|St John the Evangelist Churchyard and Wembley Old Burial Ground||Brent|
St John the Evangelist Church was built in 1846 when Wembley became a separate parish, largely at the instigation of the Copland sisters, who were influential local benefactors. In 1887 a new burial ground was opened adjacent to the churchyard, now called Wembley Old Burial Ground. The churchyard has cast iron railings and a picturesque lych-gate contemporary with the church, overhung by mature horse chestnut trees. There are numerous trees of a variety of species in the burial grounds, C19th monuments and a war memorial in the form of a grey granite cross of sacrifice. A war grave section commemorates those who died in both world wars.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/07/2009
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St John the Evangelist Churchyard, June 2001. Photo: S Williams
Click photo to enlarge.
St John the Evangelist Church was built in 1846 when Wembley became a separate parish from Harrow, which was once one of the largest parishes in Middlesex. It was built largely at the instigation of the Copland sisters who were influential local benefactors, also building a school, a hospital and Workman's Hall. The small church was designed by George Gilbert Scott and W B Moffatt and is flint with stone dressings, originally with a chancel and nave, north-east chapel and wooden bell turret. In 1859 the north aisle was added and in 1900 the south aisle, with a further extension built to the west in 1935. Between 1896 and 1944 its vicar was J W P Silvester, father of Victor Silvester, who held somewhat controversial views and was High Church.
In 1887 a new burial ground was opened adjacent to the churchyard under the auspices of Wembley Burial Board or Wembley UDC. The start of the Burial Register records Wembley Burial Board but in 1898 the Register has a stamp for Wembley Urban District Council. This is now called Wembley Old Burial Ground; it is separated from the churchyard by a pathway. The churchyard has fine cast iron railings on dwarf brick walls, with a picturesque wooden lych-gate contemporary with the church, overhung with mature horse chestnuts. Trees in the churchyard and cemetery include substantial horse chestnut, as well as lime, oak, false acacia, walnut, ash, several yews and two fig trees. There are a number of good C19th monuments and a war memorial in the form of a grey granite Cross of Sacrifice. A war grave section commemorates those who died in both world wars is at the back of the site. Among those buried here is Sir William Perkin (d.1907), an important organic chemist who developed the first completely fast mauve dye in 1856 at his factory in Greenford.
To the north of the site is an area where a number of buildings used to stand including St John's Parish School (which burnt down in 1971), the house of the Sexton, Borough Mortuary and Brigade Hall, all demolished by the 1990s and this area now has the atmosphere of an old garden. The site is of major importance as green space in the busy Wembley townscape. The Old Burial Ground has recently been cleaned up and much of the overgrown areas have been cleared to give better visibility. The memorials in both the Old Burial Ground and the Churchyard have been checked for stability and repaired where necessary.
Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed); Adam Spencer, 'Wembley and Kingsbury: Britain in Old Photographs', Sutton Publishing 1995; Len Snow, 'Brent: Wembley, Willesden and Kingsbury' (Phillimore, 1990); LB Brent Cemeteries web page.