Teddington: Churches

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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'Teddington: Churches', 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. 76-79. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol3/pp76-79 [accessed 24 April 2024]


In the early 13th century Teddington was a chapelry of Staines, but by the end of the Middle Ages it had become independent. The parish was divided in 1880, 1921, and 1938, when new ecclesiastical parishes were created. (fn. 1)

There was apparently a chapel at Teddington about 1217-18, when the mother church of Staines was appropriated to Westminster Abbey, who already owned the advowson. It was then agreed that Teddington was to be removed from the jurisdiction of the priest of Staines, who had probably hitherto appointed a vicar to the chapel. In future there was to be a chaplain, appointed and paid by the Abbot of Westminster. It was also arranged that all the demesne lands of the church were to belong to the vicar of Staines, including 1½ acres stated expressly to be in Teddington. (fn. 2) No trace of a later holding by the vicar has been found, but any land that the rectory may have retained in Teddington became merged in the manor. (fn. 3) Church offerings were included in the rectorial income in 1370 and belonged to the rectory under the 16th-century leases of the manor and the grant made in 1603, (fn. 4) but at some dates in the Middle Ages, as well as later, the rectorial income seems to have consisted only of tithes. (fn. 5) The 16th- and 17th-century grants included both the great and small tithes. (fn. 6) This accords with the absence of an endowed vicarage, but in the 14th century small tithes seem to have been paid on the produce of the manorial demesne, possibly to the chaplain. (fn. 7) The rectory was valued at £6 in 1291, (fn. 8) and its rent in the late 15th and early 16th centuries was £8 6s. 8d. (fn. 9) It was worth about £50 in 1650 and the tithes were commuted in 1800 for 205 acres of land. (fn. 10)

The patronage of the church was attached to the rectory and manor until the late 17th century. By that time the living was described as a donative, (fn. 11) and from the later 16th century the incumbents were called curates and were licensed by the bishop. (fn. 12) In the late 18th century the incumbent claimed to be exempt from the bishop's jurisdiction, presumably because the benefice was donative, but there seems to be no historical evidence for exemption. (fn. 13) There is no record of the licensing of the medieval chaplains and little is known about them. One, in 1351, was referred to as chaplain and vicar. At about this time the chaplain seems to have farmed the rectory and received the tithes; in 1358 he also received a stipend of 50s. a year. By the 1360's he no longer farmed the rectory, and was paid 2s. 4d. a week. (fn. 14) In 1369-70 the abbey also paid for candles and wine for the church. (fn. 15) In the late 14th and early 15th century the payments to the chaplain were allowed out of the rent of the lessee of the demesne and rectory. The customary amounts were 4s. for candles, bread, and wine, and £6 for the stipend of the chaplain, who sometimes also had his house rent-free and repaired by the abbey. (fn. 16) In 1545, after the manor had passed to the Crown and a new lease had begun, (fn. 17) the stipend was unpaid and there was no curate, nor was there one in 1561, but there was a reader in 1574 and 1577, and a curate in 1583. (fn. 18) In 1586 a curate was licensed by the bishop and thereafter curates seem to have been regularly appointed. (fn. 19) The earlier payments to the chaplain may have been resumed under a lease which came into effect in 1572, (fn. 20) and in 1603 the manor and rectory were charged with the perpetual payment of £6 for a chaplain having care of souls and celebrating divine service in the parish, and of 4s. for bread and wine. (fn. 21) This remained the income of the curate (fn. 22) until Sir Orlando Bridgeman (d. 1674) (fn. 23) purchased fee-farm rents of about £80 to augment the living. He did not settle them legally on the church, however, and after his death they fell into arrears. A Chancery decree of 1709 ended the disputes which had arisen about this and about the related question of rights of presentation. The rents were secured on the living and alternate rights of presentation were vested in Sir John Bridgeman and Edward Hill, the lord of the manor. (fn. 24) The manor's alternate right was purchased by Orlando Bridgeman, Earl of Bradford (d. 1825), between 1795 and 1811, (fn. 25) and the whole advowson remained with his successors until it passed to the Bishop of London in 1913. (fn. 26) In 1837 the endowment was augmented by £900 raised by subscription and by £400 from Queen Anne's Bounty, (fn. 27) and in 1868 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners secured on it another £20 a year. (fn. 28) There was no parsonagehouse until 1837, when one was built by a subscription to which Queen Adelaide, then living at Bushy House, gave £100. (fn. 29) This house stood by the later Vicarage Road, and was afterwards replaced by a house in Manor Road, then by one in Kingston Road, and finally, in 1931, by the present Vicarage, also in Kingston Road. (fn. 30) In 1955-6 the net income of the benefice was £659, of which the endowment provided £99. (fn. 31)

