31 October 2022

A ‘virtual tour’ of a dozen
All Saints and All Hallows
churches on Hallowe’en

All Saints’ Church, Calverton, near Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire, dates from the 12th century and was rebuilt in 1818 and 1824 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Patrick Comerford

This evening (31 October 2022) is Halloween or the eve of All Hallows’ Day.

Quite often I hear people suggesting that Halloween is eve of All Souls’ Day, and that Halloween is a night for remembering the souls of the dead. But Hallowe’en is a contraction of ‘All Hallows’ evening,’ or All Saints’ Eve, which falls on 31 October, the day before All Saints’ Day or All Hallows’ Day, which is celebrated on 1 November.

In the past, Allhallowtide, from 31 October to 2 November, was marked as a time in the liturgical year for remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the departed. All Souls’ Day is on 2 November, and Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday occur at this time of the year too.

There is constant speculation that Hallowe’en has its roots in Celtic harvest festivals, such as the festival of Samhain. But the present date of All Saints’ Day or Hallowmas and of its vigil, Hallowe’en, have been traced back to Rome and Pope Gregory III (731-741), who founded an oratory in Saint Peter’s for the relics ‘of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors.’

So, to mark Hallowe’en, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints Eve, I have put together a ‘virtual tour’ of a dozen churches I have visited with the names of All Saints and All Hallows, in England, Ireland, Italy and Romania.

1, All Saints’ Church, Calverton:

Inside All Saints’ Church, Calverton, facing east (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

The church in Calverton first appears in local records in 1068, and was later known as All Hallows’ Church. The advowson or living of Calverton descended with the manor until the manor was sold in 1806. It was then bought by Charles George Perceval (1756-1840), 2nd Lord Arden, an elder brother of the Prime Minister, Spencer Perceval (1762-1812), who was assassinated in the lobby of the House of Commons.

Lord Arden commissioned the architect William Pilkington to rebuild All Saints’ Church in 1818-1824, on the foundations of All Hallows’ Church.

Lord Arden’s son, the Revd the Hon Charles George Perceval (1796-1858), was the Rector of at Calverton from 1821. A devout High Churchman and a supporter of the Tractarians, he was responsible for much of the decoration in the church, including the stained glass windows and other embellishments. More rebuilding took place in the 1850s, and further restoration and decorations were carried out in 1871-1872, when the architect was Edward Swinfen Harris of Stony Stratford.

Today, All Saints’ Church, Calverton, is in parochial union with Saint Mary and Saint Giles, Stony Stratford.

2, All Saints’ Church, Jesus Lane, Cambridge:

All Saints’ Church on Jesus Lane, Cambridge … one of the best-preserved Victorian Anglo-Catholic Gothic Revival churches in England (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

All Saints’ Church,Cambridge, beside Westcott House and opposite Jesus College, was built in 1863-1864 and is one of the best-preserved Victorian Anglo-Catholic Gothic Revival churches in England. It was designed by George Frederick Bodley (1827-1907), one of the most important architects of the Tractarian Movement.

Although this is Bodley’s first church in the Decorated Gothic style of the early 14th century (1300-1320), it is one of his most successful and became his favourite. The church stands opposite Jesus College, beside Westcott House and just a few steps away from the Jesus Lane Gate below the rooms I have had in Cloister Court, Sidney Sussex College.

The original All Saints’ Church stood on a site opposite Trinity College and close to the Divinity Schools. This site, now marked by a triangular piece of open land with a memorial cross, stood in the old Jewish quarter of Cambridge, and the church was known as All Saints in the Jewry. Jesus College, as patron of the living, donated a site for a new church in Jesus Lane.

3, All Saints’ Church, North Street, York:

Inside All Saints’ Church, North Street, York, facing the east end (Photograph Patrick Comerford, 2022)

All Saints’ Church, North Street, York, is regarded as ‘York’s finest mediaeval church.’ It stands near the River Ouse and next to a row of 15th century timber-framed houses, and should not be confused with All Saints’ Church, North Street, which I described yesterday.

All Saints’ Church was founded in the 11th century on land reputedly donated by Ralph de Paganel, whose name is commemorated in the Yorkshire village of Hooton Pagnell.

