In AD666, the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter, Chertsey was granted the land of 'Piterichesham/Patrichesam'. Evidently, the name of this land stems from 'Patrick', but since then the association with the Abbey has been passed down, and so when recorded in the Domesday Book it was listed as 'Petersamwere'.
The growth of Petersham is owed to its proximity and convenient access to the River Thames; with the Monarch at either Hampton Court Palace, Richmond Palace or Whitehall, the best way to travel was by river - a preferred alternative to the risk of attracting local Highwaymen. Noble families have made their homes here throughout the Tudor and Stuart reigns, though unfortunately none of buildings have survived. The earliest surviving work is Rutland Lodge, having been built in the 17th Century, with Ham House being the best preserved. Other examples from this period are Petersham House and Montrrose House. More buildings, from the 18th Century, survive and include Gort House, Manor House, Elm Lodge and Harrington Lodge, with the 19th Century bringing Petersham Lodge, Myrtle Cottage and Vine Cottage.
A number of famous and noble names have lived in Petersham, and still continue to do so. One such historical example is Archibald Campbell, 3rd Duke of Argyll and Earl of Islay. His claim to fame involves being one of the founders of the Royal Bank of Scotland - his face continues to adorn the front of all RBS banknotes issued since 1987, and the only one to bear the title Earl of Islay. Petersham is also the place where the famous explorer, George Vancouver, retired and wrote the Voyage of Discovery, which was finished by his brother upon his death.