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Harrow on the Hill

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“HARROW ON THE HILL, (or Harrow), a parish in the hundred of Gore, county Middlesex, 11 miles N.W. of St. Paul's. It is a station on the Watford section of the London and North-Western railway, and is situated near the Paddington canal. The parish, which is well wooded, contains the hamlets of Greenhill, Roxeth, and Kenton, within the ecclesiastical limits, besides which Sudbury, Wembley, and Harrow-Weald form part of the parish for civil purposes.

From its high position, being 200 feet above the sea, it was selected by the Romans as an important military station. By the Saxons it was called Herpes and Hereways, and was purchased in 822 by Wilfred, Archbishop of Canterbury, who left it in his will to his relative Walbedus. During the reign of Edward the Confessor it was held by Earl Lewin at a rent of £60 per annum. The ancient manor house was formerly the residence of the archbishops of Canterbury, and it was here that Thomas-a-Becket resided during his banishment from court. There are no remains of the manor house traceable. Cardinal Wolsey, who was once Rector of Harrow, resided at Pinner, and is said to have entertained Henry VIII. during his visit to Harrow. The manor was exchanged by Archbishop Cranmer with the king for other lands, and was subsequently given to Sir Edmund Dudley, afterwards Lord North, from whose family it passed to the Pitts and Rushouts. The town, which is situated on a hill, is well built and lighted with gas, and now abundantly supplied with water by a company formed in 1851. There are a local board of health, a savings-bank, a literary institute, and a young men's society. Sudbury Grove and The Mount are places here. Harrow has ever been an object of great interest from its varied and beautiful views, extending over thirteen counties, but its chief importance is derived from the renowned Harrow school, founded in the reign of Queen Elizabeth by John Lyon, a yeoman of the parish of Harrow. This institution was commenced on a small scale by the founder, who provided education for a few of the poor children in the parish; but in the fourteenth year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth he obtained a charter for regulating the government of the establishment, and constituting it a corporate body under the title of "The keepers and governors of the school called the Free Grammar School of John Lyon, in the village of Harrow-on-the-Hill, in the county of Middlesex. He appointed six trustees, and the Archbishop of Canterbury was constituted visitor, and invested with power to decide all questions and disputes. The course of education pursued at this school is the same as that adopted at Eton. The founder bequeathed certain lands called the Pineapple Estate, in Marylebone and Paddington, for the maintenance and preservation of the roads and highways leading to the institution.

from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

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Archives & Libraries

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Bibliography

  • The Victoria County History of Middlesex volume 4 covers Harrow and is available on-line.
  • Druett, W W, Harrow through the ages, (1st edn. 1935, 2nd edn. 1936, 3rd edn. 1956 Kings and Hutchings, Uxbridge, reprinted with appendix 1971, S R Publishers).
  • Bartlett, T L, The Story of Roxeth (1948, Foy Publications for the Friends of Roxeth).
  • Snow, L, Brent, A Pictorial History (1990, Phillimore)

There are numerous histories of the various settlements within Harrow produced by individuals and local history groups. A search in online bookstores and second-hand bookstores is the easiest way to find them.

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Business & Commerce Records

Hill and Saunders Photographers, Harrow Branch. Tens of thousands of negatives from this firm from the 1870s to 1970 were preserved at the Harrow School Archive, but have now been transferred to private ownership. There was a dedicated website, www.harrowphotos.com, which includes a description of the collection and an index to a proportion of the images. Parts of it are preserved in the Intenet Archive. A different description of the collection with a name index to over 30,000 images is available online in Roger Vaughan's Picture Library. There is also a brief description of the collection in Genealogists' Magazine, Vol. 28, No.11, September 2006.

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Cemeteries

The parish churchyard and Pinner churchyard were the sole places of burial until the 19th century. However it is worth checking neighbouring areas as well. For example, Harrow Weald was closer to Great Stanmore church than to Harrow church and its inhabitants were sometimes buried there rather than at Harrow. The following table shows the opening and closure date of known cemeteries within the parish (note that the dates refer to cemeteries and not necessarily to the consecration of an associated church, for which see see below).

