Tour of the Building(1)(2) 


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The Shrine
The Building



The mural tablet on the south wall near the Chapel was given by the Mayor and Corporation of Willesden. It records the age-old connection between the Church and the Local Authority.

The Shrine Chapel was originally the Chantry Chapel of St Katharine of Alexandria and was built in about 1500. There are two small shields with her symbol - the wheel - displayed in the EASTER SEPULCHRE. This is the medieval representation of Christ's tomb where the Blessed Sacrament was reserved from Maundy Thursday to Easter Day. Further along the wall is the medieval Piscina for the ablution of the priest's hands and of the chalice and paten at the Eucharist.

St. Katharine's Chapel was used for general seating from about 1540 but restored in 1917 as a Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. In 1972 it was converted into the Shrine Chapel of Our Lady of Willesden. The new statue of Our Lady of Willesden was carved in 1972 by Catharini Stern and replaces the Pilgrimage Statue which made St. Mary's famous as a place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages and which was destroyed on the orders of Thomas Cromwell in 1535.

The WINDOW is a representation of the story of Joseph and his brothers.

The white material in the Mothers' Union banner is a cutting from the late Princess Marina's wedding dress.



The main body of the church is mostly of 16th century work, and the NORTH AISLE was added in 1872. The carved PULPIT is a memorial to Mary Wood, a parishioner and is dated 1872. It shows Gabriel greeting Mary with the words "Hail Mary, Full of Grace." The ALTAR is Victorian and comes from the old St. Raphael's Church.

In the North Aisle is a list of most of the priests who have served here - from John, son of German, in 1229, up to the present incumbent.


In the ORGAN LOFT above you is the new WALKER ORGAN which was installed in July 1983. It has 1127 pipes and consists of a GREAT, SWELL and PEDAL organ.

All around the church are memorial stones to people who have lived in Willesden over the centuries.

On your way out through the South Porch, note the beautiful old door which dates back to 1315. Particularly note the place where it has been repaired - when the door was restored, two spent bullets from the Civil War period were found lodged there.


The bells were recast in 1975 for the first time since 1793. There is a ring of eight bells in the key of B Flat with a Tenor of approximately 7¾ cwt. In the Tower there is also a Sanctus Bell dating from 1696. The sundial on the south side of the Tower dates from 1732. The Latin, "Dum spectas fugio", means "While you are gazing I am flying".

There has been a church on this spot for over one thousand years, ministering to the needs of local Christians. It is a fine, old building which has been lovingly cared for over the centuries so that we should be able to enjoy it today. We hope that you have found your visit enjoyable and that you will come again.

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More about the Church Windows

The Wall Monuments

The Memorial Brasses

The Bells

The Hatchments

The Ledger Stones

The Church Organs

The Churchyard



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