Sunbury: Protestant nonconformity

Pages 63-64

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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There was apparently a 'little French church' at Sunbury in the early 18th century. (fn. 1) It served the Huguenot colony which was established there about 1703 (fn. 2) and the minister, Charles le Blanc, is said to have been there for 30 years before his death in 1735. (fn. 3) No later references to the church have been found.

There were said to be no dissenters in the parish in 1778 but by 1792 the Methodists and the Independents each had a meeting-house there. The Methodist meeting-house was in existence in 1790 and in 1810 ten or twelve people were said by the Established Church authorities to attend the morning service and three or four times as many the evening service. Their numbers were said to be declining. (fn. 4) Where this meeting was held is not known: in 1957 the origins of the present Methodist church were said to have been rather later, when meetings were held in a cart-shed until the Wesleyan church in Staines Road East was opened in 1866. (fn. 5) This church had 93 members in 1957. (fn. 6) A Wesleyan church at Upper Halliford was opened in 1872. The building was demolished before 1934. (fn. 7) A coffeeroom in Staines Road was registered as a Primitive Methodist meeting-place in 1882. The registration was cancelled in 1935. (fn. 8)

A new building was registered for Independent worship in 1792, and this may have been the meetinghouse which stood in 1803 on the river bank near Rossall House. (fn. 9) In 1957 a former chapel on this site was used as a storehouse. The church was apparently formed officially in 1817. (fn. 10) The chapel was later given up because of frequent flooding and was replaced by an iron building on the corner of Green Street and School Walk. Services started here between 1889 and 1894, but in 1903 the building was moved to the present site farther along Green Street, which was nearer to the chief area of growing population. (fn. 11) The present Gothic church was opened in 1904, but the iron building still stands behind it and is used for various church purposes. After the Second World War congregations averaged less than twelve persons. In 1948 an undenominational prayer-meeting, which had met in the Methodist church vestry since before the Second World War, started to hold an evangelical Sunday evening meeting in the Nursery Road School. This was known as the People's Service. In 1950 the Congregational Church invited the prayer-meeting to take over their evening service, and as a result the movement merged with the Congregationalists. (fn. 12) In 1957 the Congregational church, thus reinforced, had 52 members. (fn. 13) Another Sunday evening service, which had originated in an independent Sunday school, was then being held at Kenyngton Manor Primary School. (fn. 14)

Houses in Upper Halliford and Charlton were registered for Protestant worship in 1826, (fn. 15) and a house on the east side of French Street was registered by Congregationalists in 1842. (fn. 16) No other references to these meetings have been found.

In 1957 the Plymouth Brethren had a meetingplace in Burgoyne Road.


  • 1. C. E. Lart, 'French colony at Sunbury', Proc. Huguenot Soc. of Lond. xiii. 474-82.
  • 2. See p. 58.
  • 3. Par. Rec., Reg. i (burials, 1735).
  • 4. Guildhall MS. 9558.
  • 5. Ex inf. Mr. E. Brooker, Sunbury; Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1870).
  • 6. Ex inf. the Revd. C. H. G. Carter.
  • 7. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1886); cf. Gen. Reg. Off., Worship Reg. no. 21215. See O.S. Map 6" Mdx. xxv (2nd and later edns.).
  • 8. Gen. Reg. Off., Worship Reg. no. 26280.
  • 9. Guildhall MS. 9580/1; M.R.O., Sunbury Incl. Award.
  • 10. Congreg. Yearbook (1957).
  • 11. Congreg. Ch. minute of 1903; Char. Com. files; Sunbury and Shepperton Local Hist. Soc. Sketch of Sunbury's Hist. [1952].
  • 12. Ex inf. the minister and Mr. L. E. Henman, Sunbury.
  • 13. Congreg. Yearbook (1957).
  • 14. Ex inf. the minister.
  • 15. Guildhall MS. 9580/6, ff. 95, 262.
  • 16. Ibid./8, f. 130.