You are on page 1of 75

Employment for the Redundant: The Significance of St

Andrews Old Church, Kingsbury.


Andrew Agate
UCL Institute of Archaeology

September 2006


St Andrews Old Church, the London Borough of Brents only Grade I listed building, is
a redundant church and a largely forgotten building. Beginning with an assessment
of current knowledge of the site, this study aims to reassess the significance of the
church and its environs through a detailed research project, encompassing both a
topographical survey and an excavation project. The results of this fieldwork
suggest the site was a significant location to past inhabitants of the parish of
Kingsbury and also provides the first excavated archaeological evidence for SaxoNorman occupation at the site.
The wider utility of this research is discussed and it is proposed that sites and studies
such as this have a role to play in wider academic research; it is argued that St
Andrews Old Church is part of the corpus of churches which constitutes the Great
Rebuilding period of church construction. Meanwhile, the motivation behind the
reuse of Roman remains in lesser known sites such as this awaits further study. The
site is a case study in the need for heritage protection reform and it is argued that a
new designation is required for the site which encompasses the church and its


Table of Contents
Table of Contents................................................................................................ iii
Table of Figures ..................................................................................................iv
Introduction .............................................................................................. 1
The parish of Kingsbury and St Andrews Old Church ................................ 1
The context of the study and its aims and objectives ................................ 1
The importance of this study: audiences and accessibility .......................... 3
Synthesis of past work and assessment of current knowledge ....................... 5
We love the place, oh God An introduction to St Andrews Old Church .. 5
A history of investigations and observations: 1757 2000 ........................10
2.2.1 Antiquarians at St Andrews Old Church ...............................................10
2.2.2 How old is that church? The Saxon/Norman debate..........................14
2.2.3 Archaeological Investigation ...............................................................15
Archaeological research in the 21st century ...........................................17
The topography of St Andrews Old Church.................................................19
The contour survey of the churchyard of St Andrews Old Church..............19
The wider topographical area .................................................................24
3.2.1 The church in its landscape setting......................................................24
3.2.2 The significance of the site to past inhabitants - further topographical
evidence .......................................................................................................29
Archaeological excavation .........................................................................38
A priest with one virgate........................................................................38
Summary of the excavation project.........................................................39
4.2.1 The earthwork test pits 1 and 2........................................................41
4.2.2 In and around the church test pits 3-5..............................................46
Discussion the utility of this study ...........................................................55
Academic research themes and St Andrews Old Church ...........................55
Heritage protection and St Andrews Old Church ......................................58
Conclusion ...............................................................................................61
Appendix one Summary of Sites and Monuments entries relating to the St Andrews
Old Church and its environs including Roman and Saxon entries for Kingsbury. .......63
References Cited ................................................................................................65


Table of Figures
Figure 1 The Location of St Andrews Old Church, Kingsbury, within Greater London.
......................................................................................................................... 4
Figure 2 St Andrews Old Church, Kingsbury: Summer 2006.................................... 6
Figure 3 Location of St Andrews Old Church ........................................................ 9
Figure 4 Stukeleys drawing of St Andrews Old Church..........................................11
Figure 5 Watercolour of St Andrews Old Church dated 1796..................................12
Figure 6 Watercolour of St Andrews Old Church dated 1800..................................12
Figure 7 St Andrews Old Church dated 1820 ........................................................13
Figure 8 St Andrews Old Church dated 1822 ........................................................13
Figure 9 Sketch drawing of 1970s ditch................................................................16
Figure 10 Photograph of 1970s ditch....................................................................16
Figure 11 Georeferenced contour model of survey area. ........................................21
Figure 12 (above) Section AB profile across southern bank ....................................22
Figure 13 (below) Section CD profile across eastern bank ......................................22
Figure 14 Wire-frame 3D model of the churchyard with the holloway in the
foreground. .......................................................................................................23
Figure 15 Old Church Lane a possible holloway. .................................................24
Figure 16 St Andrews Old Church at the centre of a possible enclosure. ................26
Figure 17 The British Geological Survey map with contours, waterways and field
boundary as in Figure 16. ...................................................................................27
Figure 18 The view across the Brent Valley...........................................................28
Figure 19 Kingsbury c. 957..................................................................................30
Figure 20 The location of Gore hundred within Middlesex ......................................31
Figure 21The Hovenden Map 1597. .....................................................................34
Figure 22 Detail from Hovenden Map Portfolio II No. 14 showing the church in an
enclosure, the Brante (sic) Bridge and the parallel ford ........................................35
Figure 23 Detail from Rocques map of 1746. .......................................................36
Figure 24 Vertical aerial photograph taken in 1954 showing the church, the Brent
crossing and the remnant of Wic Strt which can still be followed today ................37
Figure 25 Test pit (TP) locations at St Andrews Old Church ...................................40
Figure 26 TP1 west facing section drawing ...........................................................42
Figure 27 TP1 west facing section photograph ......................................................42
Figure 28 Recreating Storr Venters photograph ...................................................43
Figure 30 TP2 part of south facing section............................................................45
Figure 31 Photograph showing a break in the wall plate and a clear vertical line at
the point where the nave and chancel meet, suggesting two phases of building
activity ..............................................................................................................47
Figure 32 The location of TP 3 (photograph by A. Agate).......................................47
Figure 33 TP3 - south facing section. ...................................................................49
Figure 34 TP 4 - north facing section. ..................................................................49
Figure 35 TP3 west facing section.....................................................................50
Figure 36 TP4 west facing section.....................................................................50

Figure 37 TP4 west facing section,.......................................................................51

Figure 38 TP5 part of a vault uncovered by the excavation. ...................................52
Figure 39 TP6 south facing section with gas pipe in the centre...............................53
Figure 40 The five sherds of Early Medieval flint-tempered London ware (AD9701100) ................................................................................................................54

Throughout this research project I have enjoyed the help, encouragement,
cooperation and support of a great many individuals and organisations. Without
which the project would not have been possible.
I would like to acknowledge the Churches Conservation Trust for their support and
generous funding of reinstatement works after the excavation.
And the following,
At UCL: Dr Jane Sidell and Dr Andrew Reynolds, Dr Kris Lockyear, Duncan Mc
Andrew, Nick Golsen, Don Cooper and all of those who generously gave of their time
to assist with the fieldwork projects.
At St Andrews Old Church; Father John Smith, the members of the Parochial Church
Council and Robin Morgan - Chair of the Wembley History Society.
At English Heritage, Kim Stabler.
At Brent Council, Mark Smith and Geoff Hewlett
At Southampton University, Tim Sly.
At the LAARC, Roy Stephenson; MoLAS.
At the MoL and Diocese Advisory Committee, Dr John Schofield.
At the Greater London Sites and Monuments Records Barry Taylor and Steve
The Warden and Fellows of All Souls College Oxford.
For the inking of drawings, patient proof reading and all those other things that made
this work possible - Pip Harrison.
This dissertation was completed with the aid of an award from the Arts and
Humanities Research Council


1 Introduction
1.1 The parish of Kingsbury and St Andrews Old Church
London engulfs: once rural parishes such as that of Kingsbury in north-west
London, are now subsumed into Londons Boroughs. Kingsbury now forms part of
the London Borough of Brent (see Figure 1). Throughout much of its history
Kingsburys population was small, (VCH, 1976: 55): there were 98 communicants in
1547, 210 conformists and 1 non-conformist in 1676 and a population of 209 in the
1801 census. Following centuries of stasis, its population grew exponentially after
1911; from 821 in that year to 1,856 by 1921; 16,636 in 1931 rising to almost 42,000
by 1951, resulting in what Cherry and Pevsner (1991: 135) describe as,

Uneventful hilly early 20th century suburbia stretch[ing] north from the Brent
reservoir by the North Circular Road, enveloping a tiny ancient church.
The tiny ancient church is St Andrews Old Church, which, along with its
immediately surrounding graveyard (hereafter the site) is the subject of this study
(see Figure 2). Cherry and Pevsner continue, describing the building as secret in its
overgrown graveyard; more recently forty pupils from Kingsbury High School, who
visited the church during the archaeological project detailed below, unanimously
agreed on a starker characterization: forgotten.
1.2 The context of the study and its aims and objectives
Having been declared redundant (no longer required for public worship) on 9th
March 1977, the church is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT),
which is actively seeking an alternative use for the building. The 1.2 hectare
churchyard remains the responsibility of the Parochial Church Council (PCC) who
struggle against nature to maintain it. Researching the church it became clear that
past investigations had focused primarily upon establishing the date of the standing

building, whilst little attention had been paid to the archaeological potential of a
possible earthwork around the church and no investigations had attempted to place
the site in a wider topographical context. Finally, no attempt had been made to
consider any contribution the site might make to wider academic debate. For
example that which concerns the establishment of parochial churches and the cultural
horizon marked by this process (e.g. Blair, 2005: 415) or the re-use of Roman
material in ecclesiastical buildings (e.g. Bell, 1995 & 2005; Eaton, 2000).
It was considered that the current period of redundancy presented an
opportunity to revisit the site of St Andrews Old Church and develop an
archaeological research project which would be of benefit to the site in this modern
age of heritage assets. The aims and objectives of this study are as follows.
This study aims to assess the significance of the standing building and
environs of St Andrews Old Church, Kingsbury.
The study is structured around its four key objectives which are,
1. To assess of current knowledge concerning the site. This draws together past
investigations and provides the basis for the formulation of the research questions
which were addressed by the fieldwork projects (section 2).
2. To present the results of two fieldwork projects. The first of these (section 3)
considers the significance of the site as a topographical area, considering both the
micro topography of the site through a contour survey and the macro topography
of the wider area. This was considered through field observations and the
relevant documentary, cartographic and place-name evidence. Secondly, the
results of an excavation project at the site will be presented (section 4).
3. To consider the utility of such projects in the context of both future academic
research and the development of heritage protection (section 5).
4. To conclude the study by proposing a revised listings entry for St Andrews Old
Church (section 6).

