30.03.2015
14:51

Forty Hall & Estate

Address:

Forty Hill, Enfield, Middlesex, EN2 9HA

Phone:

020-8363 8196

Website:

www.fortyhallestate.co.uk

Opening times:

Tue–Fri 11:00–17:00, Sat-Sun 12:00-17:00

How to get there:

Train: Turkey Street (from Liverpool Street) then a 20-min walk
Bus: 191, W10 to Forty Hill roundabout

Entry fee:

Free

Additional information:

Café, open Oct–March 11:00–16:30

This notable Caroline mansion of red brick was built 1629–32 for Sir Nicholas Rainton, a wealthy haberdasher, Lord Mayor of London and President of St Bartholomew’s Hospital. The architect is not known, although a case has been made for Edward Carter, Chief Clerk of the King’s Works, colleague and successor of Inigo Jones as Surveyor-General. The hipped roof is of particular interest, being advanced for its time and an important early example of this popular style. On Rainton’s death in 1646, the estate passed through several owners, being purchased by Major Henry Bowles, MP for Enfield, in 1895. Internal alterations were carried out around this time. In 1951 Forty Hall was sold to Enfield Council by Derek Parker Bowles.

Surrounded by attractive informal gardens, which include one of the most ancient cedars of Lebanon in the country and an avenue of limes planted in the 18th century, the house still appears externally much as it did when built. In the grounds some few remains have been found of Elsyng Palace, a Tudor royal manor and hunting lodge, where in 1547, in the presence of Princess Elizabeth, Edward VI received the news of the death of his father Henry VIII and of his consequent accession.

The Entrance Hall has good Rococo plasterwork of c. 1787, with medallions representing the Seasons. The fine carved panelling on the early 17th-century Hall Screen is an outstanding survival from the original house. The Dining Room and Drawing Room retain their original fireplaces, panelling and plaster ceilings with bold strapwork decoration. In the Rainton Room is a fine portrait of the original owner of the house, ascribed to the great Civil War-era portraitist William Dobson. Of the four rooms on the first floor, two keep their original elaborate plaster ceilings (one of them dated 1629). One of the rooms contains a Childhood Gallery displaying local toys, clothes and cribs from the 19th century to the 1940s. Temporary exhibitions are also mounted here.

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MUSEUMS & GALLERIES OF LONDON

Details below are taken from our Blue Guide Museums and Galleries of London.  This is a 2005 title, here generally updated for website address and opening times, with useful comments from some of the museums themselves.  More recent information is given in Emily Barber's magisterial new Blue Guide London, "Exceptional update to a classic and useful guide to this amazing city" (Amazon reader review).

FULL LISTING of CURRENT EXHIBITIONS in London from Apollo Magazine »

Emily Barber recommends five major London museums »

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