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Church of St Laurence, Hillingdon

Description: Church of St Laurence

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 8 May 1950
English Heritage Building ID: 202720

OS Grid Reference: TQ0599482043
OS Grid Coordinates: 505994, 182043
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5274, -0.4735

Location: 33 Church Road, Hillingdon, Greater London UB8 3NB

Locality: Hillingdon
County: Greater London
Country: England
Postcode: UB8 3NB

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Listing Text

804/22/67 CHURCH ROAD
804/23/67 COWLEY


C12 nave, C13 chancel. Some C14 windows in the nave. Late medieval timber arches in place of chancel arch, and some late medieval pews. Bellcot rebuilt, W gallery added, and W porch added or rebuilt in 1780. Vestry, W annex and SW porch are C19; NW annex is C20. Restored 1897.

Flint rubble with Reigate and other freestone dressings. Timber bellcot with lead spire. Brick W annex and porch. Tiled roofs.

Unaisled nave and chancel. Bellcot over W bay of nave. N vestry, W annex and SW porch.

A tiny church, with a small, late C18 bellcot and spire over the W end of the nave. The nave is entered through the C19 W annex and porch. The porch has wavy bargeboards and a pointed outer opening. The C18 W annex has a C14-style W window inserted in the C19. Above it is three small C18 windows in the W wall of the nave. Further low C20 brick annex to NW. The nave N wall has two C18 round headed windows, one apparently an enlargement of a C12 light; the S wall has four windows of differing dates, one of the C14 and another of the late C15 or early C16. The C14 former S door is blocked by a window, and there is a small dormer in the roof. The chancel has a triplet of heavily restored lancets in the E wall, and a C13-style window and S door. The N side of the chancel is mostly covered by the C19 vestry.

The interior is plastered and painted, and is dominated by the massive roof trusses and by the large bellcot support and double W gallery. There is no chancel arch, and the nave and chancel are roofed with similar king post truss roofs. The rafters are ceiled in and plastered. The central truss, between the nave and chancel, is filled with six open, pointed arches, each with very simple vertical tracery above them. They are of uncertain date, and may be a late C19 or very early C20 insertion. The bellcot is supported on enormous posts of c.1780 and within these are two, contemporary galleries. The lower, now used as the organ loft, has C17 panelling incorporated into the front; the upper is wholly C18 and retains its original bench seating. There was formerly an additional gallery on the S side of the chancel, accessed by a now-blocked door and another door in what is now a window. A C19 door on the N side of the chancel leads to the vestry, and the remains of an altered C12 window is visible on the N side of the nave.

Some fragments of C15 or C16 tracery are incorporated into a low screen between the nave and chancel. Chancel seating incorporating medieval fragments has been removed. Panelling of c.1600 is incorporated into the lower part of the W gallery. The C19, Perpendicular-style polygonal font on a possibly medieval polygonal stem. The present rectangular pulpit appears to have been made up from a C19 polygonal pulpit. Early C20 brass lectern in the form of a female angel. Nave benches with moulded top rails are probably 1860s or 70s; they were certainly in place by 1880. Painted reredos of 1928. Some C19 and C20 glass.

Brass to Walter Pope, d. 1505 and his two wives. Several good C17 and C18 ledger slabs. Two benefaction boards recording gifts to the church, and its remodelling by Bernard and Thomas Dagnall, c.1766-80.

There was a church at Cowley by the C12, and it may have been founded by Westminster Abbey to serve the abbey estates in the area, although the advowson always belonged to the manor and not to the abbey. The present church, the smallest in the former county of Middlesex and surely one of the smallest parish churches in the country, was built in the C12. The chancel was rebuilt and probably widened in the C13, and there was some work on the church in the later middle ages, including some new windows and reroofing. It was probably also at this time that the chancel arch was removed and the screen, of which only fragments survive, installed in its place. It is unclear if the timber arcading in the roof truss above was also present in the later middle ages. The W porch was built or rebuilt, the bell turret was rebuilt, and the W galleries were added in 1780, paid for by Thomas Dagnall, whose family was a benefactor of local charities. Bernard Dagnall, probably his father, had previously paid for other works to the church and churchyard. A chancel gallery was installed at some time in the late C18 or early C19 and was apparently supported on thin, presumably cast or wrought iron, columns. It was not removed until 1897. The church was reseated sometime between 1849, when it was said to be in 'a grievous state from pues and galleries' [with pews of] all sizes, shapes, and colours' (VCH) and c.1880 when a watercolour was done showing the present pews. The present, low screen was probably part of the same work, as was a pulpit, subsequently altered. Also in the late C19, the present SW porch was added, the C18 W porch converted to a baptistery, and the N vestry added. There was further refurnishing in the C20.

B. Cherry and N. Pevsner, Buildings of England, London 3: North-West (2002), 310
RCHME Middlesex (1937), 10-11
VCH Middlesex 3 (1962), 175-6

The church of St Laurence, Cowley is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Small parish church of the C12 with a C13 chancel, late medieval roof, and C18 W annex, bellcot and W galleries. C19 porch and other additions.
* Interesting C18 double gallery at W end.
* Early C16 brass.
* A notable survival of a small medieval church in the context of suburban Middlesex, which retains much character.

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.