The churchyard through the years

Walter Richard Daines

The first grave - 1864
Bruna (Walter) Blaschke

The last grave - 1897
" "
When St James's was built in 1863, the churchyard was just a small area immediately surrounding the church, the cemetery at the mother church of St Mary's, Hampton, still serving the new parish. The churchyard still contains several large family memorials, including the earliest grave, the only one in 1864, being that of eleven month old Walter Richard Daines, a name well known in early parish times. The grave is near the noticeboard at the junction of Park Road and St James’s Road. As the population of the new parish was growing, the original churchyard surrounding the church was found to be too small. As the cemetery at Hampton was thought to be impractical, in 1882 the vicar of Hampton gave an acre of land in Park Road next to the church to be used as the parish burial ground.

Christian graves are always orientated longways East to West, that is to face the rising sun. The headstones usually also face East although there are exceptions to this; when the grave is by a path the headstone may be reversed so that it can be seen more easily. The incumbent must give permission before gravestones are erected.

There are over 1,000 graves and over 4,000 people buried in the churchyard. The very last burial was Bruna (Walter) Blaschke in 1987 and his grave is in the far corner near the gardens in St James’s Road/Avenue. Many fascinating people are buried in the churchyard: Canadian Joe Boyle, whose remains were exhumed and returned to Canada in 1983, 60 years after his death; three station masters from Fulwell Station; John Templeton, the opera singer; and many more.

The churchyard was closed by Order in Council in 1991 as there was no more space for new graves. It was then, and still is, cared for by the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. From that point onwards only previously booked spaces could be used for burials and the interment of ashes. The closure was a huge relief to the church as it was an impossible task to keep up with the maintenance of such a large area.

Gravestones and Headstones serve as memorials to the dead and are made of stone, marble or granite. An epitaph may be carved on them and the inscriptions can tell us a little of the history of the families who have lived in the district. RlP stands for the Latin words Requiescat In Pace, meaning 'rest in peace'.

Grave
Grave
Grave
Grave

1881: The grave of Revd Fitzroy John Fitzwygram

Four of St James's vicars are buried in the churchyard. The grave of the Revd Fitzroy John Fitzwygram is marked by a celtic cross standing on three square tiers roughly seven foot high.

The Grave of Rev. Fitzroy John Fitzwygram

The Grave of

1st tier: Fitzroy John Fitzwygram
A.D. 1863 - 1881
Fell asleep 13 August 1881 Aged 54
2nd tier: Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord
From henceforth
Yea saith the spirit That they may rest from their labours
And their works do follow them

3rd tier: Also Alice
Widow of Fitzroy John Fitzwygram
Daughter of Sir Henry G. Ward
Entered into rest March 9th 1912

The rear of the memorial reads: The redeemed of the Lord shall return and comewith singing unto Zion and everlasting joy shall be upon their head.
They shall obtain gladness and joy and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.


1886: The grave of John Templeton

The book, 'Birth and Growth of Hampton Hill', tells us "We learn from the SURREY COMET, September 4th, 1901, that the first owner of Templeton Lodge was one John Templeton, 'one of the finest tenors of the early part of the last century'. He retired to New Hampton and is described as 'one of the earliest to make his abode there'. John Templeton was a British opera singer. A tenor, he sang at the first English productions of Mozart's operas Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute and was acknowledged to be the greatest musical artist of his time.
The magazine of August 1886 had this Memoriam: "At the age of nearly eighty-four there has passed away one who was known to many of us as a quiet and retiring old gentleman, but who, for many years was the popular tenor of our country, and throughout America too. He retired into private life about thirty years ago, and unheeded by the busy world has spent his declining years in his pleasant little home in our village. In a full old age, respected by those who knew him, he has passed to his rest and is buried in the same grave as his wife in our Churchyard."

The grave of John Templeton



Later, in 1888, the churchyard was completely enclosed in order to try to keep children out and therefore avoid the damage that they were causing. The magazine of May 1888 reported: “Our Churchyard has been completely enclosed, and it is hoped that it will now cease to be a playground. We regret that there seems to be among the rising generation a very low opinion of the sanctity of God’s acre.” However, the magazine of July 1890 reported: "Attention has been called to the acts of wanton mischief and theft of flowers, by which our churchyard has been disgraced, and the feelings of many have been distressed by the want of respect shown to the dead. The church wardens have offered a substantial reward of £5 to anyone who shall give such information as shall bring any offender to justice and secure their punishment according to law."