The earliest part of the church is the nave dating from the 12th century. The church has an impressive tower with a tall octagonal spire. Inside, the church has a collection of mediaeval stained glass, including the ‘Corporal Works of Mercy’ and the ‘Pricke of Conscience’ window, depicting the 15 signs of the End of the World.

4, All Saints’ Church, Pavement, York:

The East Window in All Saints’ Church, Pavement, York, by Charles Eamer Kempe depicts the saints (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

All Saints’ Church, Pavement, York, has a striking octagonal 15th-century lantern tower that makes the church a local landmark. The church is the Guild Church and Civic Church of York, and dates from the 14th century, although tradition says All Saints’ Church was first built in 685 for Saint Cuthbert.

The church was restored by George Edmund Street in 1887, when the stonework was cleaned, the pinnacles restored, and the central east window depicting All Saints is by Charles Eamer Kempe.

5, All Saints’ Church, Blackrock, Co Dublin:

All Saints’ Church, Blackrock … a Victorian church that continues the legacy of the Tractarians and the Oxford Movement (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

All Saints’ Church, Blackrock, Co Dublin, was built on Proby Square and Newtown Park in 1868-1870 in the Early English style to meet the needs of a growing Victorian suburb. This part of the Carysfort Estate was developed in 1840-1880, and the parish was created in 1868 from parts of Stillorgan, Kill and Monkstown.

The architect was John McCurdy (1824-1884), the official college architect of Trinity College Dublin. The contractors were J & W Beckett; William Beckett was the grandfather of the Nobel playwright Samuel Beckett. The church has some of the finest examples of the work of the stained-glass artist Wilhelmina Geddes (1887-1955), a vital figure in the Irish Arts and Crafts movement

6, All Saints’ Church, Grangegorman, Dublin:

The interior of All Saints’ Church, Grangegorman … redesigned and renovated according to Tractarian principles (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

All Saints’ Church, Grangegorman, where I often did Sunday duty while I was a canon of Christ Church, Cathedral, Dublin, stands in an area that was once a grange belonging to the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church Cathedral, with lands providing rents that supported the Vicars Choral of the cathedral.

The Revd William Maturin (1806-1887), a high-churchman strongly influenced by Pusey and Newman, was the Vicar of All Saints for almost half a century (1843-1887). During his time at All Saints, the church was redesigned and renovated according to Tractarian principles. The chancel was added in 1856, Thomas Drew added the north aisle in 1865, and baptistery and south porch were added in 1887. Drew also remodelled the interior along Tractiarian lines.

7, All Saints Church Mullingar, Co Westmeath:

Inside All Saints’ Church, Mullingar, Co Westmeath (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

All Saints’ Church in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, in 2014 celebrated the bicentenary of the completion of the present church building in 1814. But this prominent, elevated site has been the site of church buildings since ca 1208, when the Bishop of Meath, Simon de Rochford, gave a church here to the Augustinian Priory of Llanthony Prima in Gwent, Wales.

The church was rebuilt in 1813-1814 and was later extensively refit to designs by Joseph Welland (1798-1860) and William Gillespie (1818-1890). In 1878, the chancel and sanctuary and the transepts in All Saints were raised to designs by Sir Thomas Drew (1838-1910.

8, All Saints’ Church, Stradbally, Co Limerick:

All Saints’ Church, Stradbally, Co Limerick … a Co Limerick church in the Diocese of Killaloe (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Stradbally in Co Limerick, is the only, Church of Ireland parish in Co Limerick that is in the Diocese of Killaloe – although some old parishes in Co Limerick are in the Diocese of Emly, and some old parishes in the Co Clare are in the Diocese of Limerick.

Castleconnell and Stradbally form one village and one parish on the banks of the River Shannon, and local lore claims a small church was built here as early as the sixth century. The present church, All Saints’ Church, is a gable-fronted Board of First Fruits style church that was built in 1809, enlarged to the north in 1826 and 1844 by James Pain, with a chancel modified by Welland and Gillespie in 1863.

The church has a number of interesting monuments, including one designed by Pain for Anne Fitzgibbon, Countess of Clare, and a burial vault designed by Pain for General Sir Richard Bourke of Thornfield House, Lisnagry.

9, All Saints, Templetown, Co Wexford:

The East End of All Saints’ Church, Templetown, Co Wexford … strongly influenced by AWN Pugin’s church in Barntown (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

All Saints’ Church in Templetown, Co Wexford, was built in 1896 through the efforts of and financed by Canon William Synnott (1834-1911), Parish Priest of Templetown (1886-1911) and Precentor of Ferns. The church was designed by Michael Power, architect and builder, of Saint Kearns, Tintern, Co Wexford.

