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St Mary's Churchyard, including Church Field Merton


The medieval parish church of St Mary Wimbledon has been rebuilt several times over the years, and the earliest record of a church here is in the Domesday Book of 1086. The churchyard is on sloping ground and was extended in 1862 when an adjacent tithe barn was dismantled. The enclosing wall dates from C18th or earlier, and the tombs date from the early C18th and include several large monuments such as that of Gerard de Visme (d.1797), a Portland stone pyramid, and those of the Marryat and Spencer families. Now closed to burials apart from those in existing family plots, the churchyard has a Garden of Remembrance for cremated ashes. Near the entrance to the church is a stuccoed early C19th lodge with seated stag that formerly belonged to Wimbledon Park House. Adjacent to the churchyard to the west is Church Field, which was purchased by the church in 1956.

Basic Details

Previous / Other name:
Wimbledon Parish Church

Site location:
Church Road/Arthur Road/St Mary's Road

SW19 7BP ( Google Map)

Type of site:

1626, 1788, 1843


Listed structures:
LBII*: St Mary's Church. LBII: Churchyard walls south of churchyard; Ker Vault; Grosvenor Tomb and Tomb to north of this; Savage Tomb; Bingham Tomb; Georgina Charlotte Quin Tomb; John Tompkins Tomb; Little Family Headstone; Thomas Lowick Tombstone; Hopkin (Mansel Philipps) Tomb; White Tomb; G S Newton Tomb; Headstone south of Tower; Gerard de Visme Tomb and nearby tomb to south, tomb and table tomb to east; Elizabeth Johnson Tomb; Hatchett Tomb; John Lawson Tomb; Johnson Tomb; Sir Joseph William Bazalgette Mausoleum; Bankes Tomb; Joshua Ruddock Tomb; Jennings Tomb; John Teymme Tomb


Site ownership:
Diocese of Southwark

Site management:

Open to public?

Opening times:

Special conditions:



Public transport:
Rail/Tube: Wimbledon (District) then bus. Bus: 93 (walk)

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2012
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Further Information

Grid ref:

Size in hectares:
0.61 (churchyard)

Green Flag:

On EH National Register :

EH grade:

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:

Conservation Area name:
Wimbledon North

Tree Preservation Order:

Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Local Importance

Green Belt:

Metropolitan Open Land:

Special Policy Area:
Yes - Archaeological Priority Zone

Other LA designation:

Fuller information

The old church of St Mary Wimbledon was rebuilt in the late C13th and by the C16th Wimbledon had became a popular retreat for the wealthy, including members of court. Elizabeth I's courtier, Sir William Cecil, later Lord Burghley was among them and the Cecil Chapel dates from 1626-36 containing the monument to Sir Edward Cecil, Viscount of Wimbledon (d.1638). The main church was rebuilt by John Johnson in 1788 and later by Scott & Moffatt in 1843 when a larger building was needed for the growing population.

There are numerous fine tombs in the churchyard commemorating local dignitaries such as members of the Spencer family and the Marryat family, whose memorial is north of the Baptistery and has the family crest of a vulture and ram's head. The Marryats lived at Wimbledon House, Parkside from 1812-54, a large house on a 40.5-hectare estate just north of the village. Mrs Charlotte Marryat (d.1854), an American from Boston, had married Joseph Marryat MP, Chairman of Lloyds, and after his death in 1824 she spent the remainder of her life carrying out good works for the community. She was the mother-in-law of Henry Lindsay, Vicar of St Mary's, and her son was the novelist Captain Frederick Marryat. Other notable people buried here include Sir Joseph Bazalgette (d.1891), the engineer responsible for constructing the Embankment, whose mausoleum is in the east of the churchyard; and James Perry (d.1821), owner and editor of The Morning Chronicle who owned a corn mill on the Wandle, whose memorial in the church is by the sculptor Sir Richard Westmacott.

Burials can now only take place in established family graves and a circular Garden of Remembrance has been created to the north of the church for burial of ashes. In 2004 the churchyard was cleared, having become overgrown over the years, and the area around the garden of remembrance is among those being replanted.

The adjacent field was purchased for £250 in 1956 by the then vicar, Revd Leslie Wright, and came with strict covenants that it should remain open space. A pleasant grassed area, Church Field has a memorial bench donated by Sir John and Lady Dacie in memory of their son.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2: South (Penguin) 1999; History section on St Mary's website derived from Jack Harvey, 'History of the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Wimbledon' (1972)

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