Kingsbury: Churches

Pages 83-86

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.

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In 1086 a priest held a virgate in Kingsbury. (fn. 1) The church had been appropriated to the hospital of St. John of Jerusalem by c. 1244-8 (fn. 2) and the benefice thereafter remained a donative or curacy in the gift of the hospital and, after 1544, (fn. 3) of the chapter of St. Paul's cathedral until 1834 when it became a perpetual curacy, (fn. 4) after 1868 styled a vicarage. (fn. 5) In 1884 a new parish church, Holy Innocents, was built and the old church of St. Andrew became its chapel of ease. (fn. 6)

The Knights Hospitallers were regarded as rectors and the rectorial glebe and parsonage house have been treated under Freren manor (q.v.). The curates were instituted by the hospital and chapter, except for a short period after 1650 when Sir William Roberts exercised the patronage. (fn. 7)

Roger, chaplain of Kingsbury, was apparently living there in 1291 when his 'houses' and the church were burgled. (fn. 8) Although it was never effected, the lease of Freren manor in 1505 was to John Nelson, a chaplain, (fn. 9) which suggests that early leases were made to clerks who were expected to serve the cure themselves. From 1506 the leases were made to laymen who had to find a chaplain to serve the cure, (fn. 10) and the close connexion continued with Freren farm-house, described in 1650 as 'commonly called Kingsbury parsonage house'. (fn. 11) In 1588 the curate lived in a loft in the church-house which then belonged to Michael Page, the lessee of Freren; (fn. 12) but it is not clear whether the building was the small one near the church (fn. 13) or Freren farm-house. In 1650 the minister had 'two chambers' (fn. 14) and in 1661 the lessee had to allow him a room with a chimney, called the church loft, or pay him an extra £5 a year. (fn. 15) In 1699 a lease reserved a cottage and two pightles near the church for the accommodation of the curate. (fn. 16) Like all subsequent leases, it said that the property was then in the occupation of Thomas Gosling, who lived in the 1660s. (fn. 17) The cottage probably fell into disuse when curates were non-resident. When they began again to live in the parish in the 19th century, it was usually in a private house. Henry Atcheson lived at Hill House in 1851 (fn. 18) and at the Hyde in 1872. (fn. 19) The two pightles, Little and Great Church field, were in 1839 described as glebe worth £3 10s., owned by the incumbent. (fn. 20)

The minister was paid an annual stipend of £20 by the lessee of Freren in 1650 (fn. 21) and an additional £20 was approved in 1657 by the trustees for the maintenance of ministers. (fn. 22) The lessee of Freren had to pay the curate £30 a year in 1661, (fn. 23) £40 a year from 1720 to 1834, (fn. 24) when a grant of £200 was made by Queen Anne's Bounty, (fn. 25) and £80 a year thereafter. (fn. 26) In 1851 the perpetual curate's endowment was described as £4 10s. in land, £6 10s. from Queen Anne's Bounty and £80 from other endowment. (fn. 27)

In 1423 it was said that William Bury and his wife Margaret, William Page's daughter, had been granted Page's property in Hendon on condition that they found a suitable chaplain for the church of Kingsbury to pray for the souls of Page and his ancestors for 10 years after the death of Page, who was still alive in 1410. (fn. 28) In 1531 John Edward surrendered property worth 20s. a year rent to the use of his wife, on condition that she provided an obit with a dirge and mass in Kingsbury church for him and his parents. (fn. 29) Elizabeth Frowyk, by will proved 1516, provided for torches in several churches, including Kingsbury. (fn. 30) Michael Roberts left 3s. 4d. for Kingsbury altar by will proved 1544. (fn. 31) In 1547 it was said that John Edward had given a close to maintain a church-house, (fn. 32) perhaps a small building which adjoined the churchyard in 1597. (fn. 33)

Little is known about the parish priests of Kingsbury. In 1435 John Ingram, chaplain, was amerced in the manor court of Kingsbury for striking Maud Chalkhill. (fn. 34) In 1503 Thomas Chalkhill was pardoned for killing John Fell, chaplain and curate of Kingsbury, in self-defence. (fn. 35) In 1525 William Cheshire, who may have been a former curate of Kingsbury, attacked John Bishop, curate of Kingsbury and later vicar of Willesden. (fn. 36) John West, curate in 1538, was a supporter of Henry VIII's religious innovations. (fn. 37) Robert Whiting, curate 1580-92, was 'simple'. (fn. 38) Thomas Fox, appointed curate in 1639, was ejected (fn. 39) and replaced in 1650 by Thomas Gardiner, a learned Presbyterian. When Gardiner moved to a more important post in 1654, (fn. 40) he was succeeded by Samuel Stancliffe, late rector of Great Stanmore. (fn. 41) The last of Kingsbury's 'Puritan' curates was James Prince, appointed in 1657 and ejected in 1662. (fn. 42)

