Perivale St Mary Parish Church, West London - Monuments
The little Parish Church of Perivale, the smallest in Middlesex, West London, and today named St Mary the Virgin
(older references give no dedication), contains more monuments than its size would suggest. Outside, it is distinguished by its short wooden 16th Century tower, one of three
Hillingdon churches of this type in the same area, the others being Northolt and Greenford. The rest of the Church is of stone
and older, the Chancel being 13th Century and the Nave 15th Century, and some work being done in the 19th Century. The engraving below shows little
change externally to the Church in the last 130 years.
St Mary's Church, Perivale, 1880s and now.
Inside, Perivale Church consists of a simple nave without aisles, little more than 30 ft long, and a chancel,
and the portion under the tower. It has an open ceiling to show satisfyingly dark roof beams, and has painted panels
in the chancel area. The monuments dot the walls, mostly as normal at the chancel end. There are around two dozen,
including the larger marble and alabaster panels, through to the humbler pieces and several revival brasses.
Interior of Church.
Monuments 1500 and 17th Century
- Henry Myllet, d.1500 according to the modern inscription, 1505 says the Royal Commission on Historic Monuments,
and his wives Alice and Joan. A brass set into the floor, showing him standing and praying, between his two wives,
one older and grimmer, the other younger and more slender, and below the fortunate man are ranked his 15 daughters, set in two groups
under their respective mothers. In a simple but effective style with bold lines. The excellent Church website notes he was the likely grandfather
of the eponymous Henry Myllet who became the first Lord of the Manor, and the latter's son George Millet's close relatives are commemorated by the three
17th Century panels noted below. The Church website goes on to say that George Millet's own brass was lost during the Victorian restoration.
The Myllet offspring, c.1500.
- Joane Shelbery, d.1623, wife to first George Millet, ‘Lord of this towne and Patron of this Church’,
and then John Shelbery of Perivale, having five children by each, and being ‘to them both a loyall & loving wife’.
More eulogistic text follows, also noting her descent from the families of Pites and Saunders.
A nice example of an early 17th Century panel, with pale text on a dark backing, enclosed by a red-brown alabaster frame,
carved in low relief on the sides with ribbons and skulls as memento mori (more on skull sculpture on this page), two spikes or small obelisks at the top,
pendants at the base, and a central small carving of her figure in a winding sheet ready for burial - see picture below left. With the two other
monuments pictured, we see the similar style of such things, all with the same squared off elements, the side pilasters (flat pillars), room for something below the main black tablet,
the formal placings of the extra decorative features, and it becomes clear that the first two pictures have lost some central heraldic device from the top.
- Thomas Lane, d.1652, ‘Patron of this Church an[d] auncient Bencher of the Inner Temple’, and brother in law to Elizabeth Millet noted below, his second wife
Jane [Duncombe] Lane, d.1652, and her sister Ursula [Duncombe] Lane, d.1647, who married John Lane, and
Katherine [Gates] Lane, d.52, second wife of John Lane. A large panel, with the text on a black panel,
and a surround of alabaster, which looks reconstructed. At the sides are receding pilasters, decorated with painted
shields of arms and low relief carving - see picture below, centre. At the top is an open, curved pediment, which likely once would have contained
a larger shield of arms or cartouche. Underneath is a broad shelf, supported on two heavily carved scrolly brackets,
with a Latin verse on the black panel between them. At the very base, a winged cherub head on a broad panel (lots more such things on this page).
I would think that originally there would have been more weight to the sides, perhaps weightier pillars,
and inner alabaster sidepieces to the main text.
17th Century Baroque panels: Shelbery, Thomas Lane, Elizabeth [Millet] Lane.
- Elizabeth [Millet] Lane, d.1655, wife of John Lane the Elder, and daughter of George Millet,
Patron of the Church and his wife Joane Millet, whose monument is noted above. The long text says that
‘Many Daughters have done Virtuously// but shee excelled them all’. Another grand panel, white on black,
with alabaster surround - see picture above right. This is what the Thomas Lane monument might once have looked like.
Thus the central panel is enclosed in an alabaster frame, with receding black pilasters to the sides,
clearly separated, and the remaining part of some outer alabaster scrolling on one side
(the other may have been removed to allow for the window, though the monument could have been hung a few inches to the left).
Above and below, more rectangles of black marble divided by alabaster, a frequent trait of monuments of this period.
At the top, a shelf supports a curly open pediment with a large cartouche of arms, painted, in the centre.
At the base, carved terminals and a low, central piece with carved strapwork and two small cloth hangings;
a later monument is wedged underneath, and it may be that there was a little more to the lower part of the Lane piece.
18th Century Monuments
- John Harrison, d.1722, erected by his wife Elizabeth Harrison, d.1756, with a eulogy.
