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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Shortly after 1100 Hillingdon church was granted by Brian Fitz Count, lord of Colham manor, to the Worcestershire abbey of Evesham. The gift also included a hide of land, a dwellinghouse (mansio), and one-third of the tithes of Colham. (fn. 1) Evesham apparently appropriated the church property and exercised the right of presentation until the mid 13th century. (fn. 2) About 1247 the Abbot of Evesham was said to exercise the patronage and to have a pension of one mark from Hillingdon vicarage. (fn. 3) In 1248, as part of the settlement of a longstanding jurisdictional dispute between the abbey and the Bishop of Worcester, the abbey agreed to surrender the patronage of Hillingdon and an annual pension of one mark from the church property to the bishop, while retaining some of the tithes. (fn. 4) How far this compromise was put into effect is uncertain. The bishop's right to present to the living was confirmed by Henry III in 1266, (fn. 5) but the matter seems to have remained in dispute until 1281 when the Bishop of London confirmed the rights in Hillingdon of the bishops of Worcester. (fn. 6) The vicarage was then endowed by the Bishop of Worcester and the right of presentation vested in the Bishop of London and his successors. The Bishop of London still retained the advowson in 1964. (fn. 7)
The nucleus of the medieval rectorial estate was probably contained in Brian Fitz Count's grant of land, tithes, and a house to Evesham Abbey. (fn. 8) The rectory was valued at 30 marks about 1250 (fn. 9) and at £21 in 1291. (fn. 10) The bishop paid several visits to the 'manor-house' between 1398 and 1401, and subsequently the estate was usually styled a manor. (fn. 11) The rectory was taxed at 31 marks in 1428, (fn. 12) and valued at £33 in 1547. (fn. 13) Tithes payable on about 50 a. (fn. 14) in Tickenham (fn. 15) were the subject of a dispute in 1453 between the Rector of Ickenham, who had for some years appropriated them, and the Bishop of Worcester. After litigation the disputed land was assigned to Hillingdon parish and the tithes to the bishop as proprietor of Hillingdon church. (fn. 16) From the 16th century the rectory house and estate were leased at an annual farm of between £33 and £34. (fn. 17) In 1647 (fn. 18) the rectorial glebe comprised at least 60 a. in Horse Close, Nether Close, Little Hillingdon Field, and the warren of Coney Green, said to have been granted to Thomas, Bishop of Worcester, in 1427. (fn. 19) South of Coney Green, on a moated site almost certainly identifiable with that of the medieval 'manorhouse', stood the rectory house, which had been rebuilt in brick about 1604. (fn. 20) Two-thirds of the great tithes were payable to Christ Church, Oxford, and the remainder was payable to the bishop in 1772. (fn. 21) Under the inclosure award of 1825 the Bishop of Worcester's tithes were commuted for 470 a. of land and the tithes due to Christ Church for 21 a. in Hide Field. (fn. 22) The rectorial estate, consisting of the house and approximately 600 a., and the 21 a. belonging to Christ Church, were farmed by the Boston family until 1828 (fn. 23) when the Bishop of Worcester's land was sold. (fn. 24) The rectory house was retained by the bishop and leased separately until 1855 when it too was sold. Later in the 19th century the house was rebuilt and named Bishopshalt; subsequently it passed through several hands until in 1925 it was purchased by the county authorities and converted into a school. (fn. 25)
The priest mentioned in 1086 held one hide in Colham manor. (fn. 26) About 1247 the vicarage, from which the Abbot of Evesham took an annual pension of one mark, was valued at 100s. (fn. 27) Under the appropriation grant of 1281 (fn. 28) small tithes, including offerings made in the chapel of ease at Uxbridge on St. Margaret's day, (fn. 29) were assigned to the vicar, and the Bishop of Worcester endowed the vicarage with ½ mark yearly and 2 a. of freehold to build a vicaragehouse. (fn. 30) Ten years later the vicarage was worth £5 (fn. 31) and in 1428 it was taxed at 8 marks. (fn. 32) In 1535 and 1547 the vicarage was valued at £16. (fn. 33) In 1650 the living comprised the vicarage-house, 2 a. of glebe, and small tithes, together worth £35. (fn. 34) The incumbent complained in 1678 that the vicarage was in need of repair. (fn. 35) It was rebuilt in the late 18th or early 19th century, when it was given a symmetrical front of brown brick with sash windows and a central pediment. (fn. 36) Under the inclosure award of 1825 the vicar was allotted 234 a. in lieu of tithes and glebe. (fn. 37) During the 19th century most of the glebe was leased and in 1835 the net income of the living was £489. (fn. 38) Three acres of glebe were purchased by the Grand Junction Canal Co. in 1880, (fn. 39) and a further 10 a. were sold in 1890 and 1923 to form extensions to Hillingdon cemetery. (fn. 40) The bulk of the remaining glebe land has since been sold. (fn. 41) The vicarage-house in Royal Lane was vacated about 1959 and demolished three years later. In 1965 the vicar lived in a modern detached dwelling south of the site of the old house. (fn. 42)
