History of Richmond Team Ministry

The history of the Church of England parish in Richmond goes back at least 800 years. The original St Mary Magdalene was built at the end of the 12th century and for 300 years was the only centre of worship in the town. The expansion of Richmond in the 18th century led to the building of St John the Divine in 1827, and St John’s remained a separate parish until 1979. Meanwhile the population continued to grow, and in the 1850s St Matthias, designed by the architect Sir Gilbert Scott, was built as a daughter church to St Mary’s.

In the 1980s it was decided that the local community could be served more effectively if the three churches, St John’s, St Mary’s and St Matthias, were to work together as equal partners in a team ministry. We have been working together in this way since 1990, and Richmond Team Ministry came into being legally in 1995. We are committed to working together with the Parish of Holy Trinity, Richmond to serve the needs of the town.

Part of the strength of the Team lies in the freedom of the three churches to worship in the distinctive ways they have built up over the years. All three churches have choirs and there are Junior Churches at St Mary’s and St Matthias. St John’s uses incense and reflects an Anglo-Catholic tradition in worship and service. St Matthias has been developed as a multipurpose centre with community activities throughout the week. St Mary’s, as well as its weekly Parish Communion, continues its sung Matins and Evensong from the Book of Common Prayer each week. The Eucharist is celebrated every day except Monday.

Key Dates in the History of the Parish of Richmond
Early 12th century Kingston church granted to Merton Priory
c1220 Chapel built at Shene on the site of the present church
1375 Agreement between Merton Priory and the Vicar of Kingston about the appointment of resident chaplains for the four Kingston chapelries, including Shene
1501 Shene renamed Richmond by Henry VII to commemorate the re-building of the Royal Palace
1714 Chapel of St Anne built on Kew Green
1769 Kew and Petersham formed into an independent vicarage
Kingston and Richmond remain united in one vicarage
1836 Church of St John the Divine built in Kew Road (architect Lewis Vulliamy)
1838 Richmond divided into two parishes (St Mary’s and St John’s)
St John’s later reduced by formation of new parishes of Holy Trinity (1870), St Luke’s (1890) and Christ Church (1894)
1849 Richmond becomes an independent vicarage
1858 Church of St Matthias built as a chapel of ease to St Mary’s (architect Sir George Gilbert Scott)
1877 Richmond transferred from the Diocese of Winchester to Rochester
1905 Richmond transferred to the Diocese of Southwark
1976 Parish of St John the Divine reunited with St Mary’s
1996 Richmond Team Ministry of St Mary Magdalene with St Matthias and St John the Divine formed