A tale of two churches – St Mary’s
Hornsey Parish was probably formed in about the thirteenth century at the time a church was built in the village of Hornsey. The Parish fell within the Ossulstone Hundred of Middlesex, and in later times it was part of the Finsbury division of the Hundred.
St Mary’s Church has been in Hornsey since 1300. The Tower was completed around 1500 and then heightened in 1832 when the medieval church was rebuilt as it was too small and needed many repairs. The tower was retained and a new church built alongside it, finished in 1833.
This church in turn became unsuitable and was closed in 1888, although it was not demolished until 1927. The tower was spared and the site was made into a Garden of Remembrance created by the Borough of Hornsey in 1950 to commemorate the residents of Hornsey who were killed during the Second World War. For the new church a different site was chosen, on the corner of Hornsey High Street and Church Lane, and the building was completed by 1889. The church contained space for 1,200 and was considered to be the finest 19th century church in Middlesex. Unfortunately the subsoil was unstable and cracks began to appear, forcing the demolition of the building in 1969. Church services were held in the church hall.
For further information please see the Friends of Hornsey Church Tower page on this website or view the friends own website by clicking here.
There are also several documents on file in the National Archive relating to the history of of St. Mary’s. Please click here to view.
A tale of two churches – St George’s
The existing church of St George, Cranley Gardens, on the corner with Park Road, occupies a site given by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners c. 1900. Dr. St. Clair Donaldson, however, acquired land on the corner of Priory Road and Park Avenue South, where J. S. Alder designed a church with a chancel, transepts, and aisled nave. The nave and aisles of 1907 seated 400 and were of red brick with yellow Taynton stone dressings, in a late Decorated style with Perpendicular details. In 1910 a district was assigned with the bishop as patron of the living.
The site proved ill chosen but in 1928 a chancel, chapel, and organ-chamber by W. C. Waymouth were added. In 1940 the church was bombed, from 1945 only the chancel and chapel were used for worship, and in 1956 the building was demolished and the site sold.
The modern church by Randall Morris was consecrated in 1959. It is not oriented. Of red brick on a reinforced concrete frame with transverse elliptical arches, it has a sanctuary, aisled nave with east vestries, south-east chapel and bell turret, and south porch. The 16th-century font from St. Mary’s was moved from the old to the new St. George’s church.
The Church now serves the Parish of Hornsey and was united with its mother church of St Mary, Hornsey in 1972.