By the early 17th Century, the Harrisons had become Lords of the Manor through marriage into the Lane family. A large monochrome 18th Century panel , being made in black-streaked white marble and a good example of the
rather baroque Classical monuments on the grander scale of this period. The central inscribed panel is flanked by
tall Ionic pillars, supporting at the top an entablature and a shelf with protruding sides.
Under this, the central panel is arched, allowing for two spandrels (triangular shapes) with fanciful carved foliage within them.
There is a smaller shelf at the base, under which are a pair of curly brackets supporting the pillars,
and a central apron on which is a painted shield of arms within a cartouche formed by the mantling of the knight’s helm upon it.
At the very bottom is a winged cherub head.
Thomas Adye's obelisk monument with cherub to Harrison Lane, d.1750.
- Lane Harrison, d.1750, who died of small pox aged 26, the monument being erected by his four sisters.
An obelisk monument with the tall and broad obelisk of veined dark marble having in front of it a putto - a little wingless cherub serving the same
cherubic purpose -
seated with one hand on a shield of arms within a cartouche, the other wrapped in a piece of cloth with which he dries his eye.
He also clutches an upside down flaming torch, symbolic of life being snuffed out, and the drapes fall open to reveal
a well-carved skull as a momenti mori, to remind the viewer of their own impending doom. You'll need to click on the picture above to enlarge to see this
properly. The putto is seated on a
black marble shelf, which curves backward underneath to a pair of curly brackets with carved shells at the base,
and a white marble panel with the inscription. The piece is signed by the sculptor, Thomas Adye,
a significant artist and monument maker of the mid-18th Century, and cherubs holding roundels with heraldic arms,
or portraits, are his favoured type.
Gurnell monument, 1750, and detail of carved flowers.
- John Gurnell, d.1748, and his wife Ann [Harrison] Gurnell, d.1750 – she was a daughter of John Harrison,
noted above. Another noble obelisk monument, with the obelisk being the backing panel to the upper part of the monument,
and bearing upon it a beautifully carved urn with festoons of flowers to either side, a base with scrolling,
and above, a cartouche of arms and leafy fronds sticking out to the sides. The lower, wider part of the monument is carved
as a casket end, so with slanted sides, and bears the inscription. This sits, legless, on a shelf under which are carved
curly supports and a central curved apron with carved Acanthus leaves at the base. It is relatively colourful,
with four different types of marble used in the construction, a contrast to the white and black John Harrison memorial.
The detailing is fine – for example the brackets which end in bunches of grapes with vinous leaves curled about them,
and the careful delineation of the flowers above.
- Richard Lateward, d.1777, who had bought the Manor of Perivale in 1767, and his wife Mrs Anne Lateward, d.1779. In black and white and pale beige marble
with a backing panel of streaky grey marble. The inscription is on an oval, with carved hanging flowers on one side,
the other being lost, on a black panel with upper shelf with repeating decorative pattern bearing a broad pot in alto relievo
– this is of Renaissance style, with the handles being finely carved rams’ heads (sheep sculpture is featured on this page), with drapes hanging
from their spiralling horns (see picture below). At the base is a coat of arms inscribed on a cartouche, and to each side of this,
a square panel, too big to be the feet of the boxy construction above, with a carved flower upon it.
An odd thing; the base rests on a grey stone block which may have been there before the monument,
and the backing panel is cut away on one side to fit the window.
- Mrs Temperance Lateward, d.1790, plain white panel with nicely cut text.
- Elizabeth Bolas, d.1793, pale, elegant script cut into a small black panel,
with a thick frame and upper shelf like a small window, set into the wall.
19th Century Monuments
- Ellen Frances Nicholas, d.1818, daughter of the Revd. Dr George Nicholas of Ealing and his wife Elizabeth,
who died aged just 21. Above the inscribed panel is a tall pointed arch with an alto relievo carving of the death scene.
She is shown as if asleep, eyes closed, hands in prayer, wearing a thin nightshirt and long skirt below.
She is on her bed, sheets pulled back, and with her upper body being raised up by the embrace of an angel.
The composition, with the mortal’s body stretching to the right in front of the angel’s to the left,
the two heads close enough almost to touch, the angel’s outspread wings above and across, is excellent.
A most touching piece of sculpture, signed by the eminent sculptor Sir Richard Westmacott RA,
a prolific make of church monuments of the highest calibre, and most famous of a dynasty of monument makers.
Sir Richard Westmacott RA's sculpture for Ellen Nicholas, d.1818.
- Frederick Gray Kirby Lateward, d.1825, a child, and the Revd John Douglas Lateward, d.1846,
sons of the Revd. James Frederick Lateward and his wife Mary Lateward. Plain black panel with inscribed line border,
and a thin upper shelf.
