|St Lawrence Whitchurch Churchyard||Harrow|
In Roman times tile-making was carried out in Stanmore and there are Roman tiles in the fabric of St Lawrence Whitchurch. The C12th church was rebuilt in 1715 by John James for the Duke of Chandos, owner of the Canons estate, although the early C16th west tower remains. It has a fine early C18th baroque interior. Handel was appointed music master at Canons in 1718 and played the church organ. The rustic lych-gate at the entrance of the churchyard was erected to the memory of Dr Findlater and there are some good chest tombs and monuments particularly near the church; the churchyard to the north is open with a few scattered trees.
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In Roman times tile-making was carried out in Stanmore, and up to 26 potters may have worked in this area; the medieval church of St Lawrence Whitchurch has Roman tiles in its fabric. In medieval times Stanmore was woodland and pasture with a number of manor houses, that of Stanmore Chenduit was mentioned in 1260-1 and that of Wimborough was referred to until 1753. The estate of Canons, or Cannons as it was previously spelt, is so-called after the Augustinian canons of the Priory of St Bartholomew in Smithfield, who owned the Manor of Stanmore in 1086 and were gifted the land in 1330. An old hedgerow between Southern Parkland and Whitchurch Avenue (the old name for an avenue in the park, mentioned in Chandos's accounts) and the Spinney woodland may be remnants of the earlier landscape.
Prior to the C20th Little Stanmore was a small hamlet centred on St Lawrence's Church at the southern approach to Canons Park (q.v.). John Brydges, Duke of Chandos and owner of Canons, had the C12th church rebuilt in 1715 by John James, although the early C16th west tower remains. Its early C18th baroque interior has altar paintings by Antonio Bellucci, and frescoed walls and ceiling vault by Louis Laguerre. The mausoleum by Gibbs was added in 1735/36. Handel was appointed music master at Canons in 1718 and played the organ in St Lawrence's. His piece 'The Harmonious Blacksmith' was apparently inspired when sheltering in the nearby forge. Friends of St Lawrence was formed 1971 to look after the church. The rustic lych-gate at the entrance of the churchyard was erected to the memory of Dr Findlater by his friends 'as a token of their appreciation and affection' and the path leads through a short avenue of yews to the church. There are some good chest tombs and monuments particularly near the church. The churchyard to the north is open with a few scattered trees and is railed from a woodland area. It can also be reached through Canons Park down one of 4 radiating avenues with the church terminating the southern end.
Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed), p283/4; Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); London Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches data; Walter W Druett, 'The Stanmores and Harrow Weald Through the Ages' (Hillingdon Press, 1938)