Sectional Preface

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Middlesex. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1937.

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, 'Sectional Preface', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Middlesex, (London, 1937) pp. xxiii-xxxiii. British History Online [accessed 21 May 2024].

. "Sectional Preface", in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Middlesex, (London, 1937) xxiii-xxxiii. British History Online, accessed May 21, 2024,

. "Sectional Preface", An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Middlesex, (London, 1937). xxiii-xxxiii. British History Online. Web. 21 May 2024,

In this section


Sectional Preface

(i) Earthworks, Etc., Pre-historic and Later.

The prehistoric earthworks of Middlesex are scanty in number and badly preserved. There are some remains of a camp at Enfield (18) and of a mound at Ruislip (4). The extensive building operations of recent years, throughout the country, have obliterated or destroyed several earthworks which were formerly apparent and it seems probable that others will shortly suffer the same fate. Air photography, on the other hand, of a more or less casual nature, has revealed the existence of a number of works which are not visible from the ground. These, however, have not been included in the Inventory, as it has been thought desirable to confine this to remains actually inspected on the spot. Mention may here be made, however, of a few which have been discovered by observation from the air. In Stanwell parish 500 yards S.S.E. of the church and E. of the footpath is a ringwork, intersected by a field-hedge; to the E. of this work and in the same field are traces of a possible enclosure. In East Bedfont parish, 1,050 yards W.N.W. of the church in a re-entrant of the adjoining orchard, are two circular works with parallel lines between them. The rectangular work in Laleham parish, planned and described by Stukeley and re-discovered by air photography (p. 90), has been included in the Inventory by reason of its more recent excavation (Cong. Arch. Socs. Rep. 1935, p. 27). The earthwork described by the same author as surrounding the churchyard at Kingsbury has left no certain trace of its existence. The same remark applies to the earthwork now included in Hounslow Cemetery.

In and near Bentley Priory (Harrow Weald) is a group of sites popularly connected since the 18th century with the defeat of Boudicca. A mound, called Boadicea's Grave, S.W. of the Holt, in this area, is of circular form and some 30ft. in diameter; it was perhaps a mill-mound.

Grim's Dyke.

Grim's Dyke is the one earthwork of major importance in the county and there is a general tendency, in the recent literature of the subject, to assign it with other cognate works to the Dark Ages. This is not the place to discuss the various theories which have been put forward as to its date and significance and upon which no general agreement has been reached, but the main factors, as at present determinable, will be tabulated below.

The extent, siting and details of the surviving portions of the actual work are as follows. The dyke, as it stands, is some four miles long; it begins in the parish of Ruislip and extends through the parishes of Pinner and Harrow Weald. (fn. 1) It consisted of a deep ditch with a spoil-bank on the northern or north-western side. The line chosen ignores the contours but appears generally to skirt the clay-lands lying to the N.W. Its purpose would thus seem to be the definition of a boundary. The work has been much mutilated; its line or even existence in some parts is doubtful, and it seems likely that it was never a continuous work.

