St Peter's churchyard
The churchyard was originally much smaller than it is today, having been enlarged eastwards in 1801 and northwards by 2 strips of land - firstly in1867 and again in 1919. Its oldest headstone is that of Mary Karze, 1686.
St. Peter’s has strong associations with many famous and interesting people in the past, some of whom are mentioned below.
Mary Berry (1763-1852) and Agnes Berry (1764-1852)
These unmarried sisters were friends and correspondents of the author and diarist Horace Walpole, who left them Little Strawberry Hill, in his will. They lived at Devonshire Lodge, Petersham and are buried in the churchyard. Mary Berry was a gifted authoress and editor.
Mary Burdekin (d. 1772)
A pastry-cook with a shop in Hill Street, Richmond. She is said to be the original maker of Maids of Honour pastries. She is buried in the churchyard.
George Cole and his family are commemorated in the monument in the chancel erected in 1624. He was a barrister and a member of the Middle Temple. He married his wife Frances at St. Peter’s in 1585. The family vault is under the chancel.
Theodora Jane Cowper (d.1824)
The cousin of the poet William Cowper. They had a great love for each other, but her father would not allow their marriage because of their close relationship. Cowper addressed her in his poems as "Delia". Her grave is in the churchyard.
Sir John Whittaker Ellis (1829-1912)
Sir John is buried in the churchyard and has a plaque in the north chancel. He was Lord Mayor of London 1881-2 and the first mayor of the Borough of Richmond 1890-1. He lived at Buccleuch House, Petersham from 1887-1901.
Sir Thomas Jenner (1637-1707)
He was made Recorder of London in 1683 andJustice of the Common Places 1706-7. He had been a staunch supporter of the Catholic King James II and his career suffered under his Protestant successors. He died at his home, Montrose House, Petersham and is buried in the churchyard. There is also a plaque to him on the chancel wall.
Elizabeth, Duchess of Lauderdale (d.1698)
A clever and ambitious woman, she was Countess of Dysart in her own right, having succeeded her father, William Murray, the owner of Ham House. She married Lauderdale at Petersham in 1672. He was a member of the notorious Cabal ministry of Charles II and amongst his titles was the one of Baron Petersham. She is buried with other members of the Dysart family in a vault under the chancel.