|Chase Green Gardens and Gentlemans Row||Enfield|
Chase Green Gardens are on former woodland that became part of Enfield Chase in 1136, with local people retaining common rights. When the Chase was enclosed in 1779 a portion was allotted to villagers as compensation for loss of rights. In 1803 all but 5 hectares of this portion was itself enclosed, later transferred to Enfield UDC in 1898. The New River Loop flows through the gardens, part of the scheme to bring fresh water to London in a conduit from Hertfordshire through Enfield to Islington. The New River Company was set up in 1606 and work began in 1609 with financial backing from James I, and was completed in 1613. In 1890 the portion around Enfield was piped underground thereby making this stretch redundant. It was saved from being infilled by a public campaign to preserve it for its ornamental value and it is essentially a linear lake.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/02/2011
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The land was formerly woodland that became part of Enfield Chase in 1136 but to which local people retained common rights for fuel, timber and pasture. When Enfield Chase was enclosed in 1779 a portion was allotted to Enfield villagers as compensation for the loss of their common rights. This portion was itself then enclosed in 1803 except for 5 hectares, which were placed under the management of the church before being transferred to Enfield Urban District Council in 1898. Settlement at Enfield goes back a long way with the area substantially cultivated by the time of the Domesday survey. In 1421 the lands here belonged to the Royal Duchy of Lancaster, which were inherited by Queen Elizabeth I after the death of Henry VIII, along with Worcesters to the north and Elsyng Hall, later the site of Forty Hall (q.v.). She rebuilt the manor house at Enfield on a site which is now occupied by Pearson's Department Store close to the market place and parish church of St Andrew's (q.v.) Such connections with royalty, together with the proximity to London, brought the gentry to Enfield from the C17th onwards, and fine houses were built such as those of Gentleman's Row just north of New River Gardens.
The New River Loop, part of which flows through the Gardens, was engineered by Sir Hugh Myddelton, a goldsmith by trade who, as a member of the House of Commons Committee considering water shortage in London, offered to undertake a scheme to bring water 38 miles from Amwell Springs in Hertfordshire through Enfield to Islington. The New River Company was set up in 1606 by Act of Parliament and work began in 1609 with financial backing from James I, and was completed in 1613. Despite falling into the water during an inspection of the work, the king knighted Myddelton in 1622. Myddelton lived at the top of Bush Hill during the building works at Halliwick House, now demolished, but Myddelton House (q.v.) was named after him when the last governor of the New River Company, Henry Carrington Bowles, built his house in Bulls Cross in 1818. The New River included the full course of Cuffley Brook through Whitewebbs (q.v.), crossed the valley at Salmon's Brook at Bush Hill where there was a lead and timber aqueduct. Another loop followed the course of Pymmes Brook through the Arnos Grove Estate, with a further loop further south. The Whitewebbs, Arnos and Tottenham loops were abandoned when the New River was straightened in 1859 and in 1890 the portion around Enfield village was piped underground thereby making this stretch redundant. It was saved from being infilled by a public campaign to preserve it for its ornamental value and it is essentially a linear lake.
The Gardens have excellent planting of willow, cedar, beech, holly, laurel and yew with roadside planting of limes, and lead into a riverside walk beside a terrace of cottages (River View), with the water crossed by two pretty C19th iron bridges. With the aid of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £1.8milliion in 1997, the New River Loop Restoration Project began in 1998 to restore the historic watercourse, listed bridges and railings, and regenerate the timber banks of the New River, providing new seating and resurfacing of paths. A commemorative Millennium Fountain was commissioned from artist Wendy Taylor, which was unveiled in September 2000. An additional HLF grant was secured in April 2001, funding also raised by Enfield Preservation Society and Thames Water undertook works in lieu of match funding.
Revd George Hodson (Church History) and Edward Ford (General History), 'A History of Enfield in the County of Middlesex including its Royal and Ancient Manors, the Chase and the Duchy of Lancaster, with Notices of its Worthies, and its Natural History, Etc. Also an account of The Church and the Charities, and a History of the New River' (Enfield Press, printed by J H Meyers, 1873); David Pam, 'A history of Enfield pt 2: a Victorian suburb 1837-1914', 1992; David Pam, 'The Story of Enfield Chase' (Enfield Preservation Society, 1984); Geoff Garvey & Leigh Hatts 'Country Walks around London' (Mainstream Publishing with London Transport, 1998); Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); Arthur Mee 'The King's England: London North of the Thames except the City and Westminster' (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 1972); Andrew Duncan 'Walking Village London' (New Holland, 1997); local history leaflets; The Paul Drury Partnership for LB Enfield, 'Enfield Town Conservation Area Character Appraisal', 2006