St Mary the Virgin Church, Harefield
|Council:||London Borough of Hillingdon|
|Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner|
Harefield is a village in the very north-western part of Middlesex. It is one of the few rural villages left in Middlesex, standing on a hill surrounded on each side by open land. Harefield has its own suburb, South Harefield, along the Grand Union Canal south of the main part of the village.
The local hospital, Harefield Hospital is famous as the place where pioneering heart surgery techniques were developed.
Manor of Harefield
The ancient Manor of Harefield was held by the Newdigate family from about 1440. On the dissolution of the Order of the Knights Hospitaller at the Reformation, the Newdigates received their lands in Harefield, including patronage of the church, which remained a private peculiar in their hands, outside the bishop's jurisdiction until the nineteenth century.
The old Manor house, Harefield Place, next to the church, was replaced in 1786 when a new mansion house was built at Harefield Lodge. The old 'Harefield Place' fell into ruin and was demolished in 1813, its name moved to the new Manor House. The old Place was sold by Charles Newdigate Newdegate in 1877. In 1938 it was acquired by the local authority to serve as a hospital and in 1959 the land was redeveloped, providing land for the Harefield Place Golf Club.
Harefield House, a Grade 2 listed building, stands in the High Street, Harefield. It was built by Sir Roger Newdigate in about 1750. From about 1765 to 1809 it was occupied by J M Bruhl. During the First World War it served as No. 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, then in 1937 it was bought by the government and was occupied by the Aeronautical Inspection Directorate. After 1982 the building was restored and converted to office use.
St Mary the Virgin Church
St Mary's stands on Church Hill at the edge of the village. It was built between the twelfth and nineteenth centuries, the work of each age visible in its fabric.
The church has been called "The Westminster Abbey of West Middlesex" from the number of monuments it contains.
The church cemetery contains the ANZAC Cemetery, which houses the graves of over 100 soldiers of the First Australian Imperial Force who died at No. 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital (Harefield Park Hospital) after being wounded in the Great War. Each year on Anzac Day a commemoration service is attended by local dignitaries, representatives from the Australian and New Zealand governments, local school children and many retired servicemen. Following the church service the congregation move to the cemetery and form around the Anzac memorial. The last post and reveille are played, followed by a wreath laying ceremony. Local school children also place flowers on the well kept grave sites.
- Harefield Cricket Club: play in the Home Counties Cricket League. Their home ground is the Woods Cricket Ground on Breakspear Road North (First and Second XIs) and at Hervines Park in Amersham (Third XI). However, in 2008, a new ground has been prepared behind the current First Team pitch to accommodate the Third XI and a newly formed Fourth XI. This was done in conjunction with the Harefield Parochial Charity. In 2009, the First XI achieved promotion to, and are therefore one division away from the highest level of club cricket in England and Wales.
- Mills, A. D.: "A Dictionary of British Place-Names", Oxford University Press, 2003
- Ekwall, Eilert: "The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names", Oxford University Press, 1936