1.3 The importance of this study: audiences and accessibility

In addition to its primary function as an academic research project it is
intended that this study should be accessible to a number of audiences. It is this
accessibility which amplifies the importance of the project.
Firstly, the study has been conducted at a time when the current Heritage
Protection Review (HPR) (DCMS, 2004) aims to streamline the designation system for
heritage assets. It will be suggested that the current listing for the building is
woefully inadequate (Section 2.1). The study will therefore be of practical use to
heritage curators at local authority and regional level within the Greater London
Archaeological Advisory Service (GLAAS). Secondly, it is also a time when
government and its heritage related agencies are attempting to establish the
economic value of heritage projects (Eftec, 2005). At a local level this wider political
situation is particularly relevant and important at St Andrews where a Heritage
Lottery Fund bid is being developed in order to facilitate the change of use for the
building. This study will therefore make a significant contribution towards the CCTs
and the PCC understanding of the church within its topographical area. It should be
noted that whilst there is much to discuss, this study does not attempt to critique the
broader political context of the HPR, focusing instead upon the need to communicate
the significance of this site within the developing framework.
Thirdly, within the local community this study will help promote and enhance
an understanding of the site amongst local societies and schools, such as the
Wembley History Society (WHS), the Hendon and District Archaeology Society
(HADAS) and Kingsbury High School all of whom were indispensable to the planning
and execution of this project. Local community support will be an essential element
in defending this building, which is vulnerable to vandalism and is on English
Heritages (EH) Buildings at Risk register (EH, 2006). It is hoped that this study will
enhance any future role the site may have as an educational resource.

With its attendant archive and a standing buildings survey, carried out by Debbie
Williams in 2004, it is believed that this study constitutes the most complete
investigation into this site undertaken to date.

Figure 1 The Location of St Andrews Old Church, Kingsbury, within Greater London.
The location is marked in red and the parish of Kingsbury is highlighted in blue
(Source: 2001 census, output area boundaries. 2003 Crown copyright material is
reproduced with the permission of the controller of HMSO)

2 Synthesis of past work and assessment of current knowledge

2.1 We love the place, oh God An introduction to St Andrews Old
St Andrews Old Church (TQ 2063 8686, see Figure 2) lies near the southern
boundary of the parish of Kingsbury in north-west London. The church was vested in
the CCT on 7th October 2003. Despite recent works, ongoing vulnerability to
vandalism keeps the building on the Buildings at Risk register maintained by EH (EH,
2006). The church is designated a Grade I Listed Building and is the only such
building in the London Borough of Brent. The listing dates to 6th October 1952 and
the building description is presented verbatim,

12th to 13th century. Flint rubble with some Roman material, now cement
rendered. Simple church of nave with tower within the west end, and spire. C19
restorations and north vestry. Brasses. C13 font (National Monuments Record
number 54764).

The church is rectangular in form (see Figure 2), has no aisles and no
structural distinction between the nave and the chancel. The internal measurements
are approximately 18 metres long by 5.5 metres wide. In addition to the Roman
material found in the west front of the church there are also six complete box-flue
hypocaust tiles in the interior of the building.

Figure 2 St Andrews Old Church, Kingsbury: Summer 2006

(Photograph by A. Agate)
The surrounding churchyard constitutes three discrete blocks of land. The
original churchyard of 0.37 hectares immediately surrounds the building and
constitutes the primary area of interest for this study. The fields to the west and east
of this churchyard were added in 1901 and during the 1930s respectively (Brent
Council, 2006; Father John Smith, present incumbent, pers comm), making the whole
1.38 hectares in size. The graveyard is fringed by fully mature trees, whilst semimature trees and large Victorian planted yews have colonized the interior. Thus,
wooded and enclosed, any possible views in and out of the churchyard have been
obscured and the church is largely hidden. Currently the church is open to the public
for two days a year, facilitated by the CCT and WHS, but is otherwise kept locked.
The building ceased to function as the main parish church in May 1884 when
the church of Holy Innocents was opened near Kingsbury Green (now the modern
centre of Kingsbury), about 1.5km north of St Andrews. It has endured a long and
chequered post parish church phase (see Hewlett, 1987a), serving as both a chapel
of ease and a burial chapel. The building has been fortunate to survive as plans for

both enlargement (Hewlett, 1987a; pp21-22) and destruction (see below) have
previously been mooted. By the 1930s the ever burgeoning population required an
even larger church and the new church of St Andrews was built less than a hundred
metres north of St Andrews Old Church. The new church is itself of historical
interest (see Cherry & Pevsner, 1991: pp 135-137); designed by Dawkes and
Hamilton it is one of the first examples of the neo-gothic building style and was
moved stone by stone to its current location from Wells Street in central London.
The new church was opened in 1934.
By 1976 the parish could no longer maintain the old church and sought a
declaration of redundancy. The building was inspected on 28th January 1976 by an
assistant from the Council for Places of Worship (CPW) under the Pastoral Measures
who reported,

An alternative use for a building surrounded by such a crowded churchyard

seems almost impossible, and the question really seems to be whether the
church retains enough historical quality to merit being vested in the Redundant
Churches Fund [now the CCT]. In the Councils view this is doubtful, and it
may be that the church will have to be demolished (CPW, 1976: 3).
Demolition was avoided by a change of use into an exhibition, workshop and
study centre for the WHS (WHS committee minutes, 1977). Whilst the WHS were
able to effect costly repairs to the bells (one of which was cast by Peter de Weston c.
1350 and is one of only 10 pre-reformation bells in Middlesex (Hewlett, 1987b)), they
were not able to realize their wider ambitions and subsequently the church passed
into the care of the CCT.

Although more anecdotal than academic it is relevant at this juncture to relate

a story from The Chronicle, Kingsburys local newspaper (Hewlett, 1987a: 15-17)
which serves as a reminder that whilst the building itself is artefactually important, it
is the location and the buildings role in society which is elemental to this study.
After the closure in 1884 The Chronicle reported upon the resultant howl of
indignation within the parish and commented that there is something more than
sentimental in the objection to closing so ancient an ecclesiastical building as that of
St Andrew. It further reports that the churchwardens and parishioners sought to
reopen the church against the wishes of the incumbent and describes the first such
illegal service.

a throng of about 30 persons gathered outside the church by 11 oclock

including churchwarden Mr Goodchild, Mr E. N. Haxell, Mr Henry Doo (sic)
Rawlings, Mr Reynolds etc. The door having been opened the party took their
seats, but the church presented anything but an inviting appearance. There
seemed some hesitation at first about what ceremonial should be observed, but
Miss Percival took her place in the organ loft and after playing a few bars, the
242nd hymn was given out, We love the place, oh God.

Figure 3 Location of St Andrews Old Church

(TQ 2063 8686) due east of the Brent Reservoir, detail from OS 1:25 000 map. 1
grid square = 1Km ( Crown copyright Ordnance Survey. All rights reserved.)

2.2 A history of investigations and observations: 1757 2000

2.2.1 Antiquarians at St Andrews Old Church
St Andrews Old Church has been the subject of investigation by antiquarians,
architectural historians and archaeologists for 250 years. Antiquarian William
Stukeley was the first to take an interest in the site as an historical monument.
Stukeleys archive comprises an engraving of the site, dated 20th September 1757
(Figure 4), the rough measurement of an earthwork, 30 paces by 40 paces and a
brief description (Stukeley 1776: p 2 and 8 & pl 62). Believing the site to be one of
Julius Caesars camps he wrote,

His next camp was at Kingsbury: it is now the churchyard and still visible enough.
Its situation is high and near the River Brent. The church stands in the middle of
The title of the engraving demonstrates that Stukeley noted the Roman tile in
the fabric of the church, which he believed to originate in Verulamium, near St
Albans. Stukeleys work has provided the starting point for the majority of
subsequent investigations.


