Building » Harrow on the Hill – Our Lady and St Thomas of Canterbury

Harrow on the Hill – Our Lady and St Thomas of Canterbury

Roxborough Park, Harrow on the Hill HA1

An unpretentious but effective design by Arthur Young in fourteenth-century style, the first of a handful of English Gothic designs by Young in the diocese. The interior, with its varied and characteristic waggon roofs, is especially well-handled. The church contains good stained glass by Patrick Nuttgens, a local resident, Lavers & Westlake and others. Although contrasting in style, the church’s external roughcast finish fits in well with the Arts and Crafts residential character of the conservation area.

The mission was established in 1873 and a tin church built in Roxborough Park. The arrival of the Metropolitan Line at Harrow on the Hill in 1880 was a spur to development, including that of Roxborough Park and Bessborough Road (redeveloped after the sale of the Roxborough estate in 1887). The present church, its linked presbytery and (originally separate) attached private house behind, were built in 1894 from designs by Arthur Young, the first of a handful of churches by Young in the diocese. A contemporary account suggests that the building was originally intended to have transepts and a shingled dwarf spire, but these were never built. The church has several stained glass windows, some by Patrick Nuttgens, who was a local resident. The church was underpinned in the 1970s.


The church is not orientated; the liturgical east end lies to the west.  This description follows conventional liturgical orientation.

The list description, below, is very brief.

The church is built in the Gothic style of the fourteenth century.  The walls are of brick faced with roughcast, with dressings and windows of Monk’s Park stone and a small amount of stone and flint chequerwork. The roofs are covered with tiles. The plan comprises a nave and sanctuary of nearly equal length under a continuous pitched roof with a large and separately-roofed south aisle. On the north side of the church is a short attached octagonal tower with chequerwork decoration, a porch to the east with a flint-faced gable and a north aisle to the sanctuary under a catslide continuation of the main roof. A small baptistery projects to the west of the south aisle. The nave west front has a three-light pointed traceried window above a central doorway with a four-centred head. The south aisle wall is divided into three bays by stepped buttresses with a pair of two-light window openings in each bay. The east wall of the aisle has a three-light window and the east wall of the sanctuary has a five-light window with elaborate cusped tracery.

The interior is long and low in convincing medieval fashion. The nave has a west gallery, the space beneath enclosed with a modern wood and glass screen (architect B. D. Kaye). The western half of the nave has on the south side an arcade of four bays of pointed moulded arches, the west arch smaller than the rest. The arcade is carried on octagonal stone columns with moulded capitals and bases. Above is a painted timber waggon roof with moulded ribs and carved bosses. The bosses were carved by a Mr Ross (Harrow Observer and Gazette, 1923). A thin stone arch on wall-shafts divides the nave from the sanctuary, which has three bay north and south arcades of pointed arches on octagonal columns and a timber wagon roof with ribs bosses and elaborate cross-bracing (originally stained, and painted in the late twentieth-century). The south aisle extends along both nave and sanctuary and has timber wagon roof, painted in its eastern half only.

Stained glass:

  • In the east window, The Assumption, with saints Hugh of Lincoln, John the Evangelist, Francis of Assisi and Edmund of Canterbury, by Joseph Nuttgens, 1946;
  • South aisle (east): Nativity, by Nuttgens, 1935;
  • South aisle: Annunciation, attributed to Burlison & Grylls, 1902; Madonna and Child with St Thomas Becket, attributed to Mayer of Munich, 1899; St Margaret Mary with St Francis de Sales and St John Vianney, attributed to Nuttgens (a memorial to Fr Hardy, ‘Apostle of Hertfordshire’); a series of windows of the 1990s on the theme of Lourdes and Fatima, and a Madonna and Child, attributed to Eleanor Bird of Bristol;
  • In the baptistery, more glass of the 1990s on a Marian theme;
  • In the narthex, three windows by Nuttgens,  St Cecilia, 1921 and St Anselm, c1930, both reset, and King David, 1922;
  • In the north chapel, Holy Family, by Nuttgens, 1947, and early twenty first century glass by Eleanor Bird; 
  • In the north nave, St Michael and St Gabriel, by Lavers & Westlake. 

List descriptions



1894, by Arthur Young. C14 style. Brick with roughcast facing and some flint and stone dressings. Long low nave with tile roof. South aisle with timber waggon vault. Short north aisle. Octagonal baptistry to west of south aisle. Gallery at west end. Short battlemented octagonal tower with chequerboarding to east of south porch.

Listing NGR: TQ1509187705



1894 by Arthur Young. Two-storeys. Gothic revival. Three bays. Centre and right bays gabled (latter larger) and tile hung. Ground-storey, left bay has battlemented bay window of 5-lights. Entrance by pointed arched door in centre with small window to right. Right bay has 5-light traceried window with dripmoulds. Casements to first-storey. Tile roof.

Listing NGR: TQ1508287696

Heritage Details

Architect: Arthur Young

Original Date: 1894

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Grade II