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 landattached to it.  A large pond, called Page Green Pond, wason the green opposite the house.

At the end of the green, and facing the High-road, a largehouse stood, occupied by Mr. Spartelle, whose grounds extendedsome distance down the lane.  The Earlsmead Board School isnow 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, plantedin a circular form, and called the Seven Sisters.  In themiddle there stood a walnut tree, which it is said neverincreased in size, though it continued annually to bearleaves.  The prevailing opinion in Bedwell’s time (theRev. William Bedwell was Vicar of Tottenham from 1607 to 1632)was that someone had suffered martyrdom on this spot, but of thisthere is no authentic account, nor is there anything satisfactoryas to the original planting of these trees to be met with, but itappears they were at their full growth in Bedwell’s time,and may be considered to be in 1818 upwards of 300 yearsold.  The walnut tree was not cut down p. 10for a goodmany years after the others.  I remember my father having itdone, and then the seven daughters of Mr. MacRae planted sevenother trees in the middle of the green; they are now living, oneis a sapling.  A few years ago Mr. Hibbert’s sevendaughters planted seven other trees at the end by theHigh-road.

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

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

Returning to the High-road; at the corner stood a large, whitehouse, and garden, adjoining the row of houses calledGrove-place, which were built at the beginning of last p.11century.  Next to the Bull Inn, which is one of theold inns of Tottenham, were the cottages called Bull Row, one ofwhich was a toy shop, kept by Mrs. Travell, and another a cakeand sweet shop, kept by Mrs. Oakman; there were so few shops thenthat 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 nextestate belonged to the Rev. Richard Momford Wood; it consisted of22 acres of meadow land, rented by Mr. Thomas King; the fieldsreached to the Hale.  It was afterwards rented by Mr.Goddard’s father, who lived at the High Gross, on theopposite side to where they now live.  He kept a quantity ofgeese, and every morning, at 10 o’clock, they left the yardand went to the fields; all alone they crossed the road, walkingtwo by two, like school children.  At 4 o’clock theyreturned in the same manner; and never met with any mishap. One can judge by this the amount of traffic there was in theHigh-road at that time.

This is now called Springfield Estate.  The large houseoccupied by Mr. Rickman was taken down, and the TottenhamHospital erected.  The three houses adjoining are stillthere.

In the year 1798 my grandfather, Mr. Thomas Sanders, purchasedthe next estate.  There was a detached house with goodgarden, and a great many coach-houses and stables, built in thetime the stage coaches p. 12were on the road, a beautiful meadow,and a large orchard, stocked with choicest fruit trees.

Dr. Robinson, in his History of Tottenham, speaks of “Asingular duel” that took place in this field. “That upon Thursday, the 8th November, 1610,

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