- Original design
- Unknown, 1620
Salisbury House is the only survivor of the former hamlet of Bury Street, the most northerly settlement in Edmonton in the 16th century. The other major houses that made up the settlement – Bury Hall, Warren Lodge and Bury House – no longer exist.
This suburb between Edmonton and Enfield contains the remains of the earliest known settlement in the district, dating back to the Roman occupation. However since then the area saw little human habitation until the late 19th century.
There is no known documentary evidence covering the construction or early history of Salisbury House. However, the style of the house suggests it was built between 1600 and 1620. The Victoria County History of Middlesex records what is believed to be a reference to Salisbury House dated 1605 when it is described as a two-storeyed mansion house, the earliest record we have. The name Salisbury House first appears in the 1861 census, although in a map of 1867 it is called Bury Lodge, with the section we now call Salisbury House marked as farm buildings.
It is widely believed that Salisbury House and Bury Lodge once formed one building, Bury Lodge being the older section. The Lodge is thought to have been a late medieval or early Tudor timber-framed house with the upper floor jettied out over the ground floor. When Salisbury House was added, it is likely Bury Lodge became the service wing of the property, which would explain the lack of service rooms in Salisbury House itself. An adjoining building was demolished in the late 19th century and Bury Lodge in1936 by the former Edmonton Urban District Council. The grounds were then laid out as Bury Lodge Recreation Ground.
In 1883 Salisbury House, then known as Salisbury Grange, was briefly in use as a private school for boys, although in 1895, due to financial problems, the school was forced to move to Clay Hill, where it changed its name to Clayesmore. The School still remains today, although it made several more moves, and is now located in Dorset.
The Prately Family
The Prately family, owners of the nearby Bury Hall Nursery, bought Salisbury House in 1907 for an undisclosed amount.
A Local Museum
In 1936 the former Edmonton Urban District Council purchased Salisbury House from Mr Prately. (The adjoining property, Bury Lodge, was acquired at the same time.) The intention was to renovate Salisbury House for use as a local museum; however, these plans were dropped with the onset of World War II.
World War II
Between 1939 and 1945 the house was used by the Civil Defence, as the headquarters for the District Warden.
In 1947 there was a proposal to convert Salisbury House into flats but this was soon abandoned as impractical. The building was in such bad repair that demolition was seriously considered. It was predicted that between £4,000 and £6,000 would be required to restore the building.
Salisbury House has the basic form of a typical town house of around 1600. It is a timber-framed house from the late 16th century, and the finest piece of late Elizabethan/early Jacobean architecture left in the borough.
The original entrance to the building would have been where the back door now is. (The present porch and front entrance date from the 19th century.) The original entrance would have opened on to a corridor with doors leading into the Kitchen, the Hall and the stairwell. What is now the Lecture Room would originally have been the Kitchen and the room opposite would have been the building's main Hall.
The layout on this floor has changed slightly over the years. Originally the staircase would have led directly into the Edinburgh Room, which may have been used as the Parlour or principal private room of the house. The panelling dates from the 1620s and is of unusually high quality. It was sold to the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh in 1907; however in 1993 it was returned to Salisbury House, although not in the original positions as no record had been made of where each panel belonged.
The painted decoration in the fireplace shows this room was one of the principal rooms of the house; one of these paintings in the fireplace, the most elaborate, has been dated to between 1620 and 1630. The intricate work testifies to the wealth of the house’s original 17th century owners. The original, narrower, Jeffreys Room could have been either a servant or a child’s bedroom, while the De Sayes Room could have been the main bedchamber. In this room the bay window dates from the 18th century, replacing an original square window. The room directly above the porch that is now used as an office was originally built in the 19th century as a bathroom.
Although it is now open plan, this floor would originally have been subdivided into several tiny rooms, which, when built, would probably have been used as bedrooms for either servants or children.
Other interesting features in the building are the quaint Tudor hinges still to be seen on some doors, two small 17th century painted glass coats of arms – one of the Fabian family - and a priest hole in the cellar, which used a false chimney for ventilation. In the cellar there are also two deep arched cupboards, built of brick, which may well have been used for storing ice. The stair tower still contains three original wooden window frames.