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.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
The puritan opposition to the vicar of Isleworth before the Civil War may well have been revived after he was reinstated in 1660. (fn. 1) In 1664 the vicar listed 174 persons who had not received the sacrament for four years, and nine who had not been to church at all in that time. (fn. 2) But, as with those presented for recusancy, (fn. 3) the motives of the persons concerned are unknown. The house of William Vincent at Hounslow was licensed for Presbyterian preaching in 1672, and Philip Taverner, who had been ejected from the living of Hillingdon in 1660, received a similar licence for his house at Isleworth in the same year. Two other ejected ministers are said to have lived in Isleworth after the Restoration, though they are not known to have ministered there. (fn. 4) The minister of a Presbyterian meeting at Twickenham joined with six others to register a house in Isleworth for worship in 1707. (fn. 5)
According to episcopal records there were no dissenters in Heston in the mid-18th century, and the few dissenters recorded in 1810 were probably chiefly in Hounslow, where a Methodist meetinghouse had been opened some time before. Isleworth had 'some sectaries', apart from the papists, by the late 18th century, but the only meetinghouse was that of the Friends. By 1810 there were said to be Quakers, Baptists, and Methodists in the parish but their numbers had rather diminished of late. (fn. 6) From this time onwards it is possible to trace the history of many of the more long-lived chapels, but several registrations of congregations of Protestant dissenters between 1795 and 1882 have not been traced to any congregation, nor have a few chapels which are known to have existed after that date. (fn. 7)
A Quaker living in Isleworth is mentioned in 1688 (fn. 8) and from 1706 there was a Friends' meeting at Brentford. Since 1785 the meeting-house has been in Isleworth, though it continued to be called the Brentford meeting. The meeting-house built in 1785 still stood in Conduit Lane, north of the London Road, in 1958. The burial-ground beside it was given by Sarah Angell in 1824. Meetings were held once a month until 1786 when they became fortnightly. (fn. 9) They were weekly by 1820. (fn. 10) In 1810 about 70 people generally attended the meetings, according to the bishop's records. (fn. 11) In 1885 the meeting had 33 members. The number seems to have fluctuated around 40 until the Second World War, and by 1958 it had risen to 97. (fn. 12)
There was a Methodist meeting-house in Hounslow by 1790. (fn. 13) This may have been the same as the Wesleyan one registered in 1824, and as another Wesleyan one which is known to have stood in Fair Street and was registered in 1854. (fn. 14) A school-chapel in Bell Road seems to have been opened in 1870, (fn. 15) and the present church there was opened in 1879. (fn. 16) The Fair Street chapel may have been given up at one of these two dates.
There was said to be a congregation of about 30 Wesleyans at Isleworth in 1810, (fn. 17) but their first proper chapel seems to have been opened in North Street in 1829. (fn. 18) The first resident Wesleyan minister was appointed in 1909. (fn. 19) His subsequent secession to open the South Street mission (fn. 20) weakened the church for a time, but the congregation succeeded in building a new chapel in 1924. (fn. 21) The old one was sold, and in 1958 was occupied by the British Legion. The new church is in Twickenham Road, just south of North Street. It was probably the Wesleyan Methodists of Isleworth who registered a house at Smallberry Green for worship in 1840, (fn. 22) though nothing more is known of this, or of the Wesleyan congregation at Heston which seems to have been started in 1845 by a member of the theological college at Richmond. (fn. 23) The present Methodist church at Heston was opened in 1935, after the congregation had met for some years in the village hall. It stands in Heston Road opposite the senior school, and had over a hundred members in 1958. (fn. 24) The latest Methodist church in the borough is that which was opened in the Bath Road at Hounslow West in 1956. Before this, services had been held in the Hounslow Heath schools in Martindale Road since about 1930. (fn. 25)
There was a Primitive Methodist chapel in Hounslow in 1833. (fn. 26) Where it stood is unknown, but it seems to have been rebuilt about 1874 in the Staines Road. (fn. 27) It was presumably closed after the reunion of Methodist churches in 1932, and in 1944, or soon after, the building was reopened as a synagogue. (fn. 28) A primitive Methodist chapel at Lampton was registered in 1852, but nothing more is known of it unless it was the mission room which was in existence in 1894 but had disappeared by 1912. (fn. 29)
The school at Holme Court, in Twickenham Road, Isleworth, at which Vincent Van Gogh taught in 1876, belonged to a Methodist minister, but was not connected with a congregation in the immediate neighbourhood. (fn. 30)
The first Independent congregation in the borough seems to have been formed at Isleworth, where a house was registered in 1798. (fn. 31) A place of worship for Independents is mentioned in 1831, and in 1849 the present Congregational chapel at the corner of Twickenham Road and Worton Road was opened. (fn. 32) A British school was attached to it from 1840 to the eighties. (fn. 33) In 1957 the church had 51 members. (fn. 34) There was a congregation of Independents in Hounslow by 1818, and a chapel was built in the Hanworth Road in 1827. (fn. 35) It was replaced in 1835 by the present Congregational church on the same site. (fn. 36) This is said to have been enlarged in 1865 when the congregation of the Providence Independent Chapel was united to the one worshipping here. (fn. 37) Nothing is known of the Providence chapel except that it was in existence by 1845. (fn. 38) The Church House in Douglas Road, which is used for meetings and other activities of the Hanworth Road church, was built in 1910. (fn. 39) The church had 189 members in 1957. (fn. 40)
