Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Ordnance survey map of CHURCH OF ST LEONARD
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Greater London Authority
Hounslow (London Borough)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 13132 77498



II* Tower C15, and W reconstructed 1866-7 using C15 materials from the previous porch. The remainder was rebuilt and enlarged in 1866-7 under Thomas Bellamy.

MATERIALS: The church is built of coursed, rock-faced ragstone with freestone dressings and the roofs are covered with Welsh slates. The timber superstructure of the W porch rests on stone walls.

PLAN: W tower, nave, N and S aisles, outer N aisle, N and S chancel aisles, S porch, N vestry.

EXTERIOR: The west tower is late medieval in the Perpendicular style, has four storeys and is 'one of the best of the Middlesex type' (Cherry and Pevsner). It is similar to that at Isleworth and has a south-east turret, diagonal buttresses, a three-light W window and tall, two-light, transomed windows with square heads to the belfry stage. There are embattled parapets and carved gargoyles. A small, square-headed stoup is sited on the right-hand side of the W doorway which retains its late medieval door. The W porch has a four-centred outer arch and foliated spandrels. There are four lights on each side and the roof has a moulded ridge and a tie-beam with curved braces. The body of the church is in the style of c.1300. Most of the windows are of two-lights with trefoil tracery in the heads although the windows at the E end are more complex. They are of three lights with the two aisle windows have the same design: the tracery heads of all three windows have several trefoils making up the design. The SE part of the nave is lit by a broad, seven-light mullioned, timber dormer window. The S and inner N aisle have lean-to roofs while the other parts of the church are under their own separate gables. There is no clerestory.

INTERIOR: The arch to the tower is tall and moulded and is typical of C15 work. In the arcades between the nave and its aisles, the piers alternate between round and octagonal as was sometimes the case in medieval churches. The arcade to the outer N aisle has round piers, capitals and double chamfered arches and is said to reuse piers from the old church. The chancel arch is moulded and carried on demi-octagonal responds. The roofs to the nave, chancel and outer N aisle are of arch-braced construction. The tower and nave are divided by a modern glazed partition. PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: Much of the C19 congregational seating remains although much has been removed from the eastern parts to accommodate the altar which has been brought forward. The most notable fixtures are the numerous monuments which were retained from the pre-Victorian church . A list of the major items is given in the RCHM volume: examples are the monument to William James (d 1727), the largest of them all at the E end of the outer N aisle: it has with flanking marble pilasters and a broken pediment at the top. Rather earlier is the oval tablet to William Denington (d. 1686) in the N chapel, a marble tablet with scrolls and a cartouche. The Lady Chapel has a monument to Robert Child (d 1782) and other members of his family, signed by the designer and sculptor, the former being the well-known architect Robert Adam and the latter PN Van Geldert. There is also a varied collection of C19 and C20 glass, including work by the popular makers CE Kempe (Lady Chapel SE: d 1897), and Heaton, Butler and Bayne (Lady Chapel: SW: d. 1894). At the E end of the N chapel is an unusual First World War memorial bearing the names of the fallen under an arcade of Gothic arches. There is a large reredos in the chancel with emblems of the Evangelists, fleuron decoration and the Commandments, Lord¿s Prayer and Creed on metal tablets under Gothic arches,

HISTORY: The medieval parish church of Heston is located at the southern end of what is said, at nine acres, to be the largest churchyard in the country. Before rebuilding it contained evidence of various dates, including work said to date back to Norman times. The C15 tower is the sole survivor of the medieval building, along with the reconstructed W porch. In the C18 the links the Child family of Osterley Park were buried here and the designing of Robert Child's monument by Robert Adam who had worked for the Child family at Osterley. The rebuilding of the church in the mid-1860s was under Thomas Bellamy (1798-1876), a London architect with an office in Charlotte Street, Bedford Square. The project was something of a cause célèbre and attracted much criticism from the conservation lobby of the day. This included two letters of protest to the Times, one of them from George Gilbert Scott, then England¿s most famous architect. All this was reported in the Building News whose article was reprinted in the Ecclesiologist. This was one of a number of high-profile cases that helped bring about a more conservative attitude in the treatment of historic buildings in this country. The rebuilt church was consecrated by the bishop of London on 8 May 1867.

SOURCES: The Ecclesiologist, 26 (1865), pp. 334-6 quoting an article in The Building News Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 3: North West, 1991, pp. 423-4 Royal Commission on Historic Monuments, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Middlesex, 1937, p. 73-4 Charles J. Ginn, Heston Church [guidebook], 3rd ed., 1998 Anon, The Parish Church of St Leonard, Heston, c2006

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The church of St Leonard, Heston is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * Its late medieval tower and reconstructed late medieval W porch * It spacious and typical example of mid-Victorian church building * A good collection of pre-Victorian monuments

This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 26 October 2017.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


War Memorials Online, accessed 26 October 2017 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 26 October 2017 from


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

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