Richmond, Surrey Genealogy

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England  Gotoarrow.png  Surrey Gotoarrow.png  Surrey Parishes Gotoarrow.png  Richmond

Church records

Online Richmond Parish Register Images and Indexes
1679-1812 Ancestry baptisms, marriages, and burials[1]
1813-1851 Ancestry[2] 1755-1887 Ancestry[3] 1807-1887 Ancestry[4]
Indexes 1583-1875 FamilySearch[5] 1583-1876 FamilySearch[6] 1584-1840 FindMyPast[7]
1720-1780 FreeREG[8] 1583-1775 FindMyPast[9]
1720-1765 FreeREG[8]

Contributor: Include here information for parish registers, Bishop’s Transcripts, non conformist and other types of church records, such as parish chest records. Add the contact information for the office holding the original records. Add links to the Family History Library Catalog showing the film numbers in their collection

Civil Registration

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.

Census records

Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census Records and Indexes Online. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library.

Probate records

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Surrey Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Parish History

'RICHMOND (St. Mary Magdalene), a parish, and the head of a union, in the First division of the hundred of Kingston, E. division of Surrey, 8 miles (W. S. W.) from London; containing 7760 inhabitants. This place, although not mentioned in Domesday book, is noticed in a record of nearly the same date, under the name of Syenes; and it was afterwards called Shene or Sheen. The manor became the property of the crown in the latter part of the reign of Edward I., who resided here, as also did his successors Edward II. and Edward III.; and the latter monarch either built a palace, or made very considerable additions to one already in existence, in which he ended his days. Since this period the manor has belonged either to the crown or to some branch of the royal family, and has very frequently been the residence of the sovereign. Queen Anne, wife of Richard II., dying here, it so affected the king, that he abandoned the palace, and allowed it to become ruinous; but it was restored to its former splendour by Henry V. In 1492 it was the scene of a grand tournament held by Henry VII.; and having been destroyed by fire in 1498, it was rebuilt by that monarch in 1501, when he changed the name of the place to Richmond, after his title of Earl of Richmond before he was king. Philip I., of Spain, having been driven on the English coast by a storm, was entertained here in 1506, with great magnificence; and in 1509 Henry VII. expired in the palace.

'Henry VIII. also held a tournament at Richmond, where his first wife, Catherine of Arragon, bore a son, who was named after him, but died when twelve months old. The same monarch negotiated an exchange with Cardinal Wolsey of this place for Hampton Court, which the latter had recently built; but on the fall of the cardinal, Richmond again came to the crown; and the Emperor Charles V., of Germany, was lodged in the palace, on his visit to England, in 1523. The Princess Elizabeth was confined at Richmond by her sister Mary, and it became her favourite residence after her accession to the throne; she died here in 1603, in which year, and in 1625, the courts of justice were removed hither, on account of the plague. In 1605, Henry, Prince of Wales, resided here; and Richmond was the occasional residence of Charles I., who here formed a large collection of pictures; and of his queen, on whom it was settled. In 1649 the palace was surveyed by order of parliament, and in the following year was sold. Shortly after the Restoration it was delivered to the queenmother, but in a very dilapidated state; it was soon afterwards pulled down, and private houses erected on the site, the owners of which hold on lease from the crown.

'A park appears to have been formed in the reign of Edward I.; and in the time of Henry VIII. there were two parks, distinguished as the Great and the Little, the second having been probably laid out in the reign of Henry V., or Henry VII. These were afterwards united, and called the Old or Little Park by way of distinction from one inclosed by Charles I. The Old Park, commencing near Kew-bridge, stretches along the bank of the Thames to Richmond, and comprises the beautiful and extensive royal gardens of Kew, and a dairy and grazing farm, which was cultivated under the immediate direction of George III., who directed the old lodge of Richmond to be demolished, with a view to the erection of a palace, for which the foundation was prepared, but which was never built. The park was given to the lord mayor and citizens of London, during the protectorate, but after the Restoration reverted to the crown. The Observatory in the park, built in 1769 by Sir William Chambers, is furnished with excellent astronomical instruments, apparatus for philosophical experiments, and some models, and until lately contained a collection of ores from the mines in the forest of Hartz, in Germany, which have been removed to the British Museum; on its summit is a moveable dome, having an equatorial instrument. The New or Great Park, inclosed by Charles I., is situated southward of Richmond, extending from Richmond Hill to the road between London and Kingston; it is eight miles in circumference, encompassed with a brick wall, and comprises about 2253 acres. The inclosure of this park formed one of the articles of the king's impeachment. In the reign of George II., the Princess Amelia, who was ranger, attempted to exclude the public; but Mr. John Lewis, an inhabitant, recovered the right of way by proceedings at law.

