Haringey or Harringay – or Hornsey?
Both names (and that of Hornsey) come from the Anglo Saxon name for the clearing in this area, part of the great Forest of Middlesex – ‘the hedge surrounding the settlement of Hering’s people’. The first reference to a Rector of Hornsey is in a Bishop of London’s will of 1303 when he bequeathed silver plate to Walter de London, Rector of the church ‘at Haringeye’. The name ‘Haringseye’ was used in medieval times also (spellings were not fixed until much later). Hornsey was a shortening of the old name. The name of the borough is a revival of one of these medieval forms, as is Harringay, adopted for the new development along Green Lanes in the 1880s and 1890s. A local historian in the 1930s, S J Madge, wrote a whole book about the origin of the name of Hornsey! What you can learn as a local historian!
In S J Madge’s book, The Origin of the Name of Hornsey, Madge states that the eighteenth century historian, Daniel Lysons, in his book on the parishes of the county of Middlesex, translates ‘Har-inge’ as ‘the meadow of the hares’. Madge says that people have been hunting hares ever since (the forest of Middlesex was an important hunting ground for the Bishops of London)! The idea of the area being a hare meadow led to, (i) the Mayor of Hornsey’s chain (1903) having a series of hares in the decorative links and, (ii) hares were a prominent feature in the design over the entrance of the new Hornsey Town Hall (opened 1935). Madge favoured ‘the enclosure of Heringe’ account.
Janet Owen, PAN, Hornsey Historical Society. [Email messages March 2015]