A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 3, Shepperton, Staines, Stanwell, Sunbury, Teddington, Heston and Isleworth, Twickenham, Cowley, Cranford, West Drayton, Greenford, Hanwell, Harefield and Harlington. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1962.
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Walter of St. Valery (fl. 1086), the lord of Isleworth, granted Twickenham church to the Abbey of St. Valery (Somme) along with other churches on his lands. Thereafter the rectory of Twickenham formed part of the manor of Isleworth rectory, and the advowson of the vicarage descended with that of Isleworth, eventually passing into the hands of St. George's Chapel, Windsor. (fn. 1) A vicar at Twickenham is said to be mentioned in 1286, (fn. 2) but St. Valéry may well have ordained vicarages in all its churches some time before, for Hampton, which also belonged to the abbey, had one by 1254. (fn. 3) By the Dissolution Twickenham vicarage was worth £11, (fn. 4) which had risen to about £55 in 1650. During the Interregnum the vicar was also allowed £100 a year from the sequestered rectorial estate. (fn. 5) The living rose from £160 to £500 during the late 18th century and to £815 gross by 1828. (fn. 6) This income included all the tithes except corn and pulse, and about 8 acres of the glebe, which lay in Isleworth parish: building leases of the glebe were granted c. 1903-5. (fn. 7) The vicar's tithes were commuted for £684 in 1845, of which £51 were afterwards assigned to St. Philip and St. James, Whitton. In 1896 the gross value of the living was estimated at about £545. (fn. 8) In 1955 the net endowment was £777 and the net income £897. (fn. 9) Neither Treswell's map of 1607 nor Glover's of 1635 mark the vicarage house, (fn. 10) but by the 18th century it stood between the church and the river. (fn. 11) In 1762, though 'not a good one,' it was 'seated so pleasantly by the Thames' as to be an attraction of the living, (fn. 12) but by the later 19th century, in spite of alterations, it was no longer considered satisfactory. (fn. 13) In 1889 Richard Twining presented the living with Dial House, on the east of the church, where his family had lived since about 1720. (fn. 14) The house was almost entirely rebuilt in 1890, (fn. 15) though the sundial was preserved, and part of it still served as the vicarage in 1958.
Several of the pre-Reformation vicars are known to have been pluralists, (fn. 16) but there is little information about most of them and the inferior clergy are mentioned only once or twice. (fn. 17) Richard Postel (d. 1400), Canon of Salisbury and Windsor, who was probably a native of Twickenham, (fn. 18) built a 'chapel or chancel' in Twickenham church and left a missal, vestments, and plate to be used in it. (fn. 19) This chapel may have been that of St. Andrew and St. Nicholas (fn. 20) in which Thomas Goodwin, vicar 1494-1501, directed that he should be buried. It was evidently in or beside the chancel, for Goodwin asked to be buried as near as possible to the tomb of Elizabeth York, whose chaplain he was, and she had wanted to be buried in the choir. (fn. 21) Goodwin left rents in Twickenham for a yearly mass after the same manner as that already said in the church for John Selet (fl. 1464), Master of St. Giles's Hospital, Norwich, who came of a Twickenham family. (fn. 22) By 1547 a third obit seems to have been celebrated. (fn. 23) The saints to whom there were lights in the church included St. Katherine, St. Nicholas, and St. Christopher, and there were also lights to the Virgin and All Souls, and a rood light. (fn. 24)
From 1562 to 1584 the living was held by pluralists with livings in London or nearby in Middlesex, and in 1586 the vicar was reported to be unlearned. (fn. 25) Curates are recorded at several times. (fn. 26) Thomas Soame, vicar from 1640, was also vicar of Staines and reputedly a royalist of 'superstitious' tendencies. (fn. 27) He was alleged to have refused to let pictures in Twickenham church be taken down. (fn. 28) His living was sequestered in 1643 and he was finally deprived of it in 1646. (fn. 29) There seems to have been some disagreement over one of the ministers appointed in the interim. (fn. 30) This was perhaps caused by the royalist parishioners who in 1645 damaged the property of John Browne, clerk of the parliaments, (fn. 31) on the grounds that he was a Roundhead, and who assembled in arms to proclaim Charles II in 1649. (fn. 32) In 1645 Parliament forbade the old parish custom of distributing two cakes on Easter Sunday, because of the profane scrambling and fighting it caused: (fn. 33) how the parish received this is not recorded. When Soame was officially deprived of the living he was succeeded by Thomas Willis, the son of a schoolmaster of Isleworth. (fn. 34) Willis, who also held a London living from 1656 and was ejected from both his cures at the Restoration, evidently had to face continued opposition in Twickenham. In 1660 some of his parishioners alleged, among much else, that he had always read out the declarations of Cromwell and the 'pretended Parliament', but had not read those of the king since the Restoration, that he had thanked God publicly for delivering the country from that bloody family the Stuarts, and had warned his parishioners in the summer of 1659 against the 'Presbyterian plot' to bring back Charles II. (fn. 35)
