A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7, Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1982.
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In 1181 the canons of St. Paul's had a church for their manor of Sutton, (fn. 1) where there was a vicar by 1241. (fn. 2) As a peculiar of St. Paul's, the church was normally exempt from episcopal jurisdiction both before and after the Reformation. (fn. 3) It served the whole parish until the establishment of its first daughter church, at Turnham Green, in 1845. (fn. 4)
Vicars were presented by the chapter of St. Paul's, (fn. 5) until in 1502 part of their Chiswick estate was formally assigned to the dean so long as he should be a residentiary. (fn. 6) As lord of Sutton Court and rector, except during the Interregnum, the dean reserved the advowson when leasing the manor from the 16th (fn. 7) until the late 18th century. (fn. 8) Thereafter the patronage has been exercised by the chapter. (fn. 9)
St. Paul's apparently had appropriated the church and farmed it by 1181, having endowed it with glebe, tithes from the tenants except hay, and ⅓ of the tithes of the two demesnes. (fn. 10) The vicar, who may have had the hay tithes in 1181, received one mark a year from the chamberlain in 1252, in addition to altar dues, (fn. 11) and 1297. (fn. 12) The vicarage was not wealthy, being assessed at £5 in 1291 (fn. 13) and valued at £9 18s. 1d. in 1535. (fn. 14) In 1458 many tithes were withheld, including tithes of sheaves by the lessee of Sutton and various small tithes by the lessee of the prebendal estate. (fn. 15) When the rectory as a whole was thought to be worth £40 in 1549, the vicar had only £10. (fn. 16) Small tithes were paid to the vicar in 1589–90 (fn. 17) and amounted to £25 a year in 1650, when the house was valued at £3 and the glebe, which was leased, at £27. (fn. 18) An allowance of £60 a year was made to the minister out of the impropriated tithes in 1658. (fn. 19) Lord Fauconberg, as lessee of Sutton Court manor, successfully claimed tithes of pulse and hay which had been paid to the vicar. (fn. 20) Later lessees, at least from 1731, paid an extra £10 annual rent to augment the living. (fn. 21) The gross income was £601 in 1835, (fn. 22) and had risen to £686 by 1851, (fn. 23) after £420 a year had been awarded in 1846 in lieu of small tithes. (fn. 24)
The glebe comprised 16½ a. of arable and 1 a. of meadow in 1181, (fn. 25) 12 a. of arable and 1 a. of meadow in 1252, (fn. 26) and 14 a. of arable and 1 a. of meadow in 1297. (fn. 27) It was estimated at 20 a. of arable in 1458, (fn. 28) at 15 a. in Chiswick field, a further 4 a. of arable, 1 a. of meadow, and a ½-a. close in 1589–90, (fn. 29) and 22 a. in 1649. (fn. 30) Probably the same land was held by the vicar in 1846; the glebe then amounted to c. 20 a., of which c. 19 a. were market garden west of the later Devonshire Road. (fn. 31) The land remained glebe in 1887, (fn. 32) although Glebe Street and neighbouring roads had already been built there. (fn. 33)
A vicarage house had been repaired by 1297. (fn. 34) It has been suggested that it was the medieval prebendal manor house, (fn. 35) although prebendaries apparently had no interest in the vicarage. By 1590 the vicar held 'the corner house on the east side of the street towards the Thames', (fn. 36) presumably the house which was dilapidated in 1650, (fn. 37) rebuilt in brick in 1658, and repaired in 1698. (fn. 38) It was replaced in the 18th century by a three-storeyed, stuccoed building, later extended to the north and with a bow window facing Chiswick Mall, which remained the Vicarage until 1974. (fn. 39) The vicar was excused all parish rates on his house in 1792, in return for waiving his fees at paupers' burials. (fn. 40) In 1979 he lived in a smaller house next to the Old Vicarage, which had been divided and sold. (fn. 41)
The first recorded vicar John Belemains or Belemus (d. 1252) was also prebendary of Chiswick in St. Paul's cathedral. (fn. 42) No later vicar held that prebend, although other prebends in the cathedral were held by Thomas Spateman, vicar 1732–61, Thomas Hughes, 1808–9, (fn. 43) E. C. Rich, 1934–45, and G. A. Lewis Loyd, 1954–74. (fn. 44)
There were altars in 1297 to St. Catherine, St. Margaret, St. Mary Magdalene, and St. Mary the Virgin, at the last of which a perpetual light was to be endowed. (fn. 45) No lights were recorded later. In 1458 the vicar's 20 a. were supposed to support a boy to assist at daily services; the vicarage was leased and there was a parish priest to celebrate on feast days. (fn. 46) In 1644 Beriah Packington was sequestrated in favour of 'an honest preaching minister'. (fn. 47) There was an assistant curate in 1673 (fn. 48) and normally at least one from the mid 19th century. The curate in 1737 was Thomas Hartley (1709?–84), translator of Swedenborg. (fn. 49) Arthur Coham, vicar 1761–81, was also a canon of Salisbury and archdeacon of Wiltshire. (fn. 50) James Trebeck, vicar 1781–1808, was active in local affairs (fn. 51) while also rector of St. Michael, Queenhithe (Lond.), another living of St. Paul's. (fn. 52) In 1787 he presided over a vestry which attacked gambling and tried to enforce Sunday observance on shopkeepers. (fn. 53) As a place of fashion, Chiswick by 1784 had an afternoon lecturer, chosen by the vestry with the vicar's consent. (fn. 54) One lecturer was Henry Francis Cary (1772–1844), translator of Dante (fn. 55) and from 1814 tenant of Hogarth's former house. (fn. 56)