Figure 4 Stukeleys drawing of St Andrews Old Church

(Stukeley, 1776: pl 62)
During the late 18th- and early 19th- century the church appears to have been
something of a curiosity. The Guildhall Library collection (Guildhall, 2006) and Brent
Archive contain eight different prints which show the church much as Stukeley
depicted it (Figures 5 8). In addition, later descriptions consistently describe the
church as being in an open location away from the centre of population; for example,
Sir Stephen Richard F.S.A., M.P. visited the church on 7th June 1844 and as well as
deploring the recent renovations he described a small church, quite in the fields
(WHS, 1978). Firth (1906: 164) describes the church as being on highish ground
commanding what is still a charming and extensive view. Mounds close by look like
earthworks. The description echoes that of Walford (1883: 276) who describes a
field adjoining the churchyard [which] exhibits evident marks of an artificial inequality
of surface.


Figure 5 Watercolour of St Andrews Old Church dated 1796

(Guildhall Library Collection)

Figure 6 Watercolour of St Andrews Old Church dated 1800

(Guildhall Library Collection)


Figure 7 St Andrews Old Church dated 1820

(Courtesy of Brent Archive)

Figure 8 St Andrews Old Church dated 1822

(Courtesy of Brent Archive)


2.2.2 How old is that church? The Saxon/Norman debate

Reviewing the literature concerning St Andrews Old Church it is clear that the
key issue for most investigators has been establishing the date of the standing
building. Particularly dominant are discussions on whether the church has a Saxon or
Norman origin. The sole monograph concerning the church is by Simeon Potter
(1928) who, based upon architectural style, confidently asserts a Saxon origin. Other
local writers agree; Bunyan (c. 1970: 4), a recent incumbent, suggests that the
church is too simple in style to be Norman, whilst Johnson (1956: 15) assigns a late
Saxon date based upon the small size of the stones used for the quoins. The most
authoritative description of the building can be found in the Middlesex volume of The
Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME, 1937: pp88-89),
which begins,
The walls are of flint rubble with some Roman material and rough-cast; the
dressings are of Reigate and other freestone; the roof is tiled; the w[est] angles of
the nave have quoins of modified long and short type but the position of the 12th
century s[outh] doorway would seem to imply that the nave was lengthened
towards the west probably when the first bell-turret was built; the north-west angle,
furthermore, rests on a fragment of 13th century coffin lid; on the other hand it is
just possible that the early church had a western chamber, that the coffin lid is an
underpinning and that the quoins are of late pre-conquest date
Stukeleys earthwork is given short shrift by the RCHME (1937: 89) who
report, There is now no trace of such a work.
Taylor & Taylor (1965: 351) state that the quoins of the west end show some
appearance of long-and-short technique but that the round-headed doorway in the
south wall (known as the Saxon Door Potter, 1928: 8) shows no features which
appear to us to justify the assignment of a pre-Conquest date. The church is left off
of Taylors final list of Saxon churches and assigned an immediately post-Conquest
date (Taylor, 1978: pp 767-772). Pevsner (1951: 120) describes the west corners as


similar to long-and-short work, but only similar, stating that the walls are more
probably Norman than Saxon adding that were they Saxon, they would be the only
stone remains in Middlesex of so early a period. Cherry and Pevsner (1991: 135)
add that the 12th century south doorway is much restored. Vince (1990: 68),
whose subject is Saxon occupation in London, dismisses the church as having no
early features. Pervading the literature is a sense that the church would be somehow
more significant if it had a Saxon provenance. Sullivan (1994: 67), whilst considering
this debate, believes that this issue should be resolved. The continued application
of typological analysis based on architectural style has focused attention on the
standing building and detracted from an appreciation of the site in its wider setting.
2.2.3 Archaeological Investigation
The site has also been the subject of archaeological investigation; an
excavation project was carried out in 1973/4 by the WHS and latterly a desktop
assessment was undertaken by the Oxford Archaeology Unit (OAU) (OAU, 2000).
The excavation is recorded in an NMR entry (NMR 647842) which states that
the archive rests with the Grange Museum. However, after making enquiries it is
clear that this archive is now lost (Storr Venter, excavation director, pers comm;
Vicky Barlow, grange museum, pers comm). There are, however, a number of
summary reports. The excavation is summarised in the London Archaeologist

Excavation Round-up (Bloice, 1974: 133). The entry reads,

Excavations on a reputed Saxon church site which incorporates Roman material. A
few sherds of Roman pottery have been recovered. There is no evidence of Saxon
occupation, the earliest evidence of post Roman occupation is 13th century. The
number of sherds of coarse pottery recovered indicate some secular occupation of
the site at this time.
The exact location of the excavations is not recorded; certainly excavation took
place somewhere outside the larger of the two doors on the south wall and a trench
was placed across the ditch and bank into the east side which runs parallel to Old

Church Lane (Storr Venter, 1974a: 187). A drawing and photograph of this ditch
also exists (see Figure 9 and 10 below). In addition there is passing mention to
excavation outside both the east and west ends (Storr Venter, 1974b: 178) along
with a report of several hundred sherds of 13th- and 14th- century pottery being

Figure 9 Sketch drawing of 1970s ditch

(Storr Venter, 1974a: 187)

Figure 10 Photograph of 1970s ditch

(Storr Venter: 1975: 3)


Storr Venters interpretation of the site may be summarised as follows,

1. The lack of Saxon pottery from the excavation demonstrates that the church is
not Saxon (1975: 4).
2. The ditch surrounding the site is 13th century as the majority of the pottery was
from this period (Storr Venter: 1975: 4). A sherd of Roman coarse ware was
recovered from the bottom of the ditch but considered intrusive (Storr Venter,
1974a: 187). (That this may indicate the re-cutting of an earlier ditch was not
considered (OAU, 2000: 4)).
3. Roman material excavated outside the south door is interpreted as having been
used in the construction of a 14th century porch which was demolished in 1840.
The purportedly Roman material is said to originate from a nearby Roman villa
(Storr Venter, 1975: pp2-4, SMR ref: 050299).
The OAU aimed to examine the likely nature, extent, preservation and
importance of any archaeological remains and to establish how these might be
affected by a proposed repair programme (OAU, 2000: 3). The report confined itself
to a radius of 250m around the site and concluded that there existed the general
potential for the archaeology of previous settlement in the area possibly from
prehistoric, Roman and pagan Saxon periods. In addition it was noted that the
character and date of the earthwork and the origin and development of the church
including its earliest phase had yet to be established.
2.3 Archaeological research in the 21st century
In some senses it appears that the focus of study at the church has narrowed
over time. The antiquarians described the church in its wider setting; the majority of
20th century investigations have concentrated upon dating the standing building,
perhaps reflecting the way in which the site has become increasingly engulfed by
suburban sprawl, disfiguring the setting of the church. The building is now facing a
new future as the CCT pursue a change of use for the building. The review of past
work detailed above reveals a degree of uncertainty in current knowledge concerning
the site but also highlights the potential for archaeological investigation. Whilst there
are conflicting opinions and lost archives, there is also a window of opportunity for

new research. Writing in the 1970s about the possibilities of undertaking research at
St Peters, Barton-on-Humber, Taylor (1974: 373) reflected, it is very much hoped
that full opportunity will be taken of the present period of redundancy and so it is
today at St Andrews Old Church. The gap between vestment in the CCT and the
change of use presented the opportunity to initiate a research project which could
bring employment to the redundant.


3 The topography of St Andrews Old Church

The decision to create a contour map of the churchyard and to investigate the
site from a topographical perspective was driven by the recognition that a myopic
focus upon dating the church had diverted attention away from the social aspects of
this site. Braun (1970: 220) expresses this succinctly; Buildings grow out of the
wants of men and are the embodiment of their wishes. In this sense, it was
considered that a more fruitful approach for assessing the significance of the site
might be to consider it in a topographical context. The term topography is used
herein to refer to both the natural and humanly made features of the immediate
landscape but also, after Bell (1998: 2), to encompass a more abstract notion of
place as evidenced by place-names, communication routes, cartographic evidence
and field observations, which are presented below in order to stimulate discussion
about this site.
3.1 The contour survey of the churchyard of St Andrews Old Church
As discussed above, the RCHME had stated that the earthwork around the
churchyard no longer existed whilst the WHS excavation and the OAU assessment
suggested otherwise. In its overgrown state it was difficult to gauge the close
topography of the site, thus, it was decided to undertake a contour survey of the
churchyard. The aim of the survey was to assess the likely extent and survival of any
earthwork feature surrounding the church.
The survey was carried out on the 6th and 7th November 2005 with additional
work carried out on 4th January 2006. In total 1186 survey points were plotted. The
results were combined and the initial model created using Leica software and
georeferenced using Autocad 2006 by Tim Sly of the University of Southampton.
Using the data collected it was then possible to construct a 2D contour model of the
site and to create profiles through it at selected points.


