Inventory Site Record

St Anne's Churchyard, Kew Green

St Anne's Churchyard, Kew Green (Richmond)

Brief Description

The origins of the church here date from 1710 when a group of local residents successfully petitioned Queen Ann, who was Lady of the Manor of Richmond, for permission to build a chapel of ease to Kingston parish church. A site on the south of Kew Green was selected and the chapel was consecrated in 1714. When Kew and Petersham were detached from the parish of Kingston, a new church of St Anne's was built in 1770. St Anne's Church and churchyard form an important focal point at the south end of Kew Green. The churchyard is raised above the level of the Green and contains various historic tombs, including that of Thomas Gainsborough and has numerous trees, including yew and holly.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Parish Church of St Anne
Site location:
Kew Green, Kew
Type of site:
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Rail/London Overground/Tube (District): Kew Gardens. Rail: Kew Bridge. Bus: 65, 391.

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2012
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

In 1710 a group of local residents began raising money by private subscription for a chapel at Kew, and in 1712 petitioned Queen Anne, as Lady of the Manor of Richmond, for permission to build a Chapel of Ease to the Parish Church of Kingston on Thames. Permission having been granted, the chapel was built for £500, double the original estimated cost, on the south side of Kew Green 'on an antient Gravell Pitt or piece of wast ground' adjoining the road. The petitioners had also asked for consideration that 80 oak trees out of the New Park (Richmond Park) be granted, but this was refused for fear of 'defacing the Park' and £100 was offered instead. There were financial concerns that the chapel's endowment would be insufficient for repairs and the curate's stipend, but further sums were raised and a 500-year lease was taken on three woods in Essex in order to provide an income for the chapel, which was finally consecrated on 12 May 1714, dedicated to St Anne. The original subscribers included John Lely, grandson of the painter Sir Peter Lely, and other local dignitaries.

The history of the chapel in the following years was beset by wrangles with its clergy, which culminated in 1757 in a legal action, 'The Attorney General on behalf of the Inhabitants of Kew against Wm. Comer, Clerk, Vicar of Kingston', concerning misuse of the income from the Woodlands. In 1769 an Act of Parliament was passed whereby the curacies of Kew and Petersham were detached from the parish of Kingston and the Chapel was enlarged into a church to designs by Joshua Kirby, Clerk of the Works to the Royal Household and paid for by George III. The new Kew Parish Church of St Anne's opened ion 12 August 1770. Since then the building has been much extended over the years, with a west façade and south aisle added in 1805, a polygonal clock turret at the west end probably by Sir Jeffry Wyatville when he altered the west end in 1837-8. The Mausoleum was added in 1850-51 with a lead-covered half dome and Italianate niches in the walls. In 1884 the south aisle was rebuilt and the east end was replaced in 1902 by Henry Stock whose designs included the octagonal cupola and Venetian tracery of the windows. A parish room was added in 1979.

St Anne's churchyard is raised above the level of the Green, surrounded by a brick wall, which has evidence of once being railed, and contains various historic tombs, including that of the painter Thomas Gainsborough (d.1788). Among other fine memorials and monuments is a chest tomb to Thomas Gardiner of Bedford Row (d.1738) 'Whose Ingenuity and early Knowledge in polite Learning render'd him acceptable to all his Acquaintance'; also a monument to Clementina Jacobi Sobieski Schell (d.1842 or 43) who was named after Clementina Sobieski, wife of the Old Pretender James III, whose monument imitates the Stuart monument by Canova in St Peter's in Rome.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2: South (Penguin) 1999, p503/4; G E Cassidy, 'The Chapel of St Anne Kew Green 1710-1769', Richmond Society History Section Paper No. 2, 1985.; History on church website

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Diocese of Southwark
Site management:
Listed structures:
LBII*: St Anne's Church
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:
Kew Green
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Thames Policy Area
Other LA designation:

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