Brent’s Only Grade 1 Listed Building: St. Andrew’s Old Church, Kingsbury

Almost within throwing distance of the new Wembley Stadium in Brent there lies another, vastly older but sadly forgotten building – the 11th Century St. Andrew’s Old Church, in the grounds of the present fine establishment. Father John Smith and his parishioners are working hard to renew the present grim Church Hall and to reclaim the old church and churchyard for the local community.
Father John T. Smith St Andrew's Old Church red 11th century bricksFor Father John Smith these small red bricks have a special significance; they suggest there was a church on the site of the photograph even back in Saxon times. The bricks are the original Roman evidence of the ancient (eleventh century) church which lies adjacent to the ‘new’ St Andrew’s Church, Kingsbury, within the grounds of his incumbency.
There is a great ambition in the parish congregation for the ‘old’ church and, especially the churchyard, with its many historic graves, to become a place of rest and respite in this busy part of London. Local people are giving their time and energy generously to clear the pathways and make more evident the generous clues to the area’s history which the overgrown graves can offer.
This plan, part of an intended programme to replace the past-its-best Church Hall with a lively and responsive building which will serve all who live in the area, is surely one which many will wish to support.

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Posted on August 25, 2007, in Arts, Culture And Heritage, London, People And Places, Photographs And Images, Regeneration, Renewal And Resilience, Sustainability As If People Mattered, Travel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Hi just walked through the old grave yard and was very pleased to the changes which have taken place since I was last there. It is now a peaceful spot to enjoy a break from the stressful world we live in. The old church fitted into the scene as if we were deep in the country.

  2. I was born and brought up in Kingsbury and it has changed an awful lot. What ever happened to the community? I’m only in my mid 30’s and remember there was such a thing as community spirit as well as working together.

    Perhaps it’s time to get everyone in the community together to lend a helping hand. Including kids of all ages as well as people from different walks of life to come to together and tidy up the graves. All those who have buried may not have any surviving familly to tend their deceased loved ones and hence it is looking untidy.

    Hopefully something will happen and in turn bring back the meaning of a good local community.

  3. Ursula Badger

    Nice to read about one of my attended churches and all the plans there are for the future. I hope you will achieve the dream. If I ever become affluent, I will remember your appeal for funds.

  4. The Drama Workhouse have been interested in the church for several years and are hosting a consultation event jointly with Churches Conservation Trust on Jan 24th 12-3pm.
    This is a free event and open to everybody – giving you the chance to see inside this amazing building, learn about the history of the place and find out about the fascinating archaeologists findings.
    Here is the info about the event – feel free to copy and paste and forward to friends/businesses/groups – we need this event to be well attended to show that we do care about this building and want it to be brought back to life!
    Email me, Katie Griggs at griggseyatyahoodotcom if you would like a e-flyer.
    Drama Workhouse and The Churches Conservation Trust invite you to attend a Community Open Day at St Andrew’s Old Church in Kingsbury.
    Come along for your chance to have a look inside Brent’s only Grade 1 listed building and find out more about the site’s rich history dating back to the Romans. Give your opinion whether the church should remain closed for another 50 years or become a resource for use by the entire local Community.
    “Far too often our most interesting buildings fall out of use. Their story is forgotten and another piece of our local heritage is lost forever. I welcome the project to save St Andrew’s from this sorry fate. Let’s bring it back to life so that its story may continue for years to come.”
    Tony Robinson (Blackadder/Time Team)
    Where: St Andrew’s Old Church, Kingsbury, NW9 8TG
    When: Sat 24th January 12-3pm
    How: Walk from Wembley Park tube (metropolitan and Jubilee lines) and parking available
    Price: FREE!
    RSVP/Info: Kaye James – Drama Workhouse Director, kj@dramaworkhouse.org.uk // 07958 653725
    Activities: A heritage trail leading to a pot of gold, specialist archaeologist information, historical information, refreshments, consultation with all attendees to find out their views.
    [Delighted to hear that you're working with the CCT on this, Katie! Good luck,
    Hilary]