The contour model, Figure 11, shows that the churchyard covers an area
approximately 60 metres east west by 45 metres north south. Together the
contours and profiles shown in Figures 11 13 suggest that a bank exists on the
south and east sides of the site, despite heavy landscaping of the eastern side
adjacent to the bank. With reference to Figures 12 and 13, it was noted that the
profile of the bank has a different character on the south and east sides. On the
south side the bank rises just over 2 metres over almost 9 metres, whilst on the
eastern side the rise is more gradual; a 2 metre rise is achieved over about 14
metres. On the west side a slight bank may survive, however, graves have been
inserted along its entire length. There is no trace of a bank on the north side nor is
there any evidence for a ditch at any point around the churchyard. Interestingly, the
survey was able to locate the probable site of the 1970s excavation which trenched
across the bank running parallel to Old Church Lane on the south side of the
churchyard. The contours show a depression in the ground surface possibly caused
by the slumping of the backfill from the excavation. This is marked as point G on
Figure 11.
In addition to the contour model a 3 dimensional wire-frame model was
produced (Figure 14). The relatively small area of the survey means that this model
is not instructive concerning the interior of the churchyard, however, it does highlight
the nature of Old Church Lane which runs parallel to the southern side of the
churchyard. It would appear that Old Church Lane is a holloway (see also Figure
15). The implication of this is that the earthwork feature on the southern side of the
church may not be the result of the up-cast from a ditch but may have been created
by the erosion of the road which leads to the church.


Figure 11 Georeferenced contour model of survey area.
Contours are at 0.2m intervals. 1m intervals are in red. Profiles AB and CD are marked

Figure 12 (above) Section AB profile across southern bank

Figure 13 (below) Section CD profile across eastern bank
Both figures have a horizontal:vertical ratio of 1:1 with the y axis marked at 1m intervals


Figure 14 Wire-frame 3D model of the churchyard with the holloway in the foreground.
The view is looking from the south-east (model produced by Barry Taylor, GL SMR)

Figure 15 Old Church Lane a possible holloway.

This view is taken from the junction of Church Lane and Old Church Lane looking east, the
church is 20m north (left) of where the white van is parked on the top of the rise.
(Photograph by A. Agate)
3.2 The wider topographical area
3.2.1 The church in its landscape setting
When approaching the site along Old Church Lane from the west it is possible to
imagine that the church and churchyard occupy the high point of a mound. This is
accentuated by the sunken character of the lane shown in Figure 15. The contour survey
(Figure 11) shows the church on the edge of the 41m OD contour and this is confirmed with
reference to the OS contour map. By superimposing and scaling contours from the modern
map onto an early OS map (epoch 2 c. 1896) (chosen because it is uncluttered by 20th
century housing developments), it is possible to show that, despite appearances the church
and churchyard actually sit on the edge of the highest point of a short spur which overlooks
the valley of the River Brent as shown in figure 16. This spur is geologically different from
the surrounding area being an out crop of Lynch Hill gravel (this is often erroneously referred
to as Boyn Hill Gravel (e.g Storr Venter, 1975: 1; VCH, 1976: 49)) which overlies the London
Clay that predominates locally (BGS, 2006). Figure 17 shows the extent of this gravel

Further examination of the topography shows that the spur is created by two streams
which run parallel along its western and eastern sides draining into the River Brent. The
western stream is now culverted whilst that on the east remains open. The small valley cut
by the stream can be seen to be about 5 metres wide and 2 3 metres deep. The two
streams and the River Brent describe a finger of land which is thus protected by natural
barriers on three sides. It is interesting to note that the 1896 map shows a field boundary at
the base of the spur where the streams first run parallel. It is possible to speculate that the
addition of a palisade or earthwork at this point would fully describe an enclosure which
features St Andrews Old Church at its central and highest point. There is no evidence that
the palisade existed, neither has past exploration revealed any primary evidence for Saxon
occupation at the site; however, the name Kingsbury is taken to mean the Kings manor or
stronghold (Gover et al, 1942: 61) and this area must be a candidate for that site.


Figure 16 St Andrews Old Church at the centre of a possible enclosure.

Epoch 2 OS map and superimposed contour map showing the site on the edge of a short
spur, the streams and river are accentuated in blue and the field boundary which completes
the enclosure is shown as a broken red line ( Crown copyright Ordnance Survey. All rights


Figure 17 The British Geological Survey map with contours, waterways and field boundary as
in Figure 16.
The Lynch Hill Gravel deposit at the church site lies inside the suggested enclosure (BGS,


It is possible to underline the prominence of this topographical location by taking a trip

across the Brent Valley from where, about a kilometre to the south-east of the site, there is a
footbridge (TQ 2129 8655) over the North Circular Road. From the footbridge there is a view
across the roof tops which demonstrates that the church would have had a commanding view
looking south over the valley as shown in figure 18.

Figure 18 The view across the Brent Valley.

Left - the long view. Right close up, the copper spire and roof line of St Andrews Old
Church can be seen below the spire of modern St Andrews.


3.2.2 The significance of the site to past inhabitants - further topographical evidence
It has been argued that the church occupies a significant location in the landscape in
relation to the physical geography and geology of the area. However, this does not address
the attitudes of past inhabitants; did they view the site as significant? And if so why? In the
following discussion the question of ritual activity at the site is set aside for later discussion
(see section 5) whilst a hypothesis is tentatively put forward to explain why past inhabitants
during the Saxon period may have regarded this as a significant location. Relevant
documentary, cartographic and place-name evidence is presented in order to propose that a
key feature of this site is its proximity to a major post Roman communication route known as

Wic Straet. Figure 19 is provided as reference to the roads, rivers, river crossings and places


Figure 19 Kingsbury c. 957.

The broken lines represent estate boundaries and those for Tunworth/Kingsbury follow the
solution provided by the EPNS (Gover et al, 1942: 219-220) (after Vince, 1990: 122).
It is difficult to be certain who the inhabitants of the area were during the Saxon
period, however, the early charters of Middlesex allude to a number of folk groups who
occupied the area at least during the Middle Saxon period (Bailey, 1988: 178-181). The

Gumeningas certainly occupied the area around modern Harrow and probably had their
pagan temple or hearh, (from which the name Harrow is derived (Gelling, 1984: 2)) at
the site of St Marys Church, Harrow-on the-Hill (Meaney, 1995: 31). Bailey (1988: 179)
speculates that this group may have occupied a wider area, including Kingsbury, which, by
the early 10th-century had become the Saxon administrative area, or hundred, known as Gore
(See figure 19). Bailey (1988: 181) also suggests that the Gumeningas may have been
confined to Harrow and that a separate group whose name is now lost occupied a
territory centred upon Kingsbury.


Figure 20 The location of Gore hundred within Middlesex

(Source: 2001 census, output area boundaries. 2003 Crown copyright material is reproduced
with the permission of the controller of HMSO)
Kingsbury itself first comes into focus in a charter of AD957 (Birch, 1885: No. 994;
Sawyer, 1968: No. S645; Gelling, 1979: No. 220, p109) in which King Eadwig (AD955-959)
grants the manor of Tunweorthe (Tunworth) to a minister named Lyfing. Although not
mentioned by name, the parish of Kingsbury has been located, with certainty, to lie within the
bounds given in the charter (Gelling, 1979: p109; Gover et al 1942: 61, pp219-220). The
bounds mention both Watling Street (the Roman Road to the territory of the Watlingas who
lived around Verulamium (Vince, 1990: 120) and Wic Strt, which respectively form the
eastern and western boundaries of the later medieval parish of Kingsbury (see figure 19).
The place-name Kingsbury (Cyngesbyrig) is first recorded in the will of Archbishop Aelfric (of
Canterbury), dated 1003 or 1004 (Gelling, 1979: No. 126, p114) and occurs again as

Kyngesbyrig in a writ of King Edward dated 1044 X 1046 (Gelling, 1979: No 240, p116).
Gelling (1979) states that all three documents are authentic. The place-names Tunworth and

Wic Street are both highly relevant to the significance of this site.
The English Place-Name Society (Gover et al, 1942: pp62-63) resolves Tunworth as
Tunnas farm and places it in the north of the parish, based on a surviving field-name HighTunworth of 1536. However, a recent study (English, 2002) gives cause to question this
location. Examining worth place-names in a landscape context, English has shown that in
Berkshire, Surrey and Hampshire a study group of 67 settlements with the place-name
element worth all occurred in small areas which were at variance to the dominant geology.
Thus, in areas predominantly of clay, a gravel location might be favoured. Additionally,
worths appear to occur in one of two mutually exclusive locations; either near dry valleys or
set next to rivers or streams. Where the location is riverine the setting often encompasses
an area of flat land. Referring to the discussion in 3.2.1 above and figure 16 which shows
the flat land of the Brent Valley to the south of the spur it is clear that from a landscape
perspective the area around St Andrews would be a good candidate for a worth location.
There is no such site in the north of the parish. Worth the name appears in the early
eighth-century certainly seems to mean enclosed farm (Hooke: 1981:297) and English
(2002: 49) suggests that these sites may indicate the spread of arable agriculture and
settlement into previously less favourable areas. However, establishing if the model may be
imported into Middlesex would require further study, with the parishes of Isleworth,
Harmondsworth and Hanworth as a suggested starting point.

