A long narrow brick lined path, Patten Alley marks one of the original paths through the open fields of 17th century Richmond. It seems to be a remainder of a much longer path that used to run in a direct line from the main church, although today about half of it is in fact a road, the other half remains as a narrow path.

In 1696 the line of the path was diverted to the east slightly at its south end by the owner of Clarence House, Nathaniel Rawlings to make room for a more respectable forecourt.

However, he was then fined by Richmond Vestry for doing so as he didn’t have permission, but there was no requirement for him to restore the path, so the kink remains to this day.

The name of the alley is likely to date from around the middle of the 18th century when Clarence House was bought by John Patton, a gentleman, who left it to his wife Ann when he died just 9 years later.

It was Ann who may have granted a piece of the land they owned next to the alley to the local church, and in exchange were given the naming rights to the alley as the area built up.

Clarence House later became a school, then in the 1940s, a storage warehouse for Fortnum and Mason, and later, for a while, owned by the actor Brian Blessed.

Today, the alley seems to be a popular route in Richmond, judging by how difficult it was to take empty photos of the alley on a Friday afternoon, even in the rain.

The tall brick walls that hem in the space date from the 18th and 19th century, while the old gas lamps are now very electric in nature.

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