'Billy the Woodman'

The Reverend W.C Howell was curate at All Hallows Church Tottenham from 1851 to 1861 and then in 1865 he became the Vicar at Holy Trinity Church at Tottenham Green. Unfortunately in 1904 he resigned owing to failing health but he still took an interest in Educational and other matters connected with the Parish until his death in October 1914 at the age of 96.

Soon after the opening of Holy Trinity Church an engraving of it was published. There was at that time a well known character called 'Billy the Woodman' who so frequently passed along Philip Lane that his name became so associated with the area. Therefore the artist, to make his work more realistic, made Billy a part of it. He is seen along the Lane with a bundle of wood on his shoulder. He was a eccentric chap and was supposed to have made a living selling wood.

When he was 90 years of age, thinking he could not live much longer, he purchased a coffin so as to have things ready for when his time came. As time went on he made a practice on the anniversary of his birthday to polish up his coffin. He began to tire of this work and thought it was time for the coffin to be used and so he hanged himself. But he was not to die in this way so later on he cut his throat, but he also survived this. However he cut his throat a second time and shortly after the coffin was used at his funeral.

(Billy The Woodman - From Fred Fisk's 'History of Tottenham' Page 67 Vol 2)

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