Mildmay Grove South, N1

Place name

This street has undergone several name changes since it was first laid out sometime before 1861 when they featured on Cross’s New Plan Of London. But both this and Mildmay Grove North, which run on either side of the railway track later feature on the Ordnance Survey maps from 1893 as plain Mildmay Grove. They reverted to their former names to avoid confusion. Named after Sir Henry Mildmay, (1593 – 1664 or possibly 1668) or perhaps more accurately his wife Ann (1602 – 1656). For it is through her family that the land was inherited. She was the daughter and heiress of Alderman William Haliday (also spelt Holliday and Hollidaie), a mercer of London and chairman of the East India Company. In a survey of 1611 he held an old house on the south side of Newington Green (later to become the former Mildmay Nurses’ Home on the site) with an orchard and a piece of pasture ground behind called The Park, an area of 44 acres whose southernmost boundary extended almost to Balls Pond. For his part Sir Henry was a revenue commissioner between 1645 and 1652.  Mildmay was well connected in court but as an MP with Puritan religious principles he supported the Parliamentarian cause in the English Civil War. He was later listed as a regicide but his attendance at the King’s trial was sporadic and he refused to sign the death warrant. During the Commonwealth, he was active on various parliamentary committees, was a member of the Council of State between 1649 and 1652, and assisted Thomas Scot in establishing the Commonwealth’s spying and intelligence network. He withdrew from public life following the establishment of Cromwell’s Protectorate in 1653. With the Restoration, and listed as one of Charles I’s judges, Mildmay’s life was at risk. Having been appointed Master of the King’s Jewel House he had been ordered to give an account of the whereabouts of the crowns, robes, sceptres, and jewels belonging to the king, so that they could be returned to Charles II. Instead he attempted to flee the country but only got as far as Rye in Sussex before he was arrested and brought to trial for his part in the regicide. He later confessed – or was made to confess – to his role in the execution of the king and was stripped of his titles and lands, his estate at Wanstead being granted to James, Duke of York. Imprisoned at the Tower of London he was also sentenced to be drawn every year on the anniversary of the king’s sentence upon a sledge through the streets to the Tyburn gallows, with a rope about his neck, and so back to the cell, there to remain a prisoner during his life. Now in ill-health having suffered a “rupture” he attempted to get the sentence commuted on the grounds that it could kill him – the plea for clemency however was rejected. On March 31, 1664 a warrant was issued for Mildmay to be transported to Tangier. There is some confusion about what then happened to him. It has been said that he died in March 1664 on his way there but others say he in fact died at Tangiers sometime around 1668. 

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