Twickenham: Protestant nonconformity

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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'Twickenham: Protestant nonconformity', in 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, (London, 1962) pp. 162-163. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]


John Doddridge, rector of Shepperton during the Interregnum, was licensed as a Presbyterian minister at Twickenham in 1672. (fn. 1) He afterwards became minister at New Brentford. (fn. 2) A Presbyterian meeting was in existence in 1707 and in 1713, in different houses but under the same minister. (fn. 3) A congregation of Baptists met in a house near Stone Bridge (over the Crane) in the London Road in 1694. (fn. 4) There are references to individual dissenters-a Quaker, a 'fanatic schoolmaster' and a woman, also probably a Quaker, who claimed to see visions-in the late 17th and early 18th century. (fn. 5) In c. 1770 and 1790 there were said to be no dissenters, and in 1778 the only ones reported were a few popish and Jewish families. (fn. 6) According to R. S. Cobbett, the curate and historian of Twickenham, Joanna Southcott lived and taught in the town, (fn. 7) but Twickenham does not appear ever to have been her home. (fn. 8)

Houses were registered for the holding of Independent meetings in 1797 and 1812, and a club-room next to the 'Royal Oak' was registered in 1818. The first two of these meetings had ministers. (fn. 9) The Sion Independent Chapel was opened in 1822 and survived for at least a year, but its later history is unknown. (fn. 10) None of these meetings seems to represent the origin of the present Congregational church facing the Green in First Cross Road, which is said to have been formed in 1802, under a minister who cared for it for nearly 50 years. It was supported by Sir Robert and Lady Shaw, in whose house in First Cross Road the first meetings are said to have been held. (fn. 11) A building called Lady Shaw's school was registered for Independent worship in 1835 and the first part of the present Gothic chapel was built in 1844. (fn. 12) This and the Sunday school beside it were enlarged in 1867, and a vestry was built connecting the two buildings. (fn. 13) The church was supported by Lady Shaw until 1849, when she disagreed with other members and left it, joining the Baptist church which was founded soon after. (fn. 14) It was closed for a few months and financial difficulties continued after it had reopened. The church maintained a British school jointly with the Baptist church across the Green c. 1863-72. (fn. 15) There were 40 members in 1858 and 49 when the church reopened after another interim of two or three years in 1882. (fn. 16) The membership rose to over a hundred around the turn of the century, but later declined a little. Pew rents were given up in 1911, and between 1923 and 1943 the church was unable to afford a full-time pastor. (fn. 17) In 1957 the church had a resident minister and 91 members. (fn. 18)

Some few years before 1800 some Wesleyan Methodists started to meet in a smithy behind a public-house in the town. Visiting preachers came from London and a good deal of enthusiasm was aroused in spite of incursions by 'the rabble from the public-house'. (fn. 19) In 1800 a chapel was built near the east end of Back Lane (now Holly Road), which still existed in 1958 as an engineering works. (fn. 20) In 1810 the diocesan authorities recorded the presence in Twickenham of 30 Arminian Methodists and a small and declining number of Calvinistic Methodists. (fn. 21) The hall behind the present (1958) church in Queen's Road was built as a new chapel in 1880. The old building was retained as a Sunday school until 1899, when the Gothic church, known as Christ Church, was added to the 1880 building, which in its turn became the Sunday school. The church flourished in the early years of the century, with a Brotherhood of 500 meeting on Sunday afternoons in the Town Hall about 1905-8, and a membership of 110 in 1916 and 176 in 1921. Following a drop during the twenties, numbers rose again steadily, (fn. 22) and in 1958 the society had 146 active members. Some members by this time had left to join the daughter church at Whitton. (fn. 23) A site for this was purchased in Percy Road in the thirties and services were held there by 1942. The church became independent in 1952 and had a membership of about 100 in 1958. (fn. 24) Another Wesleyan chapel, apparently in London Road, was registered in 1839 but no later reference to it has been found. (fn. 25)

A house in Back Lane (now Holly Road) was registered for Baptist worship in 1847. (fn. 26) A church, which is later known to have been Particular Baptist, (fn. 27) was formed in 1852 and moved into a permanent building on the present site on the Green in 1853. (fn. 28) The boys' department of the Twickenham British school was held in its schoolroom c. 1862-72. (fn. 29) The present church was built in 1914 in memory of Marian Braithwaite and was called the Memorial Church. (fn. 30) It had 98 members in 1957. (fn. 31) In or shortly before 1881 the Twickenham Baptist church opened a mission hall on the corner of St. Margaret's Road and Turks Lane (now Winchester Road). This became an independent church in 1899 and a permanent building was provided in 1905, the mission hall being then used as a Sunday school. (fn. 32) Both buildings were demolished when the Chertsey Road was constructed, and the proceeds of the sale were used to build the St. Margaret's Memorial Church in Hounslow Road at Whitton. (fn. 33) The pastor started work in Whitton in 1934 and the church was formed and the building opened the following year. There were 172 members in 1957. (fn. 34)

The Amyand Park Baptist Church is outside the Baptist Union. (fn. 35) It was registered as Baptist in 1890, (fn. 36) but in 1893-4 the Ordnance Survey map described it as unsectarian. (fn. 37) It had 60 members in 1957, and a new building had been erected, possibly in 1953. (fn. 38)