Wic Strt is commonly taken to mean the road to the market, (e.g. Greater London
SMR No. 51047), whilst the designation Strt may mean that the road was metalled and
possibly thought of as Roman (Gelling, 1984: 82). Gelling also suggests that for Strts
which are at the centre of hundreds, as Wic Strt is, the term High Street may be a more
acceptable rendering. This interpretation is supported by research undertaken by Balkwill
(1993: pp 5-12) who suggests that since the word wic entered the language via the Latin
word vicus it is likely to have been adopted at a time of contact between Anglo-Saxon settlers
and native Britons. Balkwill notes that wic- names often appear at the centre of hundreds, as
in this case, or at their boundaries. This correlation, combined with Gellings suggestion that

vicus was a Roman term for an administrative district, is employed to suggest that wicnames represent both a Roman administrative centre and its territory. Thus, Wic Strt is the

High Street through the territory. Balkwill further suggests that these Romano-British
districts become centres for early English settlement and survived due to the emplacement of
hundredal meet places, or moots, at their centres (Balkwill: 1993: 11); it is apposite to note
that the moot of Gore Hundred lay on Wic Strt (Braun, 1937a) (see Figure 19). The
relevance of Wic Strt to this study is the course it takes and its proximity to St Andrews Old
Watling Street was a major Roman road and was utilised in Middlesex as an estate
boundary (Sullivan, 1994: 89). This is true for all Middlesex estates which abut the road
except where the road passes through neighbouring Kingsbury and Hendon. Figure 19 shows
that there is a correlation between the river crossings and the estate boundaries; the charter
of AD957 details the Silk stream as Tunworths eastern boundary, whilst Hendon crosses to
the west side of Watling Street between the bridge locations. Harrison (2004: 32) suggests
that most Roman timber bridges, unless maintained, would have become unusable by the
end of the fifth century, requiring traffic to divert to nearby fords. An option at this location
was a diversion onto Wic Strt, which crosses the Brent at a fordable point c. 400 metres
south-west of the church and passes within 300 metres of the site as it continues north. The
proximity is shown on a remarkable map (Figure 21) drawn in 1597 by Robert Hovenden of
All Souls College, Oxford. As shown in figure 22 this is also the first evidence that the church
was in an enclosure. The ford is shown next to a footbridge and the location of the site
overlooking the crossing would have afforded an excellent vantage point from which to
control it. The Trimoda Necessitas, the three obligations of bridge work, fortress work and
military service are brought to mind.


Figure 21The Hovenden Map 1597.

Wic Streat (here named Hell Lane, probably due to its poor condition) runs along the western
boundary of the parish (Source, All Souls College, Oxford. Hovenden Portfolio II No. 9 by
permission of The Warden and Fellows of All Souls College, Oxford).


By 1746, when Rocques survey was published (Figure 23)Wic Strt had gone out of
use perhaps reflecting Watling Streets return to importance. The line of Wic Strt can still
be seen running through local parkland as shown in figure 24 and was evidenced by a
holloway as late as the 1930s (Braun, 1937b). Rocque depicts the church on high ground
and in an enclosure. There is another interesting feature of both Hovendens and Rouques
maps which has not drawn any attention to date; Old Church Lane not only goes to the
church but also passes it. This is also shown in the 3D model created after the topographical
survey (Figure 14). This suggests that either people approached the church from both
directions or the lane led elsewhere for other reasons. Having established that the site was
highly likely to have been thought of as a significant location in the past it is appropriate to
refocus upon the church and its immediate environs.

Figure 22 Detail from Hovenden Map Portfolio II No. 14 showing the church in an enclosure,
the Brante (sic) Bridge and the parallel ford
(Source, All Souls College, Oxford. Hovenden Portfolio II No. 9 by permission of The Warden
and Fellows of All Souls College, Oxford).


Figure 23 Detail from Rocques map of 1746.

The church sits on high ground in an enclosure and Wic Strt has gone out of use (Courtesy
of the GL SMR).


Figure 24 Vertical aerial photograph taken in 1954 showing the church, the Brent crossing
and the remnant of Wic Strt which can still be followed today
(Source, NMR archive - sortie RAF/82/1006 Frame 124).

4 Archaeological excavation
It has been shown that the church occupies a significant location in the landscape and
further that, notwithstanding its ecclesiastical role, the site may have been significant to the
local population. This section refocuses upon the church and its environs and examines the
results of an excavation project. This is not intended to be a full excavation report, rather a
summary of new and salient data which advances understanding of the significance of the
site. It is interesting to reintroduce the church with a brief examination of the first
documentary evidence for Christian worship in Kingsbury.
4.1 A priest with one virgate
The first documentary reference to Christian worship in Kingsbury is found in its
Domesday Book entry which records a priest with a virgate of land (Morris, 1975: pp9-10).
This is an oblique reference to a church; however the equation of church and priest is
apparent (Morris, 1989: 141; Blair, 2005: 369). The reference does not locate the church in
the landscape, thus it cannot be taken for granted that the entry refers to the current church
site let alone the current church. However, in a key observation, a colleague (Duncan
McAndrew, pers comm) noted that the three fields directly north of the church are named
Church Fields in 1587 (Cunnington, 2000: 42; VCH, 1976: 52). These three fields, which lie
between Fryant Farm and the church (see Figure 16), have an area of approximately 32 acres
and may be equated with the caveat below to the Saxon virgate which, in Middlesex, is
taken to be about 30 acres (Sullivan, 1994: 51). It should be noted that the discussion
concerning the difficulties of equating the Saxon hide to a physical area of land has a long
pedigree; for Middlesex the discussions by Bailey (1988) and Sullivan, (1994: 46-54) are
useful starting points. However, the observation stands and the equivalence is some
evidence for linking this site to the Domesday Book entry.

Despite the arguments put forward above there is a lack of primary evidence for Saxon
occupation at the site. The Greater London SMR details four sites in Kingsbury relating to the
Saxon period (See appendix 1). Two of these (GL SMR Nos. 050297 and 221188) note a lack
of evidence for Saxon occupation, whilst the remaining two (GL SMR Nos. 51047 and 053087)

are based upon documentary rather than archaeological evidence. The architectural evidence
from the church is inconclusive and would, in Taylors analysis (1978: 736), be secondary
evidence. Primary evidence consisting of contemporary documentary evidence, evidence
from archaeological study of the fabric or from archaeological excavation, is lacking. Thus, in
order to complete the research an excavation project was undertaken.
4.2 Summary of the excavation project
Planning the excavation was an educational experience and probably more suited to
retelling at an after dinner speech than in an academic paper! Suffice to say that over time
the necessary permissions and support were obtained from the CCT, the PCC, the Diocese
Advisory Committee, the Church of England (CoE) (in the form of a Faculty from the Diocese
of London), English Heritage and the conservation and planning officers of Brent council. The
support and encouragement received and particularly the generous funding provided by the
CCT is gratefully acknowledged.
The excavation took place between the 4th and 30th June 2006 and the archive from
the excavation will be lodged with the Museum of London Archaeological Archive and
Research Centre (LAARC). The site code is ODL06.
Six test pits were excavated and their locations are shown in Figure 25. The aim was
to investigate the broad questions outlined at the end of section two above; the origin and
development of the church and the character and date of the earthwork. Additionally, each
test pit has a number of specific research questions.


Figure 25 Test pit (TP) locations at St Andrews Old Church

4.2.1 The earthwork test pits 1 and 2

The primary aim of TP 1 and 2 was to assess the character of the earthwork
and to record the stratigraphic sequence of the feature. The section drawings and
photographs of the two test pits are shown on Figures 26 30 below.
It is clear from the section drawings that evidence from the two test pits does
not suggest a continuous earthwork around the site. TP1 (Figures 26 - 28) in some
respects resembles Storr Venters drawing and photograph (Figures 9 & 10) insomuch
as there is a step of what appeared to be redeposited compact clayey-gravel
(context 1102 and 1104). However, no bank was observed and the few pottery finds
from the TP1 are all post-medieval in date. TP1 was cut by a modern plastic pipe
and it is possible that this cuts the earlier ditch. Even if this is the case no evidence
was observed for a substantial earthwork on the southern side of the church.


Figure 26 TP1 west facing section drawing

Figure 27 TP1 west facing section photograph

(Photograph by A. Agate)


Figure 28 Recreating Storr Venters photograph

See Figure 10 (Photograph by A. Agate)



Figure 29 TP2 south facing section

Figure 30 TP2 part of south facing section

(Photograph by A. Agate)
TP2 (Figures 29 & 30) revealed the extent of the original graveyard on its
eastern side. Two burials (not excavated), were revealed within the first metre at its
western end. TP2 extended a further five metres east and no further burials were
found. A sequence of deposits was revealed which suggested the dumping of
building materials outside the limits of the churchyard. Approximately 13kg of
ceramic building material, predominantly roofing tile, was recovered from contexts
2104 - 2120. The pottery finds were few and all post medieval in date. No bank
feature was observed. As the limit of the early graveyard had been established it was
clear that had there been an extant earthwork it would have been located in this
area. It has been suggested that the eastern earthwork was created by the up-cast
from gravel quarrying to the east of the church (VCH, 1976: 51) and this may be the
case. It is also possible that any earlier feature was destroyed when the eastern
graveyard extension was laid out.


Considering the evidence from the two test pits and the topographical survey
together it is argued that the impression that the church sits inside an earthwork was
created by three factors,
1. The natural topography the site is on natural eminence and the church is
located at the edge of the highest point.
2. A holloway accessing the church via Old Church Lane created a holloway with a
drainage gully (context 1106). This accentuated the elevated position and
created the impression of a southern earthwork.
3. Gravel extraction and dumping creating the impression of an earthwork to the
east of the church.
It remains possible that Stukeley did observe a continuous earthwork which
has not survived, whilst the cartographic evidence is clear that the church was in an
enclosure although not necessarily an earthwork. However, based on the new data
it would appear that the alternative interpretation, outlined above, is likely.
4.2.2 In and around the church test pits 3-5
Two test pits were excavated abutting the external walls of the church (TP3 &
4) whilst TP5 overlapped TP 4 internally. The aim of each was to record the
stratigraphic sequence of the foundations and to address the following issues,
TP 3 (Figures 31-33 & 35) - The relative phasing of the nave and chancel and the
recovery of dating evidence.
TP 4 and TP5 (Figures 34, 36, 37 & 38) The possibility of a blocked door opposite
to the Saxon Door, the possible extension to the west end, evidence for earlier


TP3 straddled the break point between the nave and chancel. Some
depictions of the church (e.g. Figure 7) and the architectural evidence (RCHME,
1937) suggest that the nave and chancel represent two phases of building. This was
reinforced by a photograph (Figure 31), which was lit to emphasise any lumps and
bumps in the wall. A clear vertical line was revealed below a break in the wall plate.

Figure 31 Photograph showing a break

in the wall plate and a clear vertical
line at the point where the nave and
chancel meet, suggesting two phases
of building activity
(Photograph by Stuart Laidlaw and
Mike Halliwell).

Figure 32 The location of TP 3

(photograph by A. Agate)


A burial was found in the western half of the test pit; this was recorded and
left in situ. The foundations of the church and the lowest level of flintwork were also
recorded (figure 33) and show no evident break in the sections of either the
foundations or the flint wall. The construction of the foundation and the wall can be
compared to that in TP 4 on the north side of the church (Figure 34). It would
appear that the construction method was very similar; a foundation trench, filled with
compacted pebbles and stones, on top of which a similar layer is differentiated only
by mortar fleck inclusions. Above this is the lowest level of flints; in TP3 these were
bedded in brown sand, with little evidence of mortar, whilst In TP4 the flints were
bonded in a yellow sandy mortar. The different bonding methods appear to be the
only differences in the construction method as an aside from the excavated
evidence, yellow mortar has been observed in the chancel bonding a Roman box flue
tile; this awaits further investigation. From this evidence it is not possible to say
conclusively that the nave and chancel represent different phases of building, indeed
the absence of any clear evidence of a break in the wall at this crucial juncture is
highly suggestive that the building is of one phase.


Figure 33 TP3 - south facing section.

Figure 34 TP 4 - north facing section.


Figure 35 TP3 west facing section.

Figure 36 TP4 west facing section.


Figure 37 TP4 west facing section,

the foundation trench cut and fill can be clearly seen to the right of the scale
(Photograph by A. Agate).
TP5, located inside the church, uncovered part of a vaulted brick structure,
which appears likely to be a tomb. A wall monument above and to the right of the
excavated area is the only record of any vaults inside the church. It records the
death of the four Sidebottom brothers who drowned in the Brent reservoir on 14th
August 1835 and it is thought that this may be their tomb. Overlapping TP4 and TP5
enabled an accurate measurement of the foundation thickness which is 0.76 metres
(30 inches). In this respect it is interesting to note Taylors (1978: 958) generalised
view that for naves Anglo-Saxon walls are seldom as thick as 3 ft and are more often
nearer to 2ft 6 in. There was no evidence for an opposing door or for the extension
of the west end of the church in TP4 or 5.


Figure 38 TP5 part of a vault uncovered by the excavation.

(photograph by A. Agate)
The finds from TP3 and particularly TP4 are more revealing. Although once
again few they are from sealed contexts and provide crucial dating evidence. The
pottery was identified by Roy Stephenson from the LAARC. In TP3, context 3107
(Figure 35) a single sherd of Roman pottery was recovered. This abraded sherd
probably entered the backfill of the foundation trench during the construction of the
chancel. Aside from building material in the church Roman finds are not uncommon
in Kingsbury (See appendix 1). In TP 4, context 4110 (Figure 36), 5 sherds of early
medieval flint-tempered London ware (EMFL), dated to AD970 1100 were recovered
(see figure 39). Once again this is the backfill of the foundation trench for the
Interpreting this evidence is difficult; as the pottery is of one fabric (although
seemingly from two or three different vessels) it suggests one phase of probably
domestic occupation. Thus the pottery may be interpreted as a phase of domestic
occupation prior to the construction of the church. On this interpretation the sherds
would have already been in the ground for a period of time prior to the excavation of
the foundation trench. However, the condition of this friable fabric, suggests that the


sherds entered this context freshly broken. This would link them directly with the
construction phase of the building, making them perhaps broken and discarded
vessels belonging to the workmen: the 11th century equivalent of the stash of
stoneware ginger beer bottles found by workers in UCLs main quadrangle during
2005. From TP6 (Figure 39), where the ground was much disturbed by burials and a
gas pipe, numerous sherds of domestic wares, mostly within an 18th-century date
range, were recovered. Residual finds from this TP of a further sherd of EMFL and
two sherds of south Hertfordshire-type greyware (SHER dated 1170-1350)
demonstrates that domestic wares have found their way onto this site over a broad

Figure 39 TP6 south facing section with gas pipe in the centre


It is suggested that the pottery evidence from TP4 provides a Terminus Post

Quem (a date after which the pottery was deposited) of 1100 for the construction of
the footings. Stretching this point further, a late 11th-century date raises the
possibility that this building, or at least the foundation, is contemporary with the
Domesday entry discussed above. The primary significance of these finds is that they
represent the first archaeological evidence for 11th- century occupation at the site.

Figure 40 The five sherds of Early Medieval flint-tempered London ware (AD9701100)
recovered from TP4 - context 4110 (photograph by A. Agate).


5 Discussion the utility of this study

The preceding sections have examined the past at St. Andrews Old Church,
focusing upon the significance of the site in relation to its topographical location and
archaeological remains. This discussion focuses upon the present and the future and
considers the utility of this study within two contexts; the role of the site within wider
academic research and secondly, the developing issue of heritage protection in
relation to St Andrews.
5.1 Academic research themes and St Andrews Old Church
As noted above, much of the debate concerning the church has centred upon
its dating, particularly the issue of whether or not it is Saxon. The debate has
centred upon two elements of the church; its Saxon Door and the long-and-short
work in the west end. This is in spite of the knowledge that the Saxon Door was
bricked up and rendered over in 1840 and reinstated in 1888 (Potter, 1928: 8). It is
thus possible that the current door was confected in the late 19th-century and should,
therefore, be treated with caution as an aid to dating. The quoins, meanwhile, are
compatible with a late 11th- early 12th- century date (Andrew Reynolds, pers comm)
which the pottery finds support. Within the context of significance and because of
the dating mania at St Andrews one important question arises; is the church less
significant if it is not Saxon?
John Blair (2005: 411-417) has recently reassessed Taylor & Taylors (1965)
corpus of some 400 stone built Anglo-Saxon churches, recognising a significant
number which are the product of a stylistic overlap between Saxon and Norman
periods. He concludes that a simplistic designation to one or other of the periods is
not appropriate, reinforcing a more general view that 1066 as a defining horizon is
not particularly helpful (Reynolds, 2003: 100). Borrowing from vernacular
architecture Blair believes that the overlap churches belong to a period styled The
Great Rebuilding c. 1050-1150 (see also Morris, 1989: 165) during which,

A high proportion of English churches crossed the vernacular threshold, the line
above which a structure is sufficiently well built for future generations to maintain,
adapt or enlarge it rather than simply replace it. (Blair, 2005: 411).
Blair believes that in archaeological terms this period represents a cultural
horizon, as does the replacement of as Iron-Age native farm by a Roman villa
(Blair, 2005: 415). It is proposed that the significance of St Andrews Old Church,
with its endowment of a virgate of land, does not rest on a Saxon provenance; rather
it belongs to that corpus of churches constructed during the cultural horizon styled
The Great Rebuilding.
There are other corpora of churches to which St Andrews belongs within
academic research. For example, the Roman remains in the fabric of the church,
which thus far have been viewed with a Nelsonian eye, deserve attention. The reuse
of Roman material in churches has received some attention in recent years and it is
possible to briefly examine how St Andrews may contribute to that research.
From churches situated in the London Basin John Potter (2001) has compiled a
corpus of those which contained Roman brick or tile. His list, which includes St
Andrews, identifies 309 churches. In addition, Potter has detailed whether or not the
tile has been used in a structurally significant manner, i.e. in doors, windows, quoins
or wall course work. Analysing the list it is apparent that of the total, 229 (74%) are
judged to use Roman brick and tile in a non-structural capacity and St Andrews is
one of these.
More recently Bell (2005) has examined the reuse of Roman structures (villas,
mausoleums and forts) as sites for churches, compiling a gazetteer of such sites.
From this it has been possible to identify 28 sites which are also on Potters final list.
Of the 28 sites that are associated with Roman remains and have Roman brick and
tile in them only 50% use it structurally. The fact that such a small number of


Potters churches are associated with Roman structures supports Morris (1989: 102)
observation that,

Roman materials were far more commonly taken to the site of a church than
were sites of churches taken to the materials.
Also raised is the question why was Roman tile used in church construction?
Tim Eaton (2000) has addressed this question, considering the extent to which the
use of Roman material in Saxon churches legitimised Christian worship through a link
to Rome. However, his examples are drawn from well known, monumental sites, for
example Hexham and Ripon. As Reynolds (2003) has pointed out within the context
of Anglo-Saxon settlement studies, incorporating lesser known sites into the data set
allows comparison with more well known examples and may allow broader patterns
to be extracted. There is clearly an opportunity for further research concerning the
non-structural re-use of Roman material based upon a corpus of less well known
sites. St Andrews provides an example; the builders incorporated six complete
Roman hypocaust tiles into the internal walls of the church. One is in the nave next
to the Saxon Door (at one time the principle entrance/exit) whilst five flank the altar
at the rear of the chancel: the most sacred part of the church. In addition to
bolstering the argument that the nave and chancel are of the same phase of
construction, the presence of such material raises other questions. Were the tiles
simply functional storage holes as has been suggested (Storr Venter: 1975: 2) or was
there some ritual relationship between the Roman tile and the arrival and/or
departure of the congregation? Was the presence of Roman material in the chancel
intended in some way to legitimise the Christian use of the site? It is not possible to
address these questions by studying St Andrews in isolation and a broader research
project would be required.
Other recent studies are a reminder that new techniques and typologies are
constantly being developed; Potters (2006) recent work examining Saxon quoins
from a petrological viewpoint and Pringles (2006) hypocaust box flue tile typology


are examples where St Andrews might profitably be employed as part of a wider

5.2 Heritage protection and St Andrews Old Church
A further corpus to which St Andrews Old Church belongs is that of redundant
churches. Since 1969 1,696 CoE churches have been declared redundant; a figure
which over the period represents almost one a week. Of these 57% now have
alternative uses, 22% have been demolished and 21% have been preserved through
vestment in the CCT (Redundant churches Committee, 2006: 6) as in the case of St
Andrews Old Church. In many respects the future of the church is assured; it has its
own conservation statement (CCT, 2006a) detailing an inspection and maintenance
regime and, in order to bring life back to the building, the CCT is seeking an
alternative use for the building. In other respects the future is less clear cut. The
planning stage of this project highlighted the difficulties which arise when a site has
multiple owners and multiple agencies concerned with its protection. The project
always appeared to have the support of all those concerned (see 4.2 above) and yet
it took eight months to put all of the permissions in place; it was like trying to put
forward a motion to a committee that never meets.
It is possible that the current Heritage Protection Review (DCMS, 2004), which
aims to streamline the designation system and consent regimes for heritage assets,
may address some of these issues. However, in order to achieve this it is argued that
the designation would need to encompass not just the church but also its environs:
the significance of the site encompasses more than the church building. Listed
building designations now include a statement called a summary of importance
(DCMS, 2004: 15) which should be short, accessible and jargon-free and enable
the user of the document (owner, local authority official and developer) to
understand what the designated item is (building or site type), its physical and
cultural context and significance. The summary of importance is intended to
highlight the items special interest and importance and is intended as a first step in

a process that would manage its future (DCMS, 2004: 16). It should not be
confused with a statement of significance which is normally employed in the context
of drawing up conservation and management plans. Whilst all new designations
since 2005 have a summary of importance attached to them the task of writing such
documents for old designations will be undertaken in a piecemeal fashion as and
when circumstances allow. It is proposed that the current listing entry (see section
2.1 above) does not fulfil the role of a summary of importance and that this research
project provides an opportunity to revise the listing to encompass the site and to
provide a draft summary of importance. Under HPR proposals the church and its
environs could be encompassed in a single listing, as a Grade 1 historic asset
(DCMS, 2004: 15). A draft summary of importance is presented below (section 6) in
anticipation of such a revised designation.
Through this study it has been possible to communicate to the CCT the notion
that the church and its environs should be regarded as a unified site and not just as a
building. This concept has already been incorporated into their conservation
statement, which explicitly refers to the graveyard in its title even though the CCT
do not own or have any jurisdiction over the graveyard the essential element of the
buildings setting is well understood. The concept was also a key ingredient of the
CCTs shared vision document (CCT, 2006b) which was part of a presentation to the
Heritage Lottery Fund, whose representative visited the site during the excavation.
One might even view the success of the project in uniting the site as a mini exercise
in joined-up heritage.
As a final thought, we should reflect upon Brauns (1970: 220) view, stated
earlier, that buildings are the embodiment of peoples wishes. The level of statutory
protection designated to a building is not necessarily a reflection of the protection it
enjoys in practice; St Andrews Old Church has the highest level of protection that the
state can bestow upon a building but this does not protect it from graffiti and broken
windows. Brauns statement is not just applicable for a buildings original


construction and use; ultimately the level of protection afforded to a heritage site will
be the embodiment of peoples wishes.


6 Conclusion
The aim of this study was to assess the significance of the standing building
and environs of St Andrews Old Church, Kingsbury. The initial task was to assess
current knowledge of the site by drawing together past investigations spanning the
last 250 years. This revealed a myopic concern with dating the standing building and
an underlying sense that the building would be somehow more significant if a Saxon
provenance could be established. In addition, the work of William Stukeley
overshadows the site with past investigations taking his interpretation as a starting
point: the apparent desire to prove or disprove a Stukeleyan hypothesis has
hampered past investigations.
The current redundant status of the church presented an opportunity to
initiate a new research project, taking an approach which has not previously been
employed at St Andrews. The site has been studied within its topographical area and
this has allowed a wide range of evidence to be considered. An excavation project at
the church revealed new dating evidence for the standing building and has produced
the first evidence of Saxo-Norman occupation at the site.
In addition to being an isolated study it has been proposed that this work has
a wider utility. The methodology employed, that of topographical survey combined
with limited and targeted archaeological investigation, might be usefully employed at
other sites. Meanwhile, there are questions concerning this type of lesser known site
which cannot be addressed through isolated study and wider research projects are
required; the example of the reuse of Roman remains has been used. Further, the
site exemplifies the need for heritage protection reform. It is proposed that the
protected area should be widened to encompass the graveyard of St Andrews Old
Church in order to bring a unified approach to heritage management at the site.


Based upon the evidence from this project the significance of St Andrews Old
Church and its environs is presented below in a draft summary of importance in
anticipation of a review of the heritage protection designation for this site .
Draft Summary of Importance
The church and churchyard of St Andrews Old Church occupy a place of
special interest on account of their association with Saxon settlement in north-west
London. The graveyard has produced the only archaeological evidence in the parish
for Late Saxon Early Norman occupation. It is possible that this location may be
the remnant of an area linked to Middle Saxon agriculture and settlement, which later
became a defensive site possibly protecting the local road network and nearby
crossing of the River Brent, which the site overlooked in the past.
Archaeological evidence indicates that the latest date for the construction of
the current church is end of the 11th-century. Although much restored by the
Victorians it is possible that the main fabric is contemporary with the Domesday Book
entry for the area; it may be the oldest surviving stone building in Middlesex. The
building belongs to a nationally important group of churches which were built at a
time when there was a resurgent interest in building permanent structures. The
desire to build permanent structures in quantity is not in evidence since the Roman
period and the building is therefore indicative of a wider cultural change in England.
Roman remains may be seen both inside and outside the building; these are not a
structural element of the building and their origin and purpose are not yet
The church and churchyard mark a central point for the early development of
settlement at Kingsbury. The aspect of the site is now diminished due to suburban
encroachment; however, together they are an excellent example of a rural parish
church and churchyard surviving in modern suburban London.