The beginning of the work at its southern end is not clear. Faint but fairly definite traces can be seen in a field to the W. of Cuckoo Hill, and a few years ago it could be traced on the E. side of the road, running in a northerly direction towards Pinner Green. Now, however, it cannot be definitely traced until it has crossed the railway, whence it runs to the junction of the Eastcote and Northwood roads. Thence it continues onwards to the Pinner Hill Road and then due E. until at a distance of almost 200 yards from the road there is a gap to permit the passage of one of the tributaries of the river Pinn. The portion round Pinner Green passes mostly through gardens and among modern houses, two of which (Nos. 38 and 40 "The Close") actually surmount it, and the line of the bank is consequently only faintly seen. After the gap— which, though perhaps altered owing to agriculture, would appear to be original—the dyke continues in a well preserved condition for some 350 yards in a north-easterly direction, when it terminates some 140 yards from, and in the rear of, the house called "Blythwood." At this point the ground falls towards a feeder of the river Pinn, by the bank of which the Dyke begins again against Woodridings School on the Pinner-Hatch End Road. The angle at which the dyke approaches the stream at this point suggests the possibility that the stream for part of its length formed the boundary. The dyke continues from Woodridings School in a north-easterly direction until, about 300 yards from the L. M. and S. Railway, it is intersected by Colbourn Avenue. From this point roads have been built on either side and parallel to the earthwork, the houses of which have gardens running down the bank on the N.W., and the ditch on the S.E., with a footpath between. About 25 yards from the railway and for some distance beyond, the construction of the line and a housing estate has resulted in the obliteration of both bank and ditch. About 100 yards beyond the junction of Royston Park Road with Royston Grove, the bank again appears at the back of the houses on the S. side of Royston Park Road until it disappears among the gardens shortly before reaching Oxhey Lane. From Oxhey Lane the dyke is plainly seen running in a north-easterly direction across the Grim's Dyke Golf Course and parallel to Wealdwood Road. This is its best preserved section. About 50 yards after entering the Golf Course, are traces of a hollow on the north side of the Dyke; it has been suggested that this is a spoil ditch due to the difficulty of obtaining enough earth from the true ditch owing to the high ground to the S.E.; but a study of the contours in the immediate neighbourhood would rather suggest that this is only one of a number of slight natural hollows or dells which are found in the hill side. At the end of the Golf Course the bank is cut by a road leading to Bankfield Cottage, but immediately re-appears in the grounds of Grim's Dyke House. Shortly after entering the grounds, the ditch has been dammed, forming a long narrow lake. About 200 yards from the dam the earthwork makes an almost right-angled bend to the E., and immediately opposite the house the ditch resumes its normal width. Soon after passing the house the dyke dies out, at what would appear to have been an original ending, towards Harrow Weald Common.

The date and function of this Dyke are at present unknown, but certain factors combine to limit the range of conjecture. These may be tabulated as follows:—

(1) The earthwork, with its over-all width of 100 feet or more and with a height which, even in the present denuded and silted condition of the work, rises to 9 feet (measured on the best-preserved stretch of the Grim's Dyke Golf Course) is of military aspect and proportion. It gives the impression of being the work of men accustomed to dig not merely formal boundary-ditches, but works of a defensive kind.

(2) Nevertheless, the Dyke is sited with little or no regard to military need, and at more than one point (again notably on the Grim's Dyke Golf Course) it is situated on the reverse slope of a hill in such a manner that the ground beyond its ditch rises to a commanding height above it. In other words, although formidable in design, the Dyke is so weak in its siting as to negative a primarily military purpose.

(3) The bank is consistently on the more northerly side of the Dyke which was, therefore, constructed to define, and control access to, the land lying to the N. of it.

Grims Dyke, Map Shewing Position in Relation to the Existing Roads.

Grims Dyke, Plan Shewing the River Drainage and Soil Distribution.

(4) For the greater part of its length, the Dyke is situated on the London Clay, and even where, on Harrow Weald Common, it is for a short distance actually on gravel, it is marginal to the clay-area and excludes practically the whole of the gravel-capping. In other words, the region bounded by the Dyke is one of maximum fertility and would, under ancient conditions, carry dense oak-forest.

From these four factors, certain inferences of a general kind may be drawn. First, the siting of the Dyke in relation to heavy clay sub-soil rules out any period prior to the Saxon settlement of the late 5th and following centuries A.D. Neither in prehistoric nor even in Roman times were heavy clay sub-soils such as the London Clay appreciably developed; and the consistent utilisation of such soil indicated by Grim's Dyke is entirely foreign to pre-Saxon Britain. Even if the Dyke be regarded as a forest-boundary, the same inference holds; for the land to the south of (i.e. outside) the Dyke is also very largely London Clay, and a forest-dyke in such a position would therefore imply in any case the utilisation of adjacent clay land.

It would appear therefore a safe inference that Grim's Dyke is not earlier than the Saxon settlement.

It has been suggested that the Dyke may be a relic of the period of active Saxon settlement in the late 5th or 6th centuries, but it is perhaps open to argument whether at so early a phase in the Saxon occupation the heavy clay-lands are likely to have been so extensively developed as the Dyke would appear to imply. It may be doubted whether the opening up of the Middlesex forest on this considerable scale can be earlier than the 7th or 8th centuries A.D. As against this, however, there is the consideration that the name " Grim's Dyke" is more likely to have been applied to a work of the pagan than of the Christian period. (fn. 2)

Further argument would at present take the problem into the realms of conjecture. In summary, it may be agreed that the Dyke is an ancient boundary or barrier not earlier than the 5th century A.D., but appreciably earlier than the 13th century; that its function, as shown by its length and situation, was primarily a civil one, although its scale is suggestive of a military tradition. There the matter may for the moment be left until further evidence is forthcoming from the Dyke itself or from closely similar Dykes such as those which thread the neighbouring Chilterns.