  5. From Father John T Smith Parish Priest of Kingsbury S.Andrew
    Old Church & Graveyard & The Ethel Haywood Memorial Trust
    S.Andrew’s Old Churchyard is a three and a half acre (approximately) conservation area. It is the responsibility of the Parochial Church Council of Parish of Kingsbury, S.Andrew. It had become severely overgrown during the last four decades. About fifteen years ago a Trust was set up called THE ETHEL HAYWOOD MEMORIAL TRUST(named after a lady buried in the Churchyard who was the wife of the benefactor who set up the trust).
    This trust now has about £32,000 in capital. Under the terms of the Trust 90% of the Income can be used for the maintenance of the Churchyard and nothing else. The other 10% has to be added to the capital which cannot be touched.
    In the last few years the Trust has been able to afford two working days per month for nine months of each year but is now feeling that at least one more session a month can be afforded. When this began almost every path was impenetrable with up to nine feet of brambles. Under the guidance of the former Brent Ranger, these paths have been laboriously reclaimed foot by foot and, have been mowed and turned to grass. All work in maintaining the Churchyard has to be within the limits of its being a Conservation Area.
    Working with nature is a slow process but the Grave Yard has improved significantly in the last few years. The Ethel Hawood Memorial Trust is growing and this means that more can be done given time. The Probation Service is now bringing offenders who are doing community service and the improvement recently has been dramatic. It is probably the first time in 40 years that you can see the Old Church from Church Lane.
    We are proud of the achievement of recent years but at the same time understand the reactions of those who see it for the first time. If they assume that this is as bad as it could get, it has certainly been much worse. Recently, regular visitors have expressed appreciation of the significant improvements that have been achieved.
    A sad economic fact is that global economics affect everyone including church trusts. Falling interest rates resulted in reduced income but recently recovering rates have helped.
    Unfortunately, the bottom line is always money. If the Trust Fund grows it will be possible to employ groundsmen for more time and the Churchyard will improve faster. If the future of the Churchyard is to be secured the Fund will have to grow a great deal more and so we are asking people who have graves to consider making a bequest or donation to the Trust. A donation to the Trust cannot be for an individual grave but for the improvement of the whole Churchyard.
    If you would like to make a donation, cheques should be made payable to THE ETHEL HAYWOOD MEMORIAL TRUST. Bequests can be made to the trust and solicitors given the following address: S.Andrew’s Vicarage, 28, Old Church Lane, Kingsbury. London NW9 8RZ.
    Searching for individual graves
    In the early 1990’s the Central Middlesex Family History Society examined the maps and records of the graveyard and declared that they were so muddled that they were useless. They undertook the mammoth task of recording every gravestone. They then produced a detailed cross-referenced record of what survived at that time. It was a task that took many years and great dedication and the PCC is extremely grateful to those who did it.
    The resulting survey are the only records that are of any use and we can only trace graves that had a surviving gravestone in 1994. If you wish to trace a grave you should apply in writing (or e m@il) with as much detail as you have. Searches are done in batches and rapid response cannot be expected.
    It is hoped that those asking for searches will appreciate that it takes quite a lot of time and will make some contribution to the Trust.
    The Old Church
    S.Andrew’s Old Church is not the responsibility of the Parochial Church Council. It is the responsibility of the Churches Conservation Trust. A very expensive tree rationalisation around the Old Church was undertaken by reputable tree surgeons with the approval of Brent Council. The cost of this was shared between the London Diocese and the Ethel Haywood Trust.
    Graffiti and other vandalism is a wider social problem than S.Andrew’s. In the face of current trends we are helpless and it is impossible to police the Churchyard 24 hours a day. S.Andrew’s is by no means the only graveyard to suffer in this way.
    Visit http://standrewskingsbury.com for more details.

  6. Ann Jordan nee Dearsley

    Hi i came up to St Andrews to look for My Grandparents grave and was shocked to find that all the grave that where dated 1935 era were well over grown i have a picture of where they are buried but because it is so over grown we spent 3 hours looked at over 100 graves a cleared some to but still no grave how do i go about looking for the exact plot
    The Names on the grave will be Mrs Helena Dearsley died 18th August 1934/35 and Mr Albert Ernest Dearsley died between 1946 /1950

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