St. Mary’s Churchyard

The Churchyard

Go and enjoy the peace of the churchyard. With its matuture tress and shaded paths it still retains the tranquillity of a quiet country churchyard.

Once again you will come across familiar names. We have the Gorings, Gardams, Bones, Tothills, Govetts the Tillys, of Tilly’s Lane and the Ashbys, who once owned the local brewery.

You may come across the headstone dedicated to Miss Augusta Maria Byng, who was mentioned earlier. Her grave is close to the circular flowerbed near the Wraysbury Road entrance. Lady Letitia Lade, said to have been the mistress of the Prince Regent, is buried in the churchyard, though we have yet to locate her grave. She lived in the Hythe, part of the parish.

photo of George Hawkins TombThe most famous tomb belongs to Elizabeth and George Hawkins and is situated south of the porch. This chest tomb is decorated with carved fruits, shields, a skull, scythes and a torch. Placed here in 1761 it is now included on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Historic or Architectural Interest. It is a Grade II listed building just as is the Church and Corner Hall across the road.

Just west of this tomb you may see an unusual tribute to the Millennium – a tiny yew, grown from a tree that once flourished in the Holy Land when Jesus was alive.

There are good examples of fine Victorian memorial statuary although some has been subject to vandalism.

Certain memorials will remind you of Staines’ coaching past. There is the gravestone to Francois Henri, Duc de Harcourt from Normandy, France. He was probably a refugee from the French Revolution. Inside church you may have noticed a reference to Mr. Bradshawe from Derby, on his way to the West Country for a cure, who died in Staines after “a wearing illness”.