All Saints’ Church can be compared with Saint Alphonsus’s Church, Barntown, designed by AWN Pugin (1812-1852) and built in 1844-1851. Pugin conceived of Saint Alphonsus’s Church, Barntown, as a complete Catholic parish church and is his only complete expression in Ireland of the small village parish church. Some writers suggest the church in Barntown is a finer version of the simplest of all Pugin’s designs, Saint Augustine’s Church in Solihull. However, most historians say Pugin’s design for Barntown was based on Saint Michael’s Church in Longstanton, 10 km north of Cambridge .

The design of All Saints’ Church in Templetown shows Pugin’s continuing influence on the design of Roman Catholic churches in Co Wexford and the Diocese of Ferns throughout the 19th century.

10, All Saints’ Church, Rome:

All Saints’ Church on the Via del Babuino is one of two Anglican churches in Rome (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

All Saints’ Church on the Via del Babuino is one of the two Anglican churches in Rome. An Anglican congregation has been worshipping in Rome since 1816, and All Saints’ Church dates from 1882. This iGothic revival red-brick church, about 100 meters from the Spanish Steps, was designed by George Edmund Street (1824-1881.

The electric lighting was a gift in 1909 from Alfred Chenevix Trench (1849-1938), son of Archbishop Richard Chenevix Trench of Dublin and proprietor of the publishing house Kegan Paul Trench. The Stations of the Cross commemorate the Revd Peter Marchant from Dublin, who was chaplain from 1991 to 1995.

A plaque commemorates ‘Lt-Col Baron JW Keen, and … his brave comrades in arms … who fought with Garibaldi in Italy’s struggle for freedom …’ The plaque was unveiled in 1920 by Garibaldi’s daughter-in-law, and some of the few surviving ‘Redshirts’ were present in their uniforms. Born Constance Hopcraft, she was present when the foundation stone of All Saints’ was laid in 1882.

Other monuments recall Hugh Cairns, Earl Cairns, a leading politician from Cultra, Co Down, and Sir John Conroy, an Irish baronet who died in Rome in 1900 – his grandfather, Sir John Conroy from Co Roscommon, has been labelled ‘Queen Victoria’s nemesis’ and was alleged to have had an affair with Queen Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent. The English author AN Wilson even suggests he may have been Queen Victoria’s actual father.

11, All Saints’ Church, Bucharest:

The Byzantine-style dome in All Saints’ Church in Bucharest (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

All Saints’ Church, Bucharest, or Precupetii Vechi, is an inner city Orthodox church in the Romanian I visited it many years ago when the Orthodox parish priest, Father Gheorghe Tudor, had built an old people’s centre and started a project that included three-storey sheltered housing and a food programme.

The project began in 2002 and was feeding up to 100 people three times a week, with a further 25 families receiving food parcels with food donated by local restaurants. The sheltered housing provided a home for 20 old people on fixed pensions who had lost their apartments and short-term respite for old people who could afford to pay for their heating and lighting.

11, All Hallows by the Tower, London:

All Hallows by the Tower claims to be the oldest church in the City of London (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

All Hallows by the Tower claims to be the oldest church in the City of London, although recent research questions these claims. It is said the church was founded by the Abbey of Barking in the year 675, 300 years before the Tower of London was built, but the origin and early history of All Hallows-by-the-Tower are obscure.
At one time it was dedicated jointly to All Hallows (All Saints) and the Virgin Mary and at times it was also known as All Hallows Barking. The proximity of the church to the Tower of London gave it many royal connections, and Edward IV made one of its chapels a royal chantry.

The church became the location for the temporary burial of a number of distinguished people following their executions on Tower Hill, including Sir Thomas More, Bishop John Fisher and Archbishop William Laud. Admiral William Penn, father of William Penn of Pennsylvania, and Samuel Pepys watched the Great Fire of London in 1666 burn from the tower of the church.

During World War II , when the vicar was the Revd Philip TB ‘Tubby’ Clayton, founder of the Toc H movement, the church suffered extensive bomb damage. It was rebuilt after the war and was rededicated in 1957.

