|St Mary's Churchyard and Garden of Rest||Richmond|
Twickenham was a medieval village around the parish church, and the first settlement here was probably opposite Eel Pie Island, later a favourite place for boating excursions. The old medieval parish church became neglected and the nave had collapsed by the time the current church was built in the early C18th. The church and churchyard are well above the level of the river, thereby protected from the high floods that continue to take place. The churchyard was extended over the years and has some fine tombs among grass with paths running through it and a number of mature trees, including yew.
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Although the C14th ragstone west tower remains from the medieval church the current building largely dates from 1714-15, when it was rebuilt to designs of John James at the instigation of the court painter Sir Godfrey Kneller, who lived in the locality and was a churchwarden at St Mary's. Inside the church are many fine monuments, including two monuments in the north gallery to Alexander Pope, who lived in Twickenham; one is by Francis Bird to Pope and his parents, and the other is an obelisk by Prince Hoare, erected by Bishop Warburton in 1761. Over the years the churchyard was enlarged a number of times; in 1585 ground was presented to the parish by Charles Duke of Somerset; in 1754 a further 389 feet were given by the Earl and Countess of Northumberland. In 1782 a new parish burial ground was opened at Holly Road, now Holly Road Garden of Rest (q.v.) and later when this itself was full in 1835, Oak Lane Cemetery (q.v.) was opened. A plaque on the external church wall commemorates the 'liberality of Miss Elizabeth Twining of Dial House' who was responsible for restoring the Almshouses for the Aged in 1876. Thomas Twining founder of Twinings Tea is also recognised with a plaque but was buried at Holly Road Burial Ground. Alexander Pope erected a stone plaque to his old nurse Mary Beach (d.1725) on the outer wall of the chancel. Between the churchyard and Riverside is the old glebe garden of the Vicars of Twickenham, now a Garden of Rest, part of which is consecrated for the burial of cremated remains, a pleasant rectangular garden with a raised rose beds, lawns and shrubberies, and numerous seats.
Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2: South (Penguin) 1999 p538/9; Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993)