The Salvation Army opened the Good Templars' Hall on the Green in 1893. (fn. 39) It was replaced in 1924 by another hall in May Road, behind which a third was built in 1958. The 1924 building was retained as a junior hall. (fn. 40) There was a flourishing membership in 1958, but another hall, opened in Powder Mill Lane in 1938, (fn. 41) then had only a handful of members. (fn. 42) The London City Mission occupied a cottage in London Road in 1898. (fn. 43) An undenominational Gospel Hall in Nelson Road, Whitton, was opened in 1881. It was closed shortly before the Second World War but the building was still in existence in 1958 when it was used as a printing works. (fn. 44) The Hope Mission Hall, Mereway, was also unsectarian. It was registered in 1887 and had apparently closed by 1895. The building continued to be marked as a mission in later maps, but had been demolished by 1958. (fn. 45) The Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance registered a church at 16 Edwin Road in 1938. (fn. 46) By 1958 a factory occupied the site. Rooms on the first floor of 45A Winchester Road were used between 1950 and 1957 by the Guild Chapel Independent Church. For some four years before this one of the rooms had been used as an oratory of the Western Orthodox Catholic Church, dedicated to St. Michael and All Angels. (fn. 47)

A Christian Science Hall at 6 Cambridge Parade was registered in 1909, and a Christian Spiritualist Sanctuary at 35 Creswell Road in 1932. Both these had been closed by 1954. (fn. 48)


  • 1. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1672, 467, 575.
  • 2. Calamy Revised, ed. Matthews, 166.
  • 3. Guildhall MS. 9579, 24 Jan. 1707, 12 Nov. 1713.
  • 4. Ibid. 22 Oct. 1694; cf. Mdx. Cty. Recs. Sessions Bks. 1689-1709, 31
  • 5. M.R.O., Cal. Brentford Petty Sessions, 1651-1714, 43; Guildhall MS. 9537/20; Gent. Mag. (1852), cxxx. 487- 9, 538.
  • 6. Guildhall MSS. 9557, 9558; cf. Ironside, Hist. and Antiquities of Twickenham, 71.
  • 7. Mem. of Twickenham, 345.
  • 8. D.N.B. xviii. 685-7.
  • 9. Guildhall MSS. 9580/1, 15 Nov. 1797; /4, 14 Sept. 1812; /5, 5 Nov. 1818.
  • 10. Guildhall MS. 9580/5, 17 Aug. 1822; Twickenham Libr., press-cutting.
  • 11. Twickenham Cong. Ch.: Triple Jubilee Celebrations, 1952, 3 (copy in Twickenham Libr.). For the house, see M.R.O., Twickenham Tithe Award.
  • 12. Guildhall MS. 9580/7, p. 192; Twickenham Cong. Ch.: Triple Jubilee Celebrations, 3. For the sch., see p. 164.
  • 13. Building News, 6 Sept. 1867.
  • 14. Twickenham Cong. Ch.: Triple Jubilee Celebrations, 7.
  • 15. See p. 164.
  • 16. Twickenham Cong. Ch.: Triple Jubilee Celebrations, 5; cf. Cong. Year Bk. (1847-53).
  • 17. Twickenham Cong. Ch.: Triple Jubilee Celebrations, 5, 7-8.
  • 18. Cong. Year. Bk. (1958).
  • 19. W. E. Fielding, Methodist Church Jubilee Souvenir, 1899-1949 (copy penes Mr. H. H. Thames, chapel steward).
  • 20. Guildhall MS. 9580/2, 28 Nov. 1800 (and cf. ibid. MS. 9580/1, 15 Nov. 1797); Cobbett, Mem. of Twickenham, 145.
  • 21. Guildhall MS. 9558.
  • 22. Fielding, op. cit.
  • 23. Ex inf. Mr. H. H. Thames.
  • 24. Fielding, op. cit.; Gen. Reg. Off., Worship Reg. nos. 60299, 63733.
  • 25. Guildhall MS. 9580/8, pp. 28, 29.
  • 26. M.R.O., C.P. Reg. of Socs. 5 (misc. index), p. 377; cf. Twickenham Libr., letter from a pastor of the church.
  • 27. Gen. Reg. Off., Worship Reg. nos. 12081, 46549.
  • 28. Twickenham Libr., pastor's letter; Gen. Reg. Off., Worship Reg. no. 1323.
  • 29. See p. 164.
  • 30. Inscription on building.
  • 31. Baptist Handbook (1958).
  • 32. Char. Com. files; stone incorporated in Whitton Baptist Ch.
  • 33. Kelly's Dir. Twickenham (1940).
  • 34. Ibid.; Baptist Handbook (1958).
  • 35. Baptist Handbook (1958).
  • 36. Gen. Reg. Off., Worship Reg. no. 31994.
  • 37. O.S. Map 1/2,500 Mdx. xx. 12 (2nd edn.).
  • 38. Baptist Handbook (1958); Gen. Reg. Off., Worship Reg. no. 63908.
  • 39. Gen. Reg. Off., Worship Reg. nos. 34033, 49197.
  • 40. Ex inf. a member.
  • 41. Surrey Comet, 5 Feb. 1938.
  • 42. Ex inf. a member.
  • 43. Twickenham Libr., photograph.
  • 44. Date on weathercock and ex inf. workers in building; cf. Gen. Reg. Off., Worship Reg. no. 26732.
  • 45. Gen. Reg. Off., Worship Reg. no. 29862; O.S. Map 1/2,500 Mdx. xx. 15 (3rd and revised edns.).
  • 46. Gen. Reg. Off., Worship Reg. no. 57972.
  • 47. Ibid. nos. 61394, 62754.
  • 48. Ibid. nos. 43909, 53540.