From 1668 until 1859 nearly all the vicars were canons of Windsor, most held other preferments, and they included several royal chaplains and men of considerable note outside the parish. (fn. 36) Non-residence for at least part of the year was naturally common, (fn. 37) but all the vicars seem to have kept curates. (fn. 38) One of them, Richard Terrick (vicar 1749-64), though also Bishop of Peterborough 1757-64, lived much in Twickenham and only resigned the living on obtaining the bishopric of London. (fn. 39) Two Sunday services and two during the week, with monthly communion services and some Lent catechizing, seem to have been the rule during the 18th century. (fn. 40) There was probably little change in this pattern before 1859, for it was afterwards said that nothing new was ever done in the forty-one-year incumbency which ended in that year. (fn. 41) There were several agitations among the parishioners to repew the church and provide more room, since all the pews were apparently in private ownership and the only seats for the poor were 'a few uncomfortable brackets placed sideways in the central passage'. (fn. 42) Nothing was done, however, and a committee, which did not include the vicar, instead opened a new church in 1841. (fn. 43) Within a few months of the appointment of G. S. Master as vicar in 1859 the church had been repewed and the east end thoroughly altered, and Sunday evening and early morning services had been started. Before his resignation in 1865 Master had also had new schools and another new church opened, had started several charitable societies, and had put the choir into surplices. (fn. 44) The alterations to the church aroused objections from those outside the parish who declared that the noble old Queen Anne pews were sacred to Pope, Walpole, Fielding, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, but Master seems to have met with little opposition in Twickenham. (fn. 45) None of his successors seems to have made any very radical changes. In 1959 the principal Sunday services were sung eucharist at 9.30 and matins at eleven. A 'parochial church council' was formed in 1870, long before such councils were authorized by Act of Parliament. (fn. 46) There were 980 names on the electoral roll in 1959. (fn. 47)
The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN was entirely rebuilt, except for the west tower, in 1715. The tower is square, with three stages and a battlemented parapet and with a south-east stair-turret. It dates from the 15th century. (fn. 48) A cupola was added in 1789 and removed apparently during the 19th century. (fn. 49) Little is known of the rest of the old church. It had already become too small for the population when it fell down one night in 1713: (fn. 50) in 1640 the parishioners had taken down part of the walls in or near the chancel and replaced them by buttresses and pillars in order to improve the lighting and to make more room. (fn. 51) Seats were put into the chancel and in 1673 the presence of pews on each side of the communion table where some servants sat was recorded with disapproval. A north gallery had then been recently built. (fn. 52) The new church was larger than the old one and was paid for by subscriptions, the sale of pews and vaults, and rates: some of the workmen had to get chancery orders before they were paid. (fn. 53) The name of Sir Godfrey Kneller has been much associated with the rebuilding of the church but there does not seem to be any evidence that he took a larger part in it than was entailed by his position of churchwarden. (fn. 54) The new church was designed by John James, who had recently built the house in Twickenham later known as Orleans House. The church is built of red brick, with a fivebay nave of which the three middle bays on each side project and have Tuscan pilasters externally, surmounted by a pediment. The windows are in two tiers, those of the upper range, which are roundheaded, being used to light the galleries. The chancel projects, and has a round east window beneath a segmented pediment. Many of the fittings inside the church are original, including the gallery fronts and reredos. (fn. 55) In 1772 the pulpit was moved, probably into the position it held in 1859, when it stood on a column in front of the altar, so that its top seems to have been as high as the top of the reredos. An open flight of steps led up to it from the desk on the south side. (fn. 56) This arrangement was altered in 1859 when the high pews were removed, the gallery fronts were lowered, and an upper gallery at the west end, in which the school-children had sat, was removed. Other changes at the same time included the building of a vestry, and in 1862 the wooden columns supporting the galleries were replaced by iron ones. (fn. 57) The vestry was enlarged in 1885 and the tower was restored in 1897. (fn. 58) The Lord's prayer and ten commandments were removed from the reredos in 1909 and replaced by paintings which were hidden in 1958 by hangings. (fn. 59)
The only surviving medieval monument is a brass of 1443 to Richard Burton, chief cook to the king. (fn. 60) There are a number of 17th- and 18th-century monuments, some of which are fine. They include those to Alexander Pope and his parents: (fn. 61) both the poet and his mother were buried here. There is one early 16th-century bell, three of the 17th century, and four of the 18th. (fn. 62) Most of the plate dates from 1862 but there are two pewter alms dishes of the 18th century and a silver cover-paten of 1671. (fn. 63) The registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials begin in 1538 in a single volume. They are substantially complete.