The names of one or two of the medieval chaplains are preserved. One, who was called chaplain and vicar, seems to have held some land, and another leased three acres from the lord of the manor. (fn. 32) One Robert Fern or Feron, clerk, of Teddington, who may have been chaplain there, was convicted in 1535 along with the priors of the Charterhouses for treasonable conversation against the king's Church policy, but was afterwards pardoned. (fn. 33) In 1547 it was said that only one priest was provided to serve the church, and a little later the parish lacked any minister at all for some years and then had only a reader until about 1583. Even then the curate was also the schoolmaster of Twickenham. (fn. 34) Ephraim Udall (licensed 1615), was a Puritan while he was at Teddington, (fn. 35) Thomas Gouge (curate 1637-8) was also later a Nonconformist, (fn. 36) and Matthew Randal (licensed 1631) was suspended by Laud in 1634 for preaching a sermon over an hour long at the Sunday afternoon catechizing. (fn. 37) Later, however, more orthodox doctrines may have prevailed, for Robert Mossom was sequestered in 1650 for officiating by the Book of Common Prayer. (fn. 38) In 1673 the old rails which had once been round the communion table stood in the porch. (fn. 39) Another curate is said to have been the poet Thomas Traherne, who was domestic chaplain to Sir Orlando Bridgeman and died at Teddington in 1674. (fn. 40) Since the right of presentation to the cure seems to have been acquired by Bridgeman's heirs after his death, however, Traherne is more likely only to have been his domestic chaplain and not parish curate. (fn. 41) Charles Williams (curate 1692-c. 1709) was also Vicar of Twickenham, (fn. 42) but from then on the incumbents have generally been resident themselves and have had assistant curates. (fn. 43) Stephen Hales (curate c. 1709-61), the physiologist and inventor, was taken by Pope as the model of the man who loves his God. (fn. 44) He was an active parish priest, enlarged the church and churchyard, and provided the village with a clean and plentiful water supply. He is known on occasion to have made women in the parish do penance for irregular behaviour, (fn. 45) but there is no reason to believe the statement (fn. 46) that he always did so. Only a few instances are recorded in his long incumbency, and it would be wrong to make too much of them as examples of 18th-century moralist churchmanship. The services, which were said to have been monthly before Sir Orlando Bridgeman endowed the living, were held twice on Sundays in Hales's time, with monthly communion services and weekly catechizings. (fn. 47) In 1766 there were also prayers twice a week. (fn. 48) A Sunday school was started by 1800 and a Wednesday evening service by 1831, (fn. 49) and notable departures from old customs began under Daniel Trinder (vicar 1857-78). Among other innovations, he had the old pews taken down, introduced Hymns Ancient and Modern, and preached in a surplice, all of which led to accusations of popery, and to the foundation of Christ Church, which became attached to the Free Church of England. (fn. 50) Communion services continued to be held only once a month at the parish church in Trinder's time, (fn. 51) though more high-church practices prevailed at the new church of St. Peter and St. Paul which he founded. (fn. 52) Under Trinder and his successor there were also disputes about the provision of an open burial ground and the burial of nonconformists in the churchyard. (fn. 53) Prebendary F. Leith Boyd (vicar 1884-1908), replaced the old church by St. Albans (fn. 54) and introduced more decisively highchurch ritual. Sung mass was introduced, and in 1907 the first outdoor procession of clergy, choir, and acolytes was held. In spite of some opposition, the church had a large congregation, and Boyd's traditions have been maintained, though his successor was compelled to retrench expenditure. (fn. 55) In 1959 the main Sunday service was high mass at 11 o'clock, with a sermon, and there was also parish communion at 9.30. There were then some 340 names on the electoral roll. (fn. 56)

