Roman catholicism


Victoria County History



T F T Baker, C R Elrington (Editors), Diane K Bolton, Patricia E C Croot, M A Hicks

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'Chiswick: Roman catholicism', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7: Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden (1982), pp. 93. URL: Date accessed: 28 November 2014.


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Only one recusant was reported at Chiswick in 1577. (fn. 50) Five recusants in 1628 included Sir William Foster, Edward Leigh, and William Saunders. (fn. 51) Leigh and Saunders were later described as gentlemen and they or members of their families thereafter were repeatedly indicted until 1640. (fn. 52) The three papists listed in 1706 included Sir Richard Beeling or Bellings, who stayed only during the summer months (fn. 53) and who in 1711 leased the old prebendal manor house from Sir Stephen Fox. (fn. 54) A Mr. Thompson and his two servants were listed as recusants in 1708, (fn. 55) as were Sir Richard Beeling, his family, and seven other men c. 1714. (fn. 56)

Late 18th-century Roman Catholics included Henry Widdrington (d. 1774) of Turnham Green, heir of the attainted Jacobite William, Lord Widdrington (d. 1743), (fn. 57) Charles Tempest, a Jesuit who died at Chiswick in 1768, (fn. 58) and John Towneley of Corney House, who had a chapel there in 1791. (fn. 59) From 1799 local children were taken for baptism to Brook Green, Hammersmith, from where Chiswick continued to be served until 1848. (fn. 60)

An influx of Irish labourers, many of them gardeners, led to the opening of a day school and chapel in Windmill Place, Turnham Green. (fn. 61) The building, of 1848, was attended by 200 worshippers in the morning and 70 in the evening on census Sunday 1851, when its upper storey accommodated the schoolmaster and mistress. (fn. 62) The mission was said to serve over 1,000 in 1852, when it also used a small chapel in Acton, (fn. 63) and to be the poorest in the diocese in 1855. The Acton chapel, dedicated to Our Lady of Grace, had closed by 1856 (fn. 64) and the Turnham Green mission was known as St. Mary's by 1858. (fn. 65) Its successor and other Roman Catholic places of worship are described below.

St. Joseph's, Grove Pk., originated in services at no. 1a Bolton Rd., bought c. 1944 (fn. 66) as chapel of ease to Our Lady of Grace and St. Edward. (fn. 67) Red brick building with pantiled roof on adjoining site, seating 200, (fn. 68) registered 1961. (fn. 69)

St. Mary's church opened 1864 (fn. 70) on land bought by 1855 at W. corner Duke's Ave. and Chiswick High Rd., (fn. 71) replacing Windmill Place chapel. Low building in Gothic style, with sanctuary to S.; demolished 1885. (fn. 72)

Our Lady of Grace, on site of St. Mary's and known as Our Lady of Grace and St. Edward by 1903, (fn. 73) registered 1886. (fn. 74) Attendance 1903: 864 a.m.; 392 aft. (fn. 75) Deep red brick bldg. in Italianate style, with sanctuary to S., by Kelly & Birchall. Campanile added as war mem. c. 1936; restoration after war damage 1955. Seated 400, 1978. (fn. 76)

Chiswick Ho. oratory blt. by marquess of Bute, tenant, c. 1881. (fn. 77)

Sisters of Mary Immaculate acquired no. 10 Chiswick Lane as Regina Pacis convent 1968. Kindergarten opened 1969 and hall added 1972. (fn. 78)

Sisters of Nazareth apparently acquired St. Veronica's retreat, Chiswick Sq., between 1911 and 1913. Renamed Nazareth House until sisters' (fn. 79) move to Finchley 1921. (fn. 80)

Sisters of Perpetual Adoration occupied Tower House, no. 4 Chiswick Lane, as convent of Marie Réparatrice, c. 1901-51. (fn. 81) Adoratrices (? same community) registered ground floor of no. 34 Barrowgate Rd. as convent chapel 1963-71. (fn. 82)

Sisters of Verona acquired no. 4 Chiswick Lane 1951, added wing 1959, and used it as order's training centre 1978. Girls' hostel and nursery school opened at no. 2 Chiswick Lane 1951. (fn. 83)

St. Veronica's retreat by 1893-4 in former Boston Ho., Chiswick Sq., (fn. 84) which had been acquired 1889 by Cardinal Manning and other trustees, (fn. 85) was conducted by Revd. Robt. Clarke 1900. Probably replaced by Sisters of Nazareth c. 1912. (fn. 86)


50 Catholic Rec. Soc. xxii. 48.
51 Mdx. County Rec. iii. 20.
52 Ibid. 144, 147, 153 and passim.
53 Guildhall MS. 9800.
54 W.A.M. 16680.
55 M.R.O., MR/RR 11/4.
56 Ibid. 19/13. Beeling was listed as Bellingham.
57 Complete Peerage, xii (2), 629-30.
58 G. Anstruther, Seminary Priests, iv (1977), 276.
59 M.R.O., MR/RH 4-5.
60 [M.D. Groarke], Par. Hist. of Our Lady of Grace, Chiswick (1967), 7, 27, in Chiswick libr.
61 Ibid. 9.
62 P.R.O., HO 134/4/1/6.
63 Catholic Dir. (1852).
64 Ibid. (1855, 1856).
65 G.R.O. Worship Reg. no. 8464.
66 Inf. from the parish priest.
67 Catholic Dir. (1951).
68 Inf. from the parish priest.
69 G.R.O. Worship Reg. no. 68052.
70 Par. Hist. of Our Lady of Grace, 14; G.R.O. Worship Reg. no. 16114.
71 Catholic Dir. (1855).
72 Cuttings in Chiswick libr., local prints.
73 Mudie-Smith, Rel. Life, 436.
74 G.R.O. Worship Reg. no. 29525.
75 Mudie-Smith, Rel. Life, 436.
76 Par. Hist. of Our Lady of Grace, 17-22; inf. from the Revd. P. L. Gilburt.
77 Par. Hist. of Our Lady of Grace, 13.
78 Inf. from Sister Stefanina.
79 Gilbert, Chiswick, 37; Kelly's Dir. Chiswick (1911, 1913, 1920-1).
80 V.C.H. Mdx. vi. 87.
81 Kelly's Dir. Chiswick (1901-2 and later edns.); inf. from the regional superior, Verona Sisters.
82 G.R.O. Worship Reg. no. 69079.
83 Inf. from the regional superior.
84 Kelly's Dir. Chiswick (1893-4).
85 Guildhall MS. 14219/14, f. 20.
86 Catholic Dir. (1900); Kelly's Dir. Chiswick (1911, 1913).