1893: The grave of the Revd Henry Bligh
The Grave of Revd. Henry Bligh  

The Grave of Revd. Henry Bligh


" "

The lych gate

 
The lych gate

In the Middle Ages most people were buried in just shrouds rather than coffins, the dead being carried to the lych gate and placed on a bier, where the priest conducted the first part of the funeral service under its temporary shelter. The priest always led the funeral procession into the church, and still does so. This is because he or she is the representative of the Church which is commending the soul of the dead person to God. The lych also used to serve as a shelter for the pall-bearers while the bier was brought from the church.

The offertories on St James’s Day in 1897 went towards the cost of moving the lych gate from its original site on St James’s Road to its current position on Park Road “in which position it will be useful, and will be seen to much greater advantage than it is at present” (shown far right). Later, in 1900, the path from the lych gate was improved with the hope that the lych gate would become the usual entrance into the churchyard from Park Road.


1897: The grave of the local station-master
Grave of Mr. Vesey

Grave of Mr. Vesey

" "
The 'Birth and Growth of Hampton Hill' tells us "The importance of the individual to the community comes out in different reports. For instance, at the funeral of Mr Veysey, for many years station-master at Fulwell Station, many local tradesmen and many of his colleagues of different grades on the railway 'came from all parts of the line to do honour to his memory' and the local fire brigades of Hampton and Hampton Hill were represented and local gentry attended in appreciation of his services."

John Vesey, the local stationmaster, died in 1896. The February 1897 edition of the Parish Magazine reported: "All who are in the habit of using Fulwell Station will be pleased to know that steps are being taken for erecting a Memorial Stone to Mr Veysey, the late Station Master. Donations will be received at the Station, and at the Post Office." The inscription on the tiered memorial gravestone reads; "In memorium of John Vesey - Died November 16th 1896, aged 47 - 13 years stationmaster at Fullwell and Hampton Hill. Erected by his many friends and neighbours as a token of their high appreciation of his many excellent qualities."

" "
The churchyard in 1900s

The churchyard in the 1900s

The churchyard in the 1920

The churchyard in the 1920s

In 1899 several of the chestnut trees in the churchyard were taken down to make more room and improve lighting in the church. Another reason was because boys were throwing stones at the conkers and consequently the stained glass windows were at risk of being broken. Over the years, still more space was needed and so in 1901 trees were cleared to make more room in the churchyard. Smaller ornamental trees, such as copper beeches, yews, variegated holly were planted in their stead. There were continual complaints about the misbehaviour of children in the churchyard. They were playing there, trampling on the graves, interfering with the flowers and throwing stones at the conkers. The June 1896 and May 1900 magazines reported: "The Police have instructions to be on the alert, and to arrest anyone interfering with the decoration of the graves…..There is no thoroughfare through the Churchyard, and the Churchwardens wish me to say that if it is used as such by errand boys and others, they will be compelled to lock the gate."

It was felt important to look after the graves and trim the shrubs. "The Sexton has directions to cut back any trees and shrubs that are becoming overgrown, and that are interfering with neighbouring graves." A parishoner gave a seat for the churchyard in 1910, to be used by those who came to visit the graves of their friends. During Revd Coad-Pryor’s incumbency the churchyard was kept in good condition and in order to continue this, a churchyard fund was initiated around 1917.

 

 

 

 

 

 




1918: World War graves

The Canadian war graves

" "
During the first world war a contingent of Canadian troops was billeted in Bushy Park, and Upper Lodge became the King’s Canadian Hospital for Canadians wounded in battle. Some died of their wounds and were buried in an area of our churchyard reserved for them. Special care is still taken of these graves; the Canadian War Graves Commission has given us help in their maintenance.

There are thirteen graves, all of a similar pattern with plain white headstones, kept with close-cut grass and tended flowerbeds. A Canadian maple shades the graves, and the whole area is of particular interest and importance to Canadian visitors, some of whom were related to the soldiers. A further Canadian soldier, Joe Boyle, was once buried in the churchyard. He had a very remarkable war record (see below).
There are also five British war graves.

A new gravestone for someone who died on active service or as a result of their wounds was added to the churchyard in 2016. Provided by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), the graves are marked by small white stones that include details of the regiment the person served in. In addition to the graves for Canadian soldiers, there are other war grave memorials around the churchyard. The addition of the new distinctive stone brought the total number of war graves in the churchyard to 27. At the beginning of November each year we place a wooden cross with a red poppy on each grave.


1920: The War Memorial
" "

The stone cross

During 1916 it was proposed to have a war memorial for those "resident in, or connected with, Hampton Hill, who have fallen, or may fall, in the War". After the war the Vestry ordered that "no artificial wreaths under glass should be placed on the graves".

