St John the Divine, Richmond

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St John the Divine, Richmond
St John's Church, Richmond.jpg
St John the Divine from St John's Road, Richmond
51°27′51″N 0°18′01″W / 51.4642°N 0.3003°W / 51.4642; -0.3003Coordinates: 51°27′51″N 0°18′01″W / 51.4642°N 0.3003°W / 51.4642; -0.3003
Country England
Denomination Church of England
Founded 1831
Associated people Vigo Auguste Demant (vicar from 1933 to 1942)
Architect(s) Lewis Vulliamy (original building); Arthur Grove (later additions and church hall)
Style Early Gothic revival
Completed 1836
Parish St John the Divine, Richmond
Deanery Richmond & Barnes
Archdeaconry Wandsworth
Episcopal area Kingston
Diocese Southwark
Province Canterbury
Archbishop Justin Welby
Bishop(s) Christopher Chessun
Vicar(s) Revd Neil Summers[1]

Gill Doling

Ruth Martin[1]
Director of music Mark Laflin[2]
Parish administrator Liz Roberts[3]
Listed Building – Grade II
Official name Church of St John the Divine
Designated 10 January 1950
Reference no. 1194182
Interior view

St John the Divine, Richmond, in the Anglican Diocese of Southwark, is a Grade II listed church[4] on Kew Road, in Richmond, London, near Richmond railway station. Built in 1836, and a parish in its own right since 1838, it was designed by Lewis Vulliamy[5] in the Early Gothic Revival architectural style.[4]

Since 1996 St John the Divine has been part of the Richmond Team Ministry, which also includes the churches of St Mary Magdalene and St Matthias.[6][7]


Richmond grew rapidly during the 18th and early 19th centuries.[8] By the 1820s, Richmond's original parish church, St Mary Magdalene, was too small.[9] Having recognised the need for another chapel, the vestry commissioned new construction by 1831. The new building, St John the Divine, was completed in 1836.[10] It was built from 1831 to 1836 on a site provided by local resident and landowner, William Selwyn QC (1775–1855); the architect was Lewis Vulliamy. Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner criticise Vulliamy's "craziest W spire and senseless flying buttresses from the W porches up to the nave" but describe Grove's east end (added in the early 20th century) as "a fine composition".[5]

In 1838 it became a parish church in its own right.[11]


The organ, built by Beale and Thynne, was dedicated in December 1896.[12] Described as "a virtually unaltered work of Victorian artistry", it has been fully restored.[13]

20th-century additions[edit]

A chancel, south chapel and vestries were added in 1904–05; they were designed by Arthur Grove.[5] In 1908, Nathaniel Westlake painted the sanctuary ceiling with illustrations of the Book of Revelation, chapter 14, and created the triptych behind the altar,[5][12] The Stations of the Cross were carved between 1955 and 1970 by Freda Skinner.[5] Eric Gill carved the stonework on the triptych and over the sacristy door.[12]

The church hall, in brick, was built in 1911.[5]

In 1980–81 adaptations were made to the church to enable it be used occasionally for concerts and to provide a meeting room, toilet facilities and residential accommodation.[14] The architects were Dry Hastwell Butlin Bicknell,[5] a partnership of David Dry (1934–2011), Vince Hastwell, George Butlin and Roger Bicknell.[15]


Vigo Auguste Demant (1893–1983), vicar at St John the Divine from 1933 to 1942, became a Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral and an Oxford University professor. A regular broadcaster on the BBC's Third Programme in the 1950s,[16] he served on the committee that produced the 1957 Wolfenden report which recommended that "homosexual behaviour between consenting adults in private should no longer be a criminal offence".[17]


The church's style of worship is described as "modern/liberal Catholic".[18] Eucharist is celebrated at 11.00 am on Sundays and 7:00 pm on Tuesdays.[19]


  1. ^ a b "Meet the team". Richmond Team Ministry. Retrieved 13 December 2015. 
  2. ^ "New Director of Music at St John the Divine" (PDF). Team Talk. Richmond Team Ministry. Winter 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  3. ^ "Contact Us". Richmond Team Ministry. Retrieved 14 September 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Historic England. "Church of St John the Divine (1194182)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 14 September 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Cherry, Bridget and Pevsner, Nicolaus (1983). The Buildings of England – London 2: South. London: Penguin Books. p. 517. ISBN 0-14-0710-47-7. 
  6. ^ "Our churches". Richmond Team Ministry. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  7. ^ "History of Richmond Team Ministry". Richmond Team Ministry. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  8. ^ Cloake, John (1991). Richmond Past: A Visual History of Richmond, Kew, Petersham and Ham. London: Historical Publications. p. 69. ISBN 0-948667-14-1. 
  9. ^ Cloake, John (7 August 1987). "Richmond Parish Church: Richmond Retrospect". Richmond and Twickenham Times, quoted in Brown, Ingrid (10 September 2011). "St.Matthias' Church and the Medievalism of Sir George Gilbert Scott". The Victoria Web. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  10. ^ Cloake, John (1991). Richmond Past: A Visual History of Richmond, Kew, Petersham and Ham, London: Historical Publications, p. 92, ISBN 0-948667-14-1, quoted in Brown, Ingrid (10 September 2011). "St.Matthias' Church and the Medievalism of Sir George Gilbert Scott". The Victoria Web. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  11. ^ Velluet, Paul (2008). St Matthias’ Church, Richmond: A Guide and History. The Friends of St. Matthias. 
  12. ^ a b c "History of St John the Divine". Richmond Team Ministry. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  13. ^ Bundy, Michael (July 1993). "The Beale and Thynne Organ in St John the Divine, Richmond". Bios Reporter. British Institute of Organ Studies. XVII (3). Archived from the original on 4 January 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  14. ^ "Richmond & Barnes Deanery; Richmond, St John the Divine". Diocese of Southwark. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "Past Masters – Obituary: David Dry 1934–2011". RIBA Journal: 20. September 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  16. ^ "Religion: Will Civilization Survive?". Time Magazine. 10 July 1950. Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  17. ^ Report of the Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution (1957). London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office.
  18. ^ "Theology". St John the Divine. Richmond Team Ministry. Retrieved 13 August 2015. 
  19. ^ "Welcome to St John the Divine". St John the Divine. Richmond Team Ministry. Retrieved 13 August 2015. 

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