Most early curates, often young men straight from university, were either poor or undistinguished, but from the late 17th century there were many pluralists, often incumbents of neighbouring parishes or canons of St. Paul's. Joseph Wilcocks, curate 1683-1702, was at the same time vicar of Harrow; William Hawkins, curate 1702-36, and Henry Fly, curate 1821-33, were also vicars of Willesden and canons of St. Paul's; Thomas Hilman, curate 1736-64, was another canon. William Clarke held Kingsbury in plurality with Willesden from 1795 and his successor, Thomas Woodman, held it with Twyford in 1820. (fn. 43) Moses Wight, curate 1764- 95, vicar of Willesden and canon of St. Paul's, was a fashionable London preacher who appointed the learned Samuel Parr, then a master at Harrow School, as assistant curate with a salary of £25 a year. (fn. 44) Robert Dillon, assistant curate of Kingsbury and Willesden in 1824, was also a popular preacher, especially favoured by women. (fn. 45) In 1833 after complaints about non-residence (fn. 46) the chapter appointed Henry Atcheson, an extreme Evangelical, who was resident in the parish for over 40 years. (fn. 47)

In 1497 a Welsh boy of about five years of age was found bound in the cemetery of Kingsbury church. After adoption by a tenant of the manor, he was named David Welch and apprenticed. (fn. 48) In 1685 orders were given that the communion table was to be railed in. (fn. 49) During the 18th century there was one service on Sundays, usually in the afternoon, except three or four times a year when communion was administered. (fn. 50) A morning service was introduced in 1833 after complaints by the parishioners (fn. 51) and on census day 1851, the morning and afternoon services were attended by 55 and 36 people respectively, (fn. 52) presumably including the choir of redhooded girls who occupied the gallery after it was built in 1840. (fn. 53) In 1883 a morning service at 11.0 a.m. was held at St. Andrew's while a service at 3 p.m. and a choral service at 6.30 p.m. were held at the chapel at the Hyde. Church activities included a guild of St. Andrew and Kingsbury clothing club. (fn. 54)

The old church of ST. ANDREW, (fn. 55) called in 1393 the church of St. Andrew and St. John the Baptist, (fn. 56) presumably because of its connexion with the Hospitallers, is situated in the southern extremity of the ancient parish of Kingsbury. The small church is built of flint rubble and Roman bricks and tiles and consists of undivided nave and chancel, west turret, and short spire. The modified long-and-short work of the western quoins may be a Saxon feature but other evidence, including the position of the 12th-century doorway, suggests a post-Conquest date. The chancel and nave contain 13th-century work with 14th- and 15th-century additions, including a trussed rafter roof. The parish was always too poor to enlarge the church and a relaxation of penance granted in 1393 to those who contributed to the conservation of St. Andrew's, (fn. 57) suggests that even the existing fabric was sometimes in danger. Pictures of 1796 (fn. 58) and 1822 (fn. 59) shows a dilapidated small country church. In 1840, however, it was drastically restored. The 14th-century timber south porch, the carved roof bosses and the rood screen were removed; the exterior was covered with roughcast and the roof with plaster; plain glass replaced quarries, a gallery was added, and a brick vestry was erected in front of the priest's door. In 1870 the wooden bell-turret and spire were rebuilt (fn. 60) and in 1888 the church was again restored; the midVictorian roof plaster and brick vestry were removed and a new vestry was built on the north side. The roof was re-tiled in 1906 and further restoration took place in 1955. (fn. 61)

The font, a circular bowl with octagonal rim, is probably 13th-century. It has no drainage hole and may have been a domestic mortar. According to local tradition, it was thrown into a pond in 1840, whence it was rescued by the owner of Lewgars, who used it as a flower pot until he was persuaded, on his death-bed in 1905, to restore it to the church. The pedestal is modern. The church contains a late-17th-century oak lectern, which was taken from a City church in the 1880s and from which Gladstone read the lesson when he was staying in Willesden at the end of the 19th century. There are three original brasses, including one in the chancel to John Shepherd (d. 1520), his wives, and 18 children. There is a floor-slab to John Bull (d. 1621) (fn. 62) in the chancel and a table-tomb to Mary Scudamore (d. 1669) in the churchyard. There are three bells: (i) c. 1350, by Peter de Weston; (ii) 1604, by James Butler; (iii) 1708, by Samuel Newton. (fn. 63) The plate and registers have been transferred to Holy Innocents church.

