Our coach trip on Monday 24 June is to a fascinating Tudor mansion surrounded by a water-filled moat

Michelham Priory in East Sussex is a fascinating Tudor mansion surrounded by England’s longest medieval water-filled moat. Set in seven acres of beautiful grounds (including kitchen, physic and herb gardens), its history covers some 800 years from its foundation by Augustinian canons, through the destruction caused by the dissolution of the monasteries, to its later life as a private country house and use as a base for Canadian troops in World War II preparing for the Dieppe raid.

As well as a guided tour of the house, we can explore outside features including the medieval watermill, hisoric forge, replica Bronze Age roundhouse, rope museum and magnificent Great Barn. There is also a cafe (well reviewed on Trip Adviser!) providing hot and cold food and drinks, with indoor and outdoor seating.

The cost per person is £21-£29 (see application form for details).

Richmond History 40 is now available from our online bookshop

The 2019 issue of our journal, Richmond History, was launched at our stall at the Ham Fair and will also be on our stall at the Kew Fete on Saturday 22 June. You can now buy copies at:

This, our 40th issue, covers three centuries and has articles on:

  • Petersham’s General Gordon Forbes
  • the Roberts family of Cardigan House on Richmond Hill
  • the role of Kew’s Victoria Working Men’s Club in the First World War
  • the history of the long-demolished Sheen Lodge in Richmond Park
  • historic seats in Kew Gardens
  • early performances at Richmond Theatre, which this year celebrates its 120th anniversary
  • the rise of the local branch of the Left Book Club during the 1930s
  • the almost forgotten Grove Road Gardens
  • memories of the Ivy menswear shop on Hill Rise, Richmond.

Save the (revised) dates

The dates of our talks in September and October have changed. The Richmond Theatre event is now one week earlier, on Sunday 15 September, and Dr Simon Targett’s talk on the founding of America is one week later than previously advertised, on Monday 21 October.

Our new book on Richmond and Kew’s street names is now available from our online bookshop

Our new publication, a fully revised edition of The Streets of Richmond and Kew, is available at £10 in local bookshops – The Open Book in King Street, Richmond, the Museum of Richmond, The National Archives’ bookshop, Kew Bookshop  and Lloyds of Kew Bookshop  It can now also be bought from our online bookshop.

We are delighted to be able to reintroduce the book to our publications list after a very long gap: the first edition was published in 1989 and the second in 1990. Many Society members, including the late David Blomfield, contributed to this new, third edition, which has 140 pages and includes a full colour map. Comprehensive and up to date, it describes how each of Richmond and Kew’s streets was named and their wider significance for our local area’s history.

Forthcoming talks

See our calendar of forthcoming events and our list of forthcoming talks

Coming up, we have:

 Reports of previous talks

Our website now includes reports of some of our previous talks, including John and Eunice Drewry’s presentation in November 2018 on the Voluntary Aid Detachment.

The Victorian burial plot – from graveyard to garden

Coffin plaque

Holloway gravestone, rediscovered in August 2018

On our Resources pages, Peter Flower, archivist at the Vineyard Church in Richmond, tells us of recent discoveries in the Victorian burial plot, which is now a garden. One of the graves discovered is that of the Revd Henry Martin, the church’s remarkable first pastor, who died in 1844 aged only 36. Find out more

Our Resources pages also include a piece by John Govett on Richmond’s Old Burial Ground and Stephen Orr’s timeline on Vineyard Passage Burial Ground.

You can also read about the Selwyn family and the development of Richmond.

Oh deer, another Richmond Park myth…

It is sometimes suggested that the “deer leap” or “freebord“, the strip of land immediately outside Richmond Park’s wall, was designed so that if a deer managed to escape its hunters and get beyond the deer leap, it was then free from capture. That’s unlikely, says Richmond Park historian Robert Wood, in an article about the freebord’s history. Find out more and see a timeline on Richmond Park