St Mary's Church, Hornsey

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A view of the Three Compasses Inn, and St Mary's, in about 1830, by George Scharf
A view of the Three Compasses Inn, and St Mary's, in about 1830, by George Scharf

"There have been a church and a burial ground on this site probably since Saxon times. The mediaeval church, of which we have historical evidence dating back to 1291 and information about building and repair work dating to the mid 14th century, was demolished in 1831 (apart from the tower) and replaced by another which was itself demolished in 1927. On the site of the present St Mary's Infants' School, a third, larger church was completed in 1889, but soon suffered structural problems due to subsidence: this was demolished as recently as 1969.

"The tower is all that remains of these structures. It was heightened in 1832, probably using some of the stone from the demolished mediaeval nave. The lower portion of the tower bears much evidence of its mediaeval origins.

"The burial ground was closed to burials in the late 19th century. It was turned into a public garden in the 1950s, at which date many of the gravestones were laid flat and others removed.

"Following the demolition of the 1889 church, the parish of St Mary's was annexed to that of St George's, Cranley Gardens (now St Mary's with St George's)."