Independent congregations in Heston were registered in 1814 and 1819, and the second of these seems to have had its own minister. (fn. 41) One at Sutton was registered in 1832 by Herbert Mayo, who also registered a congregation of unspecified dissenters there in 1828, and another at Whitton in 1829. (fn. 42) Another Independent meeting at Lampton was registered in 1844. (fn. 43) The Hounslow Congregational Church established a congregation in Heston which was formed into a church in 1920. The present church at the north end of Vicarage Farm Road was opened in 1932. Before this services had been held in a hut beside it. (fn. 44) There were 115 members in 1957. (fn. 45)
In 1818 there was a meeting-house on the south side of Hounslow High Street approximately opposite the site of the Dominion Cinema. (fn. 46) The Providence Baptist chapel is known to have been here by 1865 and is said to have been converted from two cottages. (fn. 47) A church was not officially formed until 1868, and a new chapel on the same site was opened in 1871. At about this time the congregation was deeply divided on the issue of giving full membership to the unbaptized, but the movement to do so was eventually defeated, as was a similar one in the 1920's. A full-time minister was appointed in 1878, but in the next few years, as disputes over baptism continued, membership dropped to less than a dozen. Towards the end of the century the church revived. A new chapel on the north of the High Street, which is now called the Broadway Baptist Church, was opened in 1929. It was damaged by bombing in 1941, and in 1943 narrowly escaped the same fate as Holy Trinity and All Saints' churches. (fn. 48) There were 93 members in 1957. (fn. 49) Although the church has kept closed membership, its communions are open and it is a member of the Baptist Union. The Zoar Baptist Church, on the other hand, is a Strict Baptist church which has remained outside the union. The two do not seem to have ever been connected, though their first places of meeting were close together. Zoar originated when James Jeffs started holding Baptist meetings in his house on Sunday afternoons. They were addressed by the minister of a Baptist chapel at Old Brentford of which Jeffs was a member. Jeffs's house was in Hounslow High Street opposite the King's Arms, a little west of the Providence chapel. It was licensed for the meetings in 1837. A church was formed in 1849 and used various buildings in the town until 1853, when the present Sunday school of the Zoar church in the Staines Road was opened as a chapel. Soon after this the church ran into difficulties and was closed for a few years, opening again in 1863 with twelve members. It was without a settled minister for some years at the end of the century. (fn. 50) The present church was built in front of the old one in 1912. (fn. 51) It had 67 members in 1957. (fn. 52)
The Emmanuel Baptist church is also outside the Baptist Union, and belongs to the Federation of Independent Evangelical Churches. It has an open table, like the Broadway church, from which, however, the members of Emmanuel originally seceded. (fn. 53) The church was apparently formed in 1910, (fn. 54) and a building was erected in 1912 on the south side of the Staines Road a little west of the Zoar church. Here too the original church is now a Sunday school, a new one having been built in 1933. (fn. 55) There were 75 members in 1957. (fn. 56)
The Cranford Baptist church has always been just inside Heston parish, but is discussed with the history of Cranford. (fn. 57)
Christian Brethren registered a mission room in the Staines Road in 1868. (fn. 58) Plymouth Brethren were meeting in Hanworth Road in 1890 but seem to have moved to Fair Street by 1926. (fn. 59) Another mission hall was registered by Brethren in Wellington Road North in 1917. This was an open meeting in 1958, while there was a meeting of exclusive Brethren at no. 31 Bath Road. (fn. 60)
The corrugated-iron building of the Hounslow West Evangelical Church was erected in Vicarage Farm Road in the early years of the century. (fn. 61) A new brick church was being built beside it in 1958. The Hounslow Evangelical Church in Treaty Road was built in 1910. (fn. 62) It holds fundamentalist doctrines. (fn. 63) In 1911 an undenominational mission hall was built in South Street, Isleworth, by a group of persons, many of whom were members of the Church of England, and whose leader had formerly been the minister of the Wesleyan church in North Street. In 1915 the members, then numbering 46, decided to hand the mission over to the Established Church and the missioner decided to seek ordination. The hall was accordingly transferred in 1922 and a new one was built; it was used as a parish hall by All Saints' Church in 1958. (fn. 64) The Maswell Park Hall on the corner of Inwood Road and Heath Road is another undenominational church. It was registered in 1928. (fn. 65) The Syon Mission Church, Beech Avenue, was founded by the Shaftesbury Society and built in 1934. (fn. 66)
Jehovah's Witnesses registered the Kingdom Hall in Byfield Road in 1942. (fn. 69) The Assemblies of God registered a chapel called Bethel at 78A Staines Road, in 1945: (fn. 70) this could not be traced in 1958, but the Pentecostal Hall in Hanworth Road then belonged to this denomination. (fn. 71) A Christian Scientist church in the Staines Road registered in 1946 had been closed by 1952, (fn. 72) but another was opened in The Grove at about the same time. (fn. 73) Christadelphians met in the High Street in 1933 and had been meeting for some years at 35 Bath Road, by 1958. (fn. 74)
In 1925 the Providence Baptist chapel suggested that a free church council should be formed. One for Hounslow and district had been in existence for many years by 1946. (fn. 75)