[See J. Stone, Trans. London and Middlesex Arch. Soc. N.S. VII, 284; R. E. M. Wheeler, London and the Saxons (London Museum, 1935); J. N. L. Myres, Journal of Roman Studies XXVI, 87; Hugh Braun, Trans. London and Middlesex Arch. Soc. N.S. VII (1937), 379.]

The mediæval earthworks include an average number of homestead moats, a motte and bailey castle at South Mimms, and another at Ruislip, within the ditched and banked site of the Priory. To these should probably be added the entrenchment with an internal ditch at Hillingdon though its complete form and purpose are alike uncertain. There are traces also of park enclosures at Pinner and Ruislip.

(ii) Roman Remains.

The general distribution and significance of the Roman Remains in Middlesex have been sufficiently discussed in the Commission's Inventory of Roman London and in the same place will be found an account of the Roman roads passing through the county.

The actual remains visible in the county area are insignificant, and the single settlement, on Brockley Hill, known from the Antonine Iter to have been called Sulloniac[æ] is quite indis tinguishable on the site save by Roman bricks and potsherds on the surface (p. 16). Traces of Roman occupation are said to have been found in recent years at Ruislip (p. 108) and in the neighbourhood of Kingsbury church (S. Potter, Old Kingsbury Church, 1928, p. 2).

(iii) Ecclesiastical and Secular Architecture.

Building Materials.

The building materials in use in Middlesex follow very closely those of London itself. The mediæval churches are commonly of flint-rubble or a local ironstone conglomerate and the dressings are generally of Reigate stone. Mediæval domestic buildings are nearly always timber-framed as are many of the minor domestic buildings of the 16th and 17th centuries. Brick is also extensively used in the later buildings and becomes almost universal towards the close of the 17th century.

Ecclesiastical Buildings.

The churches of Middlesex are not of any great architectural importance and partake of the general characteristics of the other districts surrounding London. The small building at Kingsbury may possibly date from before the conquest, but the evidence is rather against it. A number of buildings retain portions of the 12th century and the doorways at Harlington and Harmondsworth are rich examples of this period. East Bedfont has a chancel-arch and doorway of the same period and there are similar doorways at Friern Barnet and Harrow. Laleham has 12th-century nave-arcades. There is 13th-century work of some interest in the chancel at Hendon and at Hillingdon, but the most extensive work of the period is in the cruciform church at Harrow. The 14th century is best represented in the chancel at Stanwell, the S. aisle at Harefield and the nave at Northolt, all of which have features of interest. Mention may also be made of the arcades at Enfield. The late mediæval work is generally of poor quality though several churches were partly re-built on a larger scale. The early 16th-century N. chapel and aisle at S. Mimms may be noted.

Two or three of the smaller churches have timber-bellcotes; there are timber porches at Hayes and Harlington and timber-lych-gates at Hayes and Heston.

Much rebuilding was done, particularly in the Thames-side churches in the 17th and 18th centuries. The brick tower at Littleton is of 16th-century date, heightened c. 1730; Shepperton church was re-built in 1614 and the tower in 1710; Great Stanmore church, now ruined, was entirely re-built in 1632 in a Renaissance style while the tower at Hillingdon, re-built in 1629, is of Gothic character. Isleworth (1705–6), Twickenham (1713–15) and Little Stanmore (1715) are all three purely Classical buildings retaining their mediæval towers; the nave at Cranford, re-built in brick in 1710–16, is of similar character. Laleham tower was re-built in 1732; Sunbury tower in 1752; Brentford church was re-built, except its tower, in 1764 and Edgware, with the same exception, in 1764. The church at Feltham, dating from 1802, may be mentioned as of unusually good character for its period.

There is a good 15th-century hammer-beam roof over the S. aisle at Uxbridge and another over the N. chapel at Harmondsworth. The boarded and panelled roof at Hayes is also worthy of note.

Monastic and Collegiate Buildings.

