|St Mary the Virgin Churchyard||Ealing|
Before becoming Norwood Parish Church in 1859, St Mary the Virgin was originally a chapel of ease within the large parish of Hayes and under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury until 1846. Henry Chichele, Archbishop in 1414, provided money to restore the chapel in 1439 and gave the octagonal font; a stone cross commemorating him was erected in the churchyard in 1894. Victims of the plague of 1665 were buried in the churchyard, and among the monuments is a fine C19th sarcophagus to the Robins family of neighbouring Norwood Hall. The area was largely agricultural until the late C19th and the large village green and some old buildings, including the parish church, remain to mark the old village centre.
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St Mary the Virgin Church at Norwood Green was originally a chapel of ease, built or rebuilt in c.1100, within the large parish of Hayes, which came under the jurisdiction of the Archbishops of Canterbury until 1846. It then transferred to the Bishop of London and in 1859 Norwood was finally separated from the parish of Hayes and became a separate parish. The dedication to St Mary appears to date from the late C19th. Henry Chichele, founder of All Souls College Oxford, became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1414, which brought with it the lordship of the Manor of Norwood and patronage of Hayes Church. He provided money to restore St Mary's in 1439 and also gave the church its octagonal font. In 1894, the then rector, Revd James Macdonald, erected a stone cross in the churchyard to commemorate Archbishop Chichele, similar to one in the churchyard of the parish of Chichele's birth in Northamptonshire. In the C16th the Manor was acquired by Robert Cheseman (d.1547), an influential nobleman in the time of Henry VIII, whose tomb is in the church, the building of which he personally supervised. He left detailed instructions for his funeral and for the provision of money for the poor, plenteous 'meate and drink as well for the priests and clerks', and 'to every one of my men servants a black cote'. For the year following his death his will also provided a weekly distribution of 12 pence to the poorest inhabitants of Norwood.
In the mid C18th the manorial rights passed to the Child family, owners of Osterley House (q.v.). The area was largely agricultural until the late C19th despite the construction of the Grand Junction Canal and then the Paddington Canal between 1798 and 1807, although brick-making was established in Southall and Norwood Green (q.v.). The large village green and some old buildings, including the parish church, remain to mark the old village centre. The current church building has some remnants of its C12th/C13th walls although it was refaced and restored in 1864; in 1896 the bell-turret was replaced by a tower. Further repairs were undertaken from 1909 -11, which included a new east window showing the Risen Christ flanked by St Michael and St George, executed in the fashionable Art Nouveau/Arts and Crafts style by Karl Parsons.
Among those buried in the churchyard were victims of the plague of 1665, including the son and daughter of William Leiburne, a mathematician who compiled the first English ready-reckoner, and who was buried next to his children on his death in 1716. Among the monuments is the family sarcophagus to the Robins Family, a neo-classical style sarcophagus with tapering sides and a shallow urn, which may have been designed by Sir John Soane, a business associate of estate agent and auctioneer, John Robins (d.1831) for whom he built Norwood Hall (q.v.) in 1801-03. Inside the church is another Robins monument with urns and putto, inscription and a sarcophagus in relief with a weeping willow. The churchyard was closed to burials in 1883. It has a low brick wall to Tentelow Road with stone gate piers and metal gates with an overthrow; among the trees is a large yew.
Brian Hanson, 'Norwood Parish Church Middlesex, A History' (Friends of Norwood Church) 1970, reprinted 1990. Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed), p188/9; Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993), p766; LB Ealing Conservation Area Appraisal (April 1999)