Inventory Site Record

Friends Meeting House (Enfield)

Brief Description

There were Quakers in Winchmore Hill from the 1650s, soon after the formation of the movement, and meetings are known to have taken place here from 1662. The current Friends Meeting House was built in 1790 to replace the original meeting house on the site, which dated from 1688. The burial ground to the west of the Meeting House is on the site of the property's 300 year-old walled garden. The main burial area is behind the building, with simple headstones set in the grass.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Winchmore Hill Friends Meeting House
Site location:
59 Church Hill, Winchmore Hill
N21 1LE
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Open to public?
Opening times:
notice welcoming people to enter garden if gate is open
Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend 3 times, most recently in 2018.
Special conditions:
Various workshops, including garden/nature related activities
Public transport:
Rail: Winchmore Hill. Bus: W9
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.winchmorehillquakers.org.uk

Full Site Description

The Friends Meeting House here was one of the oldest and most famous in the country, built in 1790 to replace the original house on the site, which dated from 1688. It was built as a single rectangular room furnished with simple benches, with a schoolroom and lobby added in 1796, a kitchen in 1809. Some remodelling to the building was carried out in 1986/87. There were Quakers in this area from the early days of the movement and meetings took place here from 1662 and George Fox was a frequent preacher; it was a popular location given its proximity to London, although Winchmore Hill was a remote hamlet with Winchmore Hill Green (q.v.) as its centre, until the railway arrived in 1872 and housing began to encroach on the rural area.

The burial ground to the west of the Meeting House is on the site of the property's 300 year-old walled garden. There are some gravestones in the grass immediately to the side, but the main burial area is behind the building, with simple headstones set in the grass. Among those buried here are members of the Barclay family of banking fame, and in an unmarked grave near the swing is the pharmacist and amateur meteorologist Luke Howard, who became famous for his Latin system of classifying cloud formations (such as cumulus, stratus, cirrus, nimbus etc), which he proposed in a lecture to his local scientific society in 1803. There are also two members of the original Committee to Abolish the Slave Trade are buried here, Joseph Woods and the banker Samuel Hoare, who was responsible for the financial side of the campaign, which was instigated by Quakers in 1783. There are some mature trees, including two cedars, with yew and various shrubs and some flower beds near the Meeting House. Wooden fencing above brick wall separates the burial ground from Church Hill, with brick walls on the other boundaries.

Sources consulted:

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); local history leaflets; The Paul Drury Partnership for LB Enfield, 'Winchmore Hill Green and Vicars Moor Lane Conservation Areas Character Appraisal', 2009; David Pam, 'Winchmore Hill, A Woodland Hamlet' (Edmonton Hundred Historical Society No.62, 2004); Helen Cresswell, 'Winchmore Hill. Memories of a Lost Village' (1912, 2nd edition, republished by Southgate Civic Trust, 1982)

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ313946 (531280,194670)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Winchmore Hill Quakers
Site management:
Winchmore Hill Quakers
Listed structures:
LBII: Friends Meeting House; Walls around Graveyard LBII: Friends Meeting House; Walls around graveyard
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Conservation Area name:
Winchmore Hill Green
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:

Friends Meeting House

Winchmore Hill Friends Meeting House and Burial Ground - Photo: David Lowe
Date taken: 13/06/15 00:00

Friends Meeting House, Winchmore Hill, c.1960. Enfield Local Studies Centre and Archive

Click a photo to enlarge.

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Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.