Tag Archives: St Mary Hayes

Hayes (Hillingdon, Middlesex)

Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London” …

Hayes was first recorded in  an Anglo-Saxon charter of 831 as Haese, from an Old English word  meaning “heath-land”.  It was a small village for most of its history, only beginning to become  suburbanised after the coming of the Grand Junction Canal in the late eighteenth century and the Great Western Railway in the mid-nineteenth.  It is now administratively part of the Urban District of Hayes and Harlington in the London Borough of Hillingdon.

Church of St Mary

The original church of St Mary was probably built here sometime in the Saxon period, being mentioned in the Norman Domesday Book of 1086.  The present church was built in the early Medieval period, in the twelfth or thirteenth century (*); and extended in the late Medieval, in the fifteenth century, when the north aisle and tower were added; and again in the post-Medieval, in the sixteenth century, when the  south aisle, south porch and lych-gate were added.

St Christopher mural - Copy

In the nave, the font,  mural of St Christopher, piscina and sedilia survive from the Medieval period.

Lellee memorial - Copy

There are also some surviving Medieval to post-Medieval memorials: to Robert Lellee, Rector (who died sometime between 1356 and 1375); Robert Burgeys, Rector (d. 1421); Walter Grene, a “Controller of Tonnage and Poundage” in the Port of London, a Justice of the Peace and a Member of Parliament  (d. 1456); Thomas Higate (d. 1579); Sir Edward Fenner, a Judge of the King’s Bench (d. 1611); and Veare Jenyns (d. 1644).  In the churchyard is the surviving grave of Richard Bixey (d. 1660).

In 1534, Henry Gold, the “Vicar of Hayes”, an accomplice of the traitress Elizabeth Barton (the “Holy Maid of Kent”), was executed alongside her  at Tyburn.  And in 1650, Patrick Young, Rector, was ejected from his post, for refusing to follow the rule of the Independents during the Civil War.

(*) Sources differ.  Note, though, that the first record of a Rector is from 1259.

Hayes (Kent)

Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London” …

Hayes was first recorded in 1177 as Hesa, from the Old English haese, meaning “heath-land” (although archaeological evidence indicates that the area had also been occupied during Roman times).  Tax records   for 1301 list 26 families, and imply  a population at that time of around 140 individuals.   Around half of the population is believed to have died during the “Black Death” of 1348-49.

Hayes remained  a small village for most of its history, only beginning to become  suburbanised after  the coming of the West Wickham and Hayes Railway in 1882.  It is now administratively part of the London Borough of Bromley.

Church of St Mary the Virgin

The church of St Mary the Virgin was probably originally built here sometime in the twelfth century, there being documentary records of a rector here at least as long ago as 1177.  It was subsequently entirely rebuilt in the Norman or Romanesque style in 1250, remodelled in the Gothic style in 1400, and extended in 1500, when the fine king-post roof was added.  It has also been much modified in more modern times, most notably by Sir George Gilbert Scott between 1856-61.

In the interior are brass memorials to the former Rectors John Osteler (d. 1461), Sir John Andrew (d. 1479), John Heygge (d. 1523), Robert Garret (d. 1566) and John Hoare (d. 1584), and to John Handford (d. 1610); also stone memorials to Sir Stephen Scott (d. 1658) and his family of Hayes Place; and a plaque commemorating William Pitt the Elder and Younger also of Hayes Place (*).

In the bell tower are six bells, the oldest made by Robert Mot of the Whitechapel Foundry in 1602 (essentially as a replacement for those removed during the reign of Edward VI in 1552).

Hayes Place

A house known as Hayes Place was built just to the  west of the church at least as long ago as the mid-seventeenth century, for the aristocrat Scott family.  The house later came to be occupied by the literary critic, patron of the arts and salonist Elizabeth Montagu (1718-1800), whose house- guests included many famous literary figures, especially women (“blue-stockings”); by  the sometime Prime Ministers William Pitt the Elder (1708-1778), and William Pitt the Younger (1759-1806), whose guests included Nelson and Wellington (*); and by the banker and local benefactor Sir Everard Alexander Hambro (1842-1925).  It  was eventually demolished in 1934.

(*) The Pitts are both buried in Westminster Abbey.