Hillingdon, including Uxbridge: Roman catholicism

Page 91

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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Although there was almost certainly no large organized body of Roman Catholic opinion in Hillingdon until the late 19th century, (fn. 1) available evidence suggests that from about 1580 one or more secluded houses in the parish were being used as centres for Jesuit activity. Following the examination of Edmund Campion in 1581 a house near Uxbridge belonging to a woman referred to as Mrs. Griffin and said to have been visited by Campion was searched. The same investigation led to the arrest of John Eden, a former attorney at the Guildhall, who had been dismissed for recusancy and who lived near Uxbridge. (fn. 2) The centre of 16th-century activity was possibly the house near Colham Green known as Morecrofts or Moorcroft. (fn. 3) It was here that Henry Garnett (1555- 1606), Jesuit Superior of the English province from 1587 until his execution as an accomplice of the Gunpowder plotters, was living in 1597. (fn. 4) Apart from local disturbances perpetrated in 1688 by Irish Catholic members of James II's disbanded army, (fn. 5) there is no further evidence of Roman Catholicism until 1706, when two papists, one living in Uxbridge and the other in Hillingdon parish, are mentioned in a parochial return. (fn. 6)

No further Roman Catholic activity is recorded until the late 19th century: there was apparently no provision for Roman Catholic worship in 1851. (fn. 7) The church of Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Michael is said to have been formed in 1891, (fn. 8) but premises in Lawn Road, Uxbridge, were not registered for Roman Catholic worship until 1893. (fn. 9) A new church, on a site south of Osborn Road, was consecrated in 1936 but had been built some years earlier. (fn. 10) St. Bernadette's church in Long Lane was registered for worship in 1937, (fn. 11) and rebuilt on the same site in 1961. (fn. 12) Part of south-east Hillingdon was included in the parish of St. Raphael, Yeading, created in 1957. (fn. 13)


  • 1. Two Uxbridge recusants were presented at quarter sessions in 1581 and 1584: Mdx. Cnty. Recs. i. 123, 150.
  • 2. Acts of P.C. 1581-2, 187-8, 1586-7, 21.
  • 3. See p. 62. See also R. de Salis, Hillingdon Through Eleven Centuries, 57-59.
  • 4. D.N.B.
  • 5. Hist. MSS. Com. 15th Rep. App. I, 135.
  • 6. Guildhall MS. 9800.
  • 7. Census, 1851.
  • 8. Cath. Dir. (1965).
  • 9. Gen. Reg. Off., Wship. Reg. 33937.
  • 10. Ibid. 53336; Cath. Dir. (1965); ex inf. Mr. K. R. Pearce.
  • 11. Gen. Reg. Off., Wship. Reg. 57302.
  • 12. Ibid. 68191.
  • 13. See p. 37.