12, All Hallows’ Church, Bread Street, London:

A plaque from All Hallows’ Church in the churchyard of Saint Mary-le-Bow recalls the baptism of the poet John Milton (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

All Hallows’ Church, Bread Street, was a parish church in the Bread Street ward of the City of London. It stood on the east side of Bread Street, on the corner with Watling Street, and was first mentioned in the 13th century.

The church was closed for a month in 1551 following a bloody fight between two priests. As penance, they were obliged to walk barefoot from Saint Paul’s through Cheapside and Cornhill. During the reign of Queen Mary I, the rector, Laurence Saunders, was burnt at the stake in 1555 for preaching Protestant doctrine. John Milton was baptised in All Hallows in 1608.

The church was destroyed in the Great Fire in 1666, and was rebuilt in 1681-1684 by Sir Christopher Wren. The parish of All Hallows Bread Street was combined with that of Saint Mary-le-Bow in 1876 and the church demolished in 1878. The pulpit is now in Saint Vedast alias Foster, the organ case in Saint Mary Abchurch and the font cover in Saint Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe.

At Precupetii Vechi Church in inner city Bucharest with Father Gheorghe Tudor (centre) of the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Revd James Ramsay (right) of the Anglican Church of the Resurrection

Praying in Ordinary Time with USPG:
Monday 31 October 2022

The chapel in Exeter College, Oxford, was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and dominates the Front Quadrangle (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Patrick Comerford

Today is Halllowe’en, the eve of All Hallows’ Day or All Saints’ Day. But the Calendar of the Church of England in Common Worship today also remembers Martin Luther, Reformer, 1546, with a Commemoration.

Before today gets busy, I am taking some time this morning for reading, prayer and reflection.

For the rest of this week, I am reflecting in these ways:

1, One of the readings for the morning;

2, A reflection based on seven more churches or chapels in Oxford I visited earlier this month;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary, ‘Pray with the World Church.’

Exeter College, the fourth-oldest college in the University of Oxford, was founded in 1314 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Martin Luther was born in 1483 at Eisleben in Saxony and educated at the cathedral school in Magdeburg and the university in Erfurt. He joined an order of Augustinian Hermits there and was ordained priest in 1507, becoming a lecturer in the university at Wittenberg. He became vicar of his Order in 1515, having charge of a dozen monasteries.

His Christian faith began to take on a new shape, with his increasing dissatisfaction with the worship and order of the Church. He became convinced that the gospels taught that humanity is saved by faith and not by works, finding support in the writings of Augustine of Hippo. He refuted the teaching of the Letter of James, calling it ‘an epistle of straw’.

Martin Luther sought to debate the whole matter by posting 95 theses or theological propositions on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on this day in the year 1517. The hierarchy chose to see it as a direct attack on the Church, which forced Luther into open rebellion. The Protestant Reformation spread throughout Germany and then Europe, many seeing it as liberation from a Church that held them in fear rather than love.

Luther died in 1546, having effected a renaissance in the Church, both Protestant and Catholic.

Luke 14: 12-14 (NRSVA):

12 He [Jesus] said also to the one who had invited him, ‘When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbours, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’

Inside Exeter College Chapel, Oxford, consecrated in 1859 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Exeter College Chapel, Oxford:

Exeter College on Turl Street is the fourth-oldest college in the University of Oxford. It was founded in 1314 by Walter de Stapledon, Bishop of Exeter, as a school to educate the clergy. It is right in the centre of Oxford, next-door to the Bodleian Library and close to the science labs. Notable alumni include Raymond Raikes, William Morris, JRR Tolkien, Richard Burton, Roger Bannister, Alan Bennett and Philip Pullman.

The Front Quadrangle sits on roughly the site of the mediaeval college, although Palmer’s Tower in the north-east corner is only part of the early buildings that remains. The quadrangle is dominated by the chapel, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and built in 1854-1860. On the opposite side stands the hall, built in 1618and notable for its vaulted ceilings and numerous fine portraits.

There has been a chapel in Exeter College since its foundation, and the chapels have fulfilled many different functions over the past seven centuries, as understandings of religion and faith have changed through the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the Oxford Movement.

A new chapel was built in 1623-1624. However, by the early 19th century, concerns were expressed about the structural soundness of the 17th century chapel, and the idea of replacing the building was first suggested in 1813.