A lady chapel in Hillingdon church was constructed about 1380, (fn. 43) and a chantry in the chapel was endowed for the soul of Henry (or Walter) Rabb in 1397. (fn. 44) Sums for obits and lights in Hillingdon church were included in the wills, proved 1398, of John Ely of Hillingdon (fn. 45) and John atte More of Uxbridge. (fn. 46) William Knightcote, Vicar of Hillingdon in 1452, (fn. 47) gave land worth 23s. for an obit in the church, (fn. 48) and a light, said to have been dedicated to Thomas of Lancaster, is mentioned in 1523. (fn. 49) Rabb's chantry was worth £5 in 1547. (fn. 50) The church had a chaplain or chantry priest from the 14th century, (fn. 51) and a curate is mentioned in 1586. (fn. 52) There is no evidence that any of the medieval incumbents were pluralists. Henry Mason (vicar 1611–12) wrote a number of anti-Catholic works. (fn. 53) In 1642 Parliamentary forces burned the service book from Uxbridge chapel and took the surplice from Hillingdon church to make handkerchiefs. (fn. 54) Two years later a Commonwealth sympathizer was installed in the living. Richard Taverner, who held the living from 1650, (fn. 55) took part in a public dispute with Quakers at West Drayton in 1658. (fn. 56) A 'registrar' for the parish was appointed in 1653, but the registers, which begin in 1559, were mutilated and badly kept during the Commonwealth. They were frequently used by Thomas Boston (vicar 1660–77) to record comments on the morals of his parishioners. (fn. 57) A library of 16th- and 17th-century works on divinity, natural history, and medicine was bequeathed by the botanist Samuel Reynardson (d. 1721) to the parish. (fn. 58) The books, which were deposited in a specially built room in the tower, were, with one exception, destroyed by the incumbent about 1940. (fn. 59) Reynardson also left the interest on a mortgage debt to provide a sermon on Good Friday. (fn. 60) In 1790 morning service only was held at Hillingdon. The vicar officiated at evening service in Uxbridge chapel and parishioners attended at either Cowley or Uxbridge. (fn. 61) Hillingdon parish continued to be served in this way until 1827 when the Uxbridge chapelry district became a separate parish. Eleven years later the new parish of St. John was formed from the Uxbridge Moor area of Hillingdon. A chapel of ease at Yiewsley was consecrated in 1858, and in 1874 (fn. 62) a separate parish of St. Matthew, Yiewsley, was formed from the southern portion of Hillingdon parish. St. Andrew's parish, Uxbridge, was taken from the parent parish in 1865. In 1884, before a similar change was effected in the civil boundaries, (fn. 63) the area of Hillingdon west of the Pinn and south of St. Andrew's was transferred to Cowley ecclesiastical parish. (fn. 64) Part of Hillingdon parish north of the London road became the parish of All Saints in 1934. (fn. 65)
The parish church, dedicated to ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, stands on high ground at the junction of Royal Lane and Uxbridge Road. (fn. 66) It is built mainly of flint rubble with stone dressings and consists of chancel, aisled nave, north and south transepts, west tower, and vestries. The oldest part of the building is the re-set chancel arch which has 'stiff-leaf' foliage capitals of the 13th century. The nave arcades, each of three bays, date from the mid 14th century but little medieval work survives in the aisles except for their 15th-century roofs. The impressive west tower, of four stages, was rebuilt in the Perpendicular style in 1629; it is surmounted by a wooden bell cupola. The church was thoroughly restored by G. G. (later Sir Gilbert) Scott in 1847–8 when the nave was lengthened, the transepts were added, and the present east end, including the chancel with flanking chapels, was built. (fn. 67) A vestry at the west end of the south aisle also dates from the 19th century; it replaced a porch given by William Munsaugh (d. 1655) which formerly provided the main entrance to the church. The building was restored in 1902 and again in 1953–5, (fn. 68) and a new north-east vestry was added in 1964. (fn. 69)