The church of ST. MARY, on the corner of Ferry Road and Twickenham Road, ceased to be the parish church in 1889. No part of the present building dates from before the 16th century, though in 1816 the chancel, which has since been rebuilt, was attributed to the later 14th century: (fn. 57) Westminster Abbey is known to have repaired it in the later Middle Ages, and in 1365 the church of St. Michael, Teddington, had recently been destroyed by fire. (fn. 58) St. Mary's is a small and low brick building with stone dressings consisting of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, north-east organ chamber and vestries, a small south porch, and a west tower. (fn. 59) The aisles and vestries are nearly as high as the chancel and nave, and are roofed under separate gables; the three plastered barrel vaults, the centre one continuing over both nave and chancel, are a notable feature of the interior. The oldest parts of the church are the south aisle, with early-16th-century diaper brickwork, (fn. 60) and the arch between the north aisle and the organ chamber, which is probably of the same date. During the incumbency of Stephen Hales (c. 1709- 61) successive alterations were made which account for much of the present fabric. In 1716 the church was enlarged and repaired and a south-west gallery was built. (fn. 61) The barrel-vaulted ceilings and the flattopped colonnade dividing the nave from the aisles may have been alterations of this date or a little earlier. In 1748 the bells could not be heard all over the parish, so the existing shingled spire was replaced by a wooden cupola containing a loud bell, and six years later the timber tower itself was demolished and the present brick one was built, with the same cupola on top. (fn. 62) The tower has round-headed windows and an embattled parapet; the cupola was removed some years before 1936. (fn. 63) The rest of the changes were designed to accommodate more people. In 1753 the north aisle was built, with round-headed windows and a central pediment. It originally contained a gallery. In 1767 a vestry with a fire-place was made under the tower. (fn. 64) Dry rot and vermin from the vaults made repeated repairs to the chancel floor and the furniture necessary, (fn. 65) while the continued shortage of space led John Walter (d. 1812), the founder of The Times and a parishioner of Teddington, to sue the churchwardens for a suitable pew. (fn. 66) In 1833 the capacity of the church was increased from 413 to 559 sittings by public subscription, helped by £100 from the Church Building Society and £50 from the king and queen. (fn. 67) A larger chancel was built, and the main door was removed from the south front to the west tower. (fn. 68) Further extensive alterations were made in 1877: another vestry was built on the north-east side, the old one becoming the organ chamber, and the floor of the church was lowered; the small south porch also probably dates from this time. Most of the windows, which are all of late Perpendicular type with four-centred heads, were altered or enlarged. The three easternmost in the south aisle appear to be faithful copies of the original ones which they replaced. Similar windows were inserted in the 18thcentury openings in the north aisle. Finally, at the same time, the galleries were removed and the pulpit and pews were replaced. (fn. 69) In 1889 the church was closed for services. It was repaired and reopened, at first only for occasional use, in 1898. (fn. 70) After being closed for about eight years it was again repaired and reopened for regular services in 1936. (fn. 71)

The most notable of a number of wall-monuments dating from between the late 17th century and the 19th are those of Sir Orlando Bridgeman (d. 1674), on the south wall of the chancel, and of W. T. Stratton (d. 1814), in the south aisle. (fn. 72) The latter is by Sir Richard Westmacott; the former is of black and white marble and has a wreathed inscription framed by a Corinthian order with two cartouches of arms above and an achievement of arms surmounting the pediment. There are two brasses, of which one, of 1506, has two figures. There is one bell, cast in 1620, and another which is not hung. In 1685 the church had a communion cup with a cover. (fn. 73) In 1742 all the plate was less than 30 years old, and it now all dates from 1877 or later except for two silver almsdishes of 1765. (fn. 74) It is kept in St. Alban's church, as are the registers, which begin in 1558 with baptisms, mar riages, and burials in one volume, and are substantially complete. (fn. 75)

