Inventory Site Record

St Nicholas' Churchyard and Chiswick Old Cemetery (Hounslow)

Brief Description

A church at Chiswick is first referred to in 1181, and St Nicholas was at the old centre of Chiswick village. The area became built up in the latter C19th, although Georgian and earlier houses had been built along the riverside. There are many historic tombs in the large churchyard to the south of the church, including those of William Hogarth, Lord Burlington and William Kent. The old graveyard was extended in 1838 but closed for burial in 1854, although it re-opened in 1867. In 1871 it was extended when land was donated by the Duke of Devonshire; a slight change in the ground level separates the churchyard and Chiswick Old Cemetery.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Chiswick Parish Church
Site location:
Church Street/Corney Road/Powell's Walk, Chiswick
W4 2PH
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Open to public?
Opening times:
churchyard unrestricted. Cemetery: 9am - 4pm (Nov-Feb); - 5.30pm (Mar/Oct); - 7pm (Apr/May/Aug/Sept); - 8pm (Jun/July); Christmas Day - 2pm.
Special conditions:
Church open Sun 2.30-5pm
Public transport:
Tube: Turnham Green (District, Piccadilly) then bus. Bus: 190, E3
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.hounslow.gov.uk; www.stnicholaschiswick.org

Full Site Description

St Nicholas was the patron saint of sailors and fishermen, and the dedication of the parish church reflects the livelihood of many parishioners when the Thames was a busy highway for trading and Chiswick was primarily a fishing village. Other occupations were farming and later brewing and shipbuilding. The west tower of St Nicholas' Church dates from 1416-35 but the church was rebuilt by J L Pearson in 1882-4. Among its fine monuments is that of Sir Thomas Challoner (d.1615), who was Chamberlain to Prince Henry, and that of James Howard (d.1669). The parish was divided when the Great West Road was built across it in 1920-25, and the Great Chertsey Road in 1933, both roads widened in the 1950s. There are many historic tombs in the large churchyard to the south of the church, including a C13th Purbeck marble slab coffin lid; an urn on a tall pedestal for William Hogarth (d.1764) whose monument has an epitaph by David Garrick; a small mausoleum by John Soane for Philip de Loutherbourg (d.1812), faith healer, painter and designer of moving scenery and panoramas; and the tombs of Lord Burlington and William Kent (d.1748) who may have designed the table-tomb to Richard Wright (d.1734), Lord Burlington's bricklayer. Nearby the tomb of Philip de Loutherbourg is a monument to the Italian poet Ugo Foscolo (d.1827). His remains were later removed to Florence at the request of the King of Italy and he has a monument the church of Santa Croce.

The extension to the churchyard, known as Chiswick Old Cemetery, is laid out on a grid pattern and is a flat, treeless area. At the entrance from Powell's Walk is an inscription recognising he Duke of Devonshire's donation of the land for the cemetery. Against the north wall is the bronze classically styled table tomb of the American painter James McNeill Whistler (d.1903), who had studied in Paris and moved to London in 1859. Another artist, Sir William Blake Richmond (d.1921) is also buried here along with his wife Clara. Richmond's statue of a Greek athlete is found in St Peter's Square (q.v.) in Hammersmith. Also buried in the cemetery are Henry Joy (d.1893), staff trumpeter to Lucan, who sounded the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade; Frederick Hitch (d.1913) of the South Wales Borderers who won a VC in the Zulu War in 1879; and Sir Percy Harris (d.1952) who was Deputy Chairman of the LCC and Liberal MP for 25 years and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party from 1940-45. The WWI Memorial by Sir Reginald Blomfield was designed for the Imperial War Graves Commission in 1919 and takes the form of a Portland stone cross with bronze crusader sword pointing downwards; it is found in literally thousands of cemeteries and churchyards across the country and also in France.

Sources consulted:

Hugh Meller & Brian Parsons, 'London Cemeteries, An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer', 4th edition (The History Press, 2008); Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 edition)

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ215778 (521450,177620)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Diocese of London + LB Hounslow
Site management:
LB Hounslow, John Laing Integrated Services. Old Chiswick Protection Society
C12th, 1882-4
Listed structures:
LBII*: Tomb of Sir Percy Harris LBII: Tomb of Sir William Blake Richmond; Tomb of Frederick Hitch VC; WWI Cross of Sacrifice Memorial by Sir Reginald Blomfield
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

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:
Old Chiswick (north of cemetery)
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
Local Open Space

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