Richmond, Surrey Family History Guide

Richmond is an Ecclesiastical Parish in the county of Surrey, created in 1849 from Kingston upon Thames with Sheen Ecclesiastical Parish.

Alternative names: Sheen, West Sheen

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1584
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1679

Nonconformists include: Independent/Congregational, Methodist, Particular Baptist, Roman Catholic, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Adjacent Parishes

  • Kew with Petersham
  • Hounslow
  • Mortlake
  • Richmond St John
  • Isleworth
  • Twickenham St Mary the Virgin

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

RICHMOND, a town, a parish, a sub-district, and a district, in Surrey. The town stands on the river Thames and on the Southwestern railway, at the boundary with Middlesex, 9¾ miles by railway WSW of Waterloo-bridge, London. It was anciently called Sheen, a name signifying "brightness" or "splendour, " and given to it on account of its natural beauties; was first called Richmond by Henry VII., from his own title before he became king; was originally a hamlet of Kingston; had a palace of the Anglo-Saxon kings; passed, for sometime, to the Belets and the Walletorts; and returned to the Crown in the time of Edward I. Edward I. built a palace at it; and received here the Scottish nobles after the death of Sir William Wallace. Edward III. and Anne of Bohemia, queen of Richard II., died in the palace. Richard II. deserted it at the death of the queen. Henry V. restored it. Edward IV. gave it to his queen. Henry VI. made it his frequent residence; held a tournament adjacent to it; and, on its being accidentally destroyed by fire in 1498, rebuilt it. Philip I. of Spain was entertained at it in 1506. Henry VII. died in it. Henry VIII. kept Christmas at it, and held a tournament adjacent to it, in 1510. Charles V., the emperor, lodged in it, on his visit in 1523. Cardinal Wolsey was allowed to reside in it, in exchange for Hampton Court. Anne of Cleves also resided in it, but restored it to Edward VI. Queen Elizabeth, when princess, was imprisoned in it by Mary; she frequently resided in it during her own reign; and she died in it. James I. gave it to his son Henry, and afterwards to Charles. Charles I. was frequently in it, made a collection of pictures in it, and settled it on his queen Henrietta Maria. Charles II. was educated in it, under Bishop Duppa. It was greatly injured during the civil wars of Charles I.; it was sold by the parliament; and, after the return of Charles II., it was restored to Henrietta Maria. It was then scarcely habitable; yet is said to have been the nursing-place of the old Pretender, the son of James II. It was afterwards sold; it gave place to several houses, Queensbury Villa, Asgill House, and others, held under the Crown; and it is now represented by only the entrance-gateway of the wardrobe-court, now called Old Palace Yard, and by some portions of the adjoining buildings. Caroline, queen of George II., had a lodge in the old or little park; yet figures in Sir Walter Scott's "Heart of Midlothian," as receiving Jenny Deans in the New park. The Old park is now attached to Kew palace. The New park extends into the parishes of Martlake and Putney; measures about 2,300 acres in area, and nearly 9 miles in circuit; was first enclosed by Charles I.; owes much of its present features to George II. and William IV.; abounds in exquisite sylvan scenery, and in fine distant views; is stocked with about 1,450 fallow-deer, and about 50 red-deer; and contains or adjoins the White Lodge, Pembroke Lodge, the Thatched Lodge, Sheen Lodge, and other residences occupied by persons in connexion with the Crown.

