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All Saints Church Gargoyles - Jesus Lane, Cambridge, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 52° 12.503 E 000° 07.384
31U E 303436 N 5788116
Quick Description: All Saints church is located on the south west side of Jesus Lane opposite Jesus College. The church was built between 1863 and 1870 to designs by G F Bodley. The church's spire is one of the tallest structures in Cambridge.
Location: Eastern England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 3/14/2016 4:09:21 AM
Waymark Code: WMQPQ1
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member fi67
Views: 0

Long Description:

This 19th century church has several gargoyles around the top of the tower at the base of the spire. They appear to be working as pipes can be seen projecting from the mouths.


All Saints church is Grade I listed with the entry at the Historic England website telling us:

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: All Saints' Church, Jesus Lane, Cambridge, is designated at Grade I for the following principal reasons:

  • Outstanding parish church of 1863-4 designed by G F Bodley. All Saints is the first use of the Decorated style in Bodley's work, and as such is a seminal part of his oeuvre
  • Very complete interior decoration including furnishings, stencilled and painted wall decoration, and stained glass designed by Bodley and others, including William Morris, C E Kempe, F R Leach and W H Hughes.

Designed by G F Bodley. Body of church and base of tower 1863-4, spire and tracery in north wall completed 1869-70.


MATERIALS: Handmade brick faced with ashlar, tiled roofs. Interior arcade of Ancaster stone.


PLAN: Nave, chancel with tower over the choir, south aisle, south-east vestry and organ chamber and north-west door.


EXTERIOR: The tower is an important Cambridge landmark and one of the tallest structures in the city. The north side to Jesus Lane is the show front. The church is wholly in an early C14 Decorated style, and is the first use by Bodley of the English Decorated, which subsequently became his preferred style.


Very large 5-light east window, the north and south walls of the chancel are blind. The design of the substantial tower is based on that of Ashbourne, Derbyshire, and has a projecting north-east stair turret with an external doorway. The tower has striking carved corbels below the embattled parapet, and gargoyles at the corners. Each face of the tower has a pair of transomed 2-light belfry windows with pierced stone panels. The north face of the tower has a 3-light window with intersecting tracery. There is a very fine, tall broach spire, added as part of the second phase of work on the church. It has five tiers of lucarnes, the lowest tier with transoms and flowing tracery in the openings. In addition, the north-east stair turret on the tower is also a small, crocketted spirelet with a gabled and traceried base that rises above the tower parapet.


The nave has a 3-light west window with intersecting tracery, and 2- and 3-light Decorated-style windows on the north side, the tracery part of the second phase of work. The north-west porch is gabled. The south aisle is shorter than the nave and has a 5-light uncusped east window, a Y-tracery west window and 2-light windows in the south wall. There are two doors on the south side, that to the vestry trefoil-headed. The lean-to south-east vestry and boiler house are in the angle between the east end of the south aisle and the chancel.


INTERIOR: The interior is quite dark and architecture is simple compared to the exterior, but it makes up for this plainness with extraordinarily rich painted decoration and good, contemporary furnishings. The tower stands over the western part of the chancel, with a small sanctuary beyond, and the tower arches, including an arch into the east bay of the south aisle, give the impression of a crossing. The tower arches and the five bay south arcade have chamfered arches on polygonal piers or responds with moulded capitals and bases. There are tall tie beam and king post roofs in both nave and south aisle. There is a flat timber roof over the choir, under the tower, which is divided into panels by moulded beams, and the sanctuary has a boarded, canted wagon roof.


HISTORY: All Saints has its origins in the Church of All Saints in the Jewry, in St John's Street. Early prints show that the tower was built on arches over the street. By the mid-C19 the medieval church was too small for the congregation, and as it stood in the way of development of that area of the city, it was decided to move it further north to Jesus Lane. The new church opened in 1864, and the old church was demolished when St John's Street was widened in 1865, although its churchyard is preserved as an open space.


After an initial desire to have Gilbert Scott as architect, George Frederick Bodley, who had been a pupil of Scott's, was chosen to design the new church. Bodley, who had set up his own practice in 1855, was to become one of the most important architects of the Gothic Revival. From 1860 a number of plans were drawn up for the church, but were rejected as being too expensive. The design was finally settled in 1862, and construction carried out in 1863-4 with a further phase of work on 1869-71 including the completion of the tower and spire and some of the north aisle glazing. The cost of the first phase was £5,408 with a further £2,036 spent on the second phase. All Saints is notable for the first introduction of Decorated-style motifs into Bodley's work, as the style became his trademark, but it has recently been noted (Hall) that the second phase of work made the building more Decorated than had been originally intended with the inclusion of flowing tracery in the windows and substitution of the very slender spire for a heavier broach spire originally proposed. Work carried out in 1904 to the decorative scheme was necessitated by damage caused by smoke from the gas lamps; the church was electrified in 1904 (chancel) and 1907 (nave). The church has been very little altered in the C20 and is one of the best preserved Anglo-Catholic interiors in England. It became redundant in 1973, and although there were proposals to demolish it a few years later, it passed to the Churches Conservation Trust in 1981.

Water spout is used: yes

Condition: Lightly Weathered

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