Harrow, including Pinner : Modern churches

Pages 257-260

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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In 1815 a chapel of ease was dedicated to St. Andrew in the south-west corner of what later became the churchyard of All Saints. It was served by the curates of Harrow, of whom there were two in 1835. (fn. 1) One of them, Edward Monro, became in 1841 the first perpetual curate of the new church of ALL SAINTS, Harrow Weald, (fn. 2) built near the chapel of ease in 1842 and 1843 and consecrated in 1850. (fn. 3) A separate parish was assigned to it in 1844, taken from St. Mary's, Harrow, and a small part of Bushey (Herts.). (fn. 4) The church is of stone and comprises chancel, built by J. T. Harrison in 1842, nave and south aisle, built by W. Butterfield in 1845, and north aisle and gabled tower, also by Butterfield, added in 1890 at the expense of T. F. Blackwell. Two vestries were added in 1958. Six bells date from 1890 and two from 1935. Registers of burial date from 1838 and of marriages and baptisms from 1845. (fn. 5) The living was a perpetual curacy until 1861 when it became a vicarage. The patronage is exercised by trustees. (fn. 6) The original building costs were met by subscription, mainly raised by the Vicar of Harrow, one of whose friends endowed the church with £1,500. (fn. 7) In 1963-4 the parish was served by a vicar and two curates. (fn. 8) St. Barnabas, Long Elmes, is a mission church within All Saints' parish. It originated in 1950 on a housing estate in north Headstone. A dual-purpose hall was built by the diocese and consecrated in 1955. It is a flat-roofed brick building, with a priest-in-charge. (fn. 9)

Anne and Frances Copland, who in 1843 inherited Sudbury Lodge and its estate, offered land nearby for a church to serve the southern part of Harrow parish. In spite of opposition from local farmers, who preferred a site on Lord Northwick's property on Wembley Hill, the sisters' offer was accepted since they would bear all the cost of building. (fn. 10) The church of ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST, Wembley, designed by George Gilbert (later Sir Gilbert) Scott and W. B. Moffatt, was consecrated in 1846. It was built of flint with stone dressings, in the Gothic style, and comprised chancel, nave, northeast chapel, and wooden bell turret. A north aisle was added in 1859 and a south aisle in 1900; extensions were made to the west by G. P. Pratt in 1935. There is one bell and the registers date from 1846. (fn. 11) It became a separate parish in 1846; the living was a perpetual curacy until 1872, when it came to be called a vicarage. (fn. 12) The patronage is exercised by trustees, originally appointed by the Coplands and thereafter co-opted by the survivors. (fn. 13) The sisters endowed the church with £1,300, which with £200 from Queen Anne's Bounty and £30 a year charged on Harrow vicarage, gave an income in 1851 of £74. Even with pew rents and offerings, the annual income in 1851 was not more than £119, (fn. 14) and in 1859 the curate asked Christ Church to contribute, pleading that he had only £150 a year with which to keep a wife and 7 children, that the population had greatly increased, and that the inhabitants either joined the dissenters 'or neglect the means of grace.' (fn. 15) In 1869, when the income was £175, the college was approached again (fn. 16) and in 1872 Christ Church endowed the Wembley vicarage with £50 from cornrents. (fn. 17) C. Layard, who enlarged the church in 1859, attracted a large congregation as perpetual curate. (fn. 18) There were weekly meetings during the 1880s at Wembley Hill and in Honeypot Lane, Alperton, while services for men were held at the workmen's hall and for women in a house in Alperton and a room in East Lane. After such evangelism the high church innovations of J. W. P. Silvester (vicar 1896-1944) aroused controversy. (fn. 19)

Activity by the Vicar of Harrow and his curates led to the foundation in 1862 of CHRIST CHURCH, Roxeth. The church, accommodating 350, (fn. 20) was built of flint with stone dressings by George Gilbert (later Sir Gilbert) Scott. It consisted of chancel, nave, transepts, north aisle, and a tower with a small spire. A south aisle was added in 1866 and the whole building was restored by G. H. Jenkins in 1953-4. (fn. 21) In 1863 Christ Church became a district chapelry, created from the mother parish of Harrow and bordering the new chapelry of St. John the Evangelist, Wembley. (fn. 22) There was a perpetual curate until 1873, when a vicar was appointed. (fn. 23) In 1963-4 Christ Church was served by a vicar and curate. (fn. 24) The patronage was originally exercised by trustees (fn. 25) and in 1963-4 by the Church Patronage Society. The registers date from 1863.

