History of Haringey

Traces of prehistoric human and animal life have been found, especially along the River Lee. Roman remains have also been found locally. There is also evidence that these areas were settled in Anglo-Saxon times.

In ancient times, what we now know as "Haringey" was made up of two large manors, Hornsey and Tottenham. These became parishes with firm boundaries in 1300. In the Middle Ages, Tottenham's population consisted of 59 serfs, four slaves, two freemen and a priest. Wood Green, originally part of Tottenham Parish, became a separate district in 1888.

Many streets in Haringey now bear the names of aristocrats from centuries long gone: the Barons Coleraine, the Comptons, and Waltheof, Lord of Tottenham Manor and son of the Earl of Northumberland. Other local names, such as Wood Green, testify to the area’s past as woodland and countryside, some of which still survives in Haringey's parks.

As commerce developed, railways were built, linking the separate townships. Gradually, a once rural area merged into the city of London.

For more information about the history of Haringey you can always visit our Archives service at Bruce Castle Museum.

What's in a name?

Harringay or Haringey, the names can puzzle,
two places, same sound, one locale in the other.

The first a district either side of Green Lanes.
the second the borough the Council named.

In '65 Haringey's title was picked,
a vote was taken, the boxes ticked

Confusion followed, say it "gey or gay"?
mistakes in spelling, from then to this day

Heringes -hedge in origin, from Saxon rule,
An old form of Hornsey was later recalled.

It could have been different, the record does tell,
we could now be calling the borough Moselle!

Henry Jacobs, 2010

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Page last updated:

May 12, 2022

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