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Church of St Martin of Tours

A Grade I Listed Building in West Ruislip, Hillingdon

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Latitude: 51.5767 / 51°34'36"N

Longitude: -0.4262 / 0°25'34"W

OS Eastings: 509153

OS Northings: 187604

OS Grid: TQ091876

Mapcode National: GBR 2R.C7C

Mapcode Global: VHFSZ.KMJM

Plus Code: 9C3XHHGF+MG

Entry Name: Church of St Martin of Tours

Listing Date: 24 January 1950

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1285697

English Heritage Legacy ID: 202855

Location: West Ruislip, Hillingdon, London, HA4

County: Hillingdon

Electoral Ward/Division: West Ruislip

Built-Up Area: Hillingdon

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St Martin Ruislip

Church of England Diocese: London

Find accommodation in


804/12/246 HIGH STREET
24-JAN-50 (East side)
(Formerly listed as:


The C12 font is the earliest surviving feature, but a priest in the Domesday book indicates the existence of the church here in the C11. The chancel arch, nave and aisles were rebuilt in several phases in the C13. The chancel is largely C15, as is the S aisle and the W tower. The N aisle was rebuilt and the S chancel chapel added c.1500. The tower staircase is an insertion of the C16 or C17. The church was restored in the C19 in several phases, with the main restoration by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1869-70. The W porch was added later in the C19, and there was further work in the C20.

Mainly flint rubble with dressings of Reigate and other stone. The nave and chancel roofs are red tile, the aisles and tower are roofed in lead.

Nave with N and S aisle, SW tower and W porch. Chancel with S chapel that continues S aisle.

A long, relatively low church, externally largely of the C15 and early C16 but without the clerestory common to many churches of that period. The embattled SW tower stands over the western bay of the S aisle, and is divided into two unequal stages (the lower being much taller) by a string course, but there are three levels of windows. There is a 3-light W window and the upper part of the lower stage has small, round-headed windows to S and W, that on the S blocked. There are c. 1500 2-light windows under square heads in all faces of the upper stage. The nave has a relatively steeply pitched roof with a single dormer on the S side, and embattled parapets on both N and S aisles. The W window is C14 of 3 lights. Below it is the embattled late C19 W porch with an ogee headed outer opening with a statue niche above. The S aisle and S chancel chapel walls are continuous, but the chapel is a later addition and has slightly different buttresses. There is a blocked S nave door. The N aisle was rebuilt c.1500 and has 3-light N windows with 4-centred heads and a similar 5-light E window. The N door has a 4-centred arch set within a square frame with Tudor roses in the spandrels. The chancel was rebuilt in the C15 and has two light N and S windows and a 5-light E window with vertical tracery in a four-centred head. There is no parapet on the chancel.

The interior is plastered but some medieval wall paintings have been exposed. The core of the interior, including the chancel arch and both nave arcades, is C13, but it was extensively remodelled in the later middle ages. The mid C13 chancel arch is of 2 chamfered orders on semi-octagonal responds with moulded capitals and bases. The chancel is largely C15, but the scar of an earlier, more steeply pitched roof remains above the chancel arch on the chancel W wall. The 5-bay S nave arcade is early to mid C13 and has one square and one chamfered order on alternating round and octagonal columns. The corbel at the W end is C19. The S aisle was rebuilt and widened in the C15, but its roof was redone in the C16 to flatten its pitch. The SW tower stands over its W bay, and opens to the aisle through a tall, two-centred arch of two continuous chamfered orders and to the nave though a similar, but smaller, arch. There is a stair for the tower inserted into the SW corner of the nave. The mid to late C13 N arcade is of 6 bays, and has two centred arches of two chamfered orders on alternately round and octagonal columns. The N aisle was rebuilt, and probably widened, c. 1500, at which point a rood stair was also inserted into the SE corner of the aisle where its E wall joins the back of the arcade.

Roofs: The church retains its late medieval roofs. In the chancel, C15 arch braced and wind braced of 3 bays. In the nave C15 wall plates and braces forming 4-centred arches, the boarding behind has been renewed. In the aisles, roofs of the C16, both low pitched, with moulded ridges and tie beams. The spandrels of the curved braces are carved with foliage, and there are bosses at the main intersections. The posts in the S aisle rest on stone corbels from an earlier roof. The posts in the N aisle are on timber corbels.

Doors: the chancel N door, N aisle N door and the rood loft door are all late medieval.

The church has very good fittings, including many surviving from the pre-Reformation period.

