|St Mary the Virgin's Churchyard, Hampton-upon-Thames||Richmond|
There has been a church at Hampton since 1342, and St Mary the Virgin has strong associations with the monarchy due to the proximity of Hampton Court Palace. By 1821 the growing parish population necessitated a larger building, and eventually it was agreed to rebuild rather than enlarge the existing building, which was demolished in 1830. The new church was consecrated on 1 September 1831, attended by Queen Adelaide and other members of the royal family. The churchyard was partially closed in 1883. It was renovated in 1972 when most of the headstones were taken away retaining some of the more interesting ones.. Within the churchyard is the Garden of Remembrance which is still in use.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2012
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The Manor of Hampton is recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086. The medieval parish of Hampton consisted of Hampton Town and the hamlet of Hampton Wick, although it appears to have been a stormy relationship on occasion. In 1863 a new parish of St James (q.v.) was created, which was initially called New Hampton parish but later changed to Hampton Hill in 1890. There has been a church on the site at Hampton since 1342, founded by monks of Takeley Priory. St Mary's has strong associations with the monarchy due to the proximity of Hampton Court Palace, and a crown surmounts the flagstaff on the church tower. From 1544 onwards the sovereign of the day presented the Vicar of Hampton, apart from during the Commonwealth of Oliver Cromwell's time.
The exact date of the old church of St Mary is not known, although the tower was rebuilt in 1679 and it was enlarged in 1726. By 1821 the growing size of the parish's population necessitated a larger building, and eventually it was agreed to rebuild rather than enlarge the existing building. Twelve plans were submitted in response to an advertisement and in 1827 that of Edward Lapidge of Hampton Wick was selected. In 1830 the old church demolished and Lapidge's new building was built, which was consecrated on 1 September 1831, attended by Queen Adelaide, Prince George of Cambridge and Princess Augusta. A number of monuments from the old church were removed and re-erected within the new building, including a fine memorial to Mistress Sibel Penn (d.1562) now in the south-west porch; the monument to Mistress Suzannah Thomas (d.1731) now in the south aisle; and a memorial to the Pigeon family, one of whom, Edmund Pigeon (d.1657), was a benefactor of the parish. Edward Lapidge was also responsible for other local churches, St John the Baptist, Hampton Wick and St Andrew's, Ham (q.v.). A new chancel was added in 1887 to mark Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee.
The churchyard is walled, with railings fronting onto Thames Street, from where a flight of steps leads to the church. Behind the church is a stone monument topped with a 'clumsy bare pyramid' (Pevsner) to Captain John Gregg (d.10 June 1795), a sugar planter from the Island of Dominica. It was erected by his widow, Catherine, who is also buried here. Among other fine chest-tombs is that of the Eatwell family, including Surgeon Major William Coverdale Beaty Eatwell (d.1855) who served in the Indian Army and was Principal of the Medical College in Calcutta; and Captain William Eatwell (d.1899) who was with the Indian Navy. The artist Frederick Read (d.1875) is also buried here. The churchyard was closed for burials in 1887 and Hampton Cemetery (q.v.) was opened in Holly Bush Lane. Tombs are found among the grass and there are numerous trees in the churchyard. A rectangular garden of rest is laid out in the north of the churchyard bounded by flower beds planted mainly with low shrubs, including lavender into which three rustic timber arches are set. Within this garden area are two mature yew trees, and two pairs of memorial seats.
Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2: South (Penguin) 1999 p477/478; G D Heath 'Hampton in the Nineteenth Century', 1973 (Twickenham Local History Society).