The most important Monastic house in the county was Syon Abbey, the rich foundation of Henry V for Bridgettine nuns later moved to a site in Isleworth. Parts of its buildings, including the sub-vault of the W. range, are incorporated in the existing Syon House. There are no remains of the small Augustinian Priory at Bentley (Harrow Weald) and the chapel of the Trinitarian Friars at Hounslow, long used for parochial purposes, has given place to a modern building. Of the establishment of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem at Moor Hall Harefield, however, there still remains the 13th-century two-storeyed chapel. There were alien priories at Harmondsworth and Ruislip; the former retains its mediæval barn and the latter only some earthworks.

Almshouses, mostly of the 17th century, survive at Harefield, Friern Barnet, Chiswick, Edgware, Little Stanmore and elsewhere. The building at Harefield is the only one of any particular interest. There are 16th or 17th-century school-buildings at Enfield, Harrow and Stanwell, the last named a largely unaltered structure of 1624.

Secular Buildings.

The proximity to London is no doubt the reason why the county contained so high a proportion of important houses and in spite of extensive destruction due to the encroachment of the city and other causes, several of these still survive. In many cases this survival is due to the enlightened action of local authorities in purchasing these buildings and preserving them.

Such a building as Hampton Court Palace belongs rather to the country than to any county and should hardly be considered in a general survey of Middlesex architecture. It is not only the most extensive surviving example of Tudor domestic building but its later reconstructions by Wren are among the foremost examples of that architect's work.

Of the larger houses of the 16th century few have survived extensive reconstruction. Syon House was completely remodelled in the 18th and early in the 19th century and the same fate befell Osterley Park, though here Sir Thomas Gresham's stables still survive. The Manor House at W. Drayton is only represented by a gatehouse, Bruce Castle Tottenham has been extensively altered but Southall Manor House is a large Elizabethan timber-framed building of considerable interest. The first half of the 17th century is represented by several important examples. Swakeleys survives largely unaltered and Forty Hall Enfield, Cromwell House Highgate and Boston House Brentford all possess details of unusual interest. York House Twickenham is a good example of the latter part of the 17th century. Besides these major buildings there are numerous houses of the second class; among these may be mentioned the Old Treaty House Uxbridge and Cedar House Hillingdon, the Priory Tottenham, Glasgow Stud Farm Enfield, and numerous late 17th and early 18th-century mansions mostly in the riverside parishes.

The smaller houses of the earlier periods are practically all timber-framed; they include a certain number dating from the mediæval period, but extensively altered. The great majority of these timber-framed buildings have been wholly or partly refaced at a later date in brick. The later brick architecture of the county reflects very closely the building conditions and fashions of the metropolis and conforms to the development and evolution described in the Commission's Inventory of East London.

Subsidiary domestic buildings include a number of 17th-century pigeon-houses. At Bruce Castle Tottenham is a remarkable circular brick tower of uncertain purpose and at Harmondsworth is an unusually fine timber barn of the 14th or 15th century.


Altars: The only certain altar noted is the Purbeck marble slab with consecration-crosses at Laleham.

Bells: There are ten mediæval bells in Middlesex, the earliest being that cast by Peter de Weston at Kingsbury and the uninscribed bell at Greenford; both probably date from the middle of the 14th century. There are late 14th-century bells at Finchley St. Paul and Cranford, the latter by William Burford. Later mediæval bells include one by T. Harrys at Hampton Court, one by T. Bullisdon at Ickenham, one probably by J. Sanders at Twickenham and three by William Culverden at Brentford, Greenford and Hampton Court. Of the mediæval bells three bear inscriptions to St. Mary, two to St. Anne, one to St. Nicholas and one to St. John. The post-Reformation bells include several examples cast by Bryan and William Eldridge, P. Wightman, Knight of Reading, Robert Mot, Thomas Bartlet, W. Whitmore, R. Phelps, etc.

