New book captures the heart of Hornsey


Hornsey Historical Society is proud to announce the publication of Ivy-Mantled Tower: A History of the Church and Churchyard of St Mary Hornsey, Middlesex by Bridget Cherry (ISBN: 978-0-905794-53-2) 133 pages. £19.50


If the parish church is the heart of a village then its history should be the history of the community.  But what if all that is left is the tower, a churchyard and a sprinkling of written records, and if the village has become a seemingly undistinguished Victorian suburb? Ivy-Mantled Tower brilliantly recovers the history of the church and the community and serves as a model of how the task should be undertaken elsewhere.




Its author, Bridget Cherry, a former editor of Pevsner’s architectural guides, is one of this country’s leading architectural historians.  In compiling her account she has consulted standard sources such as local wills and administrative records and the memories of living witnesses and those long dead.   But in addition she has made use of her trained eye and the evidence of visual sources of all kinds including watercolours, prints, photographs.


This extensively illustrated book sheds new light on the development of the three churches that successively served as Hornsey’s parish church until 1968 and, in the process reveals much about the lives and values of its citizens through the centuries.   There is an equality of treatment for all phases of the story.  As a result  the reader will find the first narrative account of medieval and Tudor Hornsey, with its wealthy residents leaving money for church embellishments in the hope of securing their place in heaven, and the latest about the efforts of their present-day middle-class successors to preserve their bit of paradise by safeguarding and  enhancing the ancient tower, the churchyard and their natural environment for posterity.


The book can be ordered through the Hornsey Historical Society’s website,, by post (+ £2.50 p&p) from The Old Schoolhouse, 136 Tottenham Lane, London N8 7EL, or in person at this address on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10.00am to 2.00pm.

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