A survey conducted by the architect RC Hussey in the early 1840s concluded there was no immediate danger, but said repairs to the north wall were needed in the long term and these would cost as much as building a new chapel.

The decision to demolish the 17th century chapel was also influenced by the religious leanings of the fellows of the college. Several fellows were supporters of the Oxford Movement. Newman had remarked in 1837, ‘At Exeter, right opinions are strong.’ The mood was right for building a chapel with a Eucharistic focus and a Decorated Gothic style.

Sir George Gilbert Scott was approved unanimously to design the new chapel in July 1853. He was greatly influenced by French architecture, in particular the mediaeval jewel La Sainte-Chappelle in Paris, and his proposal for Exeter reflected the best of French Gothic style.

His original design was for a building on the north side of the Fellows’ Garden, extending into the quad with a west front facing the gate tower. However, the fellows balked at a cost of £8,000. Scott modified his proposal, suggesting it should be moved back to the site of the old chapel, avoiding the need to demolish student accommodation. This was finally agreed and the foundation stone was laid on 29 November 1856.

By the time the chapel was completed, the cost was nearer £12,000, met by an extensive fundraising campaign and by significant sacrifices by the fellows and students. The chapel was consecrated on 18 October 1859 by Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, with Henry Phillpotts, Bishop of Exeter, in attendance.

In preparation for the 150th anniversary of the consecration of the ‘new’ chapel in 2009, the chapel underwent thorough restoration in 2007. Cleaning work revealed bold features such as the elaborate ceiling stonework and marble inlays, that had been obscured for decades.

The same year work began on the exterior, cutting out large areas of crumbling stone and fixing newly carved grotesques and gablets. After a recent restoration of the windows, the chapel is now looking resplendent.

All are welcome in Exeter College Chapel. Alongside being a place of worship and prayer, it seeks to be a deliberately inclusive space, belonging to the whole college, as well as a place to seek solace and to challenge views of life.

The Revd Andrew Allen is Official Fellow, Chaplain, Chattels Fellow and Dean of Degrees. He read Law and German Law at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and the University of Bonn, and he returned to Oxford to study theology and train for the priesthood. Before ordination, he returned to Bonn to work on a European Union project to process and define a culture of remembrance in the aftermath of the Holocaust. Before being elected chaplain, he was a priest in three rural parishes in Buckinghamshire.

His current research explores the religious life of Edward VII, and whether the monarchy and church relied on each other to secure their positions. He has a wider interest in how liturgy reflects identity, and in particular how the hierarchy of the Church of England responded to the changes of the Oxford Movement in the early 20th century.

He teaches Church History and Doctrine and is part of a nation-wide group that has been leading commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, as defined by Luther’s nailing of the 95 thesis in Wittenberg. This includes lectures and sermons, as well as projects to digitalise and transcribe Reformation era texts.

He is a Vocations Adviser in the Diocese of Oxford, and is keen to strengthen links with European Churches, especially the Old Catholics and Protestant Church in Germany.

Exeter is the only college in either Oxford or Cambridge where a student-led choir sings three services a week. The services in term time are at 6 pm on Sundays and at 6:15 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays. A spoken service of Mattins is offered each morning at 8:30 am.

The choir stalls in Exeter College … alongside being a place of worship and prayer, it seeks to be a deliberately inclusive space (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Today’s Prayer (Monday 31 October 2022):

The Collect:

Almighty and eternal God,
you have kindled the flame of love
in the hearts of the saints:
grant to us the same faith and power of love,
that, as we rejoice in their triumphs,
we may be sustained by their example and fellowship;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Post Communion Prayer:

Lord of heaven,
in this eucharist you have brought us near
to an innumerable company of angels
and to the spirits of the saints made perfect:
as in this food of our earthly pilgrimage
we have shared their fellowship,
so may we come to share their joy in heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The theme in the USPG Prayer Diary this week is ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ This theme was introduced yesterday by the Revd David Rajiah, Diocesan Prayer Co-ordinator for the Diocese of West Malaysia.

The USPG Prayer Diary invites us to pray today in these words:

Let us pray for the Diocese of West Malaysia and the communities it serves.
Help us to put aside our prejudices.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

The chapel porch in Exeter College … the chapel underwent a thorough restoration in 2007 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

Looking out on the Front Quadrangle of Exeter College from the chapel porch (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)