Brasses: The earliest brasses in the county are those of a priest (half-figure) at Hayes and of a man in armour formerly on a bracket at Harrow, both of c. 1370. There is a large, slightly later armed figure of John Flambard at Harrow and later armed figures of interest at Northolt (Henry Rowdell 1452), Hayes (Walter Greene, 1456), and Hillingdon (John Lord Strange 1479, put up in 1509). There are full-length figures of priests at Harrow to S. Marcheford, 1442 and John Byrkhed, 1468, both in copes and half-figures of priests at Stanwell, Harlington, Greenford and Harrow. The finest figures of ladies are those of Joyce, Lady Tiptoft, 1446, at Enfield in a heraldic mantle and Lady Strange at Hillingdon. The tiny figure of Margaret Dely, "Sister of Syon," 1561, at Isleworth, should also be mentioned. The Tiptoft brass at Enfield, the Byrkhed brass at Harrow and the Strange brass at Hillingdon have canopies. There are palimpsest brasses at Cowley, Cranford, Harlington, Harrow, Isleworth, Northolt and Hornsey. Among the later brasses the plates at Heston and Ruislip are interesting.

Chests: There is an interesting 13th or 14th-century chest at S. Mimms with carved foliage and rosette-decoration. Otherwise the best chests in Middlesex are the two large iron-bound examples at Ruislip, probably both of the 16th century. The smaller chests at Littleton and Twickenham may also be mentioned.

Communion Tables and Rails: The only Communion Tables of note are the fine Elizabethan example with bulbous legs at Willesden and the Jacobean table at Tottenham. There is an early 18th-century example with twisted legs at Hampton Court. Of Communion Rails there are several important examples. The 17th-century rails at Hampton Court are now stored in the undercroft of the Hall, having been replaced by the existing early 18th-century rails. At Harefield and Littleton are interesting examples of foreign rails with richly carved panels; both are of late 17th-century date.

Doors: There are not many ecclesiastical doors of importance but Willesden retains a late 14th-century example with tracery and there are good 15th- or 16th-century doors at Heston, Ruislip and Harrow. The great doors of the outer gatehouse at Hampton Court are largely of early 16th-century date, with linen-fold panels. Many of the doors of the late 17th and early 18th-century parts of the palace retain their original metal fittings with monograms and enrichments. There is a good series of 17th-century doors at Cromwell House, Highgate.

Fonts: The series of fonts starts with the 12th century. The font at Hendon is a rich and elaborate example of that period with a square arcaded bowl; circular enriched bowls remain at Harrow and Hayes and simpler examples of the same and a slightly later period at Willesden, Harmondsworth and Finchley. Late mediæval fonts are represented by the elaborately carved example at West Drayton and by others at Norwood, Brentford and Harefield. There are 17th or early 18th-century baluster-fonts at Twickenham, Gt. Stanmore and Green-ford, the last two with contemporary covers and another cover, dated 1665, is at Perivale.

Glass: Middlesex painted glass, though small in quantity, includes examples of considerable interest. The church at South Mimms retains a considerable amount of early 16th-century glass (1526), with figures of donors and inscriptions; it is unfortunately badly decayed. At Hanworth there are two 15th-century seraphim. The figures of Evangelists and Prophets at Tottenham appear to be foreign work of the late 16th or early 17th century, as are the figures of the Virgin and St. John the Baptist at Norwood. Heraldic glass is fairly frequent, the best being that at Greenford with the arms of Eton and King's College. There is a panel of the royal arms at Hanworth.

Monuments: Middlesex is particularly rich in Renaissance monuments, several of these being of first class importance. Its mediæval memorials are not equally numerous and indeed the county contains no recumbent effigy of this period if the Frowyk figure at S. Mimms be excepted as being more Renaissance than Gothic. There are however a number of recessed and panelled tombs of the common early 16th-century London type including those at Edmonton, Harefield, Harlington and Norwood, a late altar-tomb at Hayes and the altar-tomb of Lady Tiptoft, 1446, with a brass and a later canopy at Enfield.

The Renaissance series begins with the curious canopied tomb at S. Mimms, probably to Henry Frowyk, 1527, and the semi-Gothic monument to another member of the same family to which reference has already been made. Harefield church contains a highly remarkable and numerous series of monuments mostly to members of the Newdigate family. This series includes the fine canopied and painted monument to Alice Countess of Derby, 1636. Elsewhere the most imposing Elizabethan and Jacobean monuments are those to Sir Edward Carr, 1636–7, at Hillingdon, Sir R. Aston, 1612, at Cranford, Sir N. Raynton, 1646, at Enfield, Sir E. Fenner, 1611–12, at Hayes and Lady Bennet, 1638, at Uxbridge; one of the Wolstenholme monuments (1639) at Great Stanmore, the fine tomb of Lord Knyvett, 1622, at Stanwell and a tablet (1617) at Enfield are works by Nicholas Stone. Numerous other memorials of the same age and minor importance are scattered through these and other churches of the county; mention may be made of examples at Finchley, West Twyford, Tottenham, Chiswick, Isleworth, Green-ford, Ruislip, Hornsey, Uxbridge and Willesden. Later 17th-century monuments generally of more severe Renaissance character are best represented by those of John Wolstenholme, 1669, at Great Stanmore, of Sir William Rawlinson, 1703, at Hendon, Mary Lady Newdigate, 1709–10, and Sarah Newdigate, 1695, at Harefield, and Thomas Stringer, 1706, at Enfield. In addition to these the smaller tablet-memorials at Acton, Hendon, Harlington and Ruislip should be noticed.

