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Borough: Enfield
Forty Hall Estate
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Forty Hall Estate  
The area which is now Forty Hall Estate appears to have been inhabited since the 13th century.By the 1570s there were several settlements here.

During the middle ages Elsyng Palace was built on a piece of land next to Turkey Brook. It belonged to Thomas Elsyng, a Citizen and Mercer of London. In 1492 it was acquired and enlarged by Sir Thomas Lovell, Speaker of the House of Commons and one of Henry VII's Ministers. Elsyng was near Enfield Chase, the Royal hunting grounds, so many royal visitors came to stay. After 1539 the estate which was called Little Park was owned by Henry VIII and used as a base for hunting. His children spent part of their childhood here, and it is where Elizabeth and Edward heard of their father's death. During her reign, Elizabeth I visited Elsyng at least 4 times

In 1641 it was sold by King Charles I for 5,300 to the Earl of Pembroke,who probably lived there until his death in 1653. In 1624 Sir Nicholas Rainton, a wealthy haberdasher and later Lord Mayor of London, had also bought land in the area. Between 1629 and 1636 he built Forty Hall at the top of the hill, south of Elsyng Palace. The name may derive from Sir Hugh Fortee, the owner prior to Sir Nicholas. It was at this time that the old Palace was knocked down, and all that remains today are some raised humps in the ground near the fishing lake.

Early 17th century sources refer to the Palace's 'courtyards, gardens, orchards and the field adjoining called the Walks' as well as a Portland stone sundial, an arbour and latticed seats.

The estate changed hands many times and in 1895 was sold to H C Bowles for his eldest son, Sir Henry Ferryman Bowles who owned Myddelton House. It remained in that family until 1951 when it was purchased from Derek Parker Bowles by Enfield Urban District Council who subsequently opened the grounds to the public and in 1962 began restoring the house and outbuildings.

In 1966 Forty Hall was opened as a museum containing items of local historical interest, including a Roman coffin found in Bush Hill Park in 1893. The house is surrounded by 4 hectares of ornamental grounds, the fragmentary remains of the C17th garden overlaid with C18th and later developments. The estate today is managed by the London Borough of Enfield for recreation and nature conservation; native tree species are encouraged in the woodlands where ancient methods of management such as coppicing and pollarding have been reintroduced. Lime trees have been re-planted along the Lime Walk, which was damaged in the Great Storms of 1987.

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