St Mary Magdalen Roman Catholic Church Mortlake

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St Mary Magdalen Roman Catholic Church Mortlake
Country United Kingdom
Denomination Roman Catholic
Architect(s) Gilbert Blount
Style Gothic Revival
Priest(s) Father Richard Whinder

St Mary Magdalen Roman Catholic Church Mortlake is a Roman Catholic church in North Worple Way, Mortlake, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Its priest is Father Richard Whinder.

The church building, designed by Gilbert Blount, architect to the first Archbishop of Westminster, Nicholas Wiseman, dates from 1852.[1][2]

The church's first parish priest, Fr John Wenham, was an Anglican convert from the Oxford Movement[1] and had studied at Magdalen College, Oxford, which may explain why Mary Magdalen was chosen as the patron saint of the new church.[3]

Sir Richard and Lady Burton[edit]

Sir Richard Burton's tomb
Close-up of inscription on the tomb

The cemetery includes a Grade II" listed[4]mausoleum, in the form of a life-size stone tent,[5] made of Carrara marble and Forest of Dean stone.[4] It contains the tombs of the Victorian explorer and translator of The Arabian Nights, Sir Richard Burton, who died in 1890, and his wife, Isabel, Lady Burton, who designed it.[2] The coffins of Sir Richard and Lady Burton can be seen through a glass panel[4] at the rear of the tent, which can be accessed via a short fixed ladder. The mausoleum was restored in 2012/13 with the support of the Friends of Burton and the Environment Trust.[5]

Next to the lady chapel in the church there is a memorial stained-glass window to Burton, erected by his widow.

Sir James Marshall[edit]

19th-century colonial judge Sir James Marshall (1829–1889) who helped the spread of Roman Catholicism in Ghana and Nigeria, is buried in the churchyard cemetery.[1][6][7] His wife Alice died in 1926 and is also buried in the churchyard.[7] There is a plaque inside the church in their memory. It was unveiled on 11 August 1999, 100 years after his death.[8]

The Knights and Ladies of Marshall, a lay association of Ghanaian Catholics, visit the church in Mortlake annually to celebrate a mass in his memory.[1][8]

War graves[edit]

The cemetery contains war graves of four service personnel of World War I and two of World War II.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "About the Church: History of the Church". St Mary Magdalen Roman Catholic Church Mortlake. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner (1983). The Buildings of England – London 2: South. London: Penguin Books. p. 513. ISBN 0 14 0710 47 7. 
  3. ^ "St Mary Magdalen Roman Catholic Church and Cemetery". Barnes and Mortlake History Society. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c "Mausoleum of Sir Richard and Lady Burton, Churchyard of St Mary Magdalen". English Heritage. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Victorian explorer's Mortlake mausoleum restoration celebrated". Richmond and Twickenham Times. 24 October 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Historical sketch of the Knights of Marshall". Knights of Marshall. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Iain MacFarlaine (20 May 2003). "James Marshall". Find a Grave. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Other Features". About the Church. St Mary Magdalen Roman Catholic Church Mortlake. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  9. ^ [1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery Report. Details obtained from casualty record.

External links[edit]