The Revd Coad-Pryor reported in the magazine of December 1918: "For the first time since I have been Vicar I am able to wish you all a very Happy Christmas without the shadow of war hanging over our Country and our homes. It was very delightful to see so many of you in Church to thank God for His great mercy in giving Victory to the Allied Countries, and our very earnest prayer must now be that we may be led to a durable and righteous peace. I am glad that it has been decided to erect a memorial in the Village Churchyard to those who have given their lives for us in the war. A strong and representative Committee of more than thirty has been elected to make the necessary arrangements, and it is hoped that a donation, however small, will be given by every inhabitant in the Parish. You will shortly be called upon for that purpose. It will be a thank offering for the safety and deliverance which the sacrifice of these brave men and lads has secured for us."

The July 1920 magazine reported: “May 26th, will long live in the memories of those who took part in the impressive service of unveiling the War Memorial; the Bishop's address, the singing, the quiet sad thankfulness of the occasion all contributed to make it a real ‘Red Letter’ day in the Parish. The arrangements were carried out with a restful reverence. There was careful preparation of the ‘Form of Service’, containing the names of those whose death of honour we were commemorating.”


The inscribed plinth is surmounted by a tall stone Latin cross, shown above left, which is visible from nearly all the churchyard. The memorial was designed by PM Andrews and eventually unveiled on May 26th, 1920. It bears the following inscription: “Their name liveth for ever more. These died the death of honour for God, King and Country in the Great Wa
r 1914-1919.” At the intersection of the cross head is a crowned sword, carved in relief. Roses are carved onto four sides of the octagonal cross shaft, which rises from a small octagonal plinth which stands on a two-staged base. The upper stage of the base is formed of four broad pilasters on which panels record, in metal lettering, the names of those who died during the First World War. The lower, octagonal, stage is carved with a general dedicatory inscription and floral designs. On the lower stage there are four separate panels which record the names of those who died during the Second World War. The memorial is surrounded by the original low bollards carrying a chain.

The war memorial actually commemorates those men and women from local families who died in the forces in the service of their country during both the two world wars. The plinth of the memorial is inscribed with the names of 124 such men who died in the first world war (1914-18) and the 29 men and women who died in the second world war (1939-45). Wreaths are laid at the War Memorial in a ceremony on Remembrance Sunday every year.

The war memorial became a listed monument in 2015. The recommendation for Grade II-listed status came from Historic England as part of their First World War Commemoration Project. It described the monument as ‘tall and striking’ and ‘an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on the local community and the sacrifice it made’ in two world wars. The church already has Grade II-listed protection.


The War Memorial
The War Memorial
Grave
A wreath
A wreath
A wreath

Keeping the cemetery tidy has always been a problem with constant reports of damage to the lych gate, fences and even the graves themselves. In October 1923, the men of the parish were asked to help and a churchyard committee, made up of “workers rather than talkers”, was formed to deal with the matter


1923: The grave of Revd Richard Coad-Pryor
The Grave of Revd. Henry Bligh  

The Grave of Revd. Henry Bligh


In 1924 the churchyard was further extended into the vicarage field with much of the preparatory work being done by voluntary help to reduce costs. A new wall was built to keep the dogs out and the gate was kept locked except for a few hours in the daytime. The Bishop of Kensington consecrated the extended churchyard in 1928. More work was done the following year with the trees being lopped, the space around the water tap being bricked and made tidy, and dustbins being provided for the rubbish.


1923 and 1983: The grave of Lt Col Joseph Boyle DSO
" "
Revd. Chubb and churchwarden at Lt. Col. Joseph Boyle's grave and urn

Lt Col Joseph Boyle DSO

Left: Revd Chubb and churchwarden at Lt Col Joseph Boyle's grave and urn

Above: The memorial stone

Joe Boyle was a man of great initiative and great independence. Born in 1867, he made his fortune in the Yukon as a gold prospector. At the outbreak of the world war in 1914 he tried to enlist but was refused because of his age. Undeterred he raised and equipped a fifty-man machine-gun troop for the allied cause. His subsequent career was quite extraordinary. He was head of an allied mission to Russia in 1917 where he re-organised the Russian railways. He was given a series of diplomatic missions, and was awarded honours from Russia, France, Britain, Romania and was given the title of Duke of Jassy by the Queen of Romania. He received many decorations for this work and for the valuable work he did for the Rumanians.

