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Church of St Margaret, Hillingdon

Description: Church of St Margaret

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 8 May 1950
English Heritage Building ID: 202865

OS Grid Reference: TQ0552584099
OS Grid Coordinates: 505525, 184099
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5459, -0.4796

Location: Windsor Street, Hillingdon, Greater London UB8 1JR

Locality: Hillingdon
County: Greater London
Country: England
Postcode: UB8 1JR

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Listing Text

804/19/258 HIGH STREET
08-MAY-50 (Southwest side)


The church is probably late C12 or early C13 in origin, and the ghost of the original double-square nave and narrow N aisle are visible on the plan. The NW tower was added in the late C14. The nave arcades, W end of the nave and N aisle were rebuilt in the early C15. The S aisle was widened and the S chapel added in the late C15. The N chapel was added or rebuilt in the early C16. There was refurnishing in the C18. The tower was largely rebuilt c.1820, and the NW corner was cut back to allow the street to be widened. The church was restored in 1872 and the N vestry added in 1882. It was reordered in 1985-8 by Michael Reardon Associates, who reversed the orientation of the S aisle and converted most of the rest to a café.

Flint rubble with stone dressings. Tiled and leaded roofs.

Originally a fully aisled rectangle with structurally undivided nave and chancel, narrow N aisle and slightly wider N chapel, and a very wide S aisle and S chapel. NW tower porch and N vestry. The orientation was reversed at the conversion, and the W end of the S aisle is now the chancel, with the rest of the S aisle serving as the nave. The chancel has been retained as a baptistery chapel. The nave and N aisle are a café, with kitchen and offices in the former N chapel. The former vestry has been converted into toilets.

A square and boxy structure, the church is on a very cramped site. The N aisle has an embattled parapet, but there is no clerestory. The roofs are of different heights with the S aisle higher than the rest. C14 W tower porch, of three stages with an embattled parapet and a plain, square cupola of 1820, restored in 1988. The lowest stage forms the porch and has an open entrance arch. The inner doorway is also C14 and has headstops. Both the tower and aisles have offset buttresses with prominent stone quoining. The windows are largely Perpendicular in style with vertical tracery, and were mostly restored in the C19. Those in the S aisle, which have depressed heads, are early C16; the N chapel windows are also early C16. Early C16 S door with a depressed head and square frame in a shallow projection between the buttresses, and C15 W door.

The interior is plastered and painted, with a fine mid C15 hammerbeam roof in the S aisle and S chapel. The church was subdivided in the 1985-8 reordering and is now difficult to read in its entirety. The nave and chancel chapel arcades of five bays are continuous, but the two eastern bays for the chancel chapels spring from a higher level, and the bay spacing is different on each side, indicating that they were built in phases around an existing structure. The piers are octagonal and have moulded capitals. The arches of the N arcade are no longer visible from the nave floor; those of the S arcade are chamfered. There is no chancel arch.

The 1980s reordering created a café and service facilities in the nave, N aisle and N chapel. There is an inserted floor at the level of the nave arcade piers in the nave and N aisle on heavy joists and beams. This has a timber and glazed screen to the S aisle at upper level. The N chapel has been enclosed to form a kitchen and there are further partitions in this area. Timber and glazed screens in the position of a chancel screen, and in the western part of the S arcade, enclose the S aisle, S chapel and the former chancel as a liturgical space. The orientation has been reversed and the chancel is now at the W end of the S aisle, with a low sanctuary platform. The former chancel is now a baptistery at the liturgical SW end of this space and has a large roof light inserted into the ceiling.

The church was largely refurnished in the C19, and most of these furnishings, including pews, screens and pulpit, were subsequently removed in the late C20 reordering. Late C15 font, polygonal with enriched quatrefoils on the bowl. The base, with black marble inserts, black marble slab across the top, and the metal cover, are 1985-8. The metal altar rails and paschal candlestick match the font cover. The C19 reredos survives at the E end of the baptistery space, and two early C20 screens in a very late Arts and Crafts Gothic style, one with a WWI memorial inscription, stand in the arcades on the N and S sides of the baptistery. Some C19 and C20 glass.

Fine medieval roofs. In the S aisle and chapel, a mid C15 hammerbeam roof, an unusual type for Middlesex. Late C15 chancel roof with moulded tie beams and short king posts, with C18 boarding and coving. C20 roof light reusing older materials. Nave roof is similar to that in the chancel.

In the former chancel, two brass chandeliers dated 1695 and 1735. Paintings of Moses and Aaron, said to be from a reredos of 1771, hang on the E (liturgical W) wall of the new nave.

A few wall tablets and a very fine, large marble and alabaster monument to Leonora Bennett, d.1638. A reclining figure below a Doric entablature with a broken pediment. The high chest has a central panel of bones in a grilled recess. Attributed to John and Matthias Christmas.

St Margaret's was the chapel of St John the Baptist, Hillingdon until the early C19. A chapel is first recorded there in the mid C13, but it is likely that it was already there in the late C12 or early C13. The earliest surviving fabric is the C14 tower, but irregularities in the plan suggest that the church was rebuilt around an existing structure in the C15 and early C16. By the early C15, it comprised at least a nave, chancel, N aisle and the NW tower, although it may also have had a S aisle. The guild of St Mary and St Margaret was founded in 1448. It provided a chaplain, and a further chantry was endowed in 1459 for Walter Shiryngton, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. It was probably in connection with one or both of these chantries that the S aisle and S chapel were built or rebuilt, although Shiryngton's chapel is also associated with the N chapel. There was further work in the early C16 when the N chapel was added or rebuilt and the S aisle partly refenestrated. The nave and chancel ceiling were boarded and painted in the C18, galleries were installed and the Moses and Aaron paintings were part of a reredos installed in 1771. There was work on the tower in the early C19 including the rebuilding of the cupola in 1820. The church was restored in 1872 to designs by Sir George Gilbert Scott and the N vestry was added in 1882. The church was extensively reordered in the 1985-8.

RCHM Middlesex (1937) 127-9 and plates
VCH Middlesex 4 (1971), 87-91
B. Cherry and N. Pevsner, Buildings of England, London 3: North West (2002), 358-9
Stone, Beryl. The Story of St Margaret's Uxbridge (1999).
Lambeth Palace Library, Incorporated Church Building Society records, 07303

The church of St Margaret, Uxbridge is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* It is a surviving medieval town church retaining its nave and N aisle of the early C15, C14 NW tower, large S aisle of the late C15 built as a guild chapel.
* Internal fixtures of note include good medieval roofs, especially the C15 hammerbeam roof in S aisle and chapel, and a kingpost roof in the nave and chancel. C18 boarding and decoration in the chancel.
* Fine monument of 1638 to Leonora Bennett, attributed to the Christmas brothers, with a powerfully macabre charnel relief.
* In spite of extensive modern alterations to the interior, the church retains its spaciousness and legibility as a substantial late medieval place of worship situated in a prosperous Middlesex town.

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.