Monuments in the church include a notable brass which was formerly part of an altar tomb in the old chancel. It has figures of John, Lord Strange, and his wife beneath a double canopy; a smaller figure represents their daughter, Jane, who erected her parents' tomb in 1509. Other brasses commemorate Henry Stanley (d. 1528), John Marsh (d. 1561), Anne Wilson (d. 1569), Drew Saunders (d. 1579), William Gomersall (d. 1597), and John Atlee (d. 1599). Among many later monuments the most striking are those against the side walls of the chancel. On the south side a tomb of marble and alabaster has kneeling figures of Sir Edward Carr (d. 1636) and his wife, flanked by Ionic columns and surmounted by an elaborate and unusual canopy; in front of the central prayer desk a pedestal supports the figures of two daughters. Against the north wall of the chancel a large classical monument to Henry Paget, Earl of Uxbridge (d. 1743), includes a reclining figure in Roman costume. A mural tablet in the nave to Thomas Lane (d. 1795) is the work of John Bacon the elder. In the 16th century the tower contained five bells. (fn. 70) The peal was increased to six after the reconstruction of the tower in 1629, to eight in 1731, and finally, in 1911, to ten. (fn. 71) The plate includes two silver cups with paten covers given by Rose Wood and date-marked 1636 and 1638, and a silver flagon made in 1686. (fn. 72) The registers, which are complete, record baptisms, marriages and burials from 1559. (fn. 73)
A chapel, presumably the one dedicated to St. Margaret by 1281, (fn. 74) was built in Uxbridge before 1248 (fn. 75) and possibly as early as 1200. (fn. 76) During the late 14th century several Uxbridge inhabitants left sums for repairs to and lights in St. Margaret's. (fn. 77) The chapel appears to have been largely rebuilt in the early 15th century. (fn. 78) Later in the 15th century the south aisle was rebuilt as a guild chapel for the guild of St. Mary and St. Margaret, founded in 1448. (fn. 79) The guild provided a chaplain and two chapelwardens and acquired land and rents in the town. In 1548 the possessions of the guild, including land in Cowley Field, the George Inn, and shops and houses in Uxbridge, were worth £11. (fn. 80) A chantry for the soul of Walter Shiryngton, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, was endowed in 1459 (fn. 81) with 27 a. of land and tenements in the town. (fn. 82) Shiryngton's chantry was worth £7 in 1535, (fn. 83) and in 1548 the chantry possessions, which included the 'Bull' and the 'Cross Keys' in Uxbridge, were valued at £11. (fn. 84)
Although the living of St. Margaret's was described in 1547 as a vicarage valued at £5, (fn. 85) it was apparently administered until 1827 as a chapel of ease to Hillingdon church. (fn. 86) Until 1575 Uxbridge dead were buried at Hillingdon, but under an agreement concluded in 1576 the Bishop of London and the Vicar of Hillingdon consented to the burial of Uxbridge inhabitants in St. Margaret's and in a burial ground to be built at the bottom of the Lynch (later Windsor Street). The townspeople agreed to contribute to the repair of Hillingdon church and churchyard and to pay 6s. 8d. to the vicar for each burial in Uxbridge chapel. (fn. 87) The ground was enlarged and enclosed by a brick wall in 1776. It was closed for burials in 1855 (fn. 88) and later became a public garden. A brick gateway with inscribed tablets of 1776 and 1855 has survived. In 1650 the living comprised only small tithes and the inhabitants petitioned for the creation of a separate parish of Uxbridge. (fn. 89) Nothing was done, but the situation improved after the institution, under the will (dated 1682) of George Townsend, of a trust for the maintenance of ministers in the chapels at Uxbridge and Colnbrook (Bucks.). By 1685 the living, augmented under Townsend's will by rents from houses in the parish of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, was worth approximately £50. (fn. 90) A further improvement in the administration of the cure was effected in or about 1706 when the parishioners of Uxbridge and Hillingdon instituted a lectureship in the chapel and provided a lecturer's house in Cowley Field south of Vine Street. (fn. 91) The lecturer, nominated by the Vicar of Hillingdon and the chapelwardens of Uxbridge, was to assist in the administration of the cure and to instruct 6 poor boys, or to pay £6 a year towards their teaching. In 1766 the minister appointed under Townsend's will officiated at morning service on Sundays only, while the lecturer, who at this date was also Vicar of Hillingdon, celebrated monthly communion and Sunday evensong and also administered the cure. (fn. 92) From 1768 to 1786 John Lightfoot, the naturalist, combined the ministry of Uxbridge with the curacy of Cowley. (fn. 93) In 1820 the lecturer was non-resident and his house was said to be let. (fn. 94) Seven years later the 99-acre chapelry district was created a separate parish of St. Margaret, Uxbridge. The patronage was vested in the trustees of the Townsend trust, and in 1835 the net income of the living was £111. (fn. 95) Numbers attending the church declined significantly after 1930 as business premises replaced private dwellings in the town. In 1965 the church was placed in the charge of the Vicar of St. Andrew's, Uxbridge. By this date the patronage had passed to the Bishop of London. (fn. 96)