The church of ST. ALBAN, which replaced St. Mary's, was opened in 1889. (fn. 76) It was designed by W. Niven almost on the scale of a Gothic cathedral and, in spite of its size, is incomplete. It is built of stone and consists of a lofty aisled and clerestoried nave of five bays, chancel, ambulatory, and north and south aisles. The roofs are covered with copper externally and all but that of the nave are vaulted. The west end of the nave, as originally planned, has never been built. The three eastern windows of the chancel clerestory and the east window of the ambulatory were inserted in 1953. The font and one of the side altars were formerly in St. Mary's Church, and there are various other fittings which are older than St. Alban's itself and were brought to it from different countries. They include seven silver lamps which were once in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. (fn. 77)

The church of ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL in Broad Street was opened in 1865 as a chapel of ease to St. Mary's. The original design, by G. E. Street, was completed in 1873, except for the tower and spire, which were never built. (fn. 78) The church is of red and yellow brick with stone piers in the nave. It consists of a chancel, a nave of five bays, and north and south aisles with chapels. Even before it became independent in 1880, St. Peter and St. Paul's seems to have had a rather more advanced ritual than the parish church. (fn. 79) In 1959 the main Sunday service was solemn mass at 11 o'clock. There were then 116 names on the electoral roll. (fn. 80) The parish assigned to the church in 1880 was bounded on the east by the railway, and was diminished in 1914 when St. Michael and St. George's parish, Fulwell, was created. (fn. 81) The living was endowed with £200 a year in 1882 and in 1955-6 the net income was £570. The patron is the Vicar of St. Mary's. (fn. 82)

The present church of ST. MARK, in St. Mark's Road, South Teddington, was opened in 1939. In 1875 a National school, which also served as a mission building, had been opened in Schoolhouse Lane, and in 1880 a mission church on the corner of Fairfax Road and Bushy Park Road was opened. It was pulled down when the new church was built. (fn. 83) St. Mark's was separated from the mother parish in 1938. (fn. 84) The living is in the gift of the bishop. It was worth £618 in 1955-6, of which £186 came from the endowment. (fn. 85) There were 297 names on the electoral roll in 1959. (fn. 86) The main Sunday services were then sung eucharist at 10.15 and matins and sermon at 11.30. The church was designed by C. A. Farey. It is cruciform with a tower at the crossing and is built of grey brick with stone dressings and a tiled roof. (fn. 87) Inside it has an open roof and low narrow aisles with round-headed arcades.

The church of ST. MICHAEL AND ST. GEORGE, Wilcox Road, Fulwell, was opened in 1913. It was designed by J. S. Adkins in the Gothic style and lies north and south instead of east and west. It is built of red brick with stone dressings and has a nave, chancel, aisles, 'south' chapel, and 'west' baptistry. (fn. 88) Its parish, formed out of that of St. Peter and St. Paul, was assigned to it in 1914. (fn. 89) In 1955-6 the living, in the gift of trustees, was worth £635 of which £220 came from the endowment. (fn. 90) There were 144 names on the electoral roll in 1959, (fn. 91) and the principal Sunday service was then sung mass and sermon at 10.30.


