Restoration of Church of St James, Twickenham

St James's is a Roman Catholic Church in Twickenham on the corner of Popes Grove and Radnor Road in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. The church was opened in 1885 by Cardinal Henry Edward Manning and consecrated by the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England in 1887.

The church was a place of worship for the exiled King Manuel II of Portugal and his wife, Queen Augusta Victoria, who had an important impact on the church and local community. Twickenham was not necessarily a rich area in those days and many children came from humble backgrounds. The King opened the parish hall in Radnor Road in 1927.

In 2009 the Portuguese connection was renewed when a memorial to King Manuel II and Queen Augusta Victoria was installed on the right hand side of the Sanctuary of the church. It was unveiled by the Mayor of Richmond upon Thames, Councillor Celia Hodges, and dedicated by The Rt Rev George Stack, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster and now Archbishop of Cardiff. HH Dom Miguel de Braganza of Portugal, a kinsman of the late King, and the then Portuguese Ambassador to the Court of St James’s HE Dr Antonio Santana Carlos laid a wreath in the church in memory of the Portuguese dead of the First World War.

The Deputy Mayor together with Dom Miguel attended the opening of the Emmanuel Centre attached to the church in 2013. HRH Dom Duarte, Duke of Braganza and head of the Portuguese Royal Family also visited the church in November of the same year at the invitation of parish priest, The Rev Fr Ulick Loring was accompanied by local parishioner and chair of the centenary appeal, Anthony Bailey. The centre provides a much needed further community facility.

The Anglo-Portuguese connection is also marked in the church by two magnificent stained glass windows situated at the front of the church, which were donated by King Manuel II. The stained glass displays the Royal Arms of Portugal with the caption Santo António de Lisboa, rogas por nós = St Anthony of Lisbon pray for us.

As part of the restoration, a further stained glass window in memory of King Manuel II will be placed in the Church, alongside the window commemorating the Portuguese victims of the Great War. It is hoped that other historical aspects of the Church will be restored and the Church itself will be repainted.
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