|Minchenden Oak Garden||Enfield|
Minchenden Oak Garden is remnant of the estate of Minchenden House, owned in the C18th by the 3rd Duke of Chandos and later the Marquis of Buckingham. By 1836 the estate was sold to the Walker family and the grounds incorporated into their Arnos Grove estate. The old mansion was demolished in 1853 although a smaller house, Minchenden Lodge, was built in the mid C19th to the north. A relic of the Minchenden House grounds remains in the form of the Minchenden or Chandos Oak, an ancient pollarded oak tree, reputed in the C19th to be the largest in England. The Garden was created by Southgate Borough Council as an evergreen Garden of Remembrance and opened on 12 May 1934.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2010
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The garden is on the former site of Minchenden House and Gardens, one of the fine estates in the area, which was once owned by the 3rd Duke of Chandos. Minchenden House, which stood on the south side of Southgate Green (q.v.), was built in c.1747 by John Nichol, a wealthy London merchant. It was on or near the site of an older house called Arnold's or Arnold's Court that had belonged to Sir John Weld (d.1622). A wealthy brewer, his large estate later became Arno's Grove and was owned by the Walker family, and part of the landscape remains as the public park, Arnos Park (q.v.). Nichol died soon afterwards, leaving his house and fortune to his sole heir Margaret, and in 1753 she married James Brydges, Marquis of Carnarvon who became the third Duke of Chandos. Minchenden was used as his country seat after the family property of Canons (q.v). His second wife, the Duchess Dowager of Chandos, resided here on occasion until her death in 1813. The property then passed to the Marquis of Buckingham whose wife was the daughter and heiress of the last Duke of Chandos. From 1822 the Buckinghams tried unsuccessfully to let the house and garden and by 1827 it had deteriorated, the 'Beautiful Villa' described as being 'in a most deplorable state' and the Kitchen Garden 'not in Cultivation' according to a letter to Anna Eliza Brydges from Thomas Crawfurd. It had evidently improved by 1833, when it was visited by Richard Temple who wrote to Anna Eliza Brydges that 'Minchenden looked very nice. The opening of the great Cedar by throwing down the Wall is a great improvement. The Yew Hedge remains untouched'.
By late 1836 Minchenden House had been sold to Isaac Walker for £13,800. A painting of the house and grounds was sold in the Stowe Sale of 1848, described in the catalogue as 'Minchenden House, Southgate, with extensive landscape and water, and figures in the foreground ( . . ) The view is taken from an elevated position at some distance from the mansion, which is seen in the centre of the picture, seated among ambrosial woods and pastures.' It was by the celebrated landscape painter Richard Wilson, who was commissioned by the Duke of Chandos for £70. The old mansion was demolished in 1853 by the Walker family, and the grounds incorporated into the Arnos Grove Estate. A smaller house, Minchenden Lodge, was built in the mid C19th to the north.
A relic of the grounds of Minchenden House remains today in the form of the Minchenden or Chandos Oak, an ancient pollarded oak tree, reputed in the C19th to be the largest in England. In his book 'Greater London' (1883/4) Edward Walford reported that its spread was 'no less than 126 feet, and it is still growing'. Two limbs were lost in a gale in 1899 but by 1900, when it was estimated to be 800 years old, its girth measured 21 feet 3 inches, with a spread of 136 feet and height of 60 feet. It is thought to be a survivor of the ancient Forest of Middlesex and may be some 800 years old. Minchenden Oak Garden was created by Southgate Borough Council as an evergreen Garden of Remembrance. It was opened on 12 May 1934 by the Vicar of Southgate and Mayor of Southgate BC, with a procession from Southgate Green and short service of dedication. The garden is laid out with lawns, hedges and a variety of evergreen shrubs and trees including magnolia. Rusticated stone fragments are to be found among the shrubberies, thought to be remnants of the early C17th Weld Chapel that had stood near Christ Church Southgate (q.v.), and demolished after the new church was built. There are a number of flagstone paths through the garden, which has seating areas including that surrounding the Minchenden Oak. The entrance to the garden is through an iron gate in the red-brick wall along Waterfall Road.
Arthur Mee, 'The King's England, London North of the Thames except the City and Westminster', Hodder & Stoughton, 1972 ed.); Edward Walford, 'Village London, the Story of Greater London, Part 2 - North and East', first published 1883/4 (1985 ed., The Alderman Press); The Paul Drury Partnership for LB Enfield, 'Southgate Green Conservation Area Character Appraisal', 2008; Bernard Byrom, 'Old Southgate and Palmers Green' Stenlake Publishing, 2008; website of the Dukes of Buckingham and Chandos www.dukesofbuckingham.org.uk/places/other/minchenden.htm