A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 4, Harmondsworth, Hayes, Norwood With Southall, Hillingdon With Uxbridge, Ickenham, Northolt, Perivale, Ruislip, Edgware, Harrow With Pinner. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1971.
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There was a church in Ickenham by the mid 13th century. (fn. 1) Little is recorded of its early history or of the area it served until 1453 when the Rector of Ickenham came into conflict with the Bishop of Worcester, who had appropriated Hillingdon church, (fn. 2) about the tithes of 'Tickenham'. The dispute was apparently decided in favour of Hillingdon and the area assigned for ever to that parish. In fact those fields which can be identified remained in Ickenham parish, (fn. 3) and in one of them, Tottingworth Field, the Rector of Ickenham had glebe land in 1610. (fn. 4) At that date, as also in 1961, Ickenham church served the whole area of the ancient parish.
The benefice seems always to have been a rectory. Reynold Cabus held the advowson in the earlier 13th century, (fn. 5) but in 1257 John Cabus, perhaps his son, sold it to Lawrence del Brok. (fn. 6) His family presumably retained the advowson until 1334 when William del Brok conveyed it to John Charlton. (fn. 7) From this date until the 20th century the advowson was usually held by lords of Ickenham manor. From 1452 until 1464 the widow of John Shorediche exercised the right together with her two successive husbands. (fn. 8) In 1531 the Bishop of London presented for one turn only; in 1635 and 1660 the Crown presented; and two women had a turn in 1686. (fn. 9) After that the Shorediche family held the advowson until 1743 when it was purchased by Thomas Clarke, a London merchant, who in 1747 presented his son, Thomas. (fn. 10) The Clarkes held the advowson throughout the 19th century, although in 1859 the Revd. Henry St. John Beauchamp Pell was presented by Oliver Claude Pell and William Ford. (fn. 11) In 1923 Thomas Bryan Clarke-Thornhill transferred the advowson to Eton College, (fn. 12) which was still the patron in 1961. (fn. 13)
In the Middle Ages Ickenham church had no endowments, obits, or lights, but the abbey of Chertsey maintained a chantry priest there. In 1547 this priest was described as a 'Frenchman'. (fn. 14) After the Dissolution he was paid out of the Augmentations until the chantries were suppressed.
Ickenham church was valued at £2 10s. in the mid 13th century. (fn. 15) In 1291 its value was assessed at £2. (fn. 16) In 1535 the annual value of the rectory was £13 and the tithes were worth 26s. (fn. 17) In 1610 the rectory included a house with a garden and orchard, barn, stable, three closes of meadow, and land in the common fields. (fn. 18) In 1650 there were 25 a. of glebe in five lands in the common fields and two leets of meadow, the whole valued at £31 a year. (fn. 19) In 1751 the Revd. Thomas Clarke in a survey of the glebe listed 14 allotments in the common fields, Chestlands, (fn. 20) a close near Beeton Wood, the parsonage house, and the land surrounding it. (fn. 21) In 1760 much of the glebe was concentrated in a block along the south-west side of Glebe Lane. (fn. 22) At inclosure twenty years later the rector was allotted land in the loop of the Yeading Brook in lieu of tithes. (fn. 23) In 1800 the rectorial glebe covered 240 a., most of which was farmed out. (fn. 24)
In 1760 the parsonage house stood among the fields on Glebe Lane. (fn. 25) It was described in 1800 as an 'ancient wooden building' consisting of four rooms. (fn. 26) From 1751 the rector, Thomas Clarke, lived at Swakeleys House and the parsonage house was leased to a tenant who farmed the glebe. By 1800 it had long been used as a farm-house, and it was clear that the attached dwelling was an inducement when a tenant was being sought to farm the glebe. The rector therefore petitioned the bishop for permission to build a rectory nearer to the parish church and the village centre. It was to stand near Back Lane on land obtained in exchange with Thomas Truesdale Clarke. A faculty for the change was granted in 1800 (fn. 27) and the new rectory was built soon afterwards. In 1927 the house was sold to the Ickenham High School for Girls, (fn. 28) and the present rectory in Swakeleys Road was then built. (fn. 29) The old rectory was demolished in 1965. (fn. 30)
