The 1734 and 1814 maps
The 1734 map shows the Abney Estate with the New River running through it. On the north, the river skirts the edge of the Abney lands at the ridge which today separates Hackney from Haringay. No doubt the ridge had separated farms for many centuries before the Abneys came. There is a mistake on this map. It is dated 1734 but must be a copy of an earlier one. About 1708, a row of houses called Church Row, was built. Photographs show that they were like those in The Grove, Highgate, and Will Owen's sketch of them before they were demolished was reproduced on the previous page. Lady Abney asked for a map to be made of her property, but instead of making a new one showing the Church Row houses, the surveyor copied an earlier map which included the outbuildings of the old Manor House. These had been knocked down years before but appear on the 1734 map.
In 1734, land tenancy and the laws on leases still held traces of the Feudal System. The King owned the land which he leased to major tenants in return for services. These, in their turn, leased parts to smaller tenants. Transactions of land took place in the manorial court, and were recorded in copies of the court rolls, so the land holders were called copyholders. A fee or "fine" was payable to the lord of the manor whenever land was sold, inherited or leased. Copyholders could not grant leases for more than 21 years, and the lord of the manor of Stoke Newington was not legally able to grant building leases. Builders needed the encouragement of longer term leases. They would not build houses unless they could be sure of fifty or more years before the houses became the property of the lord of the manor and their own families be left, for all their work and investment, with nothing.
The 1814 map
In 1814, a private Act of Parliament, brought by the Prebendary of St Paul's Cathedral, who was the lord of the manor, changed the law so far as Stoke Newington was concerned. This allowed sub-leases for building to be granted. Copyholds could be enfranchised (set free) and their freeholds could be sold. Tenancies had to be for a period of years. Fifty or ninety-nine year leases were common. People were willing to buy houses on long leases because they could rely on the full number of years before the land and the house on it, became the landlord's property again. At last speculative builders could risk building and many bricklayers and carpenters could risk building a couple of houses in the hope that it would lead to greater things. All speculative building is risky, but long leases encouraged people to gamble on building and then hoping to sell.
The 1814 Estate Map
The 1814 map was made as a result of the 1814 Act. Common land was going to be divided among the local copyholders, who had the right to graze their animals on the common land. Everyone had to have new leases so an up-to-date map was necessary and this is why the map says, 'From an actual survey 1814'.
There was a map dated 1813, by James Wadmore, with a Book of Reference. The book gives the Leaseholder/Copyholder, and the actual tenantof each house or plot. Unfortunately the map is missing.
In this version of the 1814 map the Abney land has been tinted to make it easier to compare the two maps. The Church Row houses are at the southern end of the tinted part and in about the middle of the map. You will see that the Abneys owned Queen Elizabeth's Walk, the eastern side of Clissold Park, but only part of the land which became the ponds. The part we call Haringey was then still in the Parish of Tottenham. Field shapes had hardly changed.
John Rocque's maps 1741-45
These maps show hills by vertical shading instead of contour lines. This makes the rise and fall of the land very clear, and points out the river valleys which we tend to ignore today when they are covered with houses. On this map the ridge between Hackney and Haringay is clear. So is the valley of the Hackney Brook. The Lea had to be crossed by ferry: Hackney Brook by Stamford Bridge and the New River by numerous bridges, including four to the south of Stoke Newington Church Street. Today this stretch is underground. Brownswood was still wood.
|The Lost Church Row