The History of the Churchyard

The churchyard


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Originally the churchyard was just the area immediately surrounding the church. However, because of the growing population of the new parish, this was found to be too small so in 1882 the vicar of Hampton gave an acre of land next to the church in Park Road to be used as the parish burial ground. Thus the churchyard now covers an area of approximately 1.6 acres and contains about 1200 known graves. The older part of the churchyard has many fine rare trees. The War Memorial, listed Grade 2 in 2015, was erected in 1920 and near it are the Canadian war graves, needed when the Canadian Military Hospital was situated in Bushy Park during the 1914-1918 war. The lych gate formerly stood nearer St James's Road but was moved to its present site in the early 1900s.

Since 1992, the churchyard has been closed for burials except for reserved places in existing plots, though the interment of ashes is permissible. The maintenance of the churchyard is now the responsibility of the Local Authority. Have a look at The Churchyard through the years which shows what happened from when records began up until 2017.

In January 2017 the copper beech, on the corner of St James's Road and Park Road, became unsafe after being attacked by a giant fungus and had to be felled. Read the article A sad farewell to the beech tree. A new bench made from beech wood was given to the church by the local council and installed by the south porch. A new beech was planted in its place.
In July the church registered with the Mayor of London’s 'Trees for Sacred Spaces' project and four trees were received and planted.
Following the Diocese of London’s 'Caring for God’s Acre', a charity which promotes and assists in the care of churchyard green spaces, St James Church worked together with the Council’s churchyard maintenance subcontractors, Continental Landscapes, to manage, protect and develop its wildlife flora and fauna.
To help with the creation and future maintenance of the wildlife areas the St James’s Gardening Club, (open to all), was launched in November 2017.
In recent years there has been a significant loss of mature trees in the churchyard due to fungus infection. The council has replaced most of these trees but mainly with smaller species and so care and monitoring of the health of the existing large trees has become a paramount concern and regular tree inspections will continue.

In the spring of 2018 the area around the bottom of the tower was cleared and shrubs and daffodils planted.
During the course of the year several saplings were planted in various places in the churchyard in memory of members of the congregation.
The churchyard grass was left uncut for the majority of the summer to see what natural plants were growing and where. As a result, areas of wild flowers were left to grow, seed and increase. The Gardening Club started creating new wildlife areas as well as maintaining existing areas, in conjunction with the local council, who remained responsible for the general upkeep.
Wooden nest boxes were donated by parishioners.
The Canadian Maple which marked the Canadian War Graves died in the early spring of 2018. The church liaised with the Canadian War Graves Commission regarding replacing it.
In December 2018 a mixed hedge was planted along the Park Road/St James's Road perimeter of the new churchyard garden area. This was thanks to the Mayor of London's 'Greening Initiative' with fifty native shrub whips being planted. 

The new garden on the north-west corner, where the large copper beech had to be felled, was landscaped in 2019. The garden contained slightly raised flower beds, a turfed lawn and a donated wooden bench.
• A new rose garden was started on the south-east side of the interment lawn in the Garden of Remembrance and is proving popular and successful.  Dedicated roses are planted each with a small memorial plaque.  
A CWGC sign, notifying that the churchyard contains war graves, has been fixed to the iron railings at the South Porch entranceway to the church. 

These bullet points only show some information from this period. The Annual Parochial Church Meeting Reports show the latest reports from most teams and groups.
 

Churchyard Churchyard Churchyard

Dedicating a newly planted tree in memory of a member of the congregation

The Gardening Club

Felling the old beech tree