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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Five suspected papists were indicted at Quarter Sessions in 1581 for nonattendance at the parish church, (fn. 1) and two Ruislip recusants were presented at sessions in 1625. (fn. 2) Apart from these isolated cases there is little evidence of Roman Catholicism before the 20th century. There were said to be no papists or reputed papists in the parish in 1706, (fn. 3) and only one family of papists by 1810. (fn. 4)
The Roman Catholic parish of Ruislip, co-exten sive with the urban district and taken from the Roman Catholic parish of Uxbridge, was formed in 1921. A temporary brick building housing a church and priest's house was erected in Ruislip High Street and registered for worship in 1921. (fn. 5) In 1933 the Roman Catholic population of Ruislip was said to be about 200. A Roman Catholic primary school in Herlwyn Avenue was opened in 1937. The old church in the High Street was replaced by the present Church of the Most Sacred Heart in Pembroke Road, which was built and consecrated in 1939. The Roman Catholic parish of St. Matthew's, comprising the Northwood area of the urban district, was founded in 1923. Services were held initially in a small building later used as a church hall. The present St. Matthew's church in Hallowell Road was opened in 1924 and consecrated in 1954. (fn. 6) The Church of St. Thomas More in Field End Road, Eastcote, was opened in 1937. The parish of St. Thomas More, to which a priest was assigned, was formed in 1952. For several years services were held in a scout hut in South Ruislip, (fn. 7) and in 1958 the parish of St. Gregory the Great was created in the area south of the Yeading Brook. (fn. 8) In 1962 services were being held in the Swithun Wells and Bourne Primary Schools. (fn. 9) The church of St. Gregory the Great, in Victoria Road, was consecrated in 1967. (fn. 10)
Sisters of Charity of Ste Jeanne Antide established a convent in Green Lane, Northwood, in 1928. A convent school was opened in the same year. (fn. 11) In 1962 there were ten sisters. (fn. 12) St. Vincent's Orthopaedic Hospital, under the care of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, was opened in 1912. (fn. 13) The hospital chapel, destroyed by enemy action in 1940, was rebuilt in 1962. (fn. 14)