Harrow on the Hill, St Mary's Church - Monuments

Harrow on the Hill Parish Church, dedicated to St Mary, is in a perfect position, at the top of Harrow Hill, and its spire is a landmark for many miles around. It is ancient: the West Tower is largely of the mid-12th Century (the upper part and spire more recent), and the body of the Church from the early 13th Century, with additions in the 15th Century, including a splendid 15th Century ceiling with the supporting posts borne on strangely carved heads. Then there were the usual Victorian restorations, most notably by Gilbert Scott, no less, in 1846-9, rather drastic, but apparently necessary after the end of the 18th Century had seen the Church in a dilapidated state. Recent work on the plumbing found the Saxon grave of a young woman, evidence of a pre-Norman ecclesiastical existence.

Harrow on the Hill: Parish Church of St Mary.

The monuments are significant. In all there are about 40-odd panels and a few other entirely plain plaques. They include the remains of one large kneeler monument, five wall monuments with figure sculpture, and others with minor sculpture. We see grander 18th Century Classical panels and obelisks, white-on-black panels from the early 19th Century and several Gothic revival pieces with sandstone rather than marble surrounds, and a few turn-of-the-19th Century panels which see the return of coloured marbles and alabaster. The artists include the important sculptors Peter Scheemakers, John Flaxman, and Richard Westmacott the Younger, and also work by the less well known but noteworthy sculptors and stonemasons Peter Turnerelli, Henry Hopper, Gaffin of Regent Street, and M.W. Johnson.

Monuments

William Gerrard, d.1584, 'late of the Flamberds'.

Gerrard [Gerard] monuments, 16-17th Centuries

18th Century monuments

19th Century monuments

Drury monuments

We consider them all together, thus out of chronological sequence with the other monuments:

So much for the Drury family; back now to our other 19th Century monuments in date order from the 1840s:

20th Century monuments

Recalling we have already noted a couple of 20th Century panels to members of the Drury family, the others I saw are:

Double panel to Welsford and Owen, d.1916.

Brasses

There are several brasses from the 14th and 15th Century, and just a couple are noted here:

Typical Victorian brass panel with blackletter and red capitals.

Also in the Church

Outside the Church

The excellent view from the hill is seen to advantage from on top of the tomb of Peachey, famous for being favoured as a resting spot by the poet Byron, then at Harrow School; it is now enclosed with a railing and relevant verses by Byron are reproduced by it. Below the Church enclosure, the churchyard sprawls down the hillside, evocatively gloomy under dark trees, and with a decent collection of tombstones in various states of ruination, including a notable specimen of Victorian mosaicwork near the path.

Where Byron used to sit.

The top of Harrow Hill is of course the site of Harrow School, and a variety of mostly 18th and 19th Century buildings give a picturesqueness to the streets. There is a good statue of Queen Elizabeth I in a niche in a wall just below the Church, with stern face above a vast ruff – though it is in an older style, it is the work of Sir Richard Westmacott RA, and dates from 1815, being made originally for Ashridge Park, Hertfordshire, which had just been completed then, but was denuded of its treasures in the early 20th Century.

Westmacott statue of Elizabeth I.

With many thanks to the Church authorities for kind permission to show pictures of the monuments inside the Church; their website is https://stmarysharrow.com/.

Top of page

Nearby in Middlesex: West to Ruislip Church // North-West to Pinner Church // South to Perivale Church // South-East to Willesden Church // Sculpture on the Uxbridge Line

Monuments in some London Churches // Churches in the City of London // Introduction to church monuments

Angel statues // Cherub sculpture

London sculpture

Home

Visits to this page from 23 Feb 2017: 768