The rector in 1547 was resident in the parish. (fn. 31) On examination in 1586 the Rector of Ickenham was found to be 'simple'. (fn. 32) By 1642 the rector was assisted by a curate. (fn. 33) Three years later Andrew Clare was deprived of the benefice for deserting his cure and joining the Royalist army. (fn. 34) Nathaniel Nicholas, his Puritan successor, was in turn ejected in 1660. (fn. 35) Thomas Clarke, who was presented in 1747, (fn. 36) bought the manor of Swakeleys in 1751. He continued as rector and owner of the manor until his death in 1796. (fn. 37) One of the reasons advanced in 1800 for building a new rectory was that it would encourage the clergy to reside. (fn. 38)
In Thomas Clarke's time services were held twice on Sundays and there were four Communion services a year. Children were catechized during Lent, 'but with little success'. (fn. 39) At the end of the 18th century there were between 20 and 30 communicants. (fn. 40)
The church of ST. GILES stands near the pond in the centre of the old village. It consists of nave, chancel, north aisle, south porch, north-west chapel, and modern vestries. (fn. 41) The walls are of flint rubble, mostly roughcast, and of brickwork. The medieval church consisted of a chancel (16 ft. by 12 ft.) and a nave (32 ft. by 16½ ft.), both built in the later 14th century; they retain a south doorway and several restored windows of this date. A timber bell turret was added at the west end of the nave in the 15th century. In the late 16th century the church was found to be too small and a large north aisle was built by William Say, the old north wall being pierced to form an arcade. The aisle is of brick and consists of two bays, roofed under transverse gables. In the north wall each bay has a square-headed window with an oval window above it. The timberframed south porch is of about the same date, representing, with the aisle, the only surviving work of this period in a Middlesex church. (fn. 42) The present chapel of St. John was built at the west end of the north aisle in the mid 17th century, probably by the Harringtons of Swakeleys. (fn. 43) The walls are of brick, plastered internally. It was designed as a mortuary chapel, the west, north, and south walls being lined with arcading to form arched recesses to house the coffins; there is an original oval window in the north gable. In 1914 thirty coffins, dating from 1647 to 1892, were removed from the chapel and interred in the churchyard; the building then became a vestry. In 1960, after new vestries had been provided, it was renovated and dedicated as the chapel of St. John. (fn. 44) The church was restored in the 1870s, (fn. 45) the chancel arch and the north arcade being refashioned in the 'Early English' style. After the Second World War the church was again found to be too small. An extension of two bays was therefore built at the west end of the nave; the new windows were copied from those of the 14th century already in the church, and old timbers were obtained for an internal roof truss. To the north of this extension a new vestry and a room for the choir were built, the work being completed in 1958. (fn. 46) In 1962, during external repairs, the cement was stripped from the east wall of the chancel to expose the flint rubble. In the same year the porch was restored and glazed, the ancient south door being rehung in the outer arch. In the course of the work a coped stone coffin lid bearing a raised cross, thought to date from the 14th century, was found beneath the floor. (fn. 47)
The church has a number of monuments, notably of lords of the manor and their families. There are several late-16th-century brasses commemorating Edmund Shorediche and members of the Say family. (fn. 48) A marble effigy of 1665 represents the infant son of Sir Robert Clayton, whose own monument is at Bletchingley (Surr.). (fn. 49) There are two mural tablets by Thomas Banks, one commemorating Thomas Clarke, rector (d. 1796), and the other J. G. Clarke (d. 1800). The carved wooden font dates from the late 17th century and is believed to have come from Swakeleys. (fn. 50) The oldest pieces of plate are a silver flagon and a paten, dated 1682 and given by Sir Robert Vyner. There is also a cup dated 1782 and a metal dish of the same period. (fn. 51) The registers, which are complete, record baptisms, marriages, and burials, and date from 1539.
The church hall, standing in Ickenham High Road to the north of the churchyard, was built in 1932; it was partly financed by the sale of the former church school. (fn. 52)