Although Christ Church, Oxford, conveyed land for the purpose to the Church Commissioners in 1869, (fn. 26) it was not until 1882 that the church of HOLY TRINITY, Wealdstone, was built to serve the newly developed neighbourhood. The building, erected with the help of 'gentlemen of Harrow Weald', is of stone with brick dressings in the Gothic style by Roumieu & Aitchison. It comprises chancel, nave, and aisles, (fn. 27) accommodating 286. (fn. 28) The parish of Holy Trinity, a district chapelry, was created in 1881 out of the parishes of Harrow, Harrow Weald, and Pinner. (fn. 29) The incumbent is a vicar, appointed by trustees for the Diocesan Board. (fn. 30)

The Vicar of Harrow unsuccessfully tried to raise money for a church at Greenhill, south of Wealdstone, in 1864. (fn. 31) He held services, however, at the workmen's club room before the consecration in 1866 of ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, Greenhill, (fn. 32) a small church 'of particoloured brick, with a prodigious roof', (fn. 33) built by Bassett Keeling. It was administered as a chapel of ease under the Vicar of Harrow until the curate was given sole charge in 1885. The church became a separate parish, created out of Harrow, in 1896 when the stipend of its vicar was £200. The church was rebuilt on a larger scale in 1904, to serve the population which had spread southward from Wealdstone. The nave, west porch, and turret of the old building were demolished and a new nave and aisles, built in the Decorated style by J. S. Alder, were consecrated in 1905; transepts were added in 1925 and a new chancel, by M. Travers, replaced that of the old church in 1938. (fn. 34) The registers date from 1869. The living is in the patronage of the Bishop of London, the Archdeacon of Middlesex, and the Vicar of Harrow. From 1897 the vicar was assisted by a curate and in 1963-4 there were two curates. (fn. 35)

All Saints, Woodridings, was erected in 1865 on the initiative of the Vicar of Pinner. (fn. 36) It functioned as a chapel of ease, with a curate appointed by the vicar and paid a stipend of £150. The building, of corrugated iron, was entered from Wellington Road and Devonshire Road. Although it was enlarged after a request by the Royal Commercial Travellers' Schools for additional accommodation for 100 children, subscriptions were raised for a new church, to accommodate 450, which was founded in 1894 on T. F. Blackwell's building estate. The church of ST. ANSELM, Hatch End, consecrated in 1895, was built by F. E. Jones of brick and flint in the Gothic style, and consisted of chancel, nave, and chapel; a north aisle was added in 1906. (fn. 37) A rood screen was dedicated in 1902 after an appeal to the Court of Arches against the chancellor, who had feared that it would encourage superstition. (fn. 38) St. Anselm's was a stipendiary curacy under the Vicar of Pinner until 1906, when it became a vicarage in the patronage of the Bishop of London. The new parish was formed in 1895 mostly from Pinner parish, with a small area from All Saints, Harrow Weald. (fn. 39) In 1963-4 it was served by a vicar and two curates. (fn. 40)

During the 1880s Alperton was served by missions from St. John's, Wembley. In 1890 the vicar, who had long deplored the 'careless state' of many in the village, persuaded W. R. Lane, a wandering missionary, to set up his tent in Alperton. It was replaced in 1893 by a mission room, and in 1896 by a corrugated iron church, which was administered by the Vicar of Wembley and a curate (fn. 41) until a separate parish, ST. JAMES, Alperton, was created in 1904. (fn. 42) The living is a perpetual curacy in the patronage of trustees. (fn. 43) A church, built by W. A. Pite in the Gothic style, was consecrated in Stanley Avenue in 1912. It is of yellow stock brick with red brick and stone dressings, and consists of chancel, nave, aisles, south transept, north-east chapel, north-west baptistery, narthex, and bell turret. It has one bell and contains an organ which came from St. Peter's, Clerkenwell. The registers date from 1904. (fn. 44)

In 1907, on the initiative of the Vicar of St. Anselm's, Hatch End, a corrugated iron church was erected to serve Headstone. Most of the new parish was formed in 1911 out of St. Anselm's, but small portions were taken from Pinner and Greenhill. Money was raised locally and the church of ST. GEORGE, Headstone, was consecrated in 1911. The building, by Alder, Turrill & Danvers, is of red brick with stone dressings in the Gothic style. It consists of chancel, nave, and aisles; a stained glass east window by M. Travers was added in 1935 and a reredos by J. Crawford in 1949. (fn. 45) The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Bishop of London. (fn. 46)