'The village of Richmond, from its picturesque situation, and the beauty of the surrounding country, possesses attractions of a very rare character. The view from the summit of the hill, though not extensive, includes every thing required to constitute a fine landscape, embracing a fertile and richly-wooded plain, through which the Thames flows in a winding course, with its banks ornamented by numerous mansions and villas, and the prospect being bounded by hills. Its proximity to the metropolis, and the facility of conveyance both by land and water, cause the place to be much resorted to. It in all respects resembles a town, and has a genteel appearance, containing some very good houses, with several inns of a superior description; also a neat theatre, which is opened three or four nights in the week during the summer season; and a literary and scientific institution, established in 1836. The repair of the highways, and the paving and watching of the town, are, by act of parliament, under the control of thirty-five select vestrymen. The Thames, which is here nearly 300 feet wide, is crossed by a handsome bridge of five arches, the central one being 25 feet high from low-water mark, and 60 feet wide; the first stone was laid on the 23rd of August, 1774, and the structure was completed in Dec. 1777, at an expense of about £26,000. A railway to the metropolis was opened in July 1846; it is six miles long, and joins the South-Western railway about two miles from Nine-Elms, Vauxhall, thus making a total of eight miles from Richmond to Nine-Elms. An act was passed in 1847 for extending this railway to Windsor.

'The living is a vicarage, consolidated with that of Kingston, by act of parliament, in 1760. The church is a neat brick edifice, with a low square embattled tower; amongst other interesting monuments is a brass tablet, erected by the Earl of Buchan in 1792, to the memory of Thomson, Author of the Seasons, who died at Richmond in 1748. A district church dedicated to St. John was built in 1831, on a site given by William Selwyn, Esq., at an expense of about £7000, of which £3500 were granted by the commissioners under the act of the 58th of George III., and the remainder was raised by subscription; it is a handsome edifice in the later English style, containing 1250 sittings, of which 600 are free. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Vicar, with a net income of £150. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, Wesleyans, and Lady Huntingdon's Connexion; also a Roman Catholic chapel. The Wesleyan Theological Institution, erected here in 1842, at an expense of £11,000, is a spacious structure in the later English style, consisting of a central range and two projecting wings, and is 248 feet in length. In the middle of the principal range is a square tower, with octagonal turrets at the angles, rising above the battlements of the tower, and terminating in minarets crowned by figured finials; and the fronts of the wings have angular turrets of similar character with minarets, above the gable. The chief entrance is in the central tower, under a lofty and embattled oriel window; the main building contains about 70 apartments, and there are several additional rooms in the wings.

'A school was founded in 1713, by the contributions of several noblemen and gentlemen, and was endowed in 1719, by Lady Dorothy Capel, with part of the rental of an estate, from which it now receives £37. 10.; it has also £3700 new South Sea annuities, and £100 four per cents., the produce of benefactions and donations. Queen Elizabeth's almshouses, supposed to have been founded in the year 1606 by Sir George Wright, were originally situated under Richmond Hill; the present building was erected by subscription, in 1767, at a place called the Vineyard, on a piece of ground given by William Turner, Esq.: the income is about £132 per annum, and affords maintenance to eight women. On the hill is an almshouse founded and endowed by Bishop Duppa in 1661, the income of which, with some small additional benefactions, is £206, and in which are ten widows. Almshouses were founded in 1695, by Humphrey Michell, for ten old men, and the charity was augmented by John Michell and William Smithet, Esqrs.; the tenements were rebuilt in 1810, at an expense of £3014, defrayed out of savings from the revenue, which is at present about £420 per annum. The income of the almshouses founded in 1757 by Rebecca Houblon is £280, and nine women are supported in them. William Hickey, in 1727, bequeathed certain estates which, with the interest of savings, now produce a rental of more than £750 for the pensioners of the charity; and from the excess of income beyond the expenditure, the trustees, by permission of the lord chancellor, in 1834, erected handsome almshouses for the pensioners, in the later English style, at Marsh-gate, at an expense of about £5800. There is another valuable charity, for repairing the church, the income of which is about £600; of this sum £300 are appropriated to the support of deserving poor, at the discretion of the trustees, who lately obtained from the court of chancery permission to build ten almshouses, for ten men and women. The parish receives £170 per annum from Henry Smith's charity: in 1785, Mrs. Mary New bequeathed £1000 three per cent. reduced annuities for five widows; and there are other bequests to the poor. The union of Richmond comprises five parishes, with a population of 13,558: the union workhouse, formerly the parochial poor-house, was built in 1786, by George III., and, with about thirty acres of land, presented by that monarch to the parish.

