|St John the Baptist Churchyard, Hillingdon||Hillingdon|
Hillingdon was a large medieval parish with the church of St John the Baptist at the centre of the village. There are two areas of the churchyard divided by a path, that around the church having many fine tombs and a number of good trees, including cedar, with an avenue of lime along one path. In the other area of the burial ground is the war memorial.
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Hillingdon was a large medieval parish with the church at the centre of the village. The Manor later merged with the ancient Manor of Colham and also included Yiewsley and Uxbridge and surrounded the hamlet of Cowley. After 1800 the parish divided into six parishes; the area remained rural until the C19th when the Grand Union Canal opened. It expanded rapidly in the 1930s around Long Lane and after WWII council housing was built. The flint church has a C13th chancel arch with stiff-leaf capitals, and the nave and aisles date from the C14th. The west tower was rebuilt in 1629 and in 1847-48 was restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott. Inside the church are remarkable monuments and brasses, including that of Lord Strange dated 1509. Monuments in the chancel commemorate Sir Edward Carr (d.1636) and Henry Paget, Earl of Uxbridge (d.1743) and a number commemorate the Newdigate family.
The churchyard is partly surrounded by a flint stone-topped wall with a number of rustic wooden gates, and elsewhere the boundary is brick wall. To the east the churchyard abuts playing fields. There are two areas of the churchyard, a path running between them with privet hedging and gates. The churchyard around the church has many fine tombs set in the grass with tarmac paths and a number of good trees, including cedar and an avenue of lime trees flanks one path. The other area of burial ground has the war memorial and is laid out with York paved paths. Immediately outside the church is a fine pine tree (Weymouth?). At one time there was a giant clipped yew tree in the churchyard, which was trimmed into the shape of a 4-tiered cone crowned by a bird in one view and as a truncated cone surmounted with a disc supporting eight globes in another view. The tree stood within a small palisade on the south side of the church but the practice of churchyard topiary appears to have ceased by the 1820s, when it ceased to be fashionable, and the tree reverted to normal.
The Green nearby has a number of old houses, including Cedar House c.1580 (the original Cedar tree planted in 1742); Cottage Hotel c.1560 and the Red Lion Inn where Charles I stopped in 1646.
Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England, London 3: North West (Penguin, 1999 ed), p.334/5; Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993), p.744 & 393; Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, 'Topiary on a Gargantuan Scale: the Clipped 'Yew-trees' at four ancient London churchyards' in The London Gardener, vol. 11, 2005/6, pp70-86