The town occupies a site of remarkable beauty, at the base and on the slope of a hill, commanding a most magnificent view; had anciently a Carmelite convent, founded by Edward II., a Carthusian priory, founded by Henry V., and a house of Observant friars, founded by Henry VII.; figures much in history in connexion with its quondam royal palace; presents now a well-built and pleasant appearance; enjoys ample communication with the metropolis by the Southwestern and the North London railways, by omnibuses running every half-hour of the day, and by steam-boats running in summer to Hungerford pier; and has a post-office under London SW, a railway station with telegraph, a banking office, four good hotels, a five-arched bridge, a railway bridge, a police station, militia barracks, a lecture hall, a theatre, commodious bath-rooms, a parochial library and reading-room, three churches, six dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, a new cemetery formed in 1855, a naval and military college, a Wesleyan theological institution, an endowed school with £155 a year, four national schools, a British school, a school of industry, a collegiate Roman Catholic school, four suites of alms-houses with £725, £427, £281, and £206 a year, a dispensary, an infant nursery and servants' home, a workhouse, and miscellaneous endowed charities £1,700. The five-arched-bridge was built in 1774-7, at a cost of £26,000; is 300 feet long; and stands over three wooded islets. The theatre was built in 1766; is a plain brick edifice; and was the scene of a stampede, caused by an outbreak of fire in Nov. 1865. St. Mary's church is partly ancient, but chiefly modern; was restored and enlarged in 1866, at a cost of about £4,500; and contains monuments of Thomson the poet, who was interred in it, Gilbert Wakefield the critic, Lord Brouncker, Viscount Fitzwilliam, Admiral Holbourn, E. Gibson the painter, Mrs. Yates the actress, Edmund Kean the tragedian, Lady Margaret Chudleigh, Major Bean who fell at Waterloo, the Rev. R. Delafosse, the Hon. Barbara Lowther, and Mrs. Hofland author of the "Son of a Genius." The churchyard contains the graves of Dr. Moore author of "Zeluco." Mallet du Pan editor of the "Mercure Britannique, " Heydegger master of the revels to George II., and Lady Diana Beauclerk. St. John's church was built in 1831. St. Matthias' church was built in 1858, at a cost of £9,000; is in the decorated English style; and has a tower and spire 195 feet high. The Wesleyan theological institution was built in 1843, at a cost of about £10,000; and is in the Tudor style, 248 feet by 65, with wing's and tower. There are malt-houses, breweries, market-gardens, and nursery-grounds. Pop. of the town in 1861, 7,423. Houses, 1,246.

The parish comprise 1,230 acres. Real property, £68,396; of which £270 are in gas-works. Pop. in 1851, 9,255; in 1861, 10,926. Houses, 1,841. Mansions and villas, within the parish and in its immediate neighbourhood, are numerous. Rosedale House was the place where the poet Thomson wrote much of his works, and where he died; was only a cottage in his time; under-went enlargement soon after his death; and retains the rooms in which he studied. The splendid scenery within and around the parish and the superb view from Richmond hill are sung in Thomson's "Seasons." The living of St. Mary is a vicarage united with the chapelry of St. Matthias, and the living of St. John is a p. curacy, in the diocese of Winchester. Value of the former, £500; of the latter, £300. Patron, of the former, King's College, Cambridge; of the latter, the Vicar of Richmond. Dudley, the son of Elizabeth's favourite, was a native; and Dr. Moore, Gainsborough, E. Gibson, Joseph Taylor, Mrs. Yates, Edmund Kean, Collins the poet, Edema the landscape painter, and Sir Joshua Reynolds were residents. The sub-district contains also the parishes of Kew and Petersham, and the extra-parochial Thames Navigation toll-house. Acres, 2,120. Pop. in 1851, 10,917; in 1861, 12,665. Houses, 2,141. The district comprehends also the sub-district of Mortlake, containing the parishes of Mortlake and Barnes. Acres of the district, 4,339. Poor-rates in 1863, £10,784. Pop. in 1851, 15,906; in 1861, 18,802. Houses, 3,207. Marriages in 1863, 130; births, 574, of which 32 were illegitimate; deaths, 387, of which 152 were at ages under 5 years, and 3 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 847; births, 4,498; deaths, 3,452. The places of worship, in 1851, were 8 of the Church of England, with 5,261 sittings; 3 of Independents, with790 s.; 1 of Baptists, with 100 s.; 2 of Wesleyans, with 650 s.; and 2 of Roman Catholics, with 330 s. The schools were 11 public day-schools, with 1,418 scholars; 44 private day-schools, with 929 s.; 8 Sunday schools, with 936 s.; and 2 evening schools for adults, with 44 s.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Parish Records

The parish registers of Richmond, Surrey
by Smith, J. Challenor C. (John Challenor Covington); Surrey Parish Register Society. 1903

The parish registers of Richmond, Surrey Vol. 1 1583 to 1720 -


Online Records (Free)

England, Surrey Parish Registers, 1536-1992


Vision of Britain historical maps


County: Surrey
Civil Registration District: Richmond (Surrey)
Probate Court: Court of the Archdeaconry of Surrey
Diocese: Winchester
Rural Deanery: Ewell
Poor Law Union: Richmond
Hundred: Kingston
Province: Canterbury