|St John the Baptist Churchyard||Enfield|
St John the Baptist originated as a chapel built in 1857 on land owned by Enfield Parish Church, with funds provided by the owner of one of the substantial houses in Clay Hill. The freehold passed to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and it was consecrated in 1865, becoming Clay Hill Parish Church in 1867. The churchyard is hedged from the road with a picturesque wooden lych gate, and is planted with mature trees. Outside the church is a memorial stone drinking trough.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2011
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By the 1570s, Clay Hill was a small settlement, consisting of cottages and inns such as the Rose and Crown and The Fallow Buck, which were positioned along the main highway connecting Enfield to Enfield Chase and Crews Hill. Further development of the area came as a result of the construction of the New River in the early C17th. Flash Lane is so-named for the 'flash' or timber trough whereby the New River was carried over the Cuffley Brook; an early C19th flash still exists in Flash Lane. The Enfield Loop of the New River was re-routed in the mid C19th although part of the course remains as a stream. The eastern boundary of Enfield Chase was along Flash Lane, and there was a gate to the Chase near where St John the Baptist Church stands. The area remains relatively rural today, but following the enclosure of the Chase in 1777 and of Enfield Parish in 1803, substantial country villas began to be constructed.
At Clay Hill, three such properties were Whitewebbs Park (q.v.), Claysmore House, since demolished but which stood where Brayside Farm is now, and Woodbury, later converted as Clay Hall House nursing home. The Claysmore estate included an allotment from Enfield Chase that had been made to the then owner Mrs Hume who built the house. It included other enclosures between two public houses, the Fallow Buck and the Rose and Crown, the latter reputedly once kept by Dick Turpin's grandfather; probably of the same family, a Mary Turpin was conveyed 10 acres of land nearby at Morehatch in 1765.
St John the Baptist originated as a chapel in 1857, built by the Vicar of St Andrew's Church, Enfield (q.v.), Revd John Moore Heath, on land owned by the parish in Clay Hill. It was built with the financial support of the then owner of Claysmore, James Whatman Bosanquet, who had purchased the estate in 1847 and was already responsible for providing a school and chapel in Flash Lane. St John's Church, a Victorian gothic building with a tiled roof and high bellcote, was designed by architect Piers St Aubyn and opened in 1858. The interior fittings were provided through the Revd John Moore Heath, a strong supporter of the Oxford Movement, which was striving to revive Catholic ritual. This profoundly displeased Bosanquet, who was founding member of the Protestant Association that was set up to counter the Oxford Movement. He was descended from an old Protestant family in Languedoc who had escaped to England following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. His attempts to remove altar furnishings led to confrontations between him and the Vicar, which caused the church to be closed for a time in 1859. The freehold of the church passed to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and it was consecrated in 1865, later becoming Clay Hill Parish Church in 1867.
The churchyard is hedged from the road with a picturesque wooden lych gate, and is planted with mature trees. Outside the church is a memorial stone drinking trough provided by the Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association, donated by the family of Mr and Mrs Leslie Everett. In 1987 the parish of St Luke the Evangelist and that of St John were united as one parish of Clay Hill.
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); Paul Drury Partnership for LB Enfield 'Clay Hill Conservation Area Enfield Character Appraisal', 2009; Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998) p437; Clay Hill Parish website