Friday Hill House (Waltham Forest)
Friday Hill House stands on the site of the C16th manor house of the Chingford Earls with records going back to 1066, the estate at one time comprising 600 acres. The manor was owned by the Boothby family from 1608 to 1774 when it was bequeathed to Lydia Heathcote, half sister to Robert Boothby, remaining in that family's ownership until the 1930s. The garden was first recorded in 1631 with arbours, alleys, an orchard and a tree house. In 1838 the property was inherited by Revd Robert Boothby Heathcote who built the current house. The old moat dating from at least 1631 was included in the design of the garden. In 1940 the property was sold to the LCC and a housing estate built over much of the land. Nothing is left of the Victorian planting apart from a fine London plane tree and the residue of a woodland plantation to the east. The house is now a community centre, its garden a large grassed area sheltered by boundary trees.
- Site location:
- Simmons Lane, Chingford
- E4 6JH
- Type of site:
- Private Garden
- Waltham Forest
- Open to public?
- Opening times:
- Access to Community Centre users/visitors. House has been opened to the public as part of London Open House
- Special conditions:
- Community centre has variety of courses, activities.
- Public transport:
- Rail: Chingford; Highams Park then bus. Bus: 212
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/10/2008
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.walthamforest.gov.uk
Full Site Description
Friday Hill House stands on the site of the C16th manor house of Chingford Earls. Records of the manor go back to 1066 and over the years it passed through numerous hands, including the Earl of Essex, from whence the name may come. Owned by Henry VIII in the early 1540s, at Mary I's accession the manor was granted to Susan Tonge, one of the ladies of her bedchamber. The Chingford Earls estate at one time comprised some 600 acres of land, mainly around Friday Hill. The manor was purchased by Thomas Boothby in 1608 whose family owned it until 1774 when it was bequeathed to Lydia Heathcote, half-sister to Robert Boothby. A schedule of 1631 in Essex Records Office contains references to a ‘best garden’, a kitchen garden, a moat, an orchard with three doors, two arbours, a tree arbour, a vine on a frame, a ‘bridge of planks', numerous seats and a ‘stonne to rowle the allies’. A Boothby Estate Map of Chingford dated 1738, commissioned from Jared Hill, provides a visual record, revealing that the orchard was walled and lay to the south of the main garden, also walled and containing the moat. The tree arbour was situated to the north of the house in Bute Field with a seat ‘in the middle of the stairs’ and ‘a loft and one table with three corner seats'. An advertisement for the lease of house and grounds c.1774/5 described pleasure grounds and gardens comprising of lawns, shrubberies, grass plats and gravel walks, which were ‘displayed with great taste and elegance'. The site was about a mile in acreage and was ‘refreshed with canals and fishponds'. The Chapman and Andre Map of 1777 records a formal garden to the east of the house and an orchard to the south but does not record the moat. Another advertisement in 1782 claimed the gardens were laid out in an ‘agreeable style’ and there were ‘choice fruit trees’ in the orchard. In 1798 the garden was described in The European Magazine as having a ‘beautiful prospect’ and ‘offering to the sight a most extensive view over London, Middlesex etc.’
By 1838 the estate included Pimp Hall (q.v.) when Robert Boothby Heathcote, the Rector of nearby Chingford parish church of All Saints (q.v.), became the new Lord of the Manor. The old manor house was demolished, having deteriorated during its occupancy by tenants, and Boothby Heathcote commissioned London architect Lewis Vulliamy, known for his ecclesiastical as well as secular works, to build a new residence, Friday Hill House. Vulliamy was later commissioned by the Rector to build the new parish church of St Peter and St Paul's (q.v.). Friday Hill House, a Tudor style building in yellow brick, was built in 1839-40 with the outbuildings and garden works completed by 1847. Vulliamy may have provided designs for the garden but none have so far emerged. The property served not only as a family home but as a farmhouse, rectory and estate office as a result of which there were many outbuildings including stables and a brew house, the latter remaining today although only a fragment of the original garden remains. The first OS map of 1870 shows a pond next to a mound on the side of which was a brick wall entrance to an ice chamber, which was later removed when the road was widened and the LCC estate built. The gardens at that time appear to have remained on the same site as those illustrated on the Jared Hill and Chapman and Andre maps. The OS shows paths, deciduous and evergreen trees, walls and glasshouses and a conservatory; a formal garden lies to the west of the house and an informal woodland area with meandering paths to the east. A tree situated at the west end of the terrace is most probably the listed London Plane tree that stands there today. The orchard is not recorded but this was still in use in 1838 when the Chingford Tithe map was printed. At the back of the house the sloping garden contained a rectangular lake, curving towards the house at each end, which may have been the relic of the moat surrounding the previous house.
