11.5 C
Harrow on the Hill
Sunday, April 14, 2024
HomeArticlesA history of St John’s Church and the Bentley Priory Vault in...

A history of St John’s Church and the Bentley Priory Vault in Stanmore

Few boroughs can boast as many historically stunning churches as Harrow and, in this article, we’re looking at the magnificent St.John’s Church and the Bentley Priory Vault in Stanmore.

A church of many names

Going back as far as the sixth century the site of St.John’s was a holy place and, in fact, as the Saxons conquered London, ruins of ‘the Stones by the Mere’ could be seen here. The Saxons would go on to build a church on what we now know as Church Lane and this would remain in place until the 14th century when it was replaced by Saint Mary’s Church.

In 1632 the Bishop of London, William Laud consecrated the ground for the new St. John’s Church which was paid for by Sir John Wolstenholme on land donated by MRs Barbara Burnell, Sir Thomas Lake and Mr Robinson.

A history of St John’s Church and the Bentley Priory Vault in Stanmore Harrow Online
St John’s Church, Stanmore.

In 1850 the ground was consecrated once again, this time by the Bishop of Salisbury and a new church was built at a cost of £7,855. The foundation stone for the church was laid by The Earl of Aberdeen in the presence of Queen Adelaide – the last public appearance by the Queen who resided at Bentley Priory.

The church’s architect was a Henry Clutton and it was furnished through donations from people of note, including Colonel Tovey Tennent who provided the carved chairs in the chancel and the clock. By 1851, the old brick church was no longer in use, giving way to the new building, and it would slowly become ruins which were Grade II listed in 1951.

A history of St John’s Church and the Bentley Priory Vault in Stanmore Harrow Online
St John’s Church in Stanmore

Where past and present meet to worship

In 2024, St John’s Church is an impressive building and a great place to visit. The well maintained cemetery features many ancient and interesting gravestones but none more so than the Bentley Priory Vault. Inside the vault are the remains of George Hamilton Gordon – fourth Earl of Aberdeen and Prime Minister from 1852 to 1855 – whose tomb is marked with the coronet of an Earl and the Knight of the Ancient Order of the Thistle of Scotland.

St John’s is, of course, above all else, a place of worship and details of services can be found on the church’s website.

×