After the war he settled at Wayside in Hampton Hill, where he died on 14 April 1923 and was buried in St James’s churchyard at his own specific request. Members of his family along with many others of high rank attended his funeral. Queen Marie had the ancient cross and urn sent from Roumania, and for a number of years made visits and put orange lilies on his grave. The Canadians requested that his remains be returned to them, permission was given by our church and diocese, and in 1983 his remains were exhumed and and reinterred in his home town of Woodstock, Ontario with much ceremony and a plaque in his honour. At a simple ceremony in 1987, exactly three years later, a memorial to Lt Col Joseph Whiteside Boyle, DSO was unveiled on the site of his original grave in St James’s churchyard.


The magazine of December 1971 reported: "The only grave in our churchyard to which anything approaching pilgrimages appear to be made is that of Colonel ‘Joe’ or ‘Klondyke’ Boyle. There are many people throughout the world who hold his memory in the greatest respect - and there are some who reverence him as almost a ‘saint. A visitor this summer was Professor William Rodney, of the Department of History in the Royal Roads Military College, Victoria, BC, not by any means the first to come over to do research into Colonel Boyle’s life and background with the intention of producing a book about him.......Apparently he had done remarkable things in the Klondyke in 1898, but the climax of his adventurous career came in 1917, when he appeared dramatically on a motor-cycle at Jassy, and took decisive action to save the lives of the Rumanian Royal Family, and then proceeded so to take charge of things that he was able to save the whole country from famine and disaster, becoming in fact its ‘uncrowned king’........Queen Marie trusted him immediateliy, and the friendship between them became almost an idyll. After his death she wrote of him: ‘He was all strength and honour, and he had given me his faith and I had given him my trust . . . I was in distress; he recognised at the same time some of his own spirit in me - I was something of a miracle in his life - and when he had his stroke I was the haven in which he anchored for a while. My companionship helped him over that first break in his colossal strength, and the companionship became sweeter than anything he had ever known.’

Queen Marie had the ancient stone cross which stands at the head of the grave brought specially from Rumania, and she herself dug up at a lonely spot in that country - ’as lonely as Joe was in the days of his life’ - a small shoot of Rumanian ivy which she planted at the foot of the cross, where is still flourishes today. On the simple flat stone are inscribed the cross of the Order of Regina Marie, and beneath it (almost indiscernible now after nearly fifty years) the name Marie. But it is still possible to read the striking lines which the Queen chose from one of Robert Service’s poems: ‘A man with the heart of a Viking, and the simple faith of a child’. That perhaps sums up as well as any few words can the character of this great but humble man."




1947 and 2008: The Manning grave
The Manning Grave
The Manning Grave The Manning Grave The Manning Grave
" "


HA Manning, known as John, a resident of Hampton Hill, was a driver with the Royal Army Service Corps in the second world war. He died of injuries incurred during the war on April 7th 1947 at the age of 29, and was buried in the churchyard.

John’s widow, Phyllis Marjorie Manning, emigrated to Australia. She never remarried, and died on August 4th 2008 at the age of 93. After her death Mrs Manning's family got in touch and requested that her ashes should be brought from Australia, and her mortal remains buried with those of her husband. A stone tablet dedicated to Phyllis is placed on the grave under original headstone; thus the Mannings were re-united some sixty-one years after John's death.



1850: The grave of the Revd Frederick Pearce Pope Harvey
The Grave of Revd. Frederick Harvey  

The Grave of Revd. Frederick Harvey


Revd Frederick Pearce Pope Harvey was buried in the churchyard in 1850. Since Revd Brunt's arrival in 1951 there were anxieties among parishoners about buriels in the churchyard. "Every parishioner has a right to be buried in the churchyard in normal circumstances, but not in any particular part of it. In the past, people have formed the impression that they have purchased in the churchyard pieces of land on payment of a fee - usually very much smaller than that required in a public cemetery, and no one has objected to this, as far as I know. But these fees, given and received in good faith, have no legal authority...."

The noticeboard in the 1960s Noticeboard Shield
Noticeboard Shield
" "

The main notice board from the south-west door was moved to the centre gateway in Park Road in 1951. The gate at the east end and the wrought iron railings and gates at the west end were erected the following year. They were far superior to those confiscated for war materials during the war and were given by the firm of SJ Cadwell & Son, structural steelwork engineers in Windmill Road until about 1980. A large teak-framed notice board, with glass doors, made at Twickenham Technical College, was erected on St James’s Road frontage in the early 1960s. The doors were removed after it was vandalised and then it was moved to face Park Road around 2000. A new smaller metal board was sited there when the church hall was built.

