West Drayton: Church

Pages 202-204

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 3, Shepperton, Staines, Stanwell, Sunbury, Teddington, Heston and Isleworth, Twickenham, Cowley, Cranford, West Drayton, Greenford, Hanwell, Harefield and Harlington. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1962.

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The parish and manor of West Drayton were coextensive from the 12th century. From 1765 to 1866 the benefice was united with that of Harmondsworth. (fn. 1) At the beginning of the 15th century, and presumably earlier, West Drayton was a peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's. (fn. 2) In 1550 the dean and chapter lost their peculiar jurisdiction (fn. 3) but had regained it by 1676. (fn. 4) After the union of 1765 the chapter shared an alternate right of institution with the Bishop of London. (fn. 5)

The church is first mentioned in 1181, when it was described as in the lordship of St. Paul's Chapter (in dominio canonicorum), and the officiating priest was said to have 22 acres of arable in one field, a house, and a third of the tithe. (fn. 6) The rectory descended with the manor. In 1181 the farmer of West Drayton manor paid the chapter 1 mark for the farm of two-thirds of the tithe. (fn. 7) In 1258 the 'church' was assigned for the sustenance of the lights of St. Paul's, (fn. 8) and in a chapter chamber account drawn up about 1300 two separate sums of 13s. 4d. and £4 6s. 8d. are noted as deriving from the church; (fn. 9) it was valued at £4 in 1428. (fn. 10) The 'parsonage' was leased with the manor in 1525, 1535, and 1540. It was first described as a rectory in 1546, on the granting of the manor to Sir William Paget, (fn. 11) and was valued at £10 in 1557 (fn. 12) and £20 in 1587. (fn. 13) In 1749 (fn. 14) and later in the 18th century (fn. 15) the rectory was leased for £70 with the demesne estate. By the inclosure award of 1828 the lord of the manor was awarded 57 acres for the extinction of his right to rectorial tithe. From 1254 (fn. 16) the priest was generally called a vicar, (fn. 17) and in 1412 and 1425 (fn. 18) the living was described as a perpetual vicarage. With minor interruptions the advowson appears to have at all times descended with the manor and rectory (fn. 19) until 1755, when Henry, Earl of Uxbridge, sold it to the Revd. George Booth. (fn. 20) In 1412 it was held as a specific perquisite of the farmer of the manor of West Drayton, (fn. 21) but in a lease of 1525 it was reserved by the chapter. Between the sequestration of Thomas, Lord Paget's estates in 1587 and the restoration of Sir William Paget in 1604 (fn. 22) the Crown presented on two occasions, in 1592 and 1595. (fn. 23) In 1756 Booth sold the advowson to Thomas Ives, from whom it passed in 1766 to G. Harvest and in 1776 to Culling Smith. In 1785 Smith sold it to a Mr. Burt who in turn sold it to John Hubbard, from whom it passed to the Revd. John Hubbard. About 1800 it belonged to the Revd. Dawson Warren, (fn. 24) but James Godfrey de Burgh presented in 1808, and the advowson subsequently descended with the manor (fn. 25) until 1935, when Eva de Burgh gave it to the Bishop of London. (fn. 26)

In 1297 the vicarage estate comprised a vicaragehouse standing in 1½ acre, and 18½ acres of arable. (fn. 27) The house and glebe are described in similar terms in 1587; the land was then said to lie in the open field, and was subject to a quit-rent of £2. (fn. 28) The site of the former Vicarage and its close was still identifiable in 1824. (fn. 29) A map drawn in 1803 shows the 'parsonage' on the south side of Church Road, between Drayton Hall and the church, close to Drayton Hall. (fn. 30) It was sold shortly afterwards, and the proceeds were used to redeem the land-tax on Harmondsworth glebe. A new Vicarage, still in use in 1958, was acquired in 1887. (fn. 31)