A church extension scheme was inaugurated in 1904 to serve the expanding suburbs of London. Among the first mission churches was ST. PETER, North Harrow. In 1907 a temporary church was dedicated on a site fronting Sumner Road and Colbeck Road. It was run as a mission church of St. Mary's, Harrow, by London Diocesan Home Missionaries until a permanent building was erected in 1913, when a separate parish was created. (fn. 47) The church, built by G. H. Fellowes Prynne of stone with red brick dressings, consists of chancel, nave, aisles, transepts, north-east chapel, baptistery, and bell turret. (fn. 48) The living is a vicarage in the patronage of the Bishop of London. (fn. 49)

Another foundation under this scheme was the church of ST. ANDREW, Sudbury, consecrated in 1904. The building was designed by Arnold Mitchell for secular and religious purposes. A separate hall was built in 1911 but plans for a permanent church by J. S. Alder were interrupted by the war. A new church, designed by W. Charles Waymouth, architect of the London Diocesan Home Mission, was consecrated in 1926. It is of brick with stone dressings, with an open-timber interior, and consists of chancel, nave, aisles, north-east chapel, and bell turret. (fn. 50) Sudbury was a London Diocesan Home Mission, with a resident missioner from 1910 until 1925 when it became a separate parish, served by a vicar with the Bishop of London as patron. (fn. 51) The vicar was assisted by a curate from 1932. (fn. 52) Although founded on the initiative of one of the Harrow curates, St. Andrew's took its parish from St. John's, Wembley.

Another daughter of St. John's, Wembley, was the church of ST. AUGUSTINE, Wembley Park, opened as a mission church in 1912. A permanent church, built in the Byzantine style by G. P. Pratt, was opened in 1926 but the foundations were insecure and it was demolished in 1953. (fn. 53) A new church was built in 1954 by W. W. Todd and G. Briscoe in Wembley Hill Road, a low brick and concrete building, consisting of chancel, narrowed at the sanctuary, nave, south-west chapel, and roof turret. (fn. 54) St. Augustine's was a mission church until 1926, when it became a separate parish and a vicarage in the patronage of the Bishop of London. (fn. 55) The church of The Annunciation, South Kenton, which was opened in 1938, has a conventional district within St. Augustine's. (fn. 56)

In 1927 a new parish in Kenton was formed from the parishes of St. Mary, Harrow, All Saints, Harrow Weald, St. John the Baptist, Greenhill, and St. Augustine, Wembley Park. A wooden church, dedicated to St. Leonard, was replaced by a permanent church in 1936, (fn. 57) with money from the sale of the site of St. Mary the Virgin, Charing Cross. The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN. Kenton, was built of yellow brick with stone dressings in the Gothic style by J. H. Gibbons. It consists of chancel, nave, north aisle, south passage aisle, a double north transept, north-east and east chapels, west gallery, and south tower. Fittings include a Calvary by A. Toft, a rood screen, the font from St. Giles, Cripplegate, fragments of glass from All Saints, North Street, York, and Italian glass in the baptistery. (fn. 58) The living is a vicarage in the patronage of the Bishop of London. In 1963-4 it was served by a vicar and two curates. (fn. 59)

In 1928 a mission church was founded by the clergy of Christ Church, Roxeth, to serve the new housing estate at South Harrow. In 1930 a conventional district was created from Christ Church parish for the church of ST. PAUL, South Harrow. It became a parish in 1937 when the temporary wood and asbestos structure was replaced with the aid of proceeds from the sale of Holy Trinity, Gray's Inn Road, and £4,000 raised locally. (fn. 60) The church, built by N. F. Cachemaille-Day in grey brick, consists of chancel, nave, north aisle, south chapel, west gallery, and east tower; it contains stained glass by C. Webb and an organ from St. Luke's, Berwick Street. (fn. 61) In 1967-8 it was served by a vicar and two curates, and the patron was the Rector of St. Bride's, Fleet Street. (fn. 62)

Another parish which began as a London Diocesan Home Mission is that of ST. MICHAEL, Tokyngton, which originated in a wooden church opened in 1926. The parish, with a curate-in-charge, was formed in 1925 from the parish of St. John the Evangelist, Wembley. It is a vicarage in the patronage of the Bishop of London. (fn. 63) A permanent church was built in 1933 with money raised locally and with £8,000 donated after the closing of Christ Church, Endell Street (W.C.1). The church, built of yellow brick with stone dressings by C. A. Farey, consists of an apsidal chancel and nave. It was damaged in the Second World War. The furniture and fittings come from Christ Church, Endell Street, and the bells, dating from 1828, from St. Thomas's, Portman Square. (fn. 64)