Liturgical Fittings: Late C12 Purbeck marble font, with a square chamfered bowl supported on a central and 4 corner shafts, the latter renewed. Late C15 piscina in the chancel and another in the S aisle. Rood beam on original brackets at E end of the nave supports a late C19 or early C20 rood. Pulpit early C17, hexagonal with a short, hexagonal stem. The outer faces have arches with faceted rustication. The upper and lower bands have rounded cabochons and arabesques, and there are half-balusters on the angles.

Floors: Some C14 tiles survive in the chancel. They have intersecting designs of fleur-de-lys, heraldic motifs and foliage. There are also a number of good ledger slabs in the chancel.

Seating: In the nave some C15 benches with moulded top rails and ends, two with traceried backs, one of which is renewed. There is a C16 bench with linenfold panelling in the chancel.

Stained Glass: Mostly C19 and early C20, but in NW window of N aisle part of a C16 roundel with the letter M. In the chancel the NE window of 1953 depicts St Martin. The other two chancel N windows show the life of St Martin by C E Kempe, c.1900. In the S aisle, 4 windows of 1870 showing the life of Christ by Lavers, Barraud and Westlake.

Wall Paintings: Several medieval wall paintings have been exposed and others probably remain under the plaster. On the chancel E and N walls, diaper patterns of foliage. In the nave above the N and S arcades scenes from the life of a saint, probably St Martin. Also on the N side the Seven Deadly Sins and on the S the Acts of Mercy. In the N aisle by the rood stair door, St Michael weighing a soul, with the Virgin to the left, and below St Lawrence with his gridiron.

The church has many good monuments, including a C14 incised slab to Roger de Sothcote. In the chancel, a number of memorials to the Hawtreys of Eastcote who farmed (collected on behalf of the owners) the tithes in the post-medieval period. Two late C16 brasses to Richard Hawtrey (d. 1574) and wife, and to John Hawtrey (d. 1593) and his wife. On the chancel N wall, a large alabster and marble tablet to Ralph Hawtrey, J P (d. 1638) and Mary his wife (d. 1647), by John and Matthias Christmas, with busts in oval recesses, black marble pilasters and banding, and a cornice with a central pediment and scroll, shields of arms and achievements. There are also several other C17 marble wall tablets, and a large number of C17 and C18 floor slabs, to the Hawtreys in the chancel. Also in the chancel, a large, marble wall monument to Thomas Bright, vicar (d.1673/4) and to five of his infant grandchildren, erected by his son, the children's father, Jeremiah Bright (qv bread shelf) in or after 1696. Mourning putti stand to either side of an aedicule with a heavy cornice on Corinthian columns, and there are also two cherub heads below the large black and white marble bracket. There are also some C17 and C18 wall monuments in the nave.

Misc Furnishings: Bread cupboard of 1697, with broken segmental pediment with the arms of Jeremiah Bright surrounded by ears of wheat, with enriched pilasters and 4 shelves on a Corinthian bracket. An inscription records Bright's gift. There is a very large collection of hatchments, mostly in the tower.

The church itself at Ruislip is first mentioned c.1190, but a priest is mentioned at Ruislip in the Domesday book of 1086, and it seems reasonable to assume that there was also a church there at that date. The font is late C12, but the earliest visible fabric in the church is mid C13 and successive rebuildings have obliterated any traces of an earlier church. Ruislip was given to Bec Abbey in Normandy in the late C11, and the monks of Bec set up an administrative centre at Ruislip, although the parish church was never used as a monastic church. After the English property of all foreign monasteries was seized in the mid C15, the church was given to the Dean and Canons of St George's Windsor. Ruislip remained very rural well into the C19, and the church of St Martin served the whole parish until 1854, when a new parish was formed in Northwood. The parish was further subdivided later in the C19 and in the C20 as suburban development spread in the area.

LPL ICBS File 07060
Cherry, B and Pevsner, N. The Buildings of England: London 3 North-West (1991), 346-7.
T F T Baker, J S Cockburn, R B Pugh, eds. Victoria County History, A History of the County of Middlesex, 4 (1971), 127-34 and 142-44.
RCHM(E), An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Middlesex (1937), 104-7 and plates.

The church of St Martin of Tours, Ruislip, is designated at Grade I for the following principal reasons:
* A large and handsome town church of the C13, remodelled in the C15 and C16, and well restored in the C19.
* Very good survival of medieval fittings, including all the medieval roofs and some medieval seating.
* Good C12 font.
* Surviving medieval wall paintings.
* Good post medieval monuments, including a large collection to the Hawtrey family.

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