Inventory Site Record

Petersham Common

Petersham Common (Richmond)

Brief Description

Petersham Common slopes steeply down to the west towards Petersham Meadows and the River Thames. Formerly land within the manor of Petersham long held by the Earls of Dysart, in 1902 the freehold of Petersham Common was transferred to Richmond Town Council, under the Richmond, Petersham and Ham Open Spaces Act 1902. The 9th Earl of Dysart specified that it was to be managed by Petersham Common Conservators, and this continues to be the case. The common is now conserved woodland.

Practical Information
Site location:
Star and Garter Hill/Petersham Road
Type of site:
Public Open Land
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Rail/London Overground/Tube (District): Richmond then bus. Bus: 65, 371.

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/02/2019
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

The manor of Petersham dates back to the C10th. At the time of the Domesday Survey it was held by the Abbot of Chertsey, in whose possession it remained until 1415, when it was surrendered to the Crown. Thereafter it was held by a succession of lessees. Petersham Common was land belonging to the manor on the west side of Richmond Hill, and in a survey undertaken in 1609 it comprised 200 acres, the tenants having common rights of estover or wood, and of pasture for their cattle. In 1639 Petersham manor was granted to William Murray, who from c.1636 had held a lease from Queen Henrietta Maria. A friend and supporter of Charles I, Murray was created the Earl of Dysart in 1643. During the Civil War the estate land was sequestered although the Dysart family eventually regained their Ham and Petersham lands. In 1878 William Tollemache became the 9th Earl of Dysart on the death of his grandfather, the 8th Earl, Lionel Tollemache. However, the latter left the estate in trust until 1899, in a bid to protect the family fortune, William's father having died in 1872 leaving huge debts.

The Richmond, Petersham and Ham Open Spaces Act 1902 was enacted in order to protect the view from Richmond Hill, and resulted in Ham Common (q.v.), Petersham Common and other meadows becoming vested in the local authorities as places of public enjoyment, also extinguishing certain commoners' rights. When the freehold of Petersham Common was transferred to Richmond Town Council in 1902, the 9th Earl specified that it should be managed by Petersham Common Conservators, which remains the case today.

Sources consulted:

John Archer, David Curson, 'Nature Conservation in Richmond upon Thames, Ecology Handbook 21', (London Ecology Unit) 1993 p46; 'Parishes: Petersham', in A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3, ed. H E Malden (London, 1911), pp. 525-532.

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ18347361 (518342,173611)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Richmond
Site management:
Petersham Common Conservators
Listed structures:
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Yes: Common (CL63)
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:
Richmond Hill
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Metropolitan Importance (with Richmond Pk)
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Thames Policy Area
Other LA designation:

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