St James's Church, Hampton Hill

The churchyard through the years

The grave of Walter Richard Daines

The first grave in the churchyard
1864
The grave of the Revd. Fitzwygram

Revd Fitzwygram's grave (see details)
1881
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Please note that details of some of the graves can be found on the page Graves.

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.
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.

In 1886 John Templeton was buried in the churchyard. See details.

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.” Read the article Our Churchyard. 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."
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The lych gate

The lych gate in its original position

The lych gate

The lych gate in its new position in Park Road

Revd Henry Bligh was buried in the churchyard. See details. The churchyard underwent further alterations and improvements during the years.

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”. 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.

Also in 1897 “a suitable and handsome Memorial Cross was erected in the churchyard by public subscription to the memory of our late much esteemed Station Master, Mr Vesey”. See details. 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. A parishoner gave a seat for the churchyard in 1910, to be used by those who came to visit the graves of their friends.

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."

The Canadian war graves

The Canadian war graves
1918

The war memorial

The war memorial
1920
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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. 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 gives help in their maintenance. There are twelve graves (shown left), all of a similar pattern with plain white headstones, kept with close-cut grass and tended flowerbeds. There are also five British war graves. For more information on these war graves see the page Graves.

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". The memorial was designed by P M Andrews and eventually unveiled on May 26th, 1920. The inscribed plinth is surmounted by a tall stone cross which is visible from nearly all the churchyard. It bears the following inscription: “Their name liveth for ever more. These died the death of honour for God, King and Country.” Read the article War Memorial and find out more about the memorial on the page Graves. The war memorial was listed Grade 2 in 2015.

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The churchyard in 1900s

The churchyard in the 1900s

The churchyard in the 1920

The churchyard in the 1920s

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. 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.

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...." Read the article Graves in the Churchyard.


The noticeboard in the 1960s
Noticeboard Shield
Noticeboard Shield
The main noticeboard in the 1960s
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The noticeboard in 2008
Noticeboard logo
Noticeboard logo
The main noticeboard in 2008


The notice boards


The 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 S.J. 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.


Until about 1962, there were, in the now rough grassed area around the central copper beech, thirty or so unmarked small burial mounds which were believed to be the graves of children who had died in the influenza epidemic of 1919. These were levelled and a Garden of Remembrance created for the interment of ashes near the Lych Gate. For more information on the Garden of Remembrance see the page Graves.

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


The only grave in the churchyard to which anything approaching pilgrimages appear to have been made was that of Colonel ‘Joe’ or ‘Klondyke’ Boyle. 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 Co. Joseph Whiteside Boyle, DSO was unveiled on the site of his original grave in St James’s churchyard. For more information on the he grave of Lt Col Joseph Boyle see the page Graves.

Joseph Boyle's grave and urn
The grave of Colonel ‘Joe’ or ‘Klondyke’ Boyle

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

Above: The memorial stone

The very last burial was Bruna (Walter) Blaschke in 1987

The very last burial - Bruna
(Walter) Blaschke in 1987

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
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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.

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Churchyard plan

Churchyard plan

The book cover

The book cover

The massive task of recording all the details of the graves and drawing plans was completed in 2001. St James’s Churchyard Records (1864-2000), orginally only available as a booklet, consists of a ground plan with each individual grave marked and numbered and with extra notes where applicable. Read the article Churchyard Records (1864-2000). An online searchable database for the churchyard records was developed in 2007 where they can be searched by surname or year. For more information on the Churchyard Records see the page Graves.

The lychgate was renovated in 2006. Read Renovation of the Lych-gates 2006. H A Manning, known as John, a resident of Hampton Hill, died of injuries incurred during the war on April 7th 1947 and was buried in the churchyard. John’s widow, Phyllis Marjorie Manning, emigrated to Australia, died in 2008 and her ashes were 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. See details. There were numerous complaints about dog fouling in the churchyard so in 2011 signs were erected to remind dog owners not to allow fouling.

Fallen tree
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A tree survey was carried out in 2011 and nearly 80 trees identified. 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. However, during the following Spring one of those trees fell on its own causing extensive damage to the Garden of Remembrance. The other decaying trees were later felled by the council and during the Spring of 2013 six new trees were planted. Read the articles Trees in the churchyard and Garden of Eden for us to enjoy (2014 July).



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's page The Churchyard through the years.


St James's Church
The Parish Church of St James, Hampton Hill, TW12 1DQ
Main site: stjames-hamptonhill.org.uk