All Saints’ Church

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Things to do


Date of travel

April, 2015

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Standing in the centre of the City at the junction of Pavement, High Ousegate and Coppergate, All Saints’ is the Guild and Civic church of York. More than 30 Lord Mayors are buried in the churchyard and boards in the church list their names. The church is also the Regimental church of the Royal Dragoon Guards. Its lantern tower is a feature of the York skyline.

There has been a church on this site since before the Norman Conquest. The present building is mainly C14th and C15th. The chancel was in poor condition by the end of the C18th, little used and was pulled down when the grain market on Pavement was extended. This gives the church a very truncated appearance.

The beautiful lantern tower at the west end of the church was built around 1400 and a light was left burning in it overnight to act as a beacon to guide travellers through the wolf infested Forest of Galtres. It was restored after the First World War as the church’s war memorial. The light is still lit at night.

The splendid sanctuary knocker on the north door is a replica of the C13th knocker which is now in the Treasury in York Monster. It depicts the mouth of Hell

Inside it is a big church with arcades of octagonal pillars separating the nave and side aisles. The chancel is now in what was the crossing of the C17th church.

The Royal Coat of Arms from St Crux Church LINK is above the door into the vestry. Below them are wooden replicas of the helmet, gauntlets and sword of Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland who was executed for treason in The Pavement in 1572. Again these came from St Crux.

The pews are C19th and have shields with the arms of the City’s guilds. They replaced the old box pews which now line the base of the walls of the side aisles.

On the back pillars are large benefice boards listing all the charitable bequests made by wealthy parishioners to the church and poor of the parish.

On the walls of the south aisle are the boards listing all the Lord Mayors from the late C17th to the end of the C19th.

The raised pews beneath the west window were for visiting Lord Mayors. They are now used by the churchwardens. The west window contains C14th stained glass with scenes of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ. The glass was brought here from St Saviour’s Church when it was declared redundant in the mid C20th.

The lovely blue painted ceiling with gilded bosses is C15th. Above the altar it is painted with gold stars.

The C19th carved stone font with its painted lid is at the back of the south aisle.

The lectern is C15th and came from St Crux. The base with carvings of the four evangelists is C19th.

The C17th carved wood pulpit has painted inscriptions round the top and a splendid sounding board above. It was originally in the centre of the church, surrounded by box pews.

Steps lead up to the high altar in what was the crossing of the C17th church. The oak panels beneath the east window were made by Robert Thompson of Kilburn, the ‘Mouseman’. The lovely carved reredos has Christ at the centre surrounded by the figures of the four evangelists, St Peter and St Paul. The east window above is the work of CE Kemp

At the end of the north aisle is the Regimental Chapel of the Royal Dragoon Guards.

The window in the north wall was installed in 2002 and features the Regimental Badge of the Royal Dragoon Guards in the centre, surrounded by the six badges of the earlier regiments that formed them. The Prince of Wales is Colonel in Chief and his feathers are at the top of the window.

The church is open every day.

There are more pictures “here.”:


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