St Mary, Paddington Green, London

Paddington Green originally consisted of wasteland occupying a central position on the estate which supported the almoner of Westminster. The name came to be applied both to the surrounding village and to a small part of the open space, east of the 18th century church. When the green was first recorded in 1549 it spread southward across Harrow Road near its junction with Edgware Road. It is presumed that a medieval chapel stood near the middle of the north side of the waste. During the Middle Ages there was a church on Paddington Green that was a chapel in the parish of St Margaret’s Westminster. Later there was a 17th century church, which was farther north than its successor. The rebuilding of the church between 1788 and 1791 placed it near the middle of the green, which it then divided, with the northern section being taken for burials.

The history of churches in the Paddington area is complex, due to the massive development in the area during the 19th century. At its peak in 1890 there were twenty three ecclesiastical parishes. In 1845, the new church of St James had become the parish church of Paddington, built at southern end of Westbourne Terrace and then the church on Paddington Green was reduced to the status of a chapel of ease.

In 1885 St Mary on Paddington Green once again became a parish church, as the old parish of Paddington was further divided into smaller ecclesiastical parishes. No further burials were carried out, and the churchyard was converted to a public park in the 1890’s and is now known as St Mary’s Gardens. It consists of grassland with some mature trees, and a children’s play area. Many gravestones and mausoleums can still be found in the park, and in the church grounds, with some gravestones stacked against the west wall.

In 1966 the southern area of the churchyard was reduced during the building of the Edgware Road A40 flyover. A plaque commemorating this was placed there and reads:-
This plaque records that between June and November 1966 the remains from in excess of 450 graves were exhumed from the churchyard to the south of St Mary’s Church, Paddington Green, London W2, prior to the construction of the Marylebone flyover. The exhumations were re-interred within the area bounded by this hedge.

Those known to have been baptised here:
Mary Ann Reffell, baptism date: 15 December 1854
Edward Thomas Dane, baptism date: 9 March 1902
Amy Amelia Crosby, baptism date: 18 September 1904

Those known to have been married here:
Charles Dane and Elizabeth Mills, marriage date: 20 July 1902
George Crosby and Amelia Dane, marriage date: 12 June 1904

Those known to have been buried here:
Charles Reffell, age: 20 months, burial date: 22 June 1813
Joseph Reffell, age: 22, burial date: 27 October 1850
Sarah Champness, age 57, burial date: 7 December 1850
Joanna Reffell, age: 56, burial date: 14 November 1852
Jabez Parry, age: 82, burial date: 21 June 1854