Walk Round Tour
The Sacrament Chapel or The Lady Chapel
Created in 1913 by the removal of the pipe organ, this chapel has long been used
and valued for worship when numbers are small - mainly weekday celebrations of Holy
Communion. Before entering the chapel, at the head of the South Aisle is a small
space dedicated to private prayer with a place to leave petitions and to light candles.
This space is available to visitors even when the Lady Chapel is alarmed against
The light in the chapel's hanging lamp signifies the presence, in the curtain tabernacle
or aumbry in the centre of the altar, of the reserved sacrament.
For many decades, it has been the practice at All Saints', as in great number of
Anglican churches all over the world, to keep available some of the consecrated
bread of the Eucharist for carrying to the housebound, sick or dying.
It also has its pastoral use, in a chaplaincy like ours, for giving communion to
faithful Anglicans who miss the earlier part of a service through the real difficulties
of travel or traffic. An abbreviated liturgy can be used, and the desirous are not
sent empty away.
As for the fixtures which past devotion has given for beautifying the chapel, notice
first the Russian Orthodox brass cross mounted on velvet at the chapel entrance.
This replaces an almost identical cross, which had belonged to Canon John Findlow
(placed here by his widow) which was stolen by a visitor in August 1978.
In the chapel, on the left hand wall as you enter, hangs a stucco Madonna and child
with John the Baptist, restored in 1978. Bequeathed by Canon de Nancrede, it was
labelled "Antique copy of a work of Benedetto da Maiano, of the Umbrian School
of the 15th Century". The author eventually ran the original to earth in the
Museo Bordini in Florence, where those details proved to be correct; only the original
in terracotta has lost its colour and is subjectively less attractive. The elegant
frame of our copy is thought to be from at least the 18th century.
The door of the tabernacle has an unusual relief of Calvary, the figures of Jesus,
Mary and John being joined by another figure so that each is shown against one of
the down-strokes of black-letter Gothic letters i h s. This work was given in memory
of the saintly William Collins, Bishop of Gibraltar 1904 - 1911, whose untimely
death on board ship in Ismir Bay was then recent history. He had for some time disobeyed
doctor's orders by pressing on with a confirmation tour, unable to speak audibly
with a tubercular throat; and his end had shocked the diocese.
Now we pass into the chancel.
Behind the high altar, there is a fine marble reredos, or wall, still bearing the
great cross and six candlesticks visible there in a photograph of 1913.
In the same photograph (no doubt commissioned to record the enrichment of the chancel
at the moment when the organ had just been re-sited in the adjacent gallery) can
be seen the handsome fabrics adorning the apse walls and the front of the altar
itself. After the original curtaining disintegrated in the early 1990s, the apse
walls remained bare for nearly ten years. In 2001 the fabrics were restored as a
result of a generous donation from Jean Chiswell, twice Church Warden in the last
years of the 2oth Century.
The altar frontals, along with pulpit falls to match, are changed with the liturgical
season: white for great festivals of our Lord, purple or blue for solemn seasons,
and so on. Some are frail, now, but they are kept in use because they are very much
in the spirit of church furnishings of the post Tractarian period. The celebrant
at the altar here has worn vestments since Easter day 1898.The chancel therefore
represents an unusually complete ensemble of Anglican practice of the period concerned,
and it crowns a still homogeneous church interior of the late Victorian age.
The two panels on the front of the side table in the Chancel show the Angel Gabriel
at the Annunciation of our Lord to Mary. These commemorate the long association
with All Saints' of Francis Coleridge Patteson. She was the sister of John Coleridge
Patteson, The first Bishop of Melanesia in the South Pacific. He was martyred there
in 1871 in an incident celebrated in Anglican missionary history. The Bishop's personal
silver teapot (George IV, 1824) was bequeathed first by Miss Patteson to Canon de
Nancrede, and then by him to All Saints' Church. Hence we hold an unusual "secondary
relic" of a man who now has a place in some Anglican calendars - our gentle
way of nominating modern saints.