Teddington: Protestant nonconformity

Pages 80-81

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 3, Shepperton, Staines, Stanwell, Sunbury, Teddington, Heston and Isleworth, Twickenham, Cowley, Cranford, West Drayton, Greenford, Hanwell, Harefield and Harlington. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1962.

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The baptism or naming of fourteen Teddington children by non-conforming ministers was entered in the parish register between 1689 and 1711. (fn. 1) In 1753 John Wesley visited a man at Teddington whom he described as 'an Israelite indeed', and preached at 'the chapel'. (fn. 2) In 1766 there were said to be no dissenters in the parish, but by 1810 there was a small Wesleyan chapel and a Quaker meeting-house. (fn. 3) There appears to be no later record of either of these, but in 1859 another Wesleyan chapel (now the Craig Hall) was opened in Clarence Road, (fn. 4) possibly through the missionary work of students from the Wesleyan theological college at Richmond. It comprised 28 members in 1866, and in its early years used the Anglican liturgy in its services. From 1876 a minister of the circuit lived at Teddington. A new church, at the corner of Hampton Road and Stanley Road, was opened in 1879. The old one was used for a while by the Baptists and now belongs to the borough council. The congregation declined for some years after the move, but revived in the nineties and reached 86 members in 1911, 145 in 1939, (fn. 5) and 184 in 1957. (fn. 6) The church was bombed in the Second World War and services were held in the Methodist Church House (no. 8 Hampton Road) until the new church was opened in 1952. (fn. 7) The old site was taken by the county council for road-widening and the new church stands a little farther west.

The founding of the Wesleyan church in 1859 was apparently encouraged by some members of the Established Church who were disturbed by the 'semi-popish teaching' of the vicar, Daniel Trinder. Between 1861 and 1864 they tried to start a district or proprietary chapel which would be outside his jurisdiction. When this failed they erected an iron chapel, and, after further negotiations with the bishop and vicar had broken down, the leadership of the congregation was given to John Sugden. (fn. 8) He had come to Teddington in 1864 and remained the minister of what became Christ Church for many years, later being Coadjutor Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church. (fn. 9) A later minister was Bishop Primus of the Free Church of England. (fn. 10) The congregation grew rapidly in the first few years, a school was opened in 1867, (fn. 11) and the present church in Station Road in 1869. (fn. 12) The church has a nave and aisles built of rustic stone in the Gothic style, with a short brick chancel. A tower and spire were planned but never built and there is a small wooden bell-turret over the porch. (fn. 13) In 1953 the church had 108 members. Services are conducted according to a slightly amended Book of Common Prayer, with communion services twice a month. (fn. 14)

In 1877 a Baptist meeting was started in 'Bridge Approach, Waldegrave Road', (fn. 15) but there appear to have been Baptists in Teddington some years before then. (fn. 16) The congregation met in the former Wesleyan chapel in Clarence Road from 1880 to 1884 and then in an iron building on the site of its later church in Church Road. It had 17 members in 1884. The permanent church was opened in 1895. It was a large building in the Gothic style and was bombed in 1940. Services were held in the very large Sunday schools (built 1908) until the new church was opened in 1956. (fn. 17) The church had about 370 members in 1926 and 356 in 1957. (fn. 18)

The Baptist church was registered as Particular Baptist in 1893, (fn. 19) and there seems to have been a Strict Baptist congregation in Teddington at about this time. It was in existence in 1886 when it was apparently called the Cave of Adullam chapel. (fn. 20) In 1863 a bequest was made to the 'Peculiar or Calvinistic Baptists of Teddington', which, when the donor died in 1887, led to a law-suit between the two chapels. It had been settled by 1896, (fn. 21) and the Cave of Adullam chapel does not seem to have survived much longer. It may have been closed before 1896. (fn. 22)

The Salvation Army used the hall in Queens Road now occupied by G. & E. Compton Ltd. from 1886 to 1914. (fn. 23) They then moved to Church Road where they met at first in what is now their junior hall. The senior hall behind was opened in 1934. In 1957 about 50-60 persons generally attended on Sunday evenings. (fn. 24)

According to an inscription on the building, the Fulwell Mission Fellowship hall was opened in 1902 after eighteen years of gospel mission work had been done in Fulwell Road. A resident minister was appointed in 1957 and the fellowship then had nearly twenty members. (fn. 25)

The hall of the London City Mission in Park Street was in existence by 1894. (fn. 26) The mission gave it up about 1919, as the neighbourhood was said not to include the kind of people for whom the mission provided. (fn. 27) It is now a factory.

A branch of the Brethren was established from Kingston in 1930 in the Broad Street Hall. Between 20 and 50 persons generally attended the meetings in 1957. (fn. 28)

The former Wesleyan chapel in Clarence Street was used by Jehovah's Witnesses between 1939 and 1941, when they moved to Wimbledon. (fn. 29)

The hall in Elmfield Avenue behind the Savoy cinema was used from about 1941 to about 1947 by a congregation of the Assemblies of God. After they left the hall on receiving complaints from neighbours about the singing, they met for a time at the corner of the road. (fn. 30)


  • 1. Par. Rec., Reg. ii, among baptisms for 1698.
  • 2. John Wesley's Journal (ed. N. Curnock), iv. 73.
  • 3. Guildhall MS. 9558, f. 181b.
  • 4. Date on building.
  • 5. H. E. Bennett, Hist. of Teddington Methodist Ch. (1939) (copy in Twickenham Libr.)
  • 6. Ex inf. the minister.
  • 7. Twickenham Boro. Guide (1953), 33.
  • 8. Surrey Comet, 14 and 17 Dec. 1878.
  • 9. See F. Vaughan, Hist. of Free Ch. of Eng. 72, 76-77, 80.
  • 10. Free Ch. of Eng. Year Bk. 1930-1, 3.
  • 11. See p. 81.
  • 12. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1882); Char. Com. files (trust deeds).
  • 13. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1874).
  • 14. Free Ch. of Eng. Year Bk. 1953-4, 28; church notice board.
  • 15. Achievement: Story of rebuilding of Teddington Baptist Ch.
  • 16. See bequest to them of 1863, below.
  • 17. Achievement, passim.
  • 18. Teddington Memorial Hosp. Swan and Stag, i (4), 58; Baptist Handbk. (1957).
  • 19. Gen. Reg. Off., Worship Reg. no. 33996.
  • 20. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1886), as 'Cave Adullum'.
  • 21. Char. Com. files: see p. 82.
  • 22. It is not mentioned in Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1890).
  • 23. Gen. Reg. Off., Worship Reg. nos. 29523, 46358; Teddington Memorial Hosp. Our Town (1924), 60; and local information.
  • 24. Gen. Reg. Off., Worship Reg. no. 55017; ex inf. the captain.
  • 25. Ex inf. the minister.
  • 26. O.S. Map 1/2,500 Lond. cxxxi (2nd edn.).
  • 27. Char. Com. files.
  • 28. Gen. Reg. Off., Worship Reg. no. 52261; ex. inf. a member of the meeting.
  • 29. Gen. Reg. Off., Worship Reg. nos. 58538, 59844.
  • 30. Ibid. 59691; local information.