Walk Round Tour
Seen from the windows of the Vestry and the church office, but entered from the
side street through a Gothic doorway, there is a long narrow garden which church
volunteers recreated in May 1978 out of a wilderness of weeds and nettles.
Here, every Sunday from about mid - May to mid - October, the weekly social gathering
after the 10.30 Sunday service moves out of doors. With a little beaker of chilled
white wine or a fruit juice in the hand, members of our international church family,
resident or present for only an hour, enjoy meeting each other under the shade of
mature trees - olive, pomegranate, pear, bay, and Pittosphora. There is a border
of flowering plants and small bushes, climbing roses and various things in huge
Roman terracotta pots. People gave gravel and park benches, and a departing British
Ambassador offered, to have fixed to one of Mr. Street's plain buttresses, a bas
relief copy of an 11th century figure of "The Sower" representing the
month of November. The original can be seen on the façade of Bologna Cathedral.
We hold summer events in the garden when occasion offers, and there have been memorable
suppers there in the dark - even a film show!
In these surroundings, then, or indoors when Rome is not living up to her romantic
image, modern Christians from many different traditions, nations and races gather
in fellowship in a variety which may well have surprised the founding fathers of
our Anglican Home in Rome. It must surely be pleasing to the Founder Himself.
Above them, and between them and the street frontage, rises the Canonica, or "Church
House" as it was originally called. It was planned, not by A.E.Street but by
a local architect called M.E.Cannizzaro, in about 1908, but not finished until 1915.
The property, now a great asset for income, owes its existence to Alfred Chenevix
Trench, one of the churchwardens of the day. He saw to the securing of the site
when it became available, and lent a large sum of money to get the project started.
He did not press for repayment, (and in 1920 he finally made over the house as a
gift, to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. They already held the deeds
of the church.
Ironically, chaplains continued to live in hotels right up to the Second World War
(taking very extended summer leave) and the chaplain's apartment
in the Canonica has housed the priest only since 1949. The remainder of the space
is let to private and commercial tenants whose rents, after tax is paid to the Municipality,
help keep the ministry of All Saints' alive.
Please note, however, that neither the Church Commissioners nor the British Government
shoulder any responsibility for All Saints', and its good order and ministry and
worship are very much dependent upon regular giving of resident worshippers. They,
needless to say, are most grateful for the donations of visitors, in whatever form
(Entry cannot be promised to visitors but they may ask).
In the Vestry, a monumental brass to Canon Wasse adorns the wall above a former
fireplace, showing him in a strange mixture of academic "mortar board",
surplice and patterned stole.
He is flanked on the wall by simple, classical medallions in white plaster, depicting
the heads of
(a) The first Earl Cairns (1819 - 1885) "the first lawyer of his time",
and "an evangelical churchman of great piety", from Northern Ireland.
(b) The Revd. T.T.Carter (1808 - 1901) a noted Tractarian divine, who became Warden
of Clewer in 1844.
These plaques were done (it is not known precisely why) by Shakspere Wood, a sculptor
who came to Rome in 1851, and whose son and four daughters are recorded as having
been baptised between 1861 and 1868. As he died in 1886, it would seem likely that
these medallions were donated to the church when it was about to be opened. (These
words rescue the portrait heads, and their sculptor, from almost certain total anonymity
of more than 100 years).
The vestry and office above were the first portion of the church premises to be
roofed and usable - for meetings held from 1885.
The church was first lit by electricity in time for Christmas eve 1909. There is
no sign of light fittings of any kind in early photographs: how did they see their
prayer books on dark mornings, not to mention at Evensong.
The installation was, however, so time expired in recent years that we, too, found
it hard to see our texts except on sunny days. A total rewiring was ordered in 1981,
and all the fittings were dismantled. The original design was copied and many extra
units made by a craftsman, while subtle modern lights were added in places where
there were non before. This work was made possible by a magnificent gift from Dott.
Marcello Mininni in memory of his British relations.