'A convent of Carthusians, called the House of Jesus of Bethlehem, was erected and richly endowed by Henry V., in 1414, at the hamlet of West Sheen, about a quarter of a mile from the palace; and in 1416, a hermitage for a recluse was founded in this convent. In the reign of Henry VII., Perkin Warbeck sought an asylum within its walls, when defeated by that monarch; and the body of James IV., King of Scotland, was brought hither, after his defeat and death at FloddenField. At the time of its dissolution, its revenue was estimated at £777. 12. 1. It was revived by Queen Mary, but finally suppressed at her death, a few months afterwards. An ancient gateway, the last remains of the priory, was taken down in 1769; and the hamlet of West Sheen was at the same time demolished, the site now forming a part of the royal inclosure. A convent of Carmelites had been established here before the convent of Carthusians, by Edward II.; but it was removed to Oxford, at the expiration of two years from its foundation. Henry VII. is said to have instituted a convent of Observant friars near the palace in 1499, the suppression of which, in 1534, is recorded by Holinshed. A mineral well, discovered at Richmond about 1680, appears to have attracted a great deal of company, and was in considerable repute for about half a century, but it afterwards rapidly declined. In the grounds of the Earl of Erroll is a mount called Henry the Eighth's, on which that monarch is said to have stood waiting the signal to inform him of the death of Anna Boleyn. Dean Colet, founder of St. Paul's school, died at West Sheen in 1519. Mrs. Mary Yates, a celebrated actress in the time of Garrick, and Edmund Kean, the eminent tragedian, died and were buried at Richmond: Dr. John Moore, author of Zeluco, was also buried here.'

Maps and Gazetteers

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Web sites


  1. London, England, Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1538-1812, courtesy: Ancestry ($). Described as St Mary Magdalen, Richmond in Richmond upon Thames Borough. Marriages from 1754 to 1812 are not included in this database. Partially indexed.
  2. London, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906, courtesy: Ancestry ($). Described as Richmond St Mary in Richmond upon Thames Borough and Richmond in Richmond upon Thames Borough. Partially indexed.
  3. London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921, courtesy: Ancestry ($). Described as Richmond St Mary in Richmond upon Thames Borough and Richmond in Richmond upon Thames Borough. Partially indexed.
  4. London, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1980, courtesy: Ancestry ($). Described as Richmond St Mary in Richmond upon Thames Borough and Richmond in Richmond upon Thames Borough. Partially indexed.
  5. Batches P013341, C013342, C013343, see: Hugh Wallis, 'IGI Batch Numbers for Surrey, England,' IGI Batch Numbers, accessed 2 April 2012.
  6. Batches M013341, M013343, see: Hugh Wallis, 'IGI Batch Numbers for Surrey, England,' IGI Batch Numbers, accessed 2 April 2012.
  7. 'Parish Records - National Burial Index Records 1538 - 2005 Coverage,' Find My Past, accessed 11 April 2012. For a breakdown of missing years, see 'National Burial Index - Coverage: Surrey,' Federation of Family History Societies, accessed 11 April 2012.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Surrey Coverage in FreeReg, FreeREG, accessed 14 April 2012.
  9. 'Boyd's Marriage Index - Parish details by county,' (WayBack Machine), accessed 27 March 2012.