The monument of Lady Berkeley, 1635, at Cranford represents the deceased in a shroud and is said to have been made at Rome. The small effigy of the infant R. Clayton, 1665, at Ickenham is also of unusual character.

There is one example of the incised and figured slab in the county, to George Ray, late 16th century, and his wives at Hornsey and a very boldly carved heraldic slab of touch to Sir John Whichcote, 1677, at Hendon.

Overmantels: The finest and one of the earliest overmantels in the county is the reconstructed one with the Royal arms from Enfield Palace and to the same period belongs the example at Southall Manor House Norwood. There are numerous examples of the first half of the 17th century at Boston Manor House Brentford, Forty Hall Enfield, Salisbury House Edmonton and the Priory Tottenham. Of about the same or rather later date are the fireplaces in Harrow School House and Cromwell House Highgate. Late 17th and early 18th-century overmantels are best exemplified by the long series at Hampton Court, most of them with picture-panels and wood carving.

Paintings: Mediæval wall-paintings, though not numerous, include some interesting examples. The most important are the two at East Bedfont of c. 1300 and of unusual quality. There is a 15th-century St. Christopher at Hayes and traces of a second at Ruislip. At the latter place there are remains of extensive painted decoration and figures of St. Michael weighing souls and the Virgin and other figures still survive. At Hendon there are remains of 13th-century decorative painting of masonry and foliage and also 16th or 17th-century black-letter texts. At Knights land Farm South Mimms, an extensive series of late 16th-century domestic paintings of the Prodigal Son have recently been uncovered. The extensive late 17th and early 18th-century paintings at Hampton Court Palace and Swakeleys are too well-known to require comment. They include works by, or ascribed to, Robert Streater, Verrio and Laguerre. The painted decoration of Little Stanmore church is early Georgian and there are later 18th-century ceiling-paintings at Radnor House Twickenham.

Panelling: Hampton Court retains a certain amount of panelling of early 16th-century date mostly of linen-fold type; there is a room at Knightsland Farm S. Mimms lined with similar panelling and some fine carved panels of the same date at Syon House Isleworth. Later 16th-century and early 17th-century panelling is to be seen at Southall Manor House (Norwood), Hampton Court, Swakeleys Ickenham and at numerous other places. Late 17th and early 18th-century panelling is likewise well exemplified at Hampton Court and many of the minor houses of the age are fitted with the simpler forms of bolection-moulded panelling.

Piscinæ and Sedilia: The best example of this form of structural fitting is the 13th-century example at Hayes. The 14th-century sedilia at Stanwell form a continuation of the wallarcading of the chancel. The other piscinæ and sedilia are of no great interest.

Plasterwork: The county contains numerous examples of rich and elaborate plasterwork. The series begins with the intricate early 16th-century ceilings at Hampton Court, with enrichments in other materials. Most of the more elaborate later ceilings belong to the first half of the 17th century. Perhaps the richest are those at Boston Manor House Brentford, but others of almost equal importance survive at Forty Hall Enfield, the Palace Enfield (re-set), the Priory Tottenham and Cromwell House Highgate and of a more severe type at Swakeleys Ickenham. The plaster dome of the Queen's Chapel at Hampton Court is an example of early 18th-century work.

Plate: The most remarkable plate of the county is the mediæval chalice and paten at W. Drayton, dating from 1507 and with an inscription on the chalice. Elizabethan plate is confined to four cups and two patens; the earliest cup is that at Harefield of 1561 followed by Edgware 1562, Harrow 1568 and Ruislip 1595. The later plate includes the highly enriched sets at Acton and Ealing, a secular cup at Willesden and a paten with cover at Hounslow. The royal chapel plate at Hampton Court may also be mentioned.