  • 1. See p. 79.
  • 2. See p. 27.
  • 3. See p. 69: 1 a. 1 r. of rectory land is mentioned in 1353: S.C. 6/918/25.
  • 4. S.C. 6/919/8; C 66/1619, m. 7.
  • 5. e.g. W.A.M. 27189-90; S.C. 6/Hen VII 389, 2339.
  • 6. C 66/1619, m. 7.
  • 7. e.g. S.C. 6/918/2, 16, 21.
  • 8. Tax Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 17.
  • 9. W.A.M. 27189-90; S.C. 6/Hen. VII 389, 2339.
  • 10. Parl. survey of ch. livings in Home Cties Mag. ii. 63-64; C 54/7518, m. 3.
  • 11. C 33/313, f. 112.
  • 12. Newcourt, Repertorium, i. 755.
  • 13. Twickenham B.C., Teddington Vestry Min. Bk. 12 May 1789; see also Lysons, Environs of Lond. iii. 508.
  • 14. See manorial accts. for this period cited on p. 72, n. 84.
  • 15. W.A.M. 27185; S.C. 6/919/8; cf. W.A.M. 27184 (payment for part of 1357).
  • 16. W.A.M. 27189-90, 32256; S.C. 6/Hen. VII 389, 2339, 6089.
  • 17. See p. 70.
  • 18. Guildhall MSS. 9537/1-5.
  • 19. Newcourt, Repertorium, i. 755.
  • 20. See p. 70: Newcourt says that the payments were included in the terms of this lease, but they are not in the enrolment, though the rent is adjusted as if to allow for them: C 66/1619, m. 7.
  • 21. C 66/1619, m. 7.
  • 22. But cf. Home Cties. Mag. ii. 63-64, where the total is slightly different.
  • 23. See p. 67.
  • 24. C 33/313, f. 112.
  • 25. Lysons, Supplement to Environs, 508.
  • 26. Lond. Gaz. 1913, p. 8490.
  • 27. C. Hodgson, Augmentation of Small Livings, pp. ccxxiii, cccxiv.
  • 28. Lond. Gaz. 1868, p. 3446.
  • 29. Twickenham B.C., Teddington Vestry Bk. 24 Sept., 11 Oct. 1838; Lewis, Topog. Dict. (1848).
  • 30. Teddington Memorial Hosp. Swan and Stag, i (4), 31; Twickenham Libr. Z 1108-9; ex inf. Ch. Commissioners.
  • 31. Crockford (1955-6).
  • 32. S.C. 6/918/23; /919/2.
  • 33. L. & P. Hen. VIII, viii, pp. 229, 303.
  • 34. E 301/34/144; Guildhall MSS. 9537/1-5.
  • 35. D.N.B.; Hennessy, Novum Repertorium, 424.
  • 36. Hennessy, op. cit.; cf. Calamy Revised, ed. Matthews, 229.
  • 37. Neal, Hist. of Puritans (1822 edn.), ii. 238.
  • 38. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655-6, 134.
  • 39. Guildhall MS. 9537/20, p. 37.
  • 40. Wood, Athenae Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 1016.
  • 41. C 33/313, f. 112; another curate is named in 1673: Guildhall MS. 9537/20.
  • 42. Newcourt, Repertorium, i. 756.
  • 43. See, e.g. notes compiled by D. Trinder (mostly from Par. Rec.) in scrap bk. among Par Rec.
  • 44. In the Epistle to a Lady, 1. 198: Works of Pope (Twickenham edn.) iii (2), 64; see also Wesley's comment on him: John Wesley's Journal, ed. N. Curnock, iv. 73.
  • 45. Par. Rec., Reg. ii, iii (notes by Hales); D.N.B.
  • 46. In A. T. Hart, 18th-cent. country parson, 122, where the author for some reason adds 'always' to the statement on the subject which he quotes from D.N.B.
  • 47. Guildhall MSS. 9550, 9628; though cf. MS. 9628 (churchwardens' presentment, 1738).
  • 48. Guildhall MS. 9558.
  • 49. Twickenham B.C., Teddington Vestry Min. Bk. 27 Dec. 1800; Par. Rec., Vestry Min. Bk. 4 Apr., 10 Nov. 1831.
  • 50. Teddington Memorial Hosp. Swan and Stag, i (4), 27; Surrey Comet, 7 and 14 Dec. 1878.
