Walk Round Tour
The interior of All Saints' is lofty and spacious - the church interior is about
130feet (40 metres) long; 60 feet (18 metres) wide; and roughly as high.- a surprise
to most visitors in view of the church's restricted approaches. Yet it occupies
only a modest portion of the site of an Augustinian convent which was in need of
demolition in the 1870s. This had itself been built on the site of a Roman villa
of two thousand years before. The deep foundations of this villa yielded several
treasures when All Saints was being constructed. Details are in the companion history.
It feels very English and very Victorian, as might have been expected of the genius
George Edmund Street, President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, one
of the most eminent in his field in the later 19th century. He lived from 1824 to
1881, and is known best by the general public for his Royal Courts of Justice, "The
Law Courts" , in the Strand. He designed numerous Major Gothic Revival churches
in Britain, and was also in demand for the careful restoration and extension of
mediaeval cathedrals. His last Major work - one among many commissions in Europe
- was the Pro-Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Paris, for the American Episcopalians.
Our all Saints' was the penultimate, and sadly he never lived to see either rise
above the foundations.
Street was an Anglican
worshipper of deep conviction in the Tractarian* mould, and All Saints' design bears
out his understanding of dignity and mystery in liturgy - ordered worship centred
on the altar.
Our church has been called by one commentator " a dignified and scholarly building,
the interior, in particular, being excellent of its kind". The bricks were
made specially, many of a pattern ordered by Street, and to his stated satisfaction.
At first, they may seem to have a rather clinical look, but as you might agree,
on closer inspection, that there is everywhere a slightly "approximate"
marrying of brick to brick in the Roman tradition which saves the effect from hardness.
Look up at the borders of the circular windows above the nave, and see also, outside,
the decorative effect below the eaves.
A contrast is afforded
by stone from Tivoli and from Brindisi, far to the south on the Adriatic.
*Tractarian - renewal of zeal in the Church of England for things liturgical, and
specially for the honouring of the altar and the dignified celebration of the Eucharist