In 1962 Revd Rupert Brunt appointed three Churchyard Guardians: Denis Leatherdale, Roy Brooks and Jack Gostling, whose responsibility it was to look after the churchyard. This was an enormous task, without any of today’s power tools. Regular mass attacks were held to try to keep the vegetation under control. The Comet recorded: “Code named ‘mass attack’, about 50 parishioners took part in the operation ….. weeds were removed, the very long grass was mown and fresh flowers were planted”. A few years later a garden seat to the memory of parishioner Pop Leatherdale was provided. Other “mass attacks” on the churchyard took place regularly, with the Churchyard Guardians again leading and organising them. Denis surveyed and drew by hand a detailed scaled plan of the churchyard with all the graves marked, which we still have today in the booklet 'Churchyard Records 1864-2000' - see below for details.


The Garden of Remembrance

The Garden of Remembrance 1962

The Guides and Brownies buried a millenium time capsule

The Brownies tree planting 1977
to mark the Queen’s Jubilee

A 'Mass Attack' in 1967

A 'Mass Attack' in 1967


Up until 1990, Churchyard Working Parties continued to help keep the churchyard tidy. However on 31st October 1990, an Order in Council stated that the churchyard was closed for burials, except for reserved places in existing plots, though the interment of ashes in the Garden of Rest was still allowed. After the closure, churchyard maintenance became the responsibility of the local authority, the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames.


The churchyard

The churchyard in 1993

The churchyard

The churchyard in 1993

The churchyard

The churchyard in 1993


The Brownie capsule 2000
The Brownie capsule 2000
The Guides and Brownies capsule and plaque 2000
" "
During the Autumn term 1999, the Brownies prepared two Millennium Capsules. They filled them with items which would reflect their world at the end of the 20th century, among which were photographs, pictures of favourite sports, cinema and train tickets and pictures of toys and food together with till receipts to show the cost of such items. The capsules were buried in the churchyard near to the tree which the Brownies planted in 1977 to mark the Queen’s Jubilee. The area was marked by a plaque.




" "

Churchyard plan

The book cover



All but the current Burial Registers are stored at the London Metropolitan Archives.

In the early 1990s, Helen Taylor initiated the recording of the names and position of all the graves in the churchyard before there was any more deterioration. A working party was set up and every word recorded on separate sheets and plans were drawn. All this was eventually collated into a booklet 'Churchyard Records 1864-2000' which was published in February 2001.

The booklet contains complete listings of all burials and interments since the foundation of the church. There is also a ground plan with each individual grave marked and numbered and with extra notes where applicable. There are more than 4,000 graves recorded in the burial register, of which about 1,000 can be identified by their markings in the churchyard.
This comprehensive record of the identifiable graves may be consulted by relatives and friends who wish to visit a particular grave. The record identifies the position of individual graves by maps and an alphanumeric reference. A copy of the booklet is kept in the church office.

The noticeboard in 2008 Noticeboard logo
Noticeboard logo
" "

The main notice board facing Park Road was updated with the latest information in 2008.

The lychgate was renovated in 2006. Read Renovation of the Lych-gates 2006. There were numerous complaints about dog fouling in the churchyard so in 2011 signs were erected to remind dog owners not to allow fouling.

A tree survey was carried out in 2011 and nearly 80 trees identified.

" "
Fallen tree

At the end of 2011 the council, which now looks after the churchyard, decided that five mature trees should be felled because of safety fears. The council’s arboricultural officer highlighted five trees affected by disease and in need of felling. Two beech trees on either side of the war memorial had aggressive root decay caused by fungus, as had the beech tree next to the boundary wall. Also for felling were a cedar tree with numerous woodpecker holes within its main stem, and a weeping ash. However, during the following spring one of those trees, the beech close to the lych gate, fell on its own causing extensive damage to the Garden of Remembrance. A bench was smashed, as were several gravestones. The boundary wall with our neighbours in Park Road was also part-demolished. The other decaying trees were later felled by the council and during the Spring of 2013 six new trees were planted.

Repairs were carried out, a new seat was placed by the garden of rest, the gravestones were repaired and trees planted. The beech tree near the garden of rest was replaced with a maple, the weeping ash near the east end of the church by a beech tree, and the beeches round the War Memorial with two silver birches and two upright yew trees.


The above information covers the period from when any records could be found until November 2016. This was when Revd Derek Winterburn became St James's tenth vicar and from this time onwards any new information can be found on the main site.


Graves

Graves

Graves

Graves