  • 51. e.g. Teddington Par. Mag. July 1877 (copy in Twickenham Libr.).
  • 52. See p. 79.
  • 53. Surrey Comet, 21 Oct. 1880, and see p. 75.
  • 54. See below.
  • 55. Teddington Memorial Hosp. Swan and Stag, i (6), 27; K. Ingram, Short Hist. of Teddington, 21-22.
  • 56. Lond. Dioc. Bk. (1959).
  • 57. Brewer, Beauties of Eng. and Wales (1816), x (5), 489.
  • 58. B. M. Harl. Roll BB. 25; W.A.M. 32023, 32256; Cal. Papal Petitions, 506. The condition of the chancel in 1595 is described in L.R. 1/44, f. 35b.
  • 59. See Pevsner, Mdx. 154; Hist. Mon. Com. Mdx. 119 describes only the pre-18th-cent. work.
  • 60. Hist. Mon. Com. Mdx. 119.
  • 61. Par. Rec., Reg. iii (note by Hales).
  • 62. Ibid. iii, iv.
  • 63. The Times, 29 Sept. 1936, p. 11.
  • 64. Par. Rec., Reg. iii (note by Hales); Twickenham B.C., Teddington Vestry Min. Bk. 8 Apr. 1753, 27 July 1754, 5 Sept. 1766, 13 July 1767.
  • 65. Twickenham B.C., Teddington Vestry Min. Bk. 9 Oct. 1799, 1 Sept., 27 Dec. 1800, 22 Nov. 1804, 26 Sept. 1805.
  • 66. The Times, 29 Sept. 1936, p. 11; Phillimore, Eccl. Law (2nd. edn.), ii. 1425-6, refers to the case (Walter v. Gunner).
  • 67. Twickenham B.C., Teddington Vestry Min. Bk. 17 Apr. 1834.
  • 68. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1845); Par. Rec., Vestry Min. Bk. 23 Sept. 1833. For the appearance of the ch. before this, see drawings in interleaved copy at Guildhall Libr. of Lysons, Environs of Lond. iii (3), following p. 504.
  • 69. Par. Rec., scrap bk. compiled by D. Trinder; for memories of the ch. interior before these changes, see Teddington Memorial Hosp. Swan and Stag, i (4), 29.
  • 70. Surrey Comet, 13 July 1889; Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1894, 1898).
  • 71. The Times, 29 Sept. 1936, p. 11.
  • 72. Pevsner, Mdx. 154; see list of monuments in, e.g. Lysons, Environs of Lond. iii. 505-6.
  • 73. Guildhall MS. 9537.
  • 74. Par. Rec., Reg. iv; E. Freshfield, Communion Plate of Mdx. 50-51.
  • 75. See list in Mdx. Par. Reg. ed. Phillimore and Gurney, iii. The registers, with one vestry min. bk. (1823/34) and other par. recs. are kept in St. Alban's Church. Other recs. including vestry min. bks. are in the custody of Twickenham B.C.
  • 76. Surrey Comet, 13 July 1889.
  • 77. H. T. Dade, St. Alban the Martyr, Teddington, and St. Mary [1947].
  • 78. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1874); Thorne, Handbk. to Environs of Lond. (1876), ii. 604.
  • 79. Teddington Par. Mag. Mar. 1875; Teddington Memorial Hosp. Swan and Stag, i (4), 29.
  • 80. Lond. Dioc. Bk. (1959).
  • 81. Lond. Gaz. 1880, p. 2913; Census, 1921 (Ecclesiastical Areas).
  • 82. Lond. Gaz. 1881, p. 2630; Crockford (1955-6).
  • 83. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1880).
  • 84. Census, 1951 (Ecclesiastical Areas).
  • 85. Crockford (1955-6).
  • 86. Lond. Dioc. Bk. (1959).
  • 87. See Fifty Modern Churches, ed. R. J. McNally, 59-61.
  • 88. T.L.M.A.S. xviii (2), 193.
  • 89. Lond. Gaz. 1914, p. 591.
  • 90. Crockford (1955-6).
  • 91. Lond. Dioc. Bk. (1959).