CemeteryOpenedClosedRegisters and their locationNotes/Memorial Inscription transcripts
St Mary's, Harrow-on-the-Hillancient1884LMAMIs transcribed by Central Middlesex FHS (now LWMFHS) in 1980 available on fiche;
index published as Vol.2 No.3 of "Greentrees: The Journal of the Central Middlesex Family History Society";
a supplement using transcriptions published in the Harrow Gazette in 1866 is in "Greentrees" Vol.6 No.4 March 1987;
a supplement based on an 18th century manuscript in the Bodleian Library is deposited at Harrow Local History Collection.
St John the Baptist, Pinnerancient1861LMA 
All Saints, Harrow Weald1838still in useLMA (to 1972)MIs transcribed by Central Middlesex FHS (now LWMFHS) about 1981 and available on fiche.
St John's, Wembley1846not knownLMA (to 1974)MIs transcribed by Central Middlesex FHS (now LWMFHS) before 1984 and available on fiche.
Christchurch, Roxethby 1873at least until 1942not knownSummary of MIs of local notables in Bartlett's "The Story of Roxeth", pp.92-93
Paines Lane Cemetery, Pinner18601924Harrow Cemetery Office; copy at Harrow Local History CollectionMIs transcribed by Pinner LHS and/or Central Middlesex FHS (now LWMFHS) before 1990 and available on fiche.
Wembley Old Burial Ground, High Road1867not knownAlperton Cemetery Office 
Harrow Cemetery, Pinner Road, Harrow1888still in useHarrow Cemetery Office*municipal cemetery
Pinner New Cemetery, Pinner Road, Pinner1933still in useHarrow Cemetery Office*municipal cemetery
Alperton Cemetery1917still in useat the cemetery*; address belowmunicipal cemetery
Harrow Weald Cemetery1937still in useHarrow Cemetery Office*municipal cemetery adjacent to the All Saints Parish Cemetery; may be covered by the All Saints MI transcript

Harrow Cemetery Office, Harrow Weald Cemetery, Clamp Hill, Stanmore, Middlesex, HA7 3JS. * indicates registers not searchable by the public.

Cemeteries Office, Alperton Cemetery, Clifford Road, Alperton, Wembley, Middlesex, HA0 1AF. * indicates registers not searchable by the public.

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Census

For all censuses of general use to the family historian, Harrow Parish, and the later subdivisions of it, fell within the Hendon Registration District and Harrow Sub-district.

Apart from the several censuses with national indexes available online and on CD, there is an index to the 1851 census available on microfiche.

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Church History

The history of Harrow Parish is one of division and sub-division as population has grown and new parishes have been created. The number of churches of all denominations has multiplied greatly since the beginning of the twentieth century, and especially as the ancient parish became largely covered by the expanding suburbs of London. Here we attempt only to summarise the churches and parishes created up to circa 1911. For further details the Victoria County History is a good place to start. Websites for current churches can be found via www.findachurch.co.uk. Anglican Parishes

ParishFormed fromDate formedNotes
St Mary the Virgin, Harrow-on-the-Hill ancient 
St John the Baptist, PinnerHarrow1766registers start in 1754
All Saints, Harrow WealdHarrow and small parts of Pinner and Bushey (Hertfordshire)1844burial register starts in 1838
St John the Evangelist, WembleyHarrow1846 
Christ Church, RoxethHarrow1862registers start in 1863
Holy Trinity, WealdstoneHarrow, Harrow Weald and Pinner1881 
St John the Baptist, GreenhillHarrow1866registers start in 1869
St Anselm, Hatch EndPinner and a small part of Harrow Weald1895 
St James, AlpertonSt John's Wembley1904 
St Andrew, SudburyWembley1904 
St Peter, North HarrowHarrow1907although the parish was originally named North Harrow, it is in the area now known as West Harrow, and the parish is known as St Peter West Harrow or St Peter Harrow.
St George, HeadstoneHatch End, with small parts of Pinner and Greenhill1911 
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Church Records

The table below lists the pre-1911 parishes and what is known of the coverage of their deposited registers. Some, but not all are indexed with images on Ancestry. The IGI covers Harrow-on-the-Hill baptisms 1562-1597 and 1602-1653 and marriages 1558-1599 and 1601-1653. Boyd's marriage index covers the same period. St John Wembley has an index for marriages 1846-1915 published on microfiche by Central Middlesex FHS (now LWMFHS).

All deposited original records are at LMA, and the appropriate call numbers can be found on the London Metropolitan Archives catalogue.

ParishBaptismsBannsMarriagesBurials
St Mary the Virgin, Harrow-on-the-HillJul 1562-Jul 19051754-Mar 1967Jan 1559-Jul 1918Nov 1558-Nov 1884
St John the Baptist, Pinner1654-19851654-1812, 1950-19991754-May 19791654-Dec 1861
All Saints, Harrow WealdDec 1838-May 1937Oct 1845-Apr 1901, Jan 1956-May 1959, Jun 1974-Jul 1972Dec 1845-Dec 1977Dec 1845-Sep 1972
St John the Evangelist, WembleyJul 1846-Jul 1965Apr 1876-Jun 1920, Feb 1926-Mar 1940Apr 1847-1974Jul 1846-Jun 1974
Christ Church, Roxethappear not to be deposited at LMA
Holy Trinity, Wealdstoneappear not to be deposited at LMA
St John the Baptist, GreenhillApr 1869-Nov 1958, Mar 1989-Dec 1992Mar 1957-Aug 1985Jan 1897-Mar 1956Feb 1957-Mar 1982
St Anselm, Hatch Endappear not to be deposited at LMA
St James, AlpertonNov 1904-Mar 1938Mar 1958-Aug 1963Jul 1912-Mar 1940 
St Andrew, SudburyApr 1910-May 1947 Apr 1926-Aug 1944 
St Peter, North or West Harrowappear not to be deposited at LMA
St George, Headstoneappear not to be deposited at LMA
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Description & Travel

Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]

"HARROW ON THE HILL, (or Harrow), a parish in the hundred of Gore, county Middlesex, 11 miles N.W. of St. Paul's. It is a station on the Watford section of the London and North-Western railway, and is situated near the Paddington canal. The parish, which is well wooded, contains the hamlets of Greenhill, Roxeth, and Kenton, within the ecclesiastical limits, besides which Sudbury, Wembley, and Harrow-Weald form part of the parish for civil purposes. " (There is more of this description).

"ALPERTON, (or Apperton) a hamlet in the parish of Harrow-on-the Hill, hundred of Gore, in the county of Middlesex, lying 8 miles to the N.W. of the city of London. It is not far from the river Brent. The London and North Western railway and the Paddington canal pass near it.

"GREENHILL, a hamlet in the parish of Harrow-on-the-Hill, hundred of Gore, county Middlesex, 1 mile N. of Harrow, and close to the railway station."

"KENTON, a hamlet in the parish of Harrow-on-the-Hill, county Middlesex, 2 miles N.E. of Harrow."

"PRESTON, a hamlet in the parish of Harrow-on-the-Hill, county Middlesex, 2 miles N.E. of Harrow. J. Lyon, founder of the grammar school, lived at this hamlet."

"ROXETH, a hamlet in the parish of Harrow-on-the-Hill, county Middlesex, 1 mile S.W. of Harrow."

"SUDBURY, a hamlet in the parish of Harrow-on-the-Hill, county Middlesex, 10 miles N.W. of St. Paul's. It is a station on the North-Western railway. It was formerly a seat of the archbishops of Canterbury."

"WEALD-WITH-GREENHILL, a hamlet in the parish of Harrow-on-the-Hill, hundred of Gore, county Middlesex, 2½ miles N. of Harrow. [Greenhill is just north of Harrow-on-the-Hill station. Harrow Weald is a mile to the north of Harrow-and-Wealdstone Station. Harrow Weald common is on the Middlesex border, just south of Bushey (Hertfordshire).]

"WEMBLEY, (or Wembly) a hamlet in the parish of Harrow-on-the-Hill, county Middlesex, 9 miles N.W. of St. Paul's, London. It is situated on the river Brent, near the Sudbury station of the London and North-Western railway, by whom the church was built. The manor formerly belonged to the priory of Kilburn. For ecclesiastical purposes it forms a district parish with Sudbury.

"WEST END (HARROW), a hamlet in the parish of Harrow-on-the-Hill, county Middlesex, 3 miles N.W. of Harrow. [This must be an error for West End, Pinner, about 1/4 mile east of Pinner Station at the west end of Chapel Lane.]"

Description(s) from "The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland" (1868), transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003; intended for personal use only, so please respect the conditions of use.

You can see pictures of Harrow on the Hill which are provided by:

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Gazetteers

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Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Harrow on the Hill has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.

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Manors

The parish of Harrow was covered by two manors, the Manor of Harrow Alias Sudbury was much larger than the Harrow Rectory Manor. Much of the time both were held by the same lord and hence their records are intermingled; the Lord of the Manor was the Archbishop of Canterbury until the dissolution of the monasteries, when in 1544-45 the manors passed to the crown. In the post-medieval period, there were various lords, but mostly the Lords North and later the Lords Northwick. The records of both manors are deposited at the London Metropolitan Archive, though a few medieval records are also to be found at the Lambeth Palace Library. At LMA the records span the dates 1315-1913. There are surname indexes to some of the records compiled by manorial officials in the early 19th century. Details of the holdings can be found on Access to Archives (A2A) and the Manorial Documents Register (MDR). There are also significant manuscript transcripts of the manorial court rolls in the Percy Davenport Collection within the Harrow Local History Collection.

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Maps

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference TQ153878 (Lat/Lon: 51.577281, -0.337497), Harrow on the Hill which are provided by:

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Newspapers

Prior to the twentieth century the major local newspapers were the Harrow Gazette and the Harrow Observer, which merged early in the 20th century. Good runs of both are to be found at the British Library Newspaper collection. The Harrow Local History collection also holds microfilm copies, as do the Brent Archives.

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Schools

The most famous school in the parish is Harrow School, which was founded by John Lyon in 1572, primarily to educate local boys, though by the eighteenth century the majority were fee-paying non-locals. The school has its own archive.

Log books and admission registers of some local schools are held at Harrow Local History Collection, including Greenhill School 1876-1931, and Vaughan School 1925-1961.

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Societies