Harefield Church, Middlesex

Harefield is one of the few parts of the old county of Middlesex which still feels rural and not merely a suburb of London.

Harefield’s Church is one of Middlesex’s oldest structures. There was certainly a church here by the time of the Domesday Book in 1086, but this may have been an earlier wooden structure.

The Knights Hospitallers had a priory here and the earliest stone parts of the church, dating to around 1100 were probably built by them. After the order was thrown out of England the land passed to the Newdigate family who ran the church as a “private peculiar” outside of the jurisdiction of the See of London right up until 1847. The church did not become an official parish church until 1898.

The bulk of the church dates to the 14th and 15th Centuries with the tower being rebuilt around 1500. All was renovated in the early 1700s.

Inside the church is the tomb of Alice Stanley, Dowager Countess of Derby who died in 1637. She was a direct antecedent of Diana, Princess of Wales (and thus of the heir apparent to the British Throne). Some remnants of her magnificent home, Harefield Place, can still be seen to the south of the church.

The church cemetery is home to the graves of more than 100 Australian WWI soldiers and each year an Anzac Day service is held here.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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