In 1851, when 250 out of the 1,300 sittings were free, there was a morning attendance of 517 and an afternoon attendance of 334, on each occasion including c. 60 Sunday school children. (fn. 57) In 1866, when the chapel of St. Mary Magdalene was served from the mother church, and in the 1970s, after the demolition of St. Mary Magdalene, the vicar of Chiswick had three assistant curates. (fn. 58) Attendances in 1903 were 503 in the morning and 461 in the evening. (fn. 59) An Anglo-Catholic tradition was maintained in 1979. (fn. 60)
The church of ST. NICHOLAS, at the southeast end of Church Street, had no dedication in 1252 (fn. 61) but, presumably because it was near the river, (fn. 62) had been dedicated to the patron saint of fishermen by 1548. (fn. 63) It consists of a chancel, north vestry, north and south chapels, nave with north and south aisles and porches, and three-stage west tower, (fn. 64) with an embattled parapet and spirelet. The tower, of Kentish ragstone with freestone dressings, was built by William Bordall, vicar 1416–35, according to a lost brass (fn. 65) and a 17th-century tablet. The older body of the church was largely rebuilt in the 15th or 16th century, the chancel roof having been in bad repair in 1252, mended by 1297, and again in poor condition in 1458. Part of the fabric was derelict c. 1650, when a south aisle was built, (fn. 66) and Sir Stephen Fox in 1711 claimed to have paid for expensive repairs. (fn. 67) Galleries were added when new aisles of brick, with round-headed windows, were built on the south side in 1772 and the north in 1817. (fn. 68) Apart from the tower, the entire church was rebuilt between 1882 and 1884 in the Perpendicular style by J. L. Pearson, the main cost being borne by Henry Smith. (fn. 69) A cramped site, between the tower and Church Street, led Pearson to design the nave with a breadth nearly equal to its length.
Fittings include a screen, extended in 1909 to form the south aisle chapel, and pulpit, both by W. D. Caroë. The south wall of the chapel contains glass from the east window of the old church, probably 18th-century (fn. 70) and said to come from Cologne cathedral, the chancel contains a window attributed to W. Burges, also from the old church, and some of the other windows are by Clayton & Bell. There are brass inscriptions to Mary (d. 1599), wife of Richard Barker, and Anne [d. 1607], widow of William Barker, both of which were moved in 1882. (fn. 71) Other monuments include a pavilion with kneeling effigies in alabaster of the naturalist Sir Thomas Chaloner (d. 1615) (fn. 72) and his wife, a wrongly dated plaque to William Bordall erected in 1631 by Francis Russell, earl of Bedford, and memorials to the actor Charles Holland (d. 1769) by W. Tyler, to the porcelain manufacturer Thomas Bentley (d. 1780) (fn. 73) by Thomas Scheemakers, and to Thomas Tomkins (d. 1816) by Sir Francis Chantrey. (fn. 74)
The churchyard, which was enlarged by John de Bray in 1349, (fn. 75) was later used for the burial of many non-parishioners (fn. 76) and was further extended in 1805 and, by the dukes of Devonshire, in 1838 and 1871. (fn. 77) It stands higher than the road and contains a 13th-century coffin lid of Purbeck marble, a table tomb of Thomas Carey (d. 1694) and another reputedly designed by William Kent for Lord Burlington's bricklayer Richard Wright (d. 1734), an urn on a tall pedestal above the grave of William Hogarth, the small mausoleum of P. J. de Loutherbourg (d. 1812) (fn. 78) by Sir John Soane, and the former tomb of the Italian poet Ugo Foscolo (d. 1827), besides the tombs of William Kent, Charles Holland, and the painter J. A. M. Whistler. (fn. 79)
There are eight bells, (iii) to (vii) by Knight of Reading having been hung in 1656, (fn. 80) presumably in place of the five bells recorded in 1552. Most of the plate, perhaps including items recorded in 1552, (fn. 81) was stolen in 1785 (fn. 82) and replaced in 1786 (fn. 83) by two silver flagons, a cup, and spoon, given by the duke of Devonshire, and four dishes, one of them given by Georgiana, duchess of Devonshire. The church retained the plate, with later pieces and a silver cup ascribed to 1747, the gift of Robert Stevenson, (fn. 84) in 1979. The registers begin in 1678. (fn. 85)
CHRIST CHURCH, Turnham Green. Dist. formed 1845 from Chiswick. (fn. 89) Patron from 1858 bp. of London. (fn. 90) One asst. curate 1866 and 1935, none in 1947. Attendance 1851: 468 a.m. (inc. Sunday sch. 138); 416 p.m. (inc. Sunday sch. 36); (fn. 91) 1903: 527a.m.; 585 p.m. Bldg. of flint with stone dressings in early Gothic style, on former common land: (fn. 92) W. tower, spire, nave, N. and S. aisles, N. and S. transepts 1843 by G. G. Scott and W. B. Moffatt, seating 930; (fn. 93) chancel and NE. chapel 1887 by J. Brooks. Mission in Nat. sch., High Rd., attendance 1903: 340 a.m.