In 1547 the vicar furnished the cure himself; there was then no chantry, there were no obits or lights, and the vicarage was worth £8 13s. 4d. a year. (fn. 32) In 1587 the rector was collecting both great and small tithes, the tithes of the vicarage estate excepted, and allowed the vicar 40s. in respect of small tithes, and a further 40s. by agreement for augmenting the living. (fn. 33) About 1650 the vicarage was said to be worth £30. (fn. 34) The Trustees for the Maintenance of Ministers ordered the living to be augmented by £48 in 1656. (fn. 35) It was augmented in 1719 by a £400 benefaction, of which £200 was a grant from Queen Anne's Bounty, (fn. 36) and was discharged from paying first-fruits and tenths at some date between 1723 (fn. 37) and 1763. (fn. 38) Part of the bounty money was later invested in 9 acres of land in Isleworth parish. (fn. 39) To compensate for the extinction of the tithe by the inclosure award of 1828 the vicar was awarded 45 acres in Drayton Field. (fn. 40) There were 76 acres of glebe in 1886, including the Isleworth land. (fn. 41) The last parcel of the glebe was sold in 1935. (fn. 42) The incumbent of the united living of West Drayton and Harmondsworth enjoyed a net income of £530 in 1835. (fn. 43) In 1895 his successor in West Drayton alone received £285 net, with the house. (fn. 44) The living was worth £688 net in 1957, of which £86 came from the endowment. (fn. 45)

On visitation in 1297 the church was found to be in a dilapidated condition, but adequately, while not richly, provided with the means of worship. Most of the altar and other ritual vessels were of tinned metal, glass, or wood, and there was apparently only one piece of plate of value, an enamel pyx with a silver chain. There were four altars, two unconsecrated. The church possessed a number of pictures (ymagines) of the cross, and of the Virgin and various other saints, and a portable wooden cross, with images of St. Martin and St. Katherine, for processions. The chancel contained a small library of liturgical books, which are listed in the record of the visitation. (fn. 46) In 1373 the Bishop of London invoked secular aid against the vicar of Drayton, who had been excommunicated with a number of other clergy. This vicar is possibly identifiable with a Nicholas of Drayton who was found guilty of publishing heretical articles about the same date. (fn. 47) In 1778, after the union of West Drayton with Harmondsworth, services were held alternately in the two churches: in the morning at St. Mary's, Harmondsworth, and in the evening at St. Martin's, West Drayton. (fn. 48) A curate was appointed to assist, and there was normally a curate (fn. 49) at least until the separation of the parishes in 1866. His salary was £37 in 1787 and £80 in 1813. There was also a second curate in 1880 and 1945-7. (fn. 50) The unrestored church as it existed before 1850 was chiefly remarkable for an extremely long wooden porch. (fn. 51) In 1849 it contained numerous emblazoned banners hanging from the roof, with some helmets, coronets, gauntlets, and spurs, said to be the remnant of large quantities of ancient armour formerly in the church. There were numerous traces of paintings on the walls and black-letter texts of the early 17th century, (fn. 52) some of which survive behind the altar and the reredos panelling. A contemporary account (fn. 53) makes no mention of several 'badges' of English kings with which the south side of the nave was decorated in the early 18th century. (fn. 54) Some stained-glass windows, said to date from the 14th century, were removed at the Restoration, but water-colours of some of them, by O. Hudson, are preserved at the Victoria and Albert Museum. A.W.S.A. Row, vicar from 1889 to 1928, was instrumental in organizing coal and clothing clubs, and a village club, which had 30 members in 1892. There were also, in 1892, a parish library and monthly magazine. In 1959 the main Sunday services were parish communion at 9 and sung matins at 11. There were 244 names on the electoral roll. (fn. 55)

During A. W. S. A. Row's incumbency the churchyard was extended, in 1905, by a gift of the patrons. (fn. 56) It had originally been enclosed in the grounds of Drayton manor-house in 1550, (fn. 57) and a high brick wall still crowded the west side of the church in the 19th century. (fn. 58) Part of the ground was returned by Hubert de Burgh about 1856, (fn. 59) but the church was said to be in private ground as late as 1876, and the gates were kept locked except during divine service. (fn. 60) A new graveyard, given in exchange by Sir William Paget in 1550, continued in use until 1888. (fn. 61) It lay off the Harmondsworth Road, in the grounds of Drayton Hall.

