West Drayton: Roman catholicism and old catholics

Pages 204-205

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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Several members of the Paget family, notably the brothers Thomas, 3rd Lord Paget (d. 1590), and Charles (d. 1612), 'a most dangerous instrument', (fn. 1) were open or suspected papists in the 16th century, and in 1582 Anne, Lady Paget (d. 1587), widow of the 1st lord, was suspected of harbouring Anthony Tyrrel, a priest of the Catholic mission to England, on his escape from prison. (fn. 2) No papists were said to be resident in the parish at the time of the Compton census of 1676, however, (fn. 3) or in 1706, (fn. 4) and there seems to be no evidence for organized Roman Catholic worship in West Drayton before the 19th century. The churchwardens were concerned with local Scots and Irish poor as early as 1834, (fn. 5) and it is probable that the first congregation was drawn largely from the families of immigrant Irish labourers on the brickfields, market-gardens, and railways. The Roman Catholic parish was created in 1867, with a resident priest living at White Cottage, Money Lane. (fn. 6) In 1868, when stables and a coach-house were in use as a temporary chapel, there was a congregation of 400, and a school class of 80. (fn. 7) The 'large straggling population of Roman Catholics of humble means' had previously had to travel to North Hyde for mass. (fn. 8) The church of St. Catherine the Martyr, facing the Green, was opened in 1869, and was consecrated in 1893. (fn. 9) The original design is said to have been that of the Revd. Alexander Scoles, (fn. 10) who also designed a church at Tollington Park, Stroud Green, (fn. 11) but it was attributed by Kelly's Directory, in 1870, to Willson and Nicholls of London, and in 1886 to S. J. Nicholl. The church was built of brown brick in the Decorated style, with chancel, side chapels, nave, aisles, and vestries. The porch at the south-west corner was evidently designed to form the base of a tower which was never completed. The high altar, completed by 1886, included decorated panelling by Joseph Bouvier. (fn. 12) There were memorial windows to members of the de Burgh family. In 1958 the Roman Catholic parish was coextensive with the Yiewsley and West Drayton Urban District, and was estimated to contain 1,300 Roman Catholics.

There was a congregation of Old Catholics in 1950, worshipping in the former Baptist chapel, Money Lane, but it was dissolved before 1958. (fn. 13)


  • 1. See D.N.B. for both brothers.
  • 2. McVeigh, West Drayton, 43. For Tyrrel see D.N.B.
  • 3. William Salt Libr., Stafford, Salt Ms. 33, p. 40.
  • 4. Guildhall MS. 9800.
  • 5. Par. Rec., Churchwardens' Accts (acct. for letter sent Dec. 1834).
  • 6. Yiewsley and West Drayton U.D.C. Official Guide [1954]; McVeigh, West Drayton, 70.
  • 7. Records, penes the priest.
  • 8. Walford, Greater London, i. 207.
  • 9. McVeigh, West Drayton, 70.
  • 10. Cox, 'This was West Drayton' (copy in Uxbridge Libr.).
  • 11. Ex inf. the priest.
  • 12. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1870, 1886, 1937).
  • 13. Ex inf. the R.C. priest.