When L. C. Edwards, a master at Harrow School, became curate of Kingsbury in 1883, St. Andrew's church was too small and the population was concentrated in the northern part of the parish and especially at the Hyde. There was a chapel at the Hyde where his predecessor conducted afternoon and evening services in 1883, (fn. 64) but it was on Edwards's initiative that a new church was built by subscription on a site given by All Souls College. (fn. 65) The church was consecrated in 1884 as the parish church of Kingsbury, all the endowments and rights of St. Andrew's being transferred to the new benefice, which was ordained a vicarage in the patronage of the chapter of St. Paul's. (fn. 66) It was attended on census day 1903 by 96 people in the morning and 92 in the evening. (fn. 67) The old church became a chapel of ease, against the wishes of many of the parishioners who, led by one of the churchwardens, sang psalms and hymns there while the vicar officiated at the first service in the new parish church. (fn. 68)

In 1887 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners granted a perpetual annuity of £205 and for the rest of the century the vicar's income was about £300 a year. The commissioners also granted £60 for a curate during the absence of the vicar. (fn. 69) The glebe, the two fields on either side of St. Andrew's church, which produced a rental of £7 a year, was sold in 1900 for use as an extension to the burial ground. (fn. 70) In 1887 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners made a grant of £1,500 for a parsonage, a large but insanitary building north of the church. (fn. 71) The London Diocesan Fund purchased a site at Roe Green in 1929 for a church, vicarage and hall. A hall was built there and used for public worship in the 1930s. A site opposite was purchased for a new, smaller, vicarage, which was built in 1931, the old vicarage being used successively by the Children's Adoption Society, the Jewish Children Refugees, and Dr. Barnardo's Homes (fn. 72) until it was demolished between 1956 and 1963. (fn. 73)

The church of HOLY INNOCENTS stands at the highest point of Kingsbury Road, opposite its junction with Townsend Lane. The nave, chancel, Lady chapel and south porch were built in the Gothic style by William Butterfield in 1884 in yellow stock brick with varicoloured brick patterning. A small western turret was added in 1895 and a vestry in 1909; narthex, north aisle and choir vestry were added in 1957. There is one bell. (fn. 74) The plate, transferred from old St. Andrew's, includes a silver cup and paten cover, dated 1704, given by Richard Bowater. (fn. 75) Although an order was given to keep the registers in 1685, (fn. 76) the registers of births and deaths are complete only from 1732, and of marriages from 1735.

In 1885 old St. Andrew's became a consolidated chapelry under the name of Neasden-cum-Kingsbury, formed from parts of the parishes of Kingsbury and Willesden. It was a chapel of ease in the gift of the vicar of Kingsbury until he surrendered the right of presentation to the chapter of St. Paul's, (fn. 77) who retained it until the benefice became a vicarage in 1934 and the patronage passed to the Crown. (fn. 78) The Ecclesiastical Commissioners granted £1,500 in 1885 (fn. 79) for a vicarage house, for which a site was found in 1887. An annuity of £95 was granted to the perpetual curate in 1887 (fn. 80) and an annuity of £30 was added in 1907 to maintain an assistant curate. The benefice was worth £285 a year in 1903, by which date it had a chapel of ease, St. Catherine's Neasden-cum-Kingsbury. (fn. 81) With the development of southern Kingsbury after 1924 old St. Andrew's church could not accommodate the expanding population and a large church from Wells Street (St. Marylebone) was moved to an adjacent site to become the parish church. (fn. 82)

The new church of ST. ANDREW was originally built by S. W. Dawkes and Hamilton in 1847 and moved to Kingsbury by W. A. Forsyth in 1933. One of the earliest neo-Gothic churches, it is built of limestone rubble with freestone dressings in the Somerset Perpendicular style and consists of aisled and clerestoried nave incorporating the chancel, south porch, and north-west tower and spire. (fn. 83) As a centre of Anglo-Catholicism, (fn. 84) it acquired many interior embellishments. The metal chancel screen and pulpit are by Street, who also designed the reredos, which was sculptured by James Redfern. J. L. Pearson designed the font-cover and W. Butterfield the lectern. Most of the windows are by Clayton and Bell, except for the east window, a modern one designed by Goddard and Gibbs to replace a Pugin window, which was destroyed during the Second World War. Eight bells were presented to the church in 1880. A temporary church hall, built near the old church after 1907, was replaced by a permanent building in 1950. (fn. 85)