The church of ST. MARTIN, Church Road, dates substantially from the mid-15th century, with some 13th-century fragments. (fn. 62) It is built of flint rubble with stone dressings, and consists of chancel, clerestoried nave, north and south aisles, west tower, south porch, and north vestry. Traces of lancet windows are said to have been found in the chancel, which still contains a double piscina (reset 1871) dating from the first half of the 13th century. There may also be work of this period at the base of the tower. The nave and aisles were rebuilt in the 15th century. The tall nave arcades of three bays have pointed arches supported on octagonal piers, and both nave and aisles retain their original timber roofs resting on carved stone corbels. The chancel was altered at the time when the nave was rebuilt, and most of the massive west tower is of this date or possibly a little later. It is without buttresses and has three stages, built of flint rubble with quoins of alternating brick and stone. It has a newel turret on the north side, surmounted by a wooden cupola. With the exception of the tower the exterior of the whole church was heavily restored and the interior was refitted in 1850. It was again restored in 1931. (fn. 63) The fine stone font dates from the 15th century. The octagonal bowl has relief carving in the panels and rests on a pierced stem with grotesque figures at the angles of the base. (fn. 64) The tower contains a noteworthy early-16th-century clock. There were seven bells in 1955, of which a sanctus (1704) and the tenor (1932) were hung; four of the others were cast in 1710 and the last was cast in 1769. (fn. 65) The plate includes a preReformation chalice and paten of silver parcel gilt, presented in 1508, and a silver flagon and paten datemarked 1727. (fn. 66) There are brasses with figures to Richard Roos (d. 1406), Margaret Burnell (d. 1529), and James Good (1527-81), and an inscribed brass on the south aisle wall to John Burnell (d. 1551). James Good was one of two physicians sent by Elizabeth I to Mary, Queen of Scots, at Sheffield in 1570, and was imprisoned in 1573 on suspicion of holding correspondence with her. (fn. 67) A tablet on the north wall of the sanctuary records the charitable bequest of Sir George Carey (d. 1603). (fn. 68) The chancel contains tablets to members of the de Burgh family (1793-1864), (fn. 69) and one to Rupert Billingsley (d. 1720), captain of the second Royal George. (fn. 70) With his wife Mary (d. 1727) he is further commemorated by the plate of 1727 which is mentioned above. There are also tablets to members of the Eckersall family (1712-53) and the Arabin family (1828, 1841), (fn. 71) and memorial windows to Kathleen Barry (1929) and Eva de Burgh (1935). The church contains a 16th- or 17th-century iron-bound chest with a cambered lid. The registers date from 1568.


  • 1. Hennessy, Novum Repertorium, 134-5.
  • 2. Reg. Chichele (Cant. & York Soc. xlv), ii. 206.
  • 3. Cal. Pat. 1549-51, 172.
  • 4. William Salt Libr., Stafford, Salt MS. 33, p. 40; Newcourt, Repertorium, i. 596-8.
  • 5. Guildhall MS. 9557.
  • 6. Domesday of St. Paul's (Camd. Soc. c), 145.
  • 7. Ibid. 151.
  • 8. St. Paul's, MS. deed 943.
  • 9. Domesday of St. Paul's (Camd. Soc. c), 163.
  • 10. Feud. Aids, iii. 373.
  • 11. See p. 192.
  • 12. M.R.O., Acc. 446/E.M. 38.
  • 13. E 178/1430.
  • 14. M.R.O., Acc. 446/E.M. 35.
  • 15. Ibid. 36.
  • 16. Val. of Norw. ed. Lunt, 360.
  • 17. Visit. of Churches belonging to St. Paul's, 1297, 1485 (Camd. Soc. N.S. lv), 54-56; Cal. Pat. 1345-8, 412; Reg. Sudbury (Cant. and York Soc. xxxviii), 138-9.
  • 18. St. Paul's, MS. W.D. 13; ibid. deed 844.
  • 19. See pp. 191-2.
  • 20. Lysons, Mdx. Pars. 39; William Salt Libr., Stafford, D 1734.
  • 21. St. Paul's, MS. W.D. 13.
  • 22. See p. 192.
  • 23. Newcourt, Repertorium, i. 596-8 (MS. addenda in B.M. copy).
  • 24. Lysons, Mdx. Pars. 39.
  • 25. Hennessy, Novum Repertorium, 134-5.
  • 26. Lond. Gaz. 1935, pp. 19-20.
  • 27. Visit. of Churches belonging to St. Paul's, 1297, 1485 (Camd. Soc. N.S. lv), 56.
  • 28. E 178/1430.
  • 29. Uxbridge Libr., Statement of Claims and Incl. (1824);
  • 30. J. Wadmore, 'Map of manor of West Drayton, 1803' (penes West Drayton and District Local Hist. Soc.).
  • 31. Church Com. rec.
  • 32. E 301/34, no. 182.
  • 33. E 178/1430.
  • 34. Parl. survey of ch. livings in Home Counties Mag. ii. 282.
  • 35. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1656-7, 167.
  • 36. Hodgson, Augmentation of Small Livings, 136, 387.
  • 37. Guildhall MS. 9550.
  • 38. Ecton, Thesaurus, 257.
  • 39. Church Com. rec.
  • 40. Yiewsley and West Drayton U.D.C., West Drayton Incl. Award.
  • 41. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1886).
  • 42. Church Com. rec.
  • 43. Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues [67], pp. 650-1, H.C. (1835), xxii.
  • 44. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1895).
  • 45. Crockford (1957-8).
  • 46. Visit. of Churches belonging to St. Paul's, 1297, 1485 (Camd. Soc. N.S. lv), 54-56.
  • 47. Reg. Sudbury (Cant. & York Soc. xxxviii), 138-9.
  • 48. Guildhall MS. 9557.
  • 49. Ibid. 9558.
  • 50. A. H. Cox, 'West Drayton Heritage' (copies in M.R.O. and Uxbridge Libr.).
  • 51. M.R.O., P.R. 17/5.
  • 52. J. H. Sperling, Church Walks in Mdx. (1849), 62-65.
  • 53. Ibid.
  • 54. Bodl. Libr., Rawl. MS. B 389. C.
  • 55. Lond. Dioc. Bk. (1959).
  • 56. Church Com. rec.
  • 57. McVeigh, West Drayton, 41-42.
  • 58. Sperling, Church Walks, 62-65.
  • 59. Par. Rec., Vestry Minutes (1856): record of thanks to Hubert de Burgh for gift of churchyard.
  • 60. Thorne, Handbook to Environs of Lond. (1876), i. 154; this may possibly refer to an earlier state of affairs.
  • 61. Cox, 'West Drayton Heritage' (copies in M.R.O. and Uxbridge Libr.).
  • 62. It is fully described in Hist. Mon. Com. Mdx. 13-14; see also St. Paul's Eccles. Soc. ii, p. xxxii.
  • 63. T.L.M.A.S. xviii (2), no. 235.
  • 64. Hist. Mon. Com. Mdx. 14 and plate 51.
  • 65. T.L.M.A.S. xviii (2), no. 235.
  • 66. E. Freshfield, Communion Plate of Mdx.
  • 67. H. K. Cameron, 'Brasses of Mdx.' T.L.M.A.S. xviii (1), 35-37. For Roos see p. 194; and for the Burnell family, p. 195.
  • 68. See p. 192.
  • 69. See p. 192.
  • 70. J. Charnock, Biographia Navalis (1795), iii. 194.
  • 71. See p. 191.