The churchyard was enlarged when the church was rebuilt and again in 1754, (fn. 64) and in 1782 a new burial ground was opened in Holly Road. (fn. 65) Another on part of the old manor-house lands in Oak Lane was opened in 1839. (fn. 66) By 1868 these were all virtually closed. (fn. 67)
The chapel at first known as Twickenham Chapel and later as the MONTPELIER CHAPEL was built in 1727 (fn. 68) in Montpelier Row, apparently by John Gray, who built the houses there. (fn. 69) It was not consecrated, but the clergy who served it were licensed by the bishop. (fn. 70) Among them was Archdeacon G. O. Cambridge of Cambridge House. (fn. 71) After Gray's death the chapel was sold and later came into the hands of the successive curates. (fn. 72) It had no endowment and was supported by pewrents. (fn. 73) There may also have been some income from fees: thirteen marriages, mostly celebrated by licence, were recorded between 1729 and 1752 in a prayerbook belonging to the chapel. (fn. 74) This book, together with some communion plate dated 1728, is now at St. Stephen's church: no other records have been preserved. About 1723 two Sunday services were held, with monthly communion services. (fn. 75) The chapel was replaced in 1875 by St. Stephen's Church. (fn. 76) The old building was used for some time as a public hall (fn. 77) and then as a laundry, but stood empty for a few years before it collapsed in 1941. (fn. 78) The ruins have since been demolished.
The Montpelier chapel did not materially relieve the pressure on the parish church, and in 1839, following the failure of plans to repew St. Mary's, a committee was formed which opened the church of HOLY TRINITY, Twickenham Green, in 1841. (fn. 79) The bishop became patron and a parish was assigned to the church in the following year. (fn. 80) Among its chief supporters was Sir William Clay, Bt., M.P., of Fulwell Park (d. 1869), and the many donations included 19 acres of land from Archdeacon Cambridge. The original endowment fund was £2,000: the endowment produced £201 net in 1957, out of the total benefice income of £630. (fn. 81) There were 281 persons on the electoral roll in 1959. (fn. 82) The principal Sunday services in 1959 were sung parish communion at 9 o'clock and matins and sermon at 11 o'clock. The church was designed in the Perpendicular style by G. Basevi. His low, white-brick building now forms the aisled nave to which an apsidal chancel and transepts were added in 1863. (fn. 83)
The church of ST. PHILIP AND ST. JAMES, Whitton, was opened in 1862 on the initiative of the vicar of Twickenham, who gave up £51 of his tithe rent-charge to the new church and became its patron. (fn. 84) Other gifts brought the net endowment in 1957 to £176 a year. The whole net income was £882. (fn. 85) The district assigned to the church out of Holy Trinity parish in 1862 was diminished when St. Augustine's parish was created. (fn. 86) The church stands on the corner of Hounslow Road and Kneller Road, and was designed by F. H. Pownall in the Early English style. (fn. 87) It is small and built of ragstone, with a yellow and red brick interior, and has a nave, chancel, north aisle, and a small bell-turret at the west end. In 1959 there were 245 persons on the electoral roll, (fn. 88) and the main Sunday service was parish communion at 9 o'clock.
