The church of St Nicholas, Chiswick

Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London” …

Chiswick was first recorded in around 1000  as Ceswican, from the Old English “ciese”, meaning cheese, and “wic”, settlement (and probably referring to a farm-stead specialising in the production of cheese).

The church of St Nicholas was originally built in the Medieval period, and rebuilt in the nineteenth century (in 1882).  The tower dates to the fifteenth century, around 1446.

Here lie buried, among others,   two of Oliver Cromwell’s daughters, Mary and Frances; Charles II’s mistress Barbara Villiers, the Duchess of Cleveland; and the artists William Hogarth (1697-1764), who owned a country retreat nearby (now “Hogarth’s House Museum”), and James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903).

Hogarth’s tomb bears the following inscription (by his friend, the  actor David Garrick):

“Farewell great Painter of Mankind

Who reach’d the noblest point of Art,

Whose pictur’d Morals charm the Mind

And through the Eye correct the Heart.

If Genius fire, thee, Reader, stay,

If Nature touch thee, drop a Tear;

If neither move thee, turn away,

For Hogarth’s honour’d dust lies here”.

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