The property remained in the Heathcote family until the 1930s when the London County Council purchased the estate for housing development, although Miss Louisa Heathcote lived in Friday Hill House until her death in 1941. A sketch by Dennis Flanders RWS, RBA, clearly records the rear of Friday Hill House and its garden in 1938, with the moat in the foreground and the London Plane and the conservatory shown. Until 1940 the surrounding countryside was fields and farmland. An aerial view of Friday Hill House taken in 1946/7 shows the garden amidst a developing housing estate. Roads have already been ploughed through the site of the orchard and the woodland and there are signs of building to the north, east and west of the site. The west garden, although slightly overgrown, is recognisable from the 1870 OS map; the paths remain the same and the moat and plane tree can still be seen. The 1963/4 OS map reveals the extent of the LCC’s estate building; much of the west garden has disappeared under houses and all that remains of the woodland is a thin belt of trees. A little of the orchard remained but by 1993 that had also succumbed to bricks and mortar.
Much of the garden is now covered by the Friday Hill Estate and the house is now used by LB Waltham Forest as a community and adult education centre. Like the house, the stables have been converted into classrooms for arts and crafts. The original gates and railings have gone but the brick piers remain on Simmons Lane; original Victorian criss-cross paving bricks survive in yards surrounding the outbuildings, with replacements made to match. Friday Hill House contained various family treasures including an oak table on which James I is reputed to have dubbed a loin of roast beef 'Sir Loin', a panel from a state coach of Queen Elizabeth I and Dick Turpin's blunderbuss; fine Jacobean panelling and chimney pieces survive.
The remains of the garden is laid to grass with some trees, the remains of the moat infilled. The south facing terrace restored c.2008. What was the west-facing formal garden is built over and the site of the Victorian conservatory is now under the main car park. A small plantation of 6 silver birch trees and 5 Italian alders is now on the southern boundary, and there are oaks, yews and sycamore on the east and west boundaries.
Friday Hill House leaflet produced by LB Waltham Forest; Victoria County History; Chingford Notes. Rev Daniel Lysons, 'The Environs of London' vol 4, (London: Printed for T Cadell, Jun. and W Davies (Successors to Mr Cadell) in the Strand 1796); A L Martin, 'Chingford and the Boothbys of Friday Hill' (Chingford: Chingford Historical Society 1964); Kenneth Neale, ‘Friday Hill House. Chingford in 1631’, Essex Journal Vol. 4. No. 3 1969; R B Pugh ed., The Victoria History of the Counties of England. A History of Essex vol.5 (Oxford: Oxford University Press,1966); Barbara Ray, 'Chingford Past' (London: Historical Publications Ltd. 2003). Unpublished: Evelyn Arlotte, 'Robert Boothby Heathcote of Friday Hill House, Chingford (1805-1865) Squire and Parson' Thesis for University of London Diploma in Local History, 1991.
LPGT Volunteer Research by Catherine Davis, 2005 October 2008.
Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
- Grid ref:
- Size in hectares:
- Site ownership:
- LB Waltham Forest
- Site management:
- Chingford Community and Adult Education Centre
- 1830s/40s; 1940s
- Listed structures:
- LBII: Friday Hill House. London Plane tree next to house: Great Trees of London
- 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:
- Tree Preservation Order:
- Nature Conservation Area:
- Green Belt:
- Metropolitan Open Land:
- Special Policy Area:
- Other LA designation: