Enfield Manor House (Enfield Palace), Enfield Town

This article by Stephen Gilburt was first published by The Enfield Society in newsletter 186, Summer 2012.

The first reference to a manor house at Enfield dates from 1347, and by 1437 there was a substantial building on a seven acre site where Palace Gardens shopping precinct now stands. In 1551 the manor of Enfield was granted by Edward VI to his half-sister Elizabeth. Enfield Manor House was substantially rebuilt to become Enfield Palace and also included a gatehouse, barns, stables and orchards. However, after her accession as Queen in 1558, Elizabeth preferred to stay at the larger Elsyng Palace (near Forty Hall) when her court visited Enfield.

Later in the 16th century the palace was leased out and by the 1630s the grounds were being developed. By the late 17th century the building housed a boarding school run by the botanist Dr Robert Uvedale. In 1663 he planted a cedar of Lebanon which was to survive until 1927.

In 1791-2 the north wing and parts of the south wing and main block were demolished. For much of the 19th century the building was again used as a school before serving as a post office and later as the home of the Enfield Constitutional Club. It was finally demolished in 1927 and Pearsons was built on the site.

Sections of wooden panelling, plaster ceiling and stone fireplaces, principally from the Oak Room in the south wing, were salvaged by the Legatt brothers and incorporated into the Tudor Room which was added to Little Park in Gentleman’s Row. The interior of this reconstructed Tudor Room will be seen on the Enfield Town walk on Tuesday 10th July (see page 5 for details). The Enfield Society hopes that at a future date Ian Jones will be able to repeat his excellent illustrated talk on the Royal Palaces of Enfield.

Images were provided by the Enfield Local Studies Centre and Archive.

Illustration 1. North-east view of Enfield Palace in 1568 as it appeared in W. Robinson’s History and antiquities of Enfield, 1823.
Illustration 2. A view of the west front of Enfield Palace in 1778 which is based on a print of 1568. Although the north wing (to the left) appears to have been built of brick with stone dressings, other parts to the south and east had timber frames.
Illustration 3. The remaining part of Enfield Palace in 1793 after much of the building had been demolished.
Illustration 4. The Oak Room in the south wing photographed in the early 20th century. The fine carved stone chimney piece has the royal coat of arms flanked by a crowned Tudor rose and crowned portcullis. The Latin motto below means “Our only security is to serve God : aught else is vanity”. The initials ER refer to Edwardus Rex.
Illustration 5. Part of a Tudor chimneypiece with the arms of England and France, Tudor rose and portcullis. The Latin motto means “Like the dew on the grass is the bounty of the King”.
Illustration 6. The plaster ceiling has the royal crown, Tudor rose and fleur-de-lys of France which English kings still claimed.
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