The church of ST. STEPHEN, East Twickenham, was opened in 1875 after some years of effort, to replace the Montpelier chapel. (fn. 89) A temporary iron church, dedicated to St. John, had been erected in 1872. (fn. 90) The Montpelier chapel's last incumbent became the first of the new church, to which the eastern part of St. Mary's parish was assigned. (fn. 91) The living was vested in trustees. In 1957 its income from endowments was £59, and its total income £750 net. (fn. 92) In 1876 the church was described by its incumbent as 'Protestant Church of England'. (fn. 93) Prebendary W. M. Johnston, an examining chaplain to the Bishop of London and vicar for 25 years before his death in 1905, strongly opposed the formation of a school board for Twickenham and secured the building of new church schools. He was said at his death to have 'ministered . . . on the lines of a by no means narrow evangelism'. (fn. 94) In 1959 the main Sunday service was 11 o'clock morning prayer. There were then 480 persons on the electoral roll. (fn. 95) The church was designed by Lockwood and Mawson in a Gothic style and was built of ragstone with a brick interior. The aisled nave, the south-west turret and spire, and the lower part of the north-west tower were built in 1874-5, the transepts and apsidal chancel were added in 1885, and the top of the tower was completed in 1907 as a memorial to Johnston. (fn. 96)
St. Paul's Mission Hall, in which services were held on Sunday evenings in 1958, had been established 21 years before from St. Stephen's. (fn. 97) It stands in the Chertsey Road beside St. Stephen's School, to which it provides an annexe.
The church of ALL SAINTS, Campbell Road, was opened in 1914. (fn. 98) An iron mission church had been opened in 1908 by the London Diocesan Home Mission and a parish was created out of Holy Trinity parish in 1914. (fn. 99) The Bishop of London is patron of the living, which amounted in 1955 to £557 net, of which £255 came from endowment. (fn. 100) The church was designed by J. S. Alder in the style of the 14th century. It is built of red brick, faced with stone internally, and has a spacious clerestoried nave divided from the aisles by lofty arcades. Some of the furnishings date from the 19th century and come from bombed London churches. (fn. 101) In 1959 the Sunday services included sung eucharist at 10 o'clock and sung mass at eleven. There were then 420 persons on the electoral roll. (fn. 102)
The church of ALL HALLOWS, Chertsey Road, was opened in 1940. Before that the building at the south end of Whitton Road which was afterwards used as a church hall of All Hallows had been used as a mission church dedicated to St. Martin. This had been opened in 1914 from St. Mary's and was later transferred to the London Diocesan Home Mission. (fn. 103) A parish was assigned to it in 1939, with a living in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury. They had been patrons of All Hallows, Lombard Street, part of whose endowments, worth £320 net in 1957 out of the living's total income of £560 net, were also transferred to the Twickenham church. (fn. 104) In 1946 the patronage was granted by exchange to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's. (fn. 105) In 1959 the main Sunday service was parish eucharist at 9.30. There were 267 persons on the electoral roll. (fn. 106) All Hallows, Lombard Street, was a city church which had been built by Christopher Wren in 1686-94. It was pulled down in 1939, and the tall square tower of Portland stone was re-erected at the Chertsey Road site, while the monuments and the original interior fittings, including the organ (1701) and a carved reredos, west screen, and organ-case, were all transferred to the new church, which was designed to receive them by Robert Atkinson. (fn. 107) It is brick faced with a rough-cast interior, and has a spacious nave and a short apsidal chancel. The old tower forms the entrance and is connected to the church by a cloister and narthex, while the vicarage, built at the same time, forms the third side of an open quadrangle. The ten 18th-century bells and some of the monuments come from St. Dionis Backchurch, another demolished city church. (fn. 108)
The district attached to the church of ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY was assigned to it in 1951 out of the parish of St. Philip and St. James, Whitton. (fn. 109) A priest-in-charge was appointed by the London Diocesan Home Mission in 1935 and services were held in the hall of the Bishop Perrin Memorial School (fn. 110) until 1958, when the permanent church was opened. It stands on the corner of the Chertsey Road and Hospital Bridge Road and was designed by Harold Gibbons. (fn. 111) It is of yellow brick with an aisled nave and chancel under a single barrel vault, transepts, side chapels, and a west tower. The interior is cement-rendered and the altar stands under the crossing with the choir-stalls behind. The main Sunday service in 1959 was parish eucharist at 10 o'clock, preceded by matins and litany at 9.15. There were 324 persons on the electoral roll. (fn. 112) In 1957 the living had an endowment of £431 a year out of an income of £664 net, and was in the gift of the Bishop of London. (fn. 113)