St Mary’s Churchyard is also known as ’Hendon Churchyard’.
The churchyard is important archaeologically, as Roman artifacts have been found on the site and there is evidence of Anglo-Saxon settlement.
A church may have existed on the site as early as the ninth century, and there is an eleventh-century font still in use in the existing building. Parts of it date back to the thirteenth century, but there were successive alterations until it was extended in 1914-15.
The churchyard has many tombs and memorials, and there are cedar and yew trees. A line of headstones on either side of the path lead to the church door, and they form part of the best collection of eighteenth century headstones in London. Burials go back seven to eight hundred years, and as a result the soil contains fragments of bone. Part of it is gravelled, which is unusual in Christian graveyards.
The earliest surviving grave is that of Thomas Marsh dated 1624. Fine monuments include the grave of the engraver Abraham Raimbach, the physician James Parsons and Emily Patmore, the wife of poet Coventry Patmore. Edward Longmore, a famous giant, was buried there in 1777, but his body was stolen by grave robbers. A twentieth century grave is of Herbert Chapman, the pre-war manager of Arsenal Football Club.
There are twenty Commonwealth service personnel buried in the churchyard, eleven from World War I and nine from World War II, most of whose graves could not be located so are commemorated by special memorial.
There is access to the churchyard from Church End
and Church Terrace
. It is part of the Sunny Hill
Park and Hendon Churchyard Site of Local Importance for Nature Conservation.