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St Mary the Virgin Churchyard, East Barnet Barnet
   

St Mary the Virgin Churchyard, East Barnet

St Mary the Virgin Churchyard, September 2000. Photo: S Williams

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St Mary's is the mother church to which St John's at Chipping Barnet was once a chapel at ease. The church had belonged to St Albans Abbey and until the C13th it served the whole of Barnet. The lych-gate, originally erected in 1872, was rebuilt in 1991. The churchyard has many fine tombs, a number of wooden graveboards on the north side, and among the trees are mature yews some c300 years old. In 2000 a yew cutting was planted in the south west corner taken from the Eastling Yew in Kent, a tree alive at the time of Christ’s incarnation. The churchyard was closed to burials in the late C19th and is now maintained as part of the Living Churchyards Project, a national initiative that aims to conserve and enhance the wildlife heritage found in churchyards.
St Mary the Virgin Churchyard, Wooden graveboards, September 2000. Photo: S Williams
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St Mary the Virgin Churchyard, Lych-gate, September 2000. Photo: S Williams
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St Mary the Virgin Churchyard, September 2000. Photo: S Williams
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St Mary the Virgin Churchyard, Memorial to John Sharpe, September 2000. Photo: S Williams
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The Lych Gate, East Barnet Church, undated postcard. Courtesy of Barnet Local Studies & Archives
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East Barnet Lane and Churchyard, undated postcard. Courtesy of Barnet Local Studies & Archives
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Previous / Other name: Parish Church of East Barnet
Site location: Church Hill Road, East Barnet
Postcode: EN4 8XE > Google Map
Type of site: Churchyard
Date(s): C12th on
Designer(s):
Listed structures: LBII*: St Mary the Virgin Church. LBII: Clarke family monument; group of 6 tombstones for Grove Family
Borough: Barnet
Site ownership: Diocese of St Albans
Site management: LB Barnet and members of St Mary's Congregation (Living Churchyards Project)
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: unrestricted
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Events:
Public transport: Rail: Oakleigh Park/New Barnet then bus. Bus: 307
St Mary the Virgin Churchyard, Wooden graveboards, September 2000. Photo: S Williams
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St Mary the Virgin Churchyard, Lych-gate, September 2000. Photo: S Williams
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St Mary the Virgin Churchyard, September 2000. Photo: S Williams
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St Mary the Virgin Churchyard, Memorial to John Sharpe, September 2000. Photo: S Williams
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The Lych Gate, East Barnet Church, undated postcard. Courtesy of Barnet Local Studies & Archives
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East Barnet Lane and Churchyard, undated postcard. Courtesy of Barnet Local Studies & Archives
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The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/09/2000
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.stmarys-eastbarnet.org

Fuller information:

St Mary the Virgin was the mother church to which St John's at Chipping Barnet (q.v.) was once a chapel at ease. Until St John's was built in the C13th St Mary's served as parish church for the whole of Barnet. The church once belonged to St Albans Abbey. The nave and 3 small windows on the north wall are Norman, the rest of the building dating from the C19th. It has a commanding position from the top of Church Hill across the Pymmes Brook.

Among those buried in the churchyard was Sir George Prevost who was of Swiss descent and became Governor General of Canada during the war in 1812 between America and England; he had opposed France in the West Indies and was rewarded with the governorship there. However his appointment in Canada went badly and he was summoned to London for a court martial but died before the trial. His father, General George Prevost (d.1787) is also buried here, the tomb a tapered classical sarcophagus with lions feet. Also Daniel Beaufort, who was one of the founders of the Royal Irish Academy and who prepared a map of Ireland, father of Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort who was known for the Beaufort Scale, a table of winds that was used by seamen. John Hadley (d.1744) who produced the first reflecting telescope that was powerful enough to study the stars as well as the reflecting quadrantthat still bears his name. John Sharpe (d.1766) has a monument with a large urn on a base under a heavy arched baldacchino possibly by Wilton, who also made a memorial to Hans Sloane in Chelsea. The Clarke Family monument commemorates Sir Simon Haughton Clarke of Oakhill, d.1832, and family, a railed Gothic monument with octagonal lantern on an octagonal plinth. Six similarly-designed tombstones to the Grove family with carved heads of putti surmounted by obelisks, the earliest dating from 1755.

The lych-gate with wooden steps adjacent was originally erected in 1872, and was rebuilt in 1991. The churchyard has a number of wooden graveboards on the north side, and among the trees are mature yews some c.300 years old. In 2000 a yew cutting was planted in the south west corner taken from the Eastling Yew in Kent, a tree alive at the time of Christ’s incarnation. The churchyard was closed for burials at the end of the C19th century; it is now designated a conservation area for flora and fauna, as part of the Living Churchyards Project, and is maintained through a partnership between LB Barnet and members of St Mary's congregation.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England: London 4: North (1998) p. 114; Arthur Mee 'The King's England: London North of the Thames except the City and Westminster' (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 1972). See 'A Brief History, The Little Church on the Hill' on www.stmarys-eastbarnet.org.uk
Grid ref: TQ277945
Size in hectares:
   
On EH National Register : No
EH grade:
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
No
 
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
On Local List:
In Conservation Area: No
Conservation Area name:
Tree Preservation Order: Not known
Nature Conservation Area: No
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: No
Special Policy Area: Yes - Area of Special Archaeological Significance
Other LA designation: Church Hill Road and Cat Hill - tier 2
   

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