note that details of some of the graves can be found on the page Graves.
The first grave in the churchyard
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 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
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
Read the article Our
. 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."
The lych gate in its original position
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
The Canadian war graves
The war memorial
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.
The churchyard in the 1900s
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
Read the article Graves in the