Kew Church Monuments

Kew Parish Church – St Anne’s Kew Green – stands close to the main entrance to Kew Gardens. The Church contains over 30 monumental wall tablets, some with sculptural interest, and some with botanical carving, as we would expect from the Parish church next to the most famous of all botanical gardens. The monuments date from early in the 18th Century through to a larger group of mid-19th Century tablets, and then on until after the First World War.

Kew Parish Church, St Anne.

First a few words on the Church itself. It has a characterful and novel exterior, reminiscent of the Greenwich observatory, especially to the visitor coming from the station, who sees the rear of the Church, with its idiosyncratic dome, round windows below, and round-headed arched windows all the way round – this end incorporates Chancel, mausoleum, and extra rooms. The front end (West end), facing Kew Gardens, is more conventional (see picture at top of page): broad Classical portico with four pillars supporting a balcony, gabled Classical upper stage, all in brick, and the wing-like aisles projecting on either side; above is the clock and bell tower, octagonal with a pepper-pot dome – all this part dates from the 1830s and is the apparently the work of Sir William Wyattville, of the Wyatt family of architects and sculptors. From the side, the Church is fairly long, eight bays in all, with round-headed windows to each bay bar where a porch has been added. It started much shorter, in 1714, the original Church being put up by Queen Anne, with additions in 1770 and in the early and late 19th Century.

Inside, the barrel-shaped ceiling of the nave is separated from the flat-ceilinged aisles by tall Doric pillars, at great enough spaces that we feel in one broad space. The main feature is the Chancel under the dome, jewel-like in its attractiveness, with painted starry heavens above, and bright windows with Corinthian columns between.

St Anne Church's bright interior.

As usual, we consider the monuments more or less in date order, but keeping those to the Hooker and Tyrrell families altogether.

18th Century Monuments

There are seven or eight monuments from the 18th Century, all Classical panels, including the particularly grand one to Dorothy Capell, a benefactor to the Church, the heavily carved Baroque panel to William Douglas and at the end of the century, that to Jeremiah Meyer with portrait and a small relief figure, and an example of an obelisk monument, to Elizabeth Theobald.

Elizabeth, Countess of Derby, d.1717.

Obelisk monument to Elizabeth Theobald, d.1796.

19th Century Monuments

The Hooker family:

William Hooker and his son Joseph Hooker were both long-time Directors of Kew Gardens, and together with the more modest panel to Joseph Hooker’s wife, Frances, form a colourful ensemble of botanically decorated monuments – the son’s monument takes us into the 20th Century.

The Tyrrell Family:

There are half a dozen monuments to members of the family, spanning the middle half of the 19th Century, and we consider them first. Together, they form a representative selection of the white-panel-on-black-backing type of monument, typically styled as a tomb-chest end, with a pediment and little feet, and in the earliest two examples, additional sculptural ornament to make more artistically interesting monuments; there is also one carved in the form of an unrolling scroll.

Other 19th Century Monuments

The most sculpturally interesting examples are the one to Sir John Day, with a fine relief sculpture of a girl mourning by a flaming pot on a tomb, and the excellent floral monument to Francis Bauer, and towards the end of the Century, the Atkinson panel with two small bronze figures. Among the various simpler panels, we have met several of the usual types in the Tyrrell family, above, and there are more of these small Classical panels, and in addition a couple of examples based upon oval compositions.

20th Century monuments:

Revd. Goldney, d.1917, with alabaster surround and mosaic cross.

Modern brasses:

Also in the Church:

Outside the Church:

The Church has a small yard around it, raised up above the road, crowded with gravestones, tomb-chests and caskets. The flat ledger stone to Gainsborough has been mentioned above; the eminent painter Johanne Zoffany is also buried there.

Gainsborough's tomb.

With thanks to the Church authorities for permission to use photos from inside St Anne's; their website is at

Top of page

Nearby, Twickenham Church // Mortlake Church // Richmond Church

Monuments in some London Churches // Churches in the City of London // Introduction to church monuments

Angel statues // Cherub sculpture // London sculpture // Sculptors


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