ST. MARY MAGDALENE, Bennett St. Chapel blt. 1848 at expense of J. C. Sharpe. Served from Chiswick 1862, gratuitously by a min. 1867. (fn. 94) Dist. formed 1894 from Chiswick. (fn. 95) Patron V. of Chiswick, from 1898 dean and chapter of St. Paul's. (fn. 96) No asst. curate 1926, two in 1935. Attendance 1851: 93 a.m. (inc. Sunday sch. 82); 121 p.m. (inc. Sunday sch. 36); (fn. 97) 1903: 257 a.m.; 249 p.m. A. Tooth, min. 1867, later imprisoned for ritualism. (fn. 98) Stone bldg. 1848 by J. C. Sharpe, seating 300. Rebuilt with chancel, SE. chapel, nave, N. aisle, and NW. bell-turret 1894 by Newman & Newman, seating 500. (fn. 99) Damaged in Second World War, demol. with Chiswick New Town, and replaced by St. Nicholas's church hall 1956. (fn. 100) Benefice united with St. Nicholas 1954. (fn. 101)
ST. MICHAEL, Elmwood Rd., known as St. Michael, Sutton Court. (fn. 102) Dist. assigned from Chiswick and Christ Church, Turnham Green, 1906 and 1907. (fn. 103) Bldg. funds from sale of St. Michael, Burleigh St. (demol. 1906), a chapel of ease to St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Patron V. of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, whose son was first V. of St. Michael's. Iron church in Elmwood Rd. built 1908 and used as hall from 1909. Red brick bldg. in a Tudor style 1909 by W. D. Caroë, seating c. 350: chancel, SE. chapel, timber E. tower, nave, N. and S. aisles. Lectern, font, and other fittings from St. Michael, Burleigh St.
ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS, Bath Rd., Bedford Pk. Dist. formed 1879 from Chiswick, All Saints, S. Acton, and St. George, Old Brentford. Patrons benefactors Revd. Alfred Wilson and J. T. Carr for first turn, bp. of London thereafter. (fn. 104) One asst. curate 1905 and 1955–6, none in 1961–2. Attacked as High Church 1880. (fn. 105) Attendance 1903: 409 a.m.; 205 p.m. Iron church N. end Chiswick Lane used 1876–8. (fn. 106) Red brick bldg. with stone dressings and white timberwork, the lower part in a Perpendicular style. Raised chancel, SE. chapel, timber E. bellcot, nave, and S. aisle 1879, by R. Norman Shaw; N. aisle 1889, SW. chapel 1909, by Maurice B. Adams. (fn. 107) Glass in SE. chapel 1915, by M. Travers. Mission in Back Common Rd., attendance 1903: 27 p.m. Vicarage 1880, by E. J. May.
ST. PAUL, Grove Park Rd. Dist. formed 1872 from Chiswick and Christ Church, Turnham Green. (fn. 108) Patron V. of Chiswick. (fn. 109) One asst. curate 1905 and 1926, two in 1961–2 and 1965–6, none in 1973–4. Attendance 1903: 324 a.m.; 212 p.m. Iron church used 1870–2. Stone bldg. in a Gothic style 1872 by H. Currey, bit. largely at expense of duke of Devonshire and seating 500–600: (fn. 110) chancel, lady chapel (converted to vestry room after damage in Second World War), (fn. 111) nave, N. and S. aisles, W. bellcot.