All Saints' Anglican Church, Rome
A growing Christian community in the heart of Rome finding and following Jesus in worship,
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Listen to some organ music, played by Titular Organist, Gabriele Catalucci Listen to some organ music, played by Titular Organist, Gabriele Catalucci

History - Eminent Victorians


It is tantalizing to speculate on just which members of the British colony, famous already or to become so later, resident or passing through, may hare attended Anglican public worship while in Rome. In an age of strong religious conformity at home, many of those Britons who stayed in Rome long enough to discover the venue for Prayer Book worship in English may well have taken part in it.

Very early in Victoria's reign, for example, William Ewart Gladstone stayed in rooms near the foot of the Spanish Steps. It would have been strange if such a prominent Churchman had not joined with their fellow Anglicans on Sundays. During the season of 1847/48, Florence Nightingale was, in her own words, "in Rome to try to find her soul". Perhaps the Granary Chapel played a part. Other eminent Victorians in the same case - that is, we cannot claim them, but it is possible that they were at least occasional worshipers - might include J M W Turner, W M Thackeray and Robert and Elizabeth Browning. All lived nearby for some time, and Robert Browning was Churchwarden when in Venice. Then there may have been the Augustus Hares, uncle and nephew, the latter baptized at the chapel when small; Lord Leighton; and perhaps Edward Burne-Jones, though he was chiefly involved with the sister Anglican (American Episcopal) church which boasts his only mosaic. Edward Lear (1812 to 1888) lodged for a time (from December 1837) at via del Babuino 39, almost opposite the present church. He later moved to other accommodation nearby, staying until 1848, though he made many excursions away from the city. In one of his frequent letters sent from Rome to his sister Anna, Lear spoke of his settling down "close to the church and the piazza di Spagna - the Academy - the eating and coffee houses - all the English and all the artists". One of his biographers speaks of his regular churchgoing, and of his donation of alms to "the English Church in Rome".

This text was adapted from the history of All Saints' Church, Rome by David Palmer (Rome. July 1978, Augusts of 1979, 1980 & 1981).

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