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St Thomas of Canterbury Churchyard Hammersmith & Fulham


St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Church was the only complete church to be designed by Alexander W Pugin in London, built in 1847-48 to serve the growing population of Irish immigrants. The benefactress of the church also endowed St Thomas's Schools nearby, built in 1849. Between the church and school, the small walled cemetery opened in 1849 and has numerous good monuments. It has sparse planting, with a few small pollard lime and some flowering trees.

Basic Details

Site location:
Rylston Road, Fulham

SW6 7HW ( Google Map)

Type of site:



Listed structures:
LBII*: St Thomas of Canterbury. LBII: Presbytery, tombstone of Warington Taylor

Hammersmith & Fulham

Site ownership:
Roman Catholic Church, Archdiocese of Westminster

Site management:

Open to public?

Opening times:

Special conditions:



Public transport:
London Overground: West Brompton. Tube: West Brompton, Fulham Broadway (District) then bus. Bus: 74, 190, 211, 295, 430

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/11/2011
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.;

Further Information

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On EH National Register :

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Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:

In Conservation Area:

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Fuller information

St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Church was founded by philanthropist Elizabeth Bowden, and built in memory of her late husband. The church was opened in 1848 by John Henry Newham, a friend of the Bowdens. Mrs Bowden went on to found St Thomas's Schools in 1849, also designed by A W Pugin, to provide for the children of the many Irish immigrants who had come to the area. There were originally two schools, one for boys and one for girls housed in the one building and children as young as 3 were admitted. Enlarged over the years, St Thomas's School is now a junior mixed and infant school. Pugin's English Gothic church has a fine interior and its spire is 142 ft high. The stained glass east window, designed by Westlake, was destroyed in WWII and redesigned in 1947 by Harman.

The small rectangular cemetery between the school and the church has numerous monuments, and here Mrs Bowden and her daughter were buried. Among the fine monuments is the stone monument by Philip Webb to Alphonse Warington Taylor (1835-70), who was business manager to William Morris from 1865-69. There is also an elaborate baldacchino to Lord Alexander Gordon Lennox (d.1892), younger son of the 5th Duke of Richmond; and a chest-tomb of 1872 to Edward Pereira. Among those buried here are a number of notable Catholic architects including Joseph Aloysius Hansom (d.1882) who also designed the Hansom cab and founded 'The Builder'; Herbert Gribble (d.1894), who designed Brompton Oratory; and Joseph Scoles (d.1863) who designed the Jesuit Church in Farm Street. In 1911, 1912 and 1918 three infant great-grandchildren of Charles Dickens were buried here.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed) p233; Barbara Denny 'Fulham Past' (Historical Publications), 1997; Hazel Leach Evinson 'The Church' article on church website See Hammersmith Council website Historical Sculptures Search for information on other monuments of note in churchyard.

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