Appendix one Summary of Sites and Monuments entries

relating to the St Andrews Old Church and its environs including
Roman and Saxon entries for Kingsbury.

SMR reference No.

Source of
map ref
WHS excavation
TQ 2064 8687


ull SMR description



TQ 2064 8686



TQ 2064 8687



(050296). THE CHURCH WAS
1888 AND 1955. BECAME A
west side of the church may
contain stone quoins set in
the pre-Conquest 'long and
short' style. However, it is
debatable whether any Saxon
work actually survives in the
standing building


WHS Excavation
TQ 0265 8686
(Old Church Lane)
(Salmon Street)
(Buck Lane)

Chance finds
TQ 2050 8670
Chance finds
TQ 2010 8694
Chance finds
TQ 2050 8860

- 1066
AD to
1539 AD










(Roe Green)
(Kingsbury Rd)

Chance Finds
TQ 2018 8880
TQ 2000 8850




The present area of

Kingsbury was apparently
first known in Saxon times as
an estate called Tunworth,
which may also have included
part of Edgware. It had
become the royal estate
known as Kingsbury by the
C10th. The western boundary
of the estate with Harrow
was a N-S road, called
Wicstrete in 957. The "wic",
or settlement, referred to
was probably centred on St
Andrew's Church (050296).
In 957 the whole area was
still called Tunworth, but at
some time later this seems to
refer only to an estate in the
north part of Kingsbury
around Stag Lane. In the
C11th, the Chalkhill Estate
was given to Westminster
Abbey. The rest of Kingsbury
was held by Thane Wulfward
Wight at the Conquest, and
afterwards by Arnulf de


References Cited
Bailey, K. 1988, The Hidation of Middlesex, Transactions of the London and
Middlesex Archaeology Society, 39, pp 165-186.
Balkwill, C.J. 1993, Old English Wic and the Origin of the Hundred, Landscape
History, 15 pp5-12.
Bell, T. 1998, Churches on Roman Buildings: Christian Associations and Roman
Masonry in Anglo-Saxon England Medieval Archaeology, 42 pp 1-18.
Bell, T. 2005, The Religious Reuse of Roman Structures in Medieval England, British
Archaeological Reports, British Series 390, Oxford: Archaeopress.
BGS (British Geological Survey), 2006, England and Wales Sheet 256 North London,
Bedrock and Superficial Deposits 1:50 000, Nottingham: Keyworth.
Birch, W de Gray, 1885, Cartularium saxonicum: a Collection of Charters Relating to
Anglo-Saxon History, London: Whiting & Co.
Blair, J. 2005, The Church in Anglo-Saxon Society, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bloice, B. 1974, Excavation Round-up - 1973 London Archaeologist, 2 (6) p133.
Braun, H. 1937a, The Hundred of Gore and its Moot-Hedge, Transactions of the

London and Middlesex Archaeology Society, 7 pp218-228.

Braun, H. 1937b, Some Earthworks of North-West Middlesex, Transactions of the

London and Middlesex Archaeology Society, 7 pp365-392.
Braun, H. 1970 Parish Churches: Their Architectural Development in England,
London: Faber and Faber.
Brent Council, 2006, St Andrews Conservation Area Character Appraisal, London:
Brent Council, URL:
ws%20conservation%20area%20character%20appraisal%22 Date accessed 14
August 2006.
Bunyan, W.F. undated but c. 1970, A History of St. Andrews Church Kingsbury,
Unpublished pamphlet courtesy of Brent Archive.


CCT (Churches Conservation Trust) 2006a, St Andrew Old Church and churchyard,
Kingsbury, London, Conservation Statement, unpublished report.
CCT (Churches Conservation Trust) 2006b, The Shared Vision for St Andrews,
Kingsbury, unpublished document.
Cherry, B & Pevsner, N. 1991, Buildings of England, London. 3 North-West, London:
Penguin Books.
CPW (Council for Places of Worship), 1976, Kingsbury, St Andrew (Old Church)
(London), unpublished report, National Monuments Record BL 54764.
Cunnington, W.E. 2000, The Field-Names of Kingsbury, English Place-Names Society
Journal, 32 pp 41-46.
DCMS, 2004, Review of Heritage Protection: The Way Forward, London: DCMS.
Eaton, T. 2000, Plundering the Past: Roman Stonework in Medieval Britain, Stroud:
Eftec (economics for the environment consultancy), 2005, Valuation of the Historic
Environment, URL: date
EH (English Heritage), 2006, Buildings at risk register, URL: date accessed 14 August 2006.
English, J. 2002, Worths in a Landscape Context Landscape History, 24 pp 45-51.
Frith, J. 1906 Middlesex, London: Methuen.
Gelling, M. 1979, The Early Charters of the Thames Valley: a catalogue,
Leicester: Leicester University Press.
Gelling, M. 1984, Place-names in the Landscape, London: Phoenix Press.
Gover, J. E. B., Mawer, A. and Stanton F. M. 1942, The Place-names of Middlesex
Apart from the City of London, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Guildhall Library, 2006, URL
kingsbury accessed 16 August 2006.


Harrison, D. 2004, The Bridges of Medieval England; Transport and Society 400-1800
Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Hewlett, G. 1987a, Old St Andrews, Kingsbury: A struggle for Survival, London:
Wembley History Society.
Hewlett, G. 1987b, The Bells of Old St Andrews Kingsbury: Their History and
restoration, London: Wembley History Society unpublished pamphlet.
Hooke, D. 1981, Anglo-Saxon Landscapes of the West Midlands, British
Archaeological Report , British Series No. 95, Oxford: Archaeopress.
Johnson, C.G. 1956, Old St. Andrews Kingsbury Wembley History Society Journal,
1(1), pp15-20.
Meaney, A. 1995, Pagan Sanctuaries, Place-Names and Hundred Meeting-Places,
Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History, 8 pp 29-42.
Morris, J. 1975, Domesday Book 11, Middlesex edited from a draft translation
prepared by Sara Wood, Chichester: Phillimore .
Morris, R. 1989, Churches in the Landscape, London: Phoenix.
OAU (Oxford Archaeology Unit), 2000, Kingsbury, St. Andrew Old Church
Archaeological Assessment, unpublished document.
Pevsner, N. 1951, The Buildings of England, Middlesex, Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Potter, S. 1928, Old Kingsbury Church (2nd edition) London: Mowbray.
Potter, J.F. 2001, The Occurrence of Roman Brick and tile in Churches in the London
Basin, Britannia, 32 pp 119-142.
Potter, J.F. 2006, No Stone Unturned a re-assessment of Anglo-Saxon Long-andShort Quoins and Associated Structures, Archaeological Journal, 162 pp177-214.
Pringle, S. 2006, Early Box Flue Tiles from London, London Archaeologist, 11(5),
RCHME, 1937, Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England): An Inventory
of the Historical Monuments in Middlesex, London: HMSO.


Redundant Churches Committee, 2006, Report of the Redundant Churches

Committee to the Board of Governors for the year to 31 December 2005, URL:
005.doc date accessed 14 August 2006.

Reynolds, A. 2003, Boundaries and Settlements in later Sixth to Eleventh-Century

England, Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History, 12 pp 98- 136.
Sawyer, P. H. 1968, Anglo-Saxon charters: an annotated list and bibliography,
London: Royal Historical Society.
Storr Venter, P. 1974a, Archaeological section round up Old St. Andrews Church,
Kingsbury, Wembley History Society Journal 3 (10) p187.
Storr Venter, P. 1974b, Old St. Andrews Church, Kingsbury, Wembley History Society
Journal 3 (9) p174 179.
Storr Venter, P. undated c. 1975, Old Saint Andrews Kingsbury, London: Wembley
History Society.
Stukeley, W. 1776 The Brill, Caesars Camp at St. Pancras, Itinerarium Curiosum II,
pp 2-16 & pl 62 (dated 20 Sept 1757).
Sullivan, D. 1994, The Westminster Corridor: An Exploration of the Anglo-Saxon
History of Westminster Abbey and its Nearby Lands and People, London: Historical
Taylor, H.M. & Taylor, J. 1965, Anglo-Saxon Architecture, Vol I, Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Taylor, H.M. 1974, Old St Peters Church, Barton on Humber, Archaeological Journal
131 pp 369-73.
Taylor, H.M. 1978, Anglo-Saxon Architecture Vol III, Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
VCH (Victoria County History), 1976, 'A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5:
Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken
Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham, edited by Baker, T.F.T. & Pugh, R. B. Oxford:
Oxford University Press.

Vince, A. 1990, Saxon London: An Archaeological Investigation, London: Seaby.


Walford, E. 1883, London: A Narrative of its History, its People and its Places,
London: Cassell & Co.
WHS (Wembley History Society), 1977, Committee meeting minutes of 2nd September
1977, unpublished document.
WHS (Wembley History Society), 1978, Old St Andrews Kingsbury in 1844 Wembley
History Society Journal, IV (7).