The parish of All Saints, Queensbury, which grew out of a Home Mission, was created in 1932 as a conventional district with a priest-in-charge. It was formed from the old parishes of Kingsbury and Little Stanmore, and includes all the area between Honeypot Lane and Edgware Road, between Camford Avenue in the north and Girton and Homstall avenues in the south. In 1941 it became a parochial district, the benefice becoming a vicarage in the patronage of the Crown. Worship was conducted in a hall in Dale Avenue, Little Stanmore, then in a marquee erected as part of a mission in Waltham Drive, and from 1938 in a wooden hut built on the site of the marquee. The church of ALL SAINTS, built next to the hall, was consecrated in 1954. Built by Romilly B. Craze, it is a brick building in a plain style and has a nave, chancel, north and south aisles, north-east chapel, and north tower. (fn. 86)


  • 1. V.C.H. Mdx. i. 126.
  • 2. St. Paul's MS., W.D. 9, f. 85v.
  • 3. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xix, p. 495.
  • 4. After the grant by Queen Anne's Bounty; see below.
  • 5. Under the District Church Tithes Act Amendment Act, 1868.
  • 6. See below.
  • 7. Home Cnties. Mag. i. 322; Cal. S.P. Dom. 1652-3, 398.
  • 8. J.I. 3/36/1 m. 3.
  • 9. B.M. Cott. MS. Claud. E. vi, f. 14.
  • 10. Ibid. ff. 39v., 241; S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/2402 m. 9d.; /2405.
  • 11. C 54/3556 mm. 10 sqq.
  • 12. Davenport MSS.: Com. Ct. Lond., Reg. 1585-92, f. 127.
  • 13. See below.
  • 14. Home Cnties. Mag. i. 322; C 54/3556 mm. 10 sqq.
  • 15. Church Com. deed 169397.
  • 16. M.R.O., Acc. 262/27(2).
  • 17. M.R.O., MR/TH/5, 75.
  • 18. Home Cnties. Dir. (1851), 546.
  • 19. Kelly's Dir. Lond. (1872), 132.
  • 20. M.R.O., TA/KIN; Return of Agreements for commutation of tithe, H.C. 555, p. 23 (1839), xli.
  • 21. Home Cnties. Mag. i. 322; C 54/3556 mm. 10 sqq.
  • 22. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1657-8, 198.
  • 23. Church Com. deed 169397.
  • 24. Ibid. 169053-62; M.R.O., Acc. 262/27(2).
  • 25. Hodgson, Queen Anne's Bounty, p. cccxiv.
  • 26. M.R.O., Acc. 400/66.
  • 27. H.O. 129/135/2/4/4.
  • 28. Bodl. MS. D.D. All Souls c75/31-2.
  • 29. Ibid. c38/13.
  • 30. Prob. 11/18 (P.C.C. 13 Holder).
  • 31. Prob. 11/30 (P.C.C. 14 Pynnyng).
  • 32. E 301/34 m. 32; Bodl. MS. D.D. All Souls c52, ct. bk., ff. 11-11d., 57d.
  • 33. All Souls Coll., Hovenden map, portfolio II, no. 14.
  • 34. Bodl. MS. D.D. All Souls c37/7(1).
  • 35. Cal. Pat. 1494-1509, 312.
  • 36. Bodl. MS. D.D. All Souls c38/13; Req. 2/19/11. See p. 85.
  • 37. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xiii(2), p. 142.
  • 38. Guildhall MS. 9537/6, f. 173v.
  • 39. Hennessy, Novum Repertorium, 262-3; Potter, Old Kingsbury Ch. 18-19.
  • 40. Matthews, Calamy Revised, 217.
  • 41. Ibid. 458; see p. 106.
  • 42. Matthews, Calamy Revised, 399.
  • 43. Hennessy, Novum Repertorium, 262-3; Le Neve, Fasti, 1541-1857, St. Paul's, 46, 65n.; Clerical Guide (1822), 92; Lysons, Environs, iii. 621, Suppl. 222.
  • 44. Guildhall MS. 9557, f. 39; S. Holliday, Hist. of Kingsbury [pamphlet penes Hendon Libr.].
