Vineyard Passage Burial Ground

This information was compiled by Stephen Orr for his website The Vineyard: an online history. With Stephen’s kind permission, it is reproduced here to complement the information, supplied by John Govett and already published here on this website, on Richmond Old Burial Ground.

 Present number/name  Pre-1936 number/name  Pre-1893 number/name
 Vineyard Passage  Vineyard Passage  Burial Passage
1790 The Richmond Vestry – the precursor to Richmond Council – concludes a deal to buy some 0.5acres of land and buildings fronting the south side of Paradise Row (now Paradise Road) from Edward Collins, the Richmond brewer, for £350. The land contains some old cottages which are subsequently demolished.

The Trustees of the Church Estate (an endowment in lands originally provided for the maintenance of the Church) pays £240 towards the purchase price and Richmond Vestry finds the rest.  A new Vestry Office is built on the site and the Vestry move from their old offices in Church Walk on 25 March.

The land is combined with a similar sized plot of land owned by the Trustees adjoining the acquired site to provide a new burial ground as the population of Richmond increases greatly across the 18th century; St Mary’s Churchyard was just about full. This solution obviates the need to take land in Pesthouse Common on the south side of Queens Road provided for a new burial ground and workhouse under a 1786 Grant of land by George III.

 1791 The new burial ground, situated in the newly created Burial Passage, is consecrated in December.
 1792 The first burial – Jonathon Doveton – takes place in January.
 1823 Richmond Vestry offers a reward of £50 for “the apprehension of those guilty of stealing or attempting to disinter any bodies in the Churchyard or Burial Ground with intent to steal the same”.
 1854 The population of Richmond continues to increase across 19th century as the railways arrive and burials are prohibited from 7 April due to the burial ground being full. Around 400 people are buried here including members of the French and English aristocracy, a pioneer of modern political journalism, scientists and gardeners to George III, the father of Sir John Moore of Corunna and the Chief Justice of the island of Dominica.
Richmond Vestry resolves to petition the Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, to authorise the continuing use of family vaults
 1857 The Home Secretary advises that interments in Richmond be modified to allow the use of vaults and brick graves for the burial of husbands, wives, parents and unmarried children of persons already buried there.
 1874 The last burial takes place under the modified arrangements for vaults.
 1891 An antiquarian, Mr J Challenor Smith, completes a hand written record of the names, dates and inscriptions on all gravestones in a 324 page bound indexed volume.
 1928  J Challenor Smith bequeaths his Monumental Inscriptions volume to the Borough of Richmond (now held in the Local Studies Collection at the Old Town Hall).
 1963  A formal petition is made to the Diocese of Southwark for a Bishop’s Licence to repair and re-arrange the gravestones. Many of them are badly worn, broken, or illegible from the natural effects of weathering over almost 200 years but many too have been damaged or destroyed by vandalism: others are simply missing.
 1964 The Burial Ground is declared a public open space and a garden of rest.
 1977 The Paradise Road Car Park was built. The Burial Ground lost a slice of its area and the affected Grave Headstones were lifted off the graves before the foundations of the Car Park were laid. The headstones were put down flat within the remaining Graveyard and some were used to make up the pathway to Grosvenor Road at the side of the Car Park.
 1995 Richmond Council proposals to create a public playground prompt local residents to form an action group to protect the threatened area. The group becomes the Friends of the Vineyard Passage Burial Ground, under the aegis of the Richmond Upon Thames Environment Trust, to help keep this historic area in good condition through conserving the natural beauty of the grounds in the form of a wild woodland garden: restoring deteriorating monuments and headstones: and keeping the area litter free.

A list of all the surnames of people buried in the Vineyard Passage Burial Ground is available by sending an email to