Hereford City Heritage

The Mayor’s Chain

All Saints’ Church

This was probably the first ‘new’ church to be built in the time of William FitzOsbern, Earl of Hereford. It was positioned in the new market place opposite the old gate-way into the Saxon city.

All Saints

The imposing spire of All Saints rises to 225 feet above the pavement, dwarfing the Cathedral in mere stature, and at one time rumoured to be quite unsound; However work was carried out in the last years of the 20th century to correct it. Not so mighty the tower beneath, which Sir Gilbert Scott certified to be as strong as the Rock of Gibralter.

    Garrick was baptised at All Saints’ in 1716. The great windows are as impressively plain as many in the churches of ‘Reformed’ Holland, but their undimmed light helps one to admire the spaciousness of the interior, which has benefitted from much tender restoration; the East window depicts the CXity’s patrons, SS Aethelbert and Thomas Cantilupe. By the north entrance is such a church chest as one seldom sees - roomy enough for a family in hiding, as well as the church plate and registers. Architecturally, perhaps the most notable part of the building is the massive pillar at the meeting of the choir and the north aisle. The original base of the pillar - some seven hundred years old - is here unearthed well below the present floor level and protected by a railing. The 14th century choir stalls are of extraordinary splendour - highly carved and complete with amusing misericords; They could have sat ten monks from the small French monastic order that owned the building at that time. Other features include the elaborate pulput and sounding board of 1621 and, in the vestry, a 17th century hour glass (to restrict boring sermons).  It’s chained library, the second largest in the land, has now been joined with the largest chained library at the Cathedral where they are housed in their own building; The All Saints’ library was handsomely augmented by the legacy in 1715 of 286 books from Dr. Brewster of Oxford, with the condition that they should be chained up like the rest. The oldest print is a 1497 Paris edition (by Paul Levet) of Alexander Carpenter’s Destructotium Viciorum.