  • 45. D.N.B.
  • 46. Kingsbury Vestry Min. Bk. (1802-34) penes Brent Cent. Ref. Libr.
  • 47. Hennessy, Novum Repertorium, 263; Potter, Old Kingsbury Ch. 26.
  • 48. Bodl. MS. D.D. All Souls c37/10.
  • 49. Guildhall MS. 9537/20, f. 107.
  • 50. Guildhall MSS. 9550, 9557, f. 39.
  • 51. Kingsbury Vestry Min. Bk. (1802-34) penes Brent Cent. Ref. Libr.
  • 52. H.O. 129/135/2/4/4.
  • 53. Potter, Old Kingsbury Ch. 26.
  • 54. Hendon etc. Dir. (1883).
  • 55. Except where otherwise stated, the foll. paras. are based upon Hist. Mon. Com. Mdx. 88-89; Pevsner, Mdx. 120; Potter, Old Kingsbury Ch.; Yates, 'Kingsbury Old Church', Jnl. of London Soc. ccx. 117-20; T.L.M.A.S. xviii(2), no. 209; G. H. Ayerst, Short Acct. of parish of Neasdencum-Kingsbury [pamphlet c. 1907]; Wemb. Hist. Soc., Jnl. N.S. i(1), 15-19.
  • 56. Cal. Papal L. iv. 450.
  • 57. Ibid.
  • 58. See plate facing p. 81.
  • 59. Potter, Old Kingsbury Ch., plate facing p. 25.
  • 60. For views of the church in 1815 and 1875, see Wemb. Hist. Soc., Photo. Coll., Acc. 412/3; 454/1.
  • 61. Wemb. Hist. Soc., Jnl. N.S. i(1), 9.
  • 62. See p. 49.
  • 63. T.L.M.A.S. xvi. 311-12; Wemb. Hist. Soc., Jnl. N.S. i(2), 12.
  • 64. See above.
  • 65. Church Com., file 67417.
  • 66. Lond. Gaz. 6 June 1884, p. 2494; 37th Rep. of Eccl. Com. [C. 4323], pp. 66, 71, H.C. (1884-5), xxi.
  • 67. R. Mudie-Smith, Religious Life of London, 422.
  • 68. F. K. Malyon, Holy Innocents Church, Kingsbury (pamphlet), 3.
  • 69. 40th Rep. of Eccl. Com. [C. 5330], p. 33, H.C. (1888), xxxiv; Clergy List (1892), 185; licence for curate, A6/1 and letters from Eccl. Com., A8/2-3 penes Holy Innocents church, Kingsbury.
  • 70. Return of Glebe Lands, H.C. 307, p. 88 (1887), lxiv; Ayerst, Neasden-cum-Kingsbury, 13.
  • 71. 40th Rep. of Eccl. Com. [C. 5330], p. 33, H.C. (1888), xxxiv; Lond. Gaz. 8 July 1887, p. 3691; plans for vicarage, A8/7-9 penes Holy Innocents church, Kingsbury.
  • 72. F. K. Malyon, Holy Innocents Church, 4; correspond. on church hall, B3/1-2 penes Holy Innocents church, Kingsbury.
  • 73. Ex. inf. Brent L.B., Planning and Research Dept.
  • 74. T.L.M.A.S. xviii(2), no. 211; Malyon, Holy Innocents Ch.
  • 75. Freshfield, Communion Plate, 37.
  • 76. Guildhall MS. 9537/20, f. 107.
  • 77. Lond. Gaz. 21 July 1885, p. 3365; Return of Parishes Divided, H.C. 386, p. 8 (1890-1), lxi; transfer of right of presentation, A1/4 penes Holy Innocents church, Kingsbury.
  • 78. Crockford (1935).
  • 79. 38th Rep. of Eccl. Com. [C. 4679], p. 36, H.C. (1886), xx.
  • 80. 40th Rep. of Eccl. Com. [C. 5330], p. 72, H.C. (1888), xxxiv.
  • 81. Kelly's Dir. Essex etc. (1903), ii. 358.
  • 82. Malyon, Holy Innocents Ch.; F. G. Springford, Hist. of St. Andrews [pamphlet].
  • 83. See plate facing p. 80.
  • 84. 'Considered from a ritual point of view, it is the most satisfactory church yet built in London': Ecclesiologist, viii. 79.
  • 85. T.L.M.A.S. xviii(2), no. 208; Pevsner, Mdx. 120-1; Springford, Hist. of St. Andrews; Ayerst, Neasden-cumKingsbury, 18-19.
  • 86. T.L.M.A.S. xviii(2), no. 210; Wemb. Hist. Soc., Acc. 907-21; All Saints', Queensbury, Dedication [souvenir pamphlet, 1954].