Old Palace Terrace, TW9

Place Name

Until Henry VIII’s land grab against the Roman Catholic Church, better known as the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the land on which this road is laid out had belonged to the Charterhouse of Sheen, an order of monks. Then, it contained five small cottages, but shortly after they were removed this prime location came under the ownership of a Mr Kirkham who did away with the cottages and replaced it with a mansion, the land became freehold after his death in 1646. Little happened until nearly 50 years later, when in 1692, Vertue (also spelt Virtue) Radford, son of the Reverend William Radford and son-in-law of the Lord Chief Justice, bought and demolished the old house and had the existing terrace built by a local builder, William Wollins. At the time, when it featured in the Richmond Rate Books of 1712, this street was known as “the south side of the Green”. By the time of the 1841 Census it had become known as Powell’s Row after a former tenant who had died a number of years before. The Vestry, a prototype parish council, had settled on this name and ordered that it be painted on the wall, as it sought to determine once and for all Richmond’s street nomenclature – at various points it has been referred to as the Green, south side (1800); Greenside, south (1830); and even west side. Eventually, even the Vestry changed its mind and plumped for Old Palace Terrace – a change of name that caused much controversy because it was deemed inappropriate – the name was taken from the old Palace whose remains still stand along part of the west side of the Green.

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