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Edmonton (All Saints)

EDMONTON (All Saints), a parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Edmonton, county of Middlesex, 7 miles (N.) from London; containing 9027 inhabitants. This place, which had risen into some consideration prior to the Conquest, is in Domesday book called Ædelmeton, probably as having been the residence of some distinguished personage during the heptarchy. The extensive forest in the neighbourhood, of which Enfield Chace formed a part, made it the resort of many individuals, who occasionally retired hither to enjoy the diversion of hunting; and from its convenient distance from the metropolis, it became the residence of many opulent families. The village stands pleasantly on the high road to Hertford, along which it extends for more than a mile, containing, exclusively of small dwellings, several ranges of respectable houses, and, in detached situations, many elegant mansions and villas; it is well lighted with gas, and amply supplied with water. The New River intersects several parts of the parish, producing a picturesque effect in the grounds and meadows through which it winds. A considerable coach manufactory affords employment to more than 60 persons; and an extensive trade in timber is carried on by means of the Lea river navigation, which passes within three-quarters of a mile of the village. A station on the Eastern Counties railway is also situated here. Fairs, chiefly for pleasure, are held on St. Giles and Ascension days, on a part of Enfield Chace, near Southgate, in the parish, under letters-patent of James I. The petty-sessions for the division are held at the Angel inn on alternate Fridays, and a court leet and court baron are held on the Tuesday in Whitsun-week: the powers of the county debt-court of Edmonton, established in 1847, extend over the sub-registration-districts of Edmonton, Enfield, and Tottenham.

The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £18; net income, £1550; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's, London: the tithes were commuted for land and corn-rents in 1799. The church is a spacious ancient structure in the later English style, once of flint stone; in 1772 it was cased with brick, but it has a square embattled tower in its original state. At Southgate and Winchmore-Hill are separate incumbencies. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, and Wesleyans. A charity school for boys was founded in 1624, by Edward Latymer; a charity school for girls was established by subscription in 1778, and a national school in 1822. The poor law union of Edmonton comprises seven parishes or places, of which five are in Middlesex, and one in each of the counties of Essex and Hertford; and contains a population of 52,569. On Bush Hill, in the parish, are remains of a large circular encampment, supposed to have been the site of a British town, and near which Sir Hugh Myddelton had a residence. Bury Hall, the seat of President Bradshaw, retains many of its original features. Peter Fabell, a learned man of eccentric character, who flourished in the reign of Henry VII., and obtained the reputation of being a conjuror, is said to have been born in the parish, which became noted by the production of a drama, founded upon some of his alleged exploits, and called the "Merry Devil of Edmonton," first printed in 1608. The place also gave rise to a tragedy founded on the history of an unfortunate woman who was condemned and executed on a charge of witchcraft, in 1621; and it has been lastly celebrated as the scene of Cowper's popular ballad of John Gilpin, in allusion to which there is a painting in front of the Bell inn. Dr. Brook Taylor, secretary to the Royal Society, and author of an ingenious treatise on Perspective, was born here in 1685; and Archbishop Tillotson resided here constantly while Dean of St. Paul's, and occasionally after his translation to the primacy.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.