In 1930 a new parish was formed when mission services were organized by Pinner church in a hall in the new residential area of North Harrow. In 1937 a permanent church was consecrated at the Ridgeway and a district chapelry was assigned to it. The church of ST. ALBAN, North Harrow, designed by A. W. Kenyon, is considered one of the finest Middlesex churches of its time. Built with a reinforced concrete frame, yellow brick walls, and barrel roofing, it comprises chancel, nave, passage aisles, north-east chapel, and a tall north-east tower; it contains a statue of St. Alban by J. C. Blair. The church was damaged in 1940. (fn. 65) From 1937 the living has been a vicarage in the patronage of the Bishop of London. In 1963-4 it was served by a vicar and a curate. (fn. 66) In 1960 a small mission church, combined with a hall, was built in Cannon Lane and dedicated to St. Martin. It was run from St. Alban's until the appointment in 1967 of a curate-in-charge. (fn. 67)

A wooden mission church, opened in 1938 to serve Sudbury Court estate, was destroyed by a bomb in 1940. Services were held in Byron Court until 1950 when a dual-purpose hall was erected by the London Diocesan Home Mission and a new parish was assigned to it from the parish of St. Andrew, Sudbury. In 1953 it became a vicarage in the patronage of the Bishop of London. (fn. 68) The present church of ST. CUTHBERT, North Wembley, (fn. 69) was consecrated in 1959, paid for by war-damage claims, the London Diocesan Fund, and money raised locally. (fn. 70)

A parish was formed in 1952 from the parishes of St. Alban's, North Harrow, and St. Paul's, South Harrow. The church of ST. ANDREW, Roxbourne, was built in 1957 in a traditional Gothic style, of pale stock brick with a tower and spire. (fn. 71) In 1963-4 the parish, of which the living was a vicarage in the patronage of the Bishop of London, was served by a vicar and two curates. (fn. 72)

Services held in a marquee by a priest sent by the Bishop of London in 1937 led to the foundation of the church of THE ASCENSION, Preston. The dual-purpose hall erected in the Avenue, Wembley, in 1937 became the church hall twenty years later, when a church was built alongside it. The church, paid for by local subscriptions and war-damage payments, is built of yellow stock brick with traditional stained glass. (fn. 73) In 1951 a parish was formed from the parishes of St. Augustine, Wembley Park, and St. Mary, Kenton; the living is a vicarage in the patronage of the Bishop of London. (fn. 74)

In 1934 a mission district was created to serve the houses on the former farm-land of New College, Oxford. The college gave a combined hall and church, Wykeham Hall, which was erected in 1935. (fn. 75) A permanent red brick church, dedicated to ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS, Harrow Weald, was built in 1958 with money from the War Damage Commission. (fn. 76) The parish was formed in 1935 from the parishes of All Saints, Harrow Weald, and Holy Trinity, Wealdstone, and the vicarage is in the patronage of the Bishop of London. (fn. 77)


