Dedicated to St Peter and St Paul, Harlington Parish Church, with its prominent battlemented tower and a cupola on the corner, is a landmark familiar to thousands of motorists who travel daily on the M4 motorway. At the entrance there is a pretty porch with open timber arches, dating from the early sixteenth century. The Norman doorway behind is elaborately carved and is credited as being “the best Norman doorway in outer London”. Inside, the font dates from the twelfth century and there are monuments to John Monemouthe, rector (d. 1419) and to Gregory Lovell (d. 1545) and his wife. In the nave, there is a monument to Sir John Bennet, Lord Ossulston (d. 1695), who was a member of the Cavalier Parliament. The De Salis family’s association with Harlington Church goes back to the mid-eighteenth century when the 2nd Count had a house at Goulds Green (later renamed Dawley Court). The first member of the family to be buried at Harlington is Elizabeth, first wife of Peter, 3rd Count who died in 1764. She was followed by her mother-in-law, Hon. Mary (née Fane), wife of Jerome, 2nd Count and their five year-old granddaughter, Henrietta, who were buried on the same sad day in April 1785. Jerome, 2nd Count was himself laid to rest there nine years later, in 1794. All were buried in a vault near to the west door. Their names are recorded in a memorial on the north wall of the chancel, together with the names of Peter, 3rd Count (d. 1807); his brother, Rev’d Dr Henry Jerome, Vicar of Wing (d. 1810) and his wife, Julia (d. 1819); Jerome, 4th Count (d. 1836); his three wives: Sophia (née Drake) (d. 1803), Penelope (née Freeman) and Henrietta (née Foster) (d. 1856); Peter, 5th Count (d. 1870); Charles (d. 1845); Rodolph (d. 1880); William (d. 1896) and his wife, Emily (née Mayne) (d. 1896); and his grandson, John, 6th Count (d. 1871) and Amelia (née Tower) (d. 1885), who are also buried there. In niches in the chancel walls, to either side of the altar, are the recumbent effigies of Jerome Fane De Salis, 4th Count De Salis (d. 1836) and Henrietta Fane De Salis (née Foster), Countess De Salis (d. 1856). Henrietta was Jerome’s third wife and together they had six sons and three daughters. Peter, 5th Count, was Jerome’s eldest son, by his first wife, Sophia (née Drake). Jerome’s second wife, Penelope (née Freeman) bore him a daughter, Sophia, who married William Filgate of Lisrenny, Co. Louth (see: Descendants of Jerome, 4th Count). The east window to the chancel and beside it, two brasses bearing Latin inscriptions, commemorate John Francis William, 6th Comitis de Salis (b. 1825, d. 1871) and his wife, Amelia (née Tower) (b. 1837, d. 1885). John was a Justice of the Peace for Middlesex and renowned as a numismatist and benefactor of the British Museum, to whom he gave much of his extensive collection of Roman and Byzantine Imperial coins. The south east window of the chancel, glazed with the subject “The Ascension”, was erected in memory of Lieut. General Rodolph De Salis (b. 1811, d. 1880), eldest son of Jerome and Henrietta. There is also a monument to Rodolph on the wall at the east end of the north aisle. Rodolph served with the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars at Balaclava where he took part in the Charge of the Light Brigade in 1854. Rodolph was subsequently appointed Colonel of the Regiment and served in India where he helped to suppress the Mutiny of 1857. The stained glass in the south west window of the chancel, with the subject “The Resurrection”, was erected in memory of Charles De Salis (b. 1821), fifth son of Jerome and Henrietta, who had been a page to Queen Adelaide in 1835 and in 1845 was a Captain in the Scots Fusilier Guards. He was killed in a riding accident at Constitution Hill, London on 25 June 1845. On the wall at the east end of the north aisle is a brass to the memory of John Fane De Salis (b. 1818, d. 1894), fourth son of Jerome and Henrietta, and his wife, Julia (née Shum) (b. 1824, d. 1890) and their sons, Jerome (b. 1851, d. 1890, at Broken Hill, Australia) and Arthur (b. 1853, d. 1854). John served in the Honorable East India Company Service and both John and Julia died at Bangalore, India. Nearby is a brass in memory of the Hon. Leopold Fane De Salis, MLA, MLC (b. 1816, d. 1898), third son of Jerome and Henrietta, pastoralist and politician; his wife, Charlotte (née MacDonald) (d. 1878), and their son Rodolph (d. 1876). Leopold and Charlotte founded the Australian branch of the family. On the south wall of the nave is a medallion bust in memory of William Fane De Salis (b. 1812, d. 1896) and of his wife, Emily (née Mayne). William, second son of Jerome and Henrietta, began his career as a London barrister. In 1842 he was sent to Australia to investigate a commercial mortgage deal that had gone wrong. While there he met John Thacker and with him set up the Sydney agency of the international trading company Jardine, Matheson & Co. He also developed the postal service between Australia and England. After returning to England in 1850 he joined the then small, Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, of which he was a director from 1851 and was its chairman between 1878 and 1881. Outside: North west of the church, beside the path to the church hall is the tomb of Catherina (Nina), Lady De Tabley (b. 1814, d. 1869). Nina was the eldest daughter of Jerome and Henrietta. When she was just eighteen, she married George Warren, 2nd Baron De Tabley and became the mother of two sons and four daughters. Their eldest son, John, 3rd Baron De Tabley is known for his poetical works. Her marriage appears to have ended unhappily for she is buried in Harlington, and not with her husband’s family at Tabley Hall in Cheshire. Within two years of her death, George, 2nd Baron De Tabley was remarried to Elizabeth (née Jacson), widow of James Smith-Barry. Beside her is the tomb of her eldest daughter, Hon. Catharine Leicester Warren (b. 1838, d. 1881). The War Memorial commemorates seventy-five men from the parish who lost their lives during the First World War. Among these are two brothers, great-grandsons of Jerome and Henrietta, and sons of Sir Cecil and Rachel Fane De Salis, Jerome Joseph who died of wounds in October 1915 and George Rodolph who was killed near Arras in June 1917. Jerome is buried in the churchyard. George lies at Hibers Trench Cemetery, Wancourt, France. In the churchyard are the tombs of Leopold William (d. 1930), Sir Cecil (d. 1948) and Rachel Fane De Salis (d. 1954) and of other members of the family.
Detail from the memorial window to Lieut. General Rodolph De Salis