The church of ST. MARGARET occupies part of a cramped island site at the junction of High Street and Windsor Street. It is hidden from High Street by the market-house and is hemmed in by streets on its south and west sides. The building is of flint rubble with stone dressings and consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, north vestry, and a north tower, the base of which forms a porch. (fn. 97) The tower is of 14th-century origin, but the upper part has been rebuilt. The nave, north aisle, and both the nave arcades date from the early 15th century. The building of a wider south aisle later in the same century nearly doubled the size of the church. The aisle is a lofty structure with a fine hammer-beam roof of nine bays. The chancel was probably rebuilt and extended at the same period. The chapel to the north of the chancel, now used as an organ chamber, is apparently of early-16thcentury date and retains three original windows. Traditionally this was the site of Walter Shiryngton's chantry chapel. (fn. 98) On visitation in 1673 the west door of the church and windows in the south aisle were found to be blocked by shops built against the walls. (fn. 99) The tower was largely rebuilt c. 1820, when it was given its present buttresses, belfry windows and embattled parapet, (fn. 100) and when the domed cupola was probably renewed. At about the same time the north-west angle of the church was cut back to widen Windsor Street. (fn. 101) The building was thoroughly restored in 1872. Most of the windows were then replaced, including the east and west windows of the south aisle and three in its south wall, all with Perpendicular tracery. A north vestry was built on the site of the former chicken market in 1882. (fn. 102) Fittings in the church include a late-15th-century font and two carved chairs, one of which is dated 1679. The most important monument is an alabaster and marble altar tomb in the chancel commemorating Leonora Bennet (d. 1638). The tomb-chest supports a reclining female figure above which an inscribed tablet is flanked by columns and surmounted by a pediment. Behind bars at the front of the tombchest a circular aperture reveals realistically carved skulls and bones. The peal of six bells, recast in 1716, was increased to eight in 1902. (fn. 103) The plate includes a silver cup date-marked 1686 or 1696, a flagon dated 1720 and three silver patens datemarked 1716, 1717 and 1726. (fn. 104) The registers, which are complete, record baptisms, marriages, and burials from 1538. (fn. 105)
The church of ST. JOHN THE EV ANGELIST, St. John's Road, Uxbridge Moor, was opened in 1838. The church was designed by Henry Atkinson; it is executed in yellow stock brick with cement facings and has a Gothic bell turret at its west end. A single bell, said to have been brought from Flanders Green (Herts.), is dated 1578. (fn. 106) Additions to the church include a late-19th-century chancel of variegated brick and a 20th-century vestry. The Bishop of London is patron of the living. (fn. 107)
The church of ST. ANDREW, High Street, Uxbridge, was opened in 1865. The living is vested in the Bishop of London. (fn. 108) The church, built of local Cowley brick with stone dressings and contrasting brick ornament, was designed by G. G. (later Sir Gilbert) Scott in an early Gothic style. (fn. 109) It consists of chancel, aisled nave and south porch; the vestry and the south-east tower with its lofty broach spire were slightly later additions. Internally decorative use has been made of exposed masonry and brickwork. The church was restored in 1952–7. The vicarage, which stands south-west of the church, was originally a private house, built about 1827 and known as Maryport Lodge. It was conveyed to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners when the church was built. A mission-room, dedicated to St. Peter, was built in the Greenway in 1906, (fn. 110) and a parish hall north of the church in 1923. (fn. 111)
A chapel of ease, dedicated to ST. MATTHEW, in High Street, Yiewsley, was consecrated in 1859. The early building formed the Lady Chapel and north aisle of the enlarged church, opened in 1898. The church, designed by Sir Charles Nicholson, is executed in yellow stock brick with a red tile roof. The Vicar of St. John the Baptist, Hillingdon, is patron of the living. (fn. 112)
The church of ALL SAINTS, Long Lane, North Hillingdon, was opened in 1934 to replace a temporary building which had been used for worship since 1930. (fn. 113) The Bishop of London is patron of the living. (fn. 114) The church, which stands at the junction of Long Lane and Ryefield Avenue, is built of red brick with stone facings.