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St Mary the Virgin Churchyard Ealing


The small church of St Mary the Virgin dates from the C12th, the manor formerly called Little Greenford or Greenford Parva to distinguish it from Greenford Magna, but from the C16th known as Perivale. Until the C18th the rural hamlet contained no more than a church, rectory, manor house and a few farmhouses. The churchyard has many C18th and C19th monuments and 2 fine yews; the lych gate was erected in 1904/5 to the memory of the wife of music publisher John Boosey. The church closed in 1972, after the parish was bisected by the A40 with a new church built to serve the north of the parish. In 1976 a group of volunteers got together to rescue the church and leased it from the Diocese as the Friends of St Mary's Perivale. It is now a venue for musical and other events.

Basic Details

Previous / Other name:
West London Arts Centre; Perivale Parish Church

Site location:
off Perivale Lane/Old Church Lane, Perivale

UB6 ( Google Map)

Type of site:

C12th onwards, C18th


Listed structures:
LBI: St Mary the Virgin Church. LBII: Lych gate


Site ownership:
Diocese of London, leased to Friends of St Mary's Perivale

Site management:
Friends of St Mary's Perivale

Open to public?

Opening times:

Special conditions:


Musical and other events

Public transport:
Tube: Perivale (Central) then bus. Bus: 95, 297, E5.

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/11/2010
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Further Information

Grid ref:

Size in hectares:

Green Flag:

On EH National Register :

EH grade:

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

Local Authority Data

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:

Tree Preservation Order:
Not known

Nature Conservation Area:

Green Belt:

Metropolitan Open Land:

Special Policy Area:

Other LA designation:
Within Brent River Park Boundary

Fuller information

St Mary the Virgin Perivale has an atmospheric small churchyard on the edge of the former park of Pitshanger Farmhouse, with two good yews and many C18th and C19th monuments. The manor was formerly called Little Greenford or Greenford Parva to distinguish it from Greenford Magna to the west and was once in the ownership of Geoffrey de Mandeville (d.1166) whose son was Earl of Essex and Keeper of the Tower of London. From the C16th the rural hamlet was known as Perivale, 'pear tree valley', and had no more than a church, rectory, manor house and a number of farmhouses until the C18th, with a tiny population remaining until the early C20th. Development in the area took place particularly with the building of Western Avenue in 1927, which saw the acceleration of industry in the area and the building of factories such as the fine Art Deco Hoover Factory.

The small church was dedicated in the late C12th/early C13th and has a C16th tower with later alterations and additions, including a sundial of 1818 on the south face. A benefactor in the C18th was John Gurnell (1712-1748). The churchyard was full by 1906, a 'fashionable rural spot for graves of the middle classes of Ealing in the latter half of the C19th' (Weinreb), which had led to non-parishioners being buried here much to the distress of the congregation who took legal action to prevent this. One of the oldest surviving memorials in the churchyard is that of Revd Henry Wyatt (d.1683). The 'Maiden's Tomb' of Elizabeth Colleton (d.1721) has a tree growing out of it, and legend has it that her father, Sir Peter Colleton, cried out that if there was a God trees would grow out of her tomb, which they duly did. Others buried here include Admiral John Carter (d.1863) who fought in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805; Richard Collinson (d.1883), explorer; the 'Murderer's Tomb' of Thomas Bowler (d.1812) and the sculptor R A Ledward (d.1890). The church has a lych gate on Perivale Lane with scissor-braced trusses, erected in 1904/5 to the memory of Rose Boosey, wife of the music publisher John Boosey (d.1893) who is buried in the churchyard. A herringbone brick path runs round the church and the churchyard has a number of yew and other trees.

The church closed in 1972, when the parish was bisected by the A40 and the north of the parish served by a new church. Vandalism took place in the 1970s but in 1976 a group of volunteers was set up to rescue the old church. They later became the Friends of St Mary's Perivale, forming a charitable trust and leasing the church from the Diocese. Since 1981 the church has been run as the West London Arts Centre, established by the Friends. With good acoustics and a new grand piano, some 45 concerts take place in the church throughout the year, and it has become known as an important venue for chamber and instrumental music in West London. In addition about 20 non-musical events take place including performances, readings and exhibitions, and, the church still being consecrated, services such as for Harvest Festival and Remembrance Day are also held.

Sources consulted:

Robin MacGibbon, 'St Mary's Perivale' (Friends of St Mary Perivale), 1996; Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed); Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); Charles Jones, 'Ealing from Village to Corporate Life, or 40 Years of Municipal Life', nd, (c1903?); Richard Essen, 'Ealing, Hanwell and Greenford', Sutton, 1997; Peter Hounsell, 'Ealing and Hanwell Past' (Historical Publications, 1991). Friends of St Mary's Perivale website History section

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