- Dr Anthony Todd Thomson, d.1849, a medical man and professor of Medical Jurisprudence at London University.
Plain panel with thick frame.
- Edward Murray, d.1893, and wife Grace [Croft] Murray, d.1898, two brass shields
set on a rectangular backing. With nice black text and some minor ornamentation in red. Made by Turle, Norfolk Street, Southsea.
- Charlotte Parthing (Farthing?), d.1897, a revival brass panel in jolly style, cut as an unrolling scroll,
with the text in a blackletter style very difficult to read, with some words and capitals in red.
Something out of the ordinary at least.
- Carter family, 1880s-1900: three plain brasses with red capitals and inscribed line borders.
Late Victorian revival brasses: shield and scroll.
20th Century Monuments
- Charles Joseph Hughes, d.1907, Rector of the Parish for 46 years. Veined white marble on a black backing,
with the inscribed panel carved somewhat in the style of strapwork of the 17th Century, and a little carved shell at the base.
Arts and Crafts mosaic to Elizabeth Crompton, d.1909.
- Elizabeth Crompton, d.1909, Patron of the Church. A beautiful Arts and Crafts panel,
made with coloured and gilt mosaic and tile with a surround of pink and brown alabaster. The revival of alabaster at the end
of the 19th Century followed almost a hundred years of monochrome, and a satisfying return to the material favoured
in the time of the earliest monuments in the Church. The inscription seems to be on tile, above it a roundel depicting
the Virgin and Child, and between and around are bands of mosaic tiles in blues and greens and red and gold,
with crosses at the corners on red, giving the whole panel a precious, glittery appearance. By James and Willis of London. A pleasure to see such a piece.
- Margaret Ann Hughes, d.1912, wife of the Rector noted above, humble panel with nipped edges.
- Bernard Croft Murray, d.1915, buried in Nakuru Cemetery, British East Africa.
Another brass shield, and he was the son of Edward and Grace Murray noted above.
- James Shaw, d.1917, ‘a member of the family of Shaw of Mosshead in the County of Ayr, Baronets’.
A pale oval, with a border carved as a wreath of leaves and berries, and at the top, a coloured shield of arms
with a knight’s helm on top, small demi-figure, and mantling.
Shaw and Dunton: 20th Century harkening back to historic designs.
- Catherine Dunton, d.1933, pale script on black backing, within a stone window-like frame set into the wall,
clearly inspired by the Elizabeth Bolas panel of 140 years previous.
- Thomas Eland, d.1934, rector. Another pleasingly retro small panel, with arched top and a proper frame,
with cross on a keystone at the top, only the type of stone betraying its 20th Century date.
- Minnie Hillman, d.1939, plain coloured marble panel.
Also in the Church
- A great sideboard like affair, previously part of a reredos, with five paintings of religious figures - three are shown below -
each under a Gothic trefoil arch. In a Pre-Raphaelite style not unreminiscent of William Burges.
- A bronzed shield listing the Rectors of St Mary the Virgin, Perivale, decorative and difficult to read. Presumably dating from the 1900s.
- Victorian stained glass.
- An octagonal stone font of the 15th Century, with a brightly coloured cover given by Simon Coston in 1665.
- A World War I memorial, consisting of a wooden triptych with a small Crucified Christ in the centre.
Perivale World War I memorial.
- A squint – a window to view the altar from outside – presumed to be a leper’s window
rather than the normal one for those working outside.
Outside the Church
The small churchyard is seriously packed with monuments. Once derelict, it is now mostly in good repair,
with an ongoing programme of renovating collapsed monuments. There is a very wide selection of monuments with crosses,
showing most of the familiar variations (this website has a page on crosses).
There are a couple of standing angels, and one collapsed one, and a few headstones of interest.
View in Perivale Churchyard.
There is a headstone to a sculptor too – Richard Arthur Ledward, 1857-1890, father of the much better known Gilbert Ledward
(and one of his daughters married another sculptor, Newbury Trent). The little sculptured panel, perhaps by the son,
shows a sleeping angel amongst poppies, symbol of slumber.
Richard Ledward the sculptor, d.1890.
With many thanks to Dr Hugh Mather at the Church for permission to use photos from inside the Church; their splendid website, with photos of some of the monuments and historical information,
is at http://www.st-marys-perivale.org.uk/history-001.shtml
Top of page
Nearby in Middlesex: 2 miles south to St Mary, Ealing // and then East to St Mary, Acton // or West to St Mary the Virgin, Hayes // or North to St Mary, Harrow on the Hill
Monuments in some other London Churches
Introduction to church monuments // Churchyard monuments // Angel statues // Cherub sculpture
London sculpture // Sculptors
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