West Twyford: Church

Pages 175-176

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7, Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1982.

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West Twyford church originated as a chapel and suffered many vicissitudes. In 1114 the tithes belonged to the canons of St. Paul's. By 1181 there was a chapel there paying to St. Paul's 12d. a year for tithes, independent of the neighbouring churches, and allowed by the chapter to baptize and bury. About 1183 Gilbert of Cranford, perhaps related to the Walter of Cranford who was granted the manor in 1114, (fn. 1) was instituted as rector, on the presentation of Pain, son of Henry, and Eileen, with tithes and the right to bury the dead of Twyford in neighbouring churchyards belonging to St. Paul's. (fn. 2) Henry de Capella (d. c. 1248), lord of the manor, was said in 1297 to have founded the chapel and to have given 12 marks rent to support two chantry chaplains, 1 mark for the maintenance of the church, and 1 mark to augment the rectory. (fn. 3) In 1251 Bartholomew de Capella was patron, presenting a chaplain, also called perpetual rector, to the dean and chapter, as ordinary. The rector had a house and 10 a. of arable, which was not enough to support him, (fn. 4) and by 1297 he had a house, 15 a., 4 marks a year from manors in Buckinghamshire where the Capellas had land, (fn. 5) and tithes; Gunnersbury manor in Ealing was also considered to belong to the chapelry, presumably paying tithes. (fn. 6)

The chapel was equipped much like a parish church in 1251, when there were three altars, (fn. 7) and 1297, when there was a churchyard although the chapel was said not to be consecrated. (fn. 8) The advowson was recorded as belonging to the lord of the manor in 1380 (fn. 9) and rectors were recorded up to 1439, (fn. 10) but the payments from the Buckinghamshire manors and Gunnersbury lapsed and the chapel was worth only £2 a year in 1535. (fn. 11) Perhaps already the glebe and tithes had been merged in the manorial estate. The lord of the manor presented a rector in 1546, and in 1589 the rector of Perivale was presented to West Twyford in plurality. Another rector was presented in 1621, (fn. 12) and in 1635 the Crown presented after a vacancy of some years. The new rector, Thomas Lambe, brought an action to recover the rectory estate from the lord of the manor, (fn. 13) who as a result was ordered to pay the rector a stipend, which was £10 in 1650 and £6 in 1795. (fn. 14)

In 1650 the incumbent was a man who had been ejected from another living for scandal. (fn. 15) West Twyford may have been left vacant in the later 17th century; afterwards, until 1809, it was often held with Perivale rectory. (fn. 16) In the late 18th century services were performed by the rector or an assistant curate monthly or six times a year; in the early 19th century they were weekly, (fn. 17) as in 1872 when they were held by clergy from neighbouring parishes. (fn. 18) In 1885, however, the inhabitants went to church in Ealing. In 1862 the lessee of the manor had exercised the advowson but W. H. Allhusen, after acquiring the advowson with the manor house in 1890, failed to do so; services ceased and the church became dilapidated. When the Roman Catholic Alexian brothers attempted to use the church as their chapel the inhabitants protested, and when the brothers denied the rural dean access the bishop intervened. The church was reopened for Anglican worship in 1907, the curate of St. Stephen's, Ealing, being appointed to hold two services each Sunday and communion once a month, and the Crown presented an incumbent to what was thereafter called a vicarage, in the patronage of the bishop and later of the diocesan board of finance. (fn. 19) The benefice, augmented in 1912 by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, was worth £150 a year in 1915, (fn. 20) and a Vicarage was built in Brentmead Gardens in 1934. (fn. 21)

The chapel of ST. MARY, so called c. 1300 and in 1535, (fn. 22) stood west of the manor house and was one of the smallest churches in Middlesex, seating c. 40 people. (fn. 23) It was rebuilt c. 1712 by Frederick Herne (fn. 24) and in 1800 was a plain gabled building of brick with round-headed windows, a western entrance, and a bellcot. (fn. 25) Thomas Willan and his architect William Atkinson removed the road between the church and the manor house, covering both buildings with cement to give the appearance of stone, and embellishing them with Gothic details. (fn. 26) To accommodate a growing population, a church hall was built in 1937 and used for worship until in 1958 a new church, incorporating the old one as a Lady Chapel, was built to the design of N. F. Cachemaille-Day. (fn. 27) Surviving monuments include alabaster and marble wall memorials to Robert Moyle (d. 1638) and Walter Moyle (d. 1660). (fn. 28)

The parish registers date from 1722. (fn. 29) The church owned a silver chalice in 1251 and in 1552, when it was kept at the manor house. (fn. 30) In 1666 the plate, described as two silver gilt flagons and a chalice, was included in the personal estate of Walter Moyle. (fn. 31) Plate stamped with the Moyle arms and dated 1697 was discovered in a London bank in 1918 and returned to the parish. (fn. 32)


  • 1. Domesday of St. Paul's, 127, 152.
  • 2. Newcourt, Rep. i. 759.
  • 3. Visitations of Churches belonging to St. Paul's (Camd. Soc. N.S. lv), 64.
  • 4. 'Visitations of Churches', Camd. Misc. ix. 5.
  • 5. V.C.H. Bucks. iv. 223.
  • 6. Visitations of Churches (Camd. Soc. N.S. lv), 63-4.
  • 7. 'Visitations of Churches', Camd. Misc. ix. 4.
  • 8. Visitations of Churches (Camd. Soc. N.S. lv), 63.
  • 9. Cal. Inq. p.m. xv, p. 109.
  • 10. Hennessy, Novum Rep. 432.
  • 11. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i. 434.
  • 12. Hennessy, Novum Rep. 176, 432.
  • 13. P.R.O., C 3/408/12.
  • 14. Holmes, W. Twyford, 21-2; Lysons, Environs, iii. 610.
  • 15. Lysons, Environs, iii. 610.
  • 16. Ibid.; Hennessy, Novum Rep. 432; V.C.H. Mdx. iv. 126.
  • 17. Holmes, W. Twyford, 29; Lysons, Environs, iii. 610; Brewer, Beauties of Eng. & Wales, x(5), 354.
  • 18. N. & Q. 4th ser. x. 273.
  • 19. Kearney, 'Twyford Abbey'; Holmes, W. Twyford, 40; The Times, 15 Apr. 1907; Clergy List (1915); Lond. Dioc. Bk. (1972).
  • 20. Crockford (1912); Clergy List (1915).
  • 21. Inf. from the vicar.
  • 22. Bodl. MS. D.D. All Souls c 123/44; Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i. 434.
  • 23. Kearney, 'Twyford Abbey'.
  • 24. Bodl. Rawl. MS. B 389B, ff. 98-101.
  • 25. Plate facing p. 129.
  • 26. Proof of evid. by G.L.C. Historic Bldgs. Div. (TS. in Grange Mus.).
  • 27. Kearney, 'Twyford Abbey'.
  • 28. Hist. Mon. Com. Mdx. 121, plates 14, 133, 181.
  • 29. T.L.M.A.S. xviii (2), no. 40.
  • 30. Camd. Misc. ix. 4-5; P.R.O., E 315/498, f. 40.
  • 31. P.R.O., C 10/161/51.
  • 32. Kearney, 'Twyford Abbey'; M.R.O., Beavis Pkt. 41.