Tottenham - Encyclopedia

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TOTTENHAM, an urban district in the Tottenham parliamentary division of Middlesex, England, forming a north suburb of London, 61 m. north of London Bridge, adjoining Edmonton on the south. Pop. (1901), 102,541. Its full name, not now in use, was Tottenham High Cross, from the cross near the centre of the township. The origin and significance of this cross are doubtful. The present structure was erected c. 1600, and ornamented with stucco in 1809. In the time of Isaak Walton there stood by it a shady arbour to which the angler was wont to resort. Formerly Tottenham was noted for its "greens," in the centre of one of which stood the famous old elm trees called the "Seven Sisters"; these were removed in 1840, but the name is preserved in the Seven Sisters Road. Bruce castle, on the site of the old mansion of the Bruces, but built probably by Sir William Compton in the beginning of the 16th century, was occupied by a boarding-school founded by Mr (afterwards Sir) Rowland Hill in 1827 on the system instituted by him at Hazlewood, Birmingham. It became public property in 1892. The church of All Hallows, Tottenham, was given by David, king of Scotland (c.1126), to the canons of the church of Holy Trinity, London. It retains Perpendicular portions, a south porch of brick of the 16th century and numerous ancient monuments and brasses. The grammar school was enlarged and endowed in 1686 by Sarah, dowager duchess of Somerset. The urban district formerly included Wood Green to the west, but this became a separate urban district in 1888 (pop. 34,233).

In the reign of Edward the Confessor the manor of Tottenham was possessed by Earl Waltheof. It was inherited by his daughter Maud, who was married first to Simon de St Liz and afterwards to David, son of Malcolm III., king of Scotland, who was created by Henry I. earl of Huntingdon, and received possession of all the lands formerly held by Earl Waltheof. The manor thus descended to William the Lion, king of Scotland, and was granted by him in 1184 to his brother David, earl of Angus and Galloway, the grant being confirmed in 1199 by King John of England, who created him earl of Huntingdon. He married Maud, heiress of Hugh, earl of Chester, and his son John inherited both earldoms. The son married Helen, daughter of Llewelyn, prince of Wales, by whom he was poisoned in 1237, dying without issue. She retained possession till 1254, when the manor was divided between his coheirs Robert de Brus, John de Baliol and Henry de Hastings, each division forming a distinct manor bearing the name of its owner. 1429 they were reunited in the possession of John Gedeney, alderman of London.

William Bedwell, the Arabic scholar, was vicar of Tottenham, and published in 1632 a Briefe Description of the Towne of Tottenham, in which he printed for the first time the burlesque poem, the Turnament of Tottenham.

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