email: friendsofbarclaypark@gmail.com

History: A brief history of Barclay Park.

1403. A building was on this site, named on the deeds as High Wyches.

1535. There was no occupier named at the time and it is believed that the building was a farm building, being used by the tenants of the common fields.

1573. The building was described as having no chimney.

1677. the building had a change of name to High Grounds and the first owner mentioned is John Holder.

1843. Robert Buchanan Barclay was born in Leyton on 13 December, the son of James Gurney Barclay.

1851. The new owner of the original building, a gold lace manufacturer called Charles Webb, rebuilt the house as the mansion still standing and in use as a Christian Society conference centre.

1852. Charles Webb was allowed to divert Lord Street to create a private drive to the new house.

1865(approx). Robert Barclay became head of the junior branch of Barclays, Ury, Scotland, then became partner and then director (Barclay, Bevan, Tritton & Co.) He was also director of Commercial Union Assurance Co.

1868. Robert married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Foxwell Boxton of Easneye, himself a banker.

1871. Robert Buchanan Barclay took ownership of the estate and renamed it High Leigh.

1880. Mr Barclay had the narrow footpath between Rosehill and Lowfield widened and the avenue of Beech Walk was planted. In that same year Mr Barclay donated Lowfield to Hoddesdon Working Man’s Club as a cricket field, which is still in use today.

1881. Robert Barclay had the plane trees planted along Park View.

1883. Robert Barclay donated the rest of Lowfield to be used as a football ground, then had the rest of the estate laid out to be used for the recreation of the townsfolk of Hoddesdon.

1887. Lowfield hosted Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebrations. Borough of Broxbourne.

1893. Robert Barclay became High Sheriff of the County of Hertfordshire. He was also Treasurer of Bishop of St Albans representing Diocese House of Laymen.

1895. Mr Barclay commissioned the building of South Lodge and the ornamental bridges which were built by Messrs Pulham and sons of Broxbourne.

1899. The lake was dug by local townsfolk purely to give employment in a time of little work in the area.

1918. Robert Barclay donated £500 to augment the Vicar of Hoddesdon.

1919. Elizabeth Barclay died.

1921. Robert Barclay died aged 77 and is buried in Broxbourne Churchyard.

1924. Lowfield was bought from Barclay by a trust formed from local inhabitants, who raised £765, most of which was donated by the Barclay family. 12 trustees were originally appointed and thanks to Mr Barclay the deeds state that the land can be used “only as a sports and recreation ground for the inhabitants of Hoddesdon”.

1935. 14 years after the death of Mr Barclay in June, to celebrate the silver jubilee of King George V, Mr Barclay’s family by deed of gift donated 17.5 acres between the lake and Rosehill to the people of Hoddesdon to be managed by the local council. The price agreed was £950 but again most money was donated by Mr Barclay’s family. At that point the park was renamed Barclay Park.

1936. The remaining portion of the park from the lake to Cock Lane was added to the deed.

1937. The official opening of Barclay Park on May 12th, the same day trees were planted to celebrate the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

1939. The Royal Record by the Woodland Trust on page 88- 89 states “ Hoddesdon – in the public park, 6 Oak, 4 Fir and a Laburnum were planted by the Urban District Council.

1955. The Hoddesdon Official Guide says ‘This, the only park in the district, is owned by the Council. It covers an area of 17.6 acres. The park is in a natural setting, with an ornamental lake, and is one of the beauty spots of the district. Adjacent to Barclay Park is Beech Walk Recreation Ground, which has children’s swings.’ Calling it the ‘only park’ could mean park as opposed to recreation grounds and playing fields. It is are not sure what is meant by Beech Walk Recreation Ground - there has never been any kind of division in the park, but it could possibly mean a portion of the gift (the portion given in 1935 between the lake and Rosehill; Hayllar, p.122). This town guide has a section called ‘Delightful Walks’. Walks 3 and 4 go through the park. Walk 3 goes along Beech Walk and through the park to leave following the footpath. Walk 4 enters the park by the gate next to the football field and leaves at the Cock Lane ford to go across the recreation ground. Two of the other walks, which are longer, include these sections of 3 and 4. Apparently this walks section was repeated verbatim in the commemorative edition of the Hoddesdon Urban District Guide (this commemorated the end of the Urban District which ceased to function 1-4-1974).

1960/61. Hoddesdon Official Guide, refers to the park as ‘the largest of the parks, the 24 acre Barclay Park, named after the donor, is largely retained in its natural state and beautified by the efforts of the Park Superintendent and his staff.’ Later in the guide is a photograph with the caption ‘The new children’s playground in Barclay Park’, which shows swings, a seesaw, and a slide. That was situated near the wooded section where the path turns towards Beech Walk.

1970/71. Hoddesdon Official Guide says the entry on the park is much the same, except that the park is ‘preserved’ by the Park Superintendent and his staff, rather than ‘beautified’. Again the area of the park is given as 24 acres.

1980s. The play area was moved from the top of Beech Walk to its current location next to the car park entrance off Cock Lane.

2001/02. The ornamental lake was improved by the construction of tarmac paths around the lake to reduce erosion to the banks and to improve access all year round, and sluice gates were added to control the level of the water. The play area was improved and refurbished and railings added around the south and west corners.

2007/11. Saw the launch and completion of the spring trail project which involved over 10,000 visits by the local children `over 5 years to plant 40,000 spring flowering bulbs around the perimeter and the path edges.

2008. The Parks and Open Spaces booklet mentions the park and its features.

2009. Further improvements and new equipment added to the play area.

2011. The Friends of Barclay Park and Barclay Park Volunteer Groups were formed.

2012. The first section of the lake is restored funded by a Heritage Lottery grant.

2016. The second section of the lake and the island are restored by the second Heritage Lottery grant. The grant was also used to renovate the two Pulham bridges and at the same time the park paths were widened and a world war one poppy meadow was created.

2017. 12th May 2017 saw the 80th anniversary celebration of Barclay Park becoming one of the main parks in Broxbourne.

2018. First Banana Hunt organized by Friends of Barclay Park held in the park in late August, to raise funds for other park projects.

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