Pulpits: The only pulpit of any great distinction in the county is that at Harrow, a handsome example given to the church in 1708. There is a 17th-century pulpit of more ordinary type at Ruislip.

Royal Arms: No examples of carved wooden royal arms have survived in the Middlesex churches but there is a painted example (Stuart) at Hendon and a second in glass (1625) at Hanworth. There are wooden arms (James I) at Bittacy House Hendon, and remains of a painted example at Little Stanmore (6).

Screens: There are good and well-preserved parcloses enclosing the early 16th-century N. chapel at S. Mimms but the other examples of ecclesiastical screen-work are unimportant. The chancel-screen at Littleton has been much restored. Hampton Court retains the Tudor screen of the great hall and there are 17th-century hall-screens at Forty Hall Enfield, Boston Manor House Brentford, and Swakeleys Ickenham.

Seating: Harmondsworth, Littleton and Ruislip churches retain more or less extensive remains of their late mediæval seating but without popey-heads or much enrichment. At Littleton are some 15th-century traceried stall-backs, said to have come from Winchester.

Staircases: Most of the important staircases belong to the 17th century and of these the splendid example, with armed figures, at Cromwell House Highgate is the finest. There is a staircase of the same period at Boston Manor House Brentford with lions on the newels, and others at Glasgow Stud Farm Enfield and Blanche Farm South Mimms. The King's and Queen's staircases at Hampton Court, with wrought ironwork, belong to Wren's work and there are numerous subsidiary staircases of the same period in his building.

A large number of the late 17th and early 18th-century houses in the county retain their original staircases following closely the contemporary fashions of the capital.

The tower-staircase at Hillingdon church may be mentioned as having early 17th-century pilaster balusters.

Terra-cotta Work: This is confined to the Classical heads and the panel of arms at Hampton Court and the two similar heads now at Hanworth. It is quite clear from the extant accounts (Letters and Papers Henry VIII, III, No. 1355) that Giovanni da Maiano made eight heads for Cardinal Wolsey in or about 1521, described as "rotundas imagines ex terra depictas et deauratas." Bickham writing in 1742 (Deliciæ Britannicæ) states that there were then eight heads at the palace, of which four were on the George II gatehouse and four more on another gatehouse, certainly the middle gatehouse (but wrongly described as the outer gatehouse); one of these (" Augustus ") has remains of colour. The names of emperors, now assigned to these busts, are in several instances open to criticism. There are now two more busts at Hampton Court and two without ornamental wreaths at Hanworth House. It seems reasonably certain that these four are also the work of Maiano and that they formed part of the series of eight heads formerly on the Holbein Gate at Whitehall. This gate was pulled down in 1750 and a scheme was formed to re-erect the gate at Windsor. This was never done but the materials seem to have been transported there and two of the heads were incorporated in cottages at Virginia Water. Two more seem to have been built into lodges and were still there in 1807 (Smith's Antiquities of Westminster). Shortly before 1845 (Gents. Mag. 1845, II, 594) two of these busts were brought back from Windsor and re-erected on the E. (recte W.?) entrance at Hampton Court. To the same Whitehall series belong, no doubt, the two heads at Hanworth, built into 18th-century features which agree reasonably well with the date of the destruction of the Holbein Gate. A single bust in majolica, now at the Palace, but formerly on loan in the Victoria and Albert Museum, appears to have nothing to do with the series and is probably an imported Italian work. The panel bearing the arms of Cardinal Wolsey was apparently defaced by Henry VIII and his own arms substituted, whether in paint or plaster is unknown. This remodelling was removed shortly before 1845 and the Cardinal's arms re-instated in cement. This panel was formerly surmounted by a lunette. Maiano supplied to Wolsey (besides the eight heads) three panels of the "history" of Hercules of which no trace now remains.


  • 1. For possible but unproved eastern extensions of the dyke, see Hugh Braun, Trans. London and Middlesex Arch. Soc. N.S. VII, 379ff.
  • 2. The earliest occurrence of the name in this region appears to date from 1306. (Trans. London and Middlesex Arch. Soc. N.S. VII, 382). The origin of the Dyke was clearly forgotten by that date.