  • 1. Rep. Com. Eccl. Rev. [67], pp. 196-7, H.C. (1835), xxii.
  • 2. Ret. of Parishes divided . . . since 1866, H.C. 433, p. 43 (1870), liv; ex inf. the Vicar of All Saints.
  • 3. H.O. 129/135/1/1/4.
  • 4. Lond. Gaz. 1845, p. 2030; Ret. of Parishes divided . . . 1818-56, H.C. 557, p. 23 (1861), xlviii. The dates of the foundations of all the parishes in the following section are in London Diocesan Bk. (1969).
  • 5. T.L.M.A.S. xviii(2), no. 781; Pevsner, Mdx. 103; Robbins, Middlesex, 285; ex inf. the vicar. See illustration in Druett, Weald.
  • 6. Lond. Gaz. 1882, p. 538; Hennessy, Novum Repertorium, 206.
  • 7. Christ Church MS. Estates 47/457, /464.
  • 8. Crockford (1963-4).
  • 9. Ex inf. the priest-in-charge (1965); ex inf. the Vicar of All Saints (1966).
  • 10. M.R.O., Acc. 76/154.
  • 11. Originally called Sudbury church: Elsley, Wembley, 191; J. Silvester, Visible & Invisible (pamphlet hist. of St. John's, Wembley); T.L.M.A.S. xviii(2), no. 203; Pevsner, Mdx. 170.
  • 12. Ret. of Parishes divided . . . since 1866, H.C. 433, p. 43 (1870), liv; Elsley, Wembley, 191-2; Christ Church MS. Estates 47/567.
  • 13. Hennessy, Novum Repertorium, 207.
  • 14. H.O. 129/135/1/1/3; Christ Church MS. Estates 47/ 515.
  • 15. Christ Church MS. Estates 47/563, /567.
  • 16. Ibid. /612-13, /624, /626-32.
  • 17. Christ Church Deeds, Harrow 1872; Lond. Gaz. 1872, p. 5878.
  • 18. Christ Church MS. Estates 47/567.
  • 19. J. Silvester, Visible & Invisible.
  • 20. Ret. of Districts . . . 1861-3, H.C. 163, p. 507 (1865), xli.
  • 21. T.L.M.A.S. xviii(2), no. 79.
  • 22. Lond. Gaz. 1863, p. 4497.
  • 23. Hennessy, Novum Repertorium, 206.
  • 24. Crockford (1963-4).
  • 25. Ret. of Districts . . . 1861-3, H.C. 163, p. 507 (1865), xli.
  • 26. Christ Church Deeds, Harrow conveyance 1869; ibid. MS. Estates 47/675.
  • 27. T.L.M.A.S. xviii(2), no. 8; Pevsner, Mdx. 169; ex inf. the vicar (1965).
  • 28. Ret. of Parishes divided . . . 1880-90, H.C. 386, p. 11 (1890-1), lxi.
  • 29. Ibid.; Lond. Gaz. 1882, pp. 537-8.
  • 30. Hennessy, Novum Repertorium, 207; London Diocesan Bk. (1969).
  • 31. Christ Church MS. Estates 47/589.
  • 32. G. Rowles, Onward (pamphlet history of St. John's, Greenhill, 1954).
  • 33. Robbins, Middlesex, 284.
  • 34. Ibid.; T.L.M.A.S. xviii(2), no. 83.
  • 35. Crockford (1963-4).
  • 36. Ware, Pinner, 7-9.
  • 37. Ibid. 195-200; T.L.M.A.S. xviii(2), no. 90; Christ Church MS. Estates 47/700, /788, /790.
  • 38. Ware, Pinner, 197-8.
  • 39. London Diocesan Bk. (1969).
  • 40. Crockford (1963-4).
  • 41. J. Silvester, Visible & Invisible.
  • 42. Census, 1931, Eccl. Areas, 77.
  • 43. Crockford (1963-4).
  • 44. T.L.M.A.S. xviii(2), no. 206.
  • 45. Ware, Pinner, 202; T.L.M.A.S. xviii(2), no. 91; Census, 1911.
  • 46. Crockford (1963-4).
  • 47. St. Peter's Church Golden Jubilee, 1913-63 (pamphlet).
  • 48. T.L.M.A.S. xviii(2), no. 87.
  • 49. Crockford (1963-4).
  • 50. Parish church of St. Andrew, Sudbury (pamphlet); Sudbury, ed. Egan, 21-27; J. Silvester, Visible & Invisible; T.L.M.A.S. xviii(2), no. 204.
  • 51. Census, 1931, Eccl. Areas; Wemb. Hist. Soc., Acc. 759.
  • 52. Crockford (1963-4).
  • 53. Elsley, Wembley, 193.
  • 54. T.L.M.A.S. xviii(2), no. 205.
  • 55. Census, 1931, Eccl. Areas, 85.
  • 56. Crockford (1963-4); Elsley, Wembley, 194; ex inf. the Rural Dean of Harrow (1967).
  • 57. Ex inf. the vicar (1967).
  • 58. T.L.M.A.S. xviii(2), no. 84; Robbins, Middlesex, 285; Wembley News, 29 Jan. 1953.
  • 59. Crockford (1963-4).
  • 60. Ex inf. the assistant curate (1965).
  • 61. T.L.M.A.S. xviii(2), no. 86.
  • 62. Crockford (1967-8).
  • 63. Ibid. (1963-4).
  • 64. J. Silvester, Visible & Invisible; Elsley, Wembley, 194; T.L.M.A.S. xviii(2), no. 207; ex inf. the vicar (1965).
  • 65. Ware, Pinner, 193-5; T.L.M.A.S. xviii(2), no. 81; Robbins, Middlesex, 285, where the church is wrongly called St. Paul's; Pevsner, Mdx. 103; Bor. of Harrow, Official Guide (n.d.).
  • 66. Crockford (1963-4).
  • 67. Ex inf. the vicar (1967).
  • 68. Crockford (1963-4).
  • 69. Elsley, Wembley, 193; ex inf. churchwarden (1965).
  • 70. Ex inf. churchwarden.
  • 71. Ware, Pinner, 195.
  • 72. Crockford (1963-4).
  • 73. Elsley, Wembley, 194; Church of The Ascension (pamphlet).
  • 74. Crockford (1963-4).
  • 75. Parish Mag. Oct. 1965, and MS. notes by the vicar.
  • 76